Locust Farm, or Alexander Farm as it was sometimes called, was owned and operated by Dr. and Mrs. John A. Alexander from the 1940s until at least the end of the 1950s. Dr. Alexander was a noted physician who was raised in Cleveland and earned degrees from Howard University, Meharry Medical College, and the University of Illinois. The Alexander Farm was around 23 acres of land with views of a stream and the Chagrin Valley hillside.
The farm held different events such as anniversary dinners that could hold at least 100 guests. Visitors who attended the farm stated that the Alexanders were excellent at hosting ceremonies as they were well prepared when it came to hosting events. They were praised for their social events by various community members. Groups such as the Novellettes Bridge Group entertained ladies and other guests with large outdoor barbecues at the farm. Dr. Alexander not only hosted events such as these but he was also the cook for different barbecues held there. The Bridge Group played horseshoes, badminton, and bridge in the house while staying at the farm.
Other large events held at the farm included 4th of July celebrations. These included food, dancing, and recreational activities of baseball or horseshoes. Locust Farm also was the site of the Outhwaite Sportsmen’s Club which had clay pigeon shooting from 1946 until 1958 when the club moved out to Midway Lake in Orwell Township. The Ace, Gun and Rod Club also visited the trap range frequently. The farm was one of the first Black-owned shooting grounds in Ohio.
In 1945 the farm added cottages for additional places to stay. The farm also allowed visitors to book a stay for weekend vacations at the motel, which opened around 1954. In 1956 the motel was advertised as a quiet country rest with availability to stay for a night, weekend, or month, great food, and a cocktail bar open all hours. Locust Farm had hot and cold sulfur baths and a skeet shooting range. Dr. Alexander was also a member of Cleveland’s Shiloh Baptist Church, so he planned periodic worship services and getaways in the woods on his farm. One Sunday service in 1958 attracted as many as 1,500 people, who were invited to attend in jeans for the picnic to follow. That same year, Locust Farm announced a new policy requiring membership cards, available by $5 application, to gain access to the property. It is not clear why the farm implemented this policy, but it may have been in response to a raid by the Geauga County Sheriff’s Department in October 1956 that shut down a clearinghouse operation in the motel. It seems likely that the Alexanders wanted to remove any stain that the policy operators had left on what they intended to be a wholesome establishment.
- “Display Ad 13 — No Title.” Call & Post. July 3, 1954.
- “Display Ad 23 — No Title.” Call & Post. June 7, 1958.
- “Display Ad 25 — No Title.” Call & Post. July 28, 1956.
- “Display Ad 33 — No Title.” Call & Post. May 3, 1958.
- “Dr. John A. Alexander, Noted Physician, Dies.” Call & Post. Feb. 10, 1962.
- Locust Farm advertisement. Call & Post. July 3, 1954.
- “McMillan Out with Cut Finger.” Call & Post. October 24, 1953.
- Paris, Lillian. “Items from Chagrin Falls.” Call & Post. June 27, 1953.
- “Shiloh Church to Worship in Woods.” Call & Post. August 16, 1958.
- Taylor, Woody. “‘588’ Unlucky Number for Digits Players.” Call & Post. Oct. 27, 1956.
- “The Alexanders Entertain with Country Clambake.” Call & Post. October 25, 1952.
- Williams, Valena. “Novellettes are Guests at Husbands’ Barbeque.” Call & Post. September 22, 1951.