Owners chronicle history of ‘Hurd’s Corner’ property

by Laura Bednar

The “Hurd’s Corner” house, at the corner of W. Bath and N. Hametown roads, has been around for almost two centuries. When Crystal Farlin and her family moved in five years ago, she made it a point to unearth the history behind the home.

She has researched articles online, read books, connected with the Bath Township Historical Society and spoke to previous owners to piece together the dates and stories behind this iconic property.

The property was named Hurd’s Corner after the original owners, Asa and Sarah Hurd. The couple built the home in 1850 and lived there until 1883. The property was kept in the Hurd family until the late 1800s. Crystal said the couple built a barn and a cabin before the home. The barn, which still stands, has the original weather vanes on the roof, as does the house. Also preserved is a cauldron that the Hurds brought from New York, which was used to boil pig tissue and render the fat, which was treated separately to make soap.

Chuck and Crystal Farlin stand in front of the firepace. The bought Hurd’s Corner in 2017. Photo by Laura Bednar

Sarah and Asa had three sons and one daughter, Mary Frances, who married a man named Anthony McFarlin. “Could we be related to them?” Crystal said, thinking that sometimes families shortened last names through the generations.

Her husband, Chuck, grew up in the Richfield and Akron areas and is a Revere graduate. They decided to look for a home in Bath or Richfield so their children could also attend Revere.

The Hurds sold the property to James and Jennie Galloway in 1896. Their daughter Nellie inherited the home in 1939 and lived there with her husband, Ray Baumgardner, until 1975. It was Ray who built the slaughterhouse on the property, which still has a wheel and rails inside to hang and move meat. Crystal said the family uses the mechanism for deer, and she is known for her venison cheeseburger soup.

Rev. Ron and Aretha Marmaduke bought the home in 1976 and rented it out until 1997. Ron now lives behind the Farlins and planted most of the trees on the Hurd property.

Crystal said a couple that was married in front of the home’s fireplace asked if they could visit for their anniversary. She surprised them by having Ron, who performed the original ceremony, come to the home to preside over a service to renew their vows.

Stephen and Linda Woods purchased the home in 1997 and rented it out for a few years before the Farlins bought it in 2017.

“We wanted property, but weren’t stuck on style,” said Crystal. “We got no further than the kitchen and said, ‘This is our house.’”

Diamond in the rough

The Farlins maintained the home’s historical character, but did several renovations.

“We bought the house as is,” said Chuck. “On day one, half the water worked and the other half leaked.”

The family touched every part of the property, from redoing the kitchen to replacing floors and ceilings to adding several coats of paint, and that was just the inside.

Chuck said everything outside was overgrown, and he added fill dirt and grass to create a yard where there was just a drop-off.

He also rebuilt part of the barn, including adding a floor, and replaced the doors on the slaughterhouse and garage. Crystal also rebuilt the chicken coop and painted a mural inside. She is now the proud owner of several chickens, in addition to goats and rabbits.

A more personal addition is a memorial garden alongside the garage, honoring Farlin family members who have died. Alongside a sign with the person’s name, birth and death date, is a personalized wind chime.
“It’s the best way to keep their memory alive,” said Crystal.

She has also repurposed parts of the home, like using a ladder from the barn to hang blankets in the living room. “I like to mix old and new,” she said. “[The pieces] become part of the house again.”

Her long-term goal is to add a wrap-around porch to the home and a gazebo overlooking the property’s pond.

Legend has it

Crystal grew up in historical homes; her family lived in one of the first homes built in Orville, piquing her interest in researching the history of Hurd’s property. In addition to reading articles, she used ancestry.com and spoke to previous residents through social media. Lynda Durrant, who rented the home from 2005-2013, wrote a book about the property, “House at Hurd’s Corner.”

“It was a hodge-podge of clues,” Crystal said.

In her research and interviews, she heard eerie stories about the home. It was said that on the day of Sarah Hurd’s funeral, all the jars of food she had canned in the basement fell off the shelves and shattered.

The basement was the site of another incident. In the early 1980s, the Chapman family rented the home. When the mother was doing laundry, she heard a man yell, “Help me.” She didn’t see anyone, but checked the cellar door. When she turned back, she saw a shadowy figure in the corner who said his name was Ray.

Previous owner Ray Baumgardner died after being pinned against the barn by a tractor when it slipped out of gear.

Crystal said many of the legends are hearsay, but the Farlins have a story or two of their own. When they moved in, Crystal and Chuck’s daughter heard glassware being moved around at night. When she asked her parents about it, they said they hadn’t moved anything. The family dog, Jack, who Crystal said is the gentlest pet, then growled at the china cabinet.

Crystal continues to research the house and previous owners, and people with information have stopped by the house to talk. “My goal is to keep breathing life back into this house and keep the memory alive of those that lived there in the past,” she said. ∞

Featured Photo: The original fireplace remains in the house, and an original ladder from the property’s barn holds blankets. Photo by Laura Bednar.