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Worden house demolished despite preservation efforts in Hinckley Township

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The historic Worden Heritage Homestead, 895 Ledge Road in Hinckley Township, is gone after the home was demolished this week. PHOTO PROVIDED

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HINCKLEY TWP. — More than 150 years of history is no longer standing in the township.

Cleveland Metroparks this week razed what once was the Worden Heritage Homestead at 895 Ledge Road.

“We’re quite upset,” Medina resident Leslie Ciammaichella said. “We didn’t expect them to do this.”

Ciammaichella was one of 335 members who joined the Facebook group “Save the Worden Homestead Committee” that hoped to organize a nonprofit or trust fund to preserve the home.

The Worden home was built about 1860 by Hiram Worden and housed four generations of his family, including his in-laws, the Stuarts. It was purchased by the Metroparks in 1984, along with the 13 acres of property that includes a walking trail to what is now called Worden’s Ledges.

“I just don’t understand why they didn’t give someone a chance,” Ciammaichella said. “It didn’t hurt the park at all. If anything, it would’ve benefited the park to have the museum and the trail because it all goes together.”

Metroparks spokeswoman Jacqueline Gerling said Friday in an email to The Gazette that the park district moved forward with demolition “since no viable option has come to fruition.”

“Cleveland Metroparks respects the history of the location,” she wrote. “An interpretive plan is being developed using the foundation stones to tell the story of the house. The rock carvings will remain and educational programming will continue.”

The demolition of the Worden home took place this week as Metroparks officials worked on 100th anniversary celebrations.

Ciammaichella said she was among a group that met with representatives from the Metroparks last week and provided a business plan that organized their efforts to save the homestead.

“What we asked was six months to one year to give us time to put everything together and raise money,” Ciammaichella said. “They said they would let us know in a week or two … and I got an email from the Metroparks after it was already down that it was going to be done. They knew how committed we were to doing this and how deep the stories ran. They could’ve let us know.”

The demolition started Wednesday by C&J Contractors, based in Cleveland.

Gerling did not disclose the cost.

The homestead previously was used by the Hinckley Historical Society to showcase antiques. The society was unable to stay after being told by the Metroparks that the society would have to assume maintenance costs. The society operates out of a home owned by the township on the southeast corner of Ridge Road and state Route 303.

Gerling said since 2014, “Efforts to secure a new owner or reuse of the facility were unsuccessful.”

Ciammaichella said more than 700 people showed interested in helping.

“I know we could’ve secured the funds,” she said.

Ciammaichella said the committee will continue to meet and hopes to develop a piece of history that commemorates the Worden home.

“We want to find something we can do for Hinckley,” she said.

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.

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