Wade Grape Arbor

Starting in 2009, an effort to restore the historic grape arbor at Valley Ridge Farm was commenced. The dilapidated, vine-ridden structure was stripped of its torn lattice-work and rotten roof and they were replaced. The festooning honeysuckle and wild grape vines, privet and box elder saplings were pruned away from the structure. The refinished structure was then painted. For the first time in decades this ornate meeting spot was usable again. During the fall, brush was cleared along the nearly 500 feet of posts that flank either side of the arbor. Samples of grape leaves were collected from vines surrounding the post to determine if they were possibly progeny of the original 1910 grape planting. They were however not; merely opportunistic wild grape species, like so many others strewn throughout the Farm's 400 acres.

wade grape arbor

In 2010, Farm staff, students and volunteers painted the remaining 55 posts on the east in west sides. That year, a generous gift from the Zukowski family, neighbors of the Farm to the south, allowed for continued restoration the following year. Funding from the gift allowed for a stepped-up effort in the restoration effort. In 2011, several trees were removed which were impeding many of the remaining posts and would obscure sunlight for future grape plantings. Dozens of missing or rotted posts were replaced. Master carpenters from the CWRU campus, Tim and Wanda Langdon constructed replacement arches to be placed atop the posts. In the fall of 2011, university volunteers and Farm staff installed weed barrier and gravel under the newly installed arches, and placed weed barrier and mulch along the remainder of the east side to prevent the brush from growing back.

Restoration continued in 2012 with volunteers helping to combat weeds and the re-growth of brush along the western portion of the arbor's posts and with the planting of 16 new grape plants to be harvested in future years for the Farm Food Program.

Continued efforts will be made to ensure that the surrounding flora does not again reclaim this historic structure. The ultimate goal will be to restore the arbor to its original splendor, and to produce grapes again as the structure was intended for.