By Colleen Lockhart
The Geauga County Historical Society dedicated their newest historic building display, the Merimon Cook Leather Shop on Saturday, April 8. It was attended by direct descendants of Merimon Cook and other guests.
Everyone gathered for a dedication ceremony, followed by an open house in the new Leather Shop on the grounds of Century Village in Burton. The Cook home was moved from its original North Cheshire Street location in 1971 and has been on display at Century Village with the attached shed and remains unfinished. With the financial assistance from the New Connecticut Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, four members who are direct descendants of Mr. Cook, the Leather Shop was completed and is ready for public viewing.
Mr. Cook, who lived into his 90s, was both tanner and shoemaker by trade in the early 1800s as well as a local judge and a deacon at the Burton Congregational Church. He was 42 years old when he moved to the property in Burton. Items on display are shoes, boots, ice skates, harnesses, bridles and other artifacts that deal with shoe making and leather tanning. A canary was added to the display as company for Mr. Cook because leather work was lonely and many in his profession had a canary in their work shops.
Ninety percent of the items in the Leather Shop were donated. Louise Jackson, chairperson of collections of the Geauga County Historical Society, expressed her gratitude to the Cook family and others for helping to make the Leather Shop a reality.
Century Village celebrates 75 years in 2017. It is located at 14653 E. Park Street off Burton Square. The Village is open, offering walking guided tours on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. and by appointment with at least 24 hours advance notice. For more information about tours, events, memberships, rentals, or volunteer opportunities call the Century Village Museum business office. 440-834-1492.