Historical Markers in Chagrin Falls

I had the privilege of working as an intern at the Chagrin History Center (formerly known as the Chagrin Falls Historical Society & Museum) during the Spring 2024 semester. The Chagrin History Center, located in beautiful Chagrin Falls, Ohio, has been collecting and preserving local and regional history since 1949. The Chagrin History Center currently occupies the George H. Ober House, a historic former home located at 87 East Washington Street in Chagrin Falls.

George H. Ober House (87 East Washington Street). | Chagrin History Center (April 1, 2024).

The majority of my internship work took place in the Chagrin History Center’s Sihler Research Center. The Sihler Research Center houses archival and photo collections documenting local and regional history in Chagrin Falls from the late 19th century to the present. Though I was initially unfamiliar with area and history of Chagrin Falls, I quickly became fond of it through my research of the area’s history and in interactions with the staff at the Chagrin History Center.

Throughout my internship, I worked closely with several staff members at the Chagrin History Center. Ruth Zeager, the Chagrin History Center’s Director, was my intial point of contact with the Chagrin History Center and assisted me in organizing my internship. John Bourisseau, the Chagrin History Center’s Historian, served as my primary internship supervisor and was my primary point-of-contact during my internship. Zo Syorka, the Chagrin History Center’s Photo Archivist, provided me with vital information and assistance related to the Historical Society’s archives.

Sihler Research Center. | Chagrin History Center (April 24, 2024).

My primary task involved preparing Ohio Historical Marker proposals/applications for two Chagrin Falls-area historic locations – the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre (40 River Street) and the Golden Gate Masonic Temple (87 West Washington Street). Representatives from both locations had previously contacted the Chagrin History Center and indicated their interest in obtaining an Ohio Historical Marker for their respective locations, and it was my job to begin preparing the materials and documentation necessary in order to complete a proposal/application for an Ohio Historical Marker on behalf of both locations/organizations.

My first assignment was to familiarize myself with the Ohio History Connection’s Ohio Historical Marker proposal/application process. After a week or two of reading through the Ohio History Connection’s Remarkable Ohio website (and the supplementary documentation provided therein), I was able to begin working on preparing Ohio Historical Marker proposals/applications for the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre and the Golden Gate Masonic Temple.

My next task was to compile a collection of primary/secondary sources, complete a written Statement of Significance, and compile a Bibliography (all required components of an Ohio Historical Marker proposal/application) for both locations. With help from John Bourisseau and Zo Syorka, I was able to locate and access the Chagrin History Center’s archival collections related to the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre and the Golden Gate Masonic Temple. After perusing these (largely unprocessed) collections of archival documents, I began scanning and digitizing copies of the materials that I planned to use as part of each location’s Ohio Historical Marker proposal/application. Though the small size and slow speed of the document scanner made the process of digitizing the documents far more time-consuming than would have been desired, it was a necessary part of the Ohio Historical Marker proposal/application process.

After conducting research on the history of the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre and the Golden Gate Masonic Temple, I used the digitized documents to craft a 3-page Statement of Significance and Bibliography for both locations’ Ohio Historical Marker proposal/application. I was able to share these documents with representatives from both organizations.


The Chagrin Valley Little Theatre (est. 1930) is one of the oldest continuously operating amateur not-for-profit community theatres in Northeast Ohio. The Chagrin Valley Little Theatre has been continuously operating since its formation in 1930 and is one of few early community theatres in the United States to have constructed and maintained its own theatre building. The Chagrin Valley Little Theatre’s 250-seat Main Stage theatre building (40 River Street) was constructed in 1949.

Chagrin Valley Little Theatre. | Cleveland Arts and Events (ca. August 2023).

The Golden Gate Masonic Temple (87 West Washington Street) is home to the fourth-oldest Masonic Lodge in Northeast Ohio, the Golden Gate Lodge #245 F. & A.M. (est. 1853). Golden Gate Masonic Temple was constructed in 1924 and has since served as the home lodge for several Chagrin-based Masonic organizations (including Golden Gate Lodge #245, Chagrin Falls Chapter #152 of the Royal Arch Masons, and Golden Rule Chapter #442 of the Order of the Eastern Star).


Golden Gate Masonic Temple. | Golden Gate Lodge #245 (ca. June 2016).

Throughout the course of my internship, I was able to digitize a large quantity of archival materials related to both the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre and the Golden Gate Masonic Temple. These materials will be processed by the Chagrin History Center team and will hopefully prove useful to other researchers in the future. Using the materials contained within the Chagrin History Center’s archives, I prepared a documentation (including a Statement of Significance, Bibliography, and compilations of primary/secondary sources) for use in both organization’s Ohio Historical Marker proposals/applications. I hope that the research I conducted and the documents I prepared for the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre and Golden Gate Masonic Temple will prove useful when both organizations submit their proposal/application for an Ohio Historical Marker in the future. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time working as an intern at the Chagrin Historical Society.

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