Czechs in the City: The Czech-American Experience in Cleveland

Taborville: A Cultural Landscape Survey | April 30, 2009

The Community Hall at Taborville

The Community Hall at Taborville

Taborville is a rather secluded town located in Geauga County, Ohio, and known for its influence in the Czech culture of Northeast Ohio. The small village contains eight streets, which are lined sporadically by homes, the DTJ Community Center, and a playground set back off one of the streets. As a village, Taborville is very quiet, but lively; one of the two visits to Taborville resulted in a downpour of rain, yet I witnessed at least four residents biking in the streets. The residents seem to be close knit as well, not as detached from neighbors as you would find in a regular suburb. In saying this, Taborville is mostly a residential community, except for the DTJ Center.


Of the eight streets, I focused on one in particular, North Boulevard. The street isn’t more than a half of a mile and consists completely of homes. The homes all have large yards and there are also large pockets of wooded areas along the street. There were also rows and rows of large trees along the street. Upon observation it seems there is more open space compared to the built environment. Not one home looks identical, but they are mostly of the same styling and build date (1930-50), some being more recent builds. Along North Blvd., there are about twenty homes, some one-story ranches, some two-story, some well groomed, others shabby and unimpressive. All in all, there isn’t much coherence in form among the built environment.

 

All the streets in Taborville are narrow, while wide enough to fit one mid-size car, it would prove difficult to have two pass along side each other. The streets are paved, though bumpy, and show signs of patchwork. The entire community doesn’t have sidewalks, but the residents seem to use the roads as their walks, and bike paths, as there isn’t much vehicle traffic except for when the residents use it. The DTJ Center causes some vehicle traffic as well, but car traffic is regulated quite firmly by the large signs as one enters the village, asking vehicles to keep to a fifteen mile per hour limit to keep their residents safe.

 

Along North Blvd. the homes are close enough together to make a neighbor feel safe and not isolated, but also retain their privacy. There wasn’t much thought into the organization of the community, at least for the residences. It’s noticeable that it was not arranged or designed by a development company. It seems that the original owners built upon the land, adhering only to their own tastes and needs. Some of the homes were built farther back from the street; others were less than twenty feet. None of the homes were out of proportion to its surroundings. Each house was no more than a single family dwelling, which created a family-oriented character. A lot of the homes had children’s toys strewn along the front lawn, as well as basketball hoops at the end of driveways adding to this image.

 

The village of Taborville is a rarity today, with the countless housing developments and identical suburban housing that we as a society are so used to seeing today. This small village has been able to avoid the bombardment of commercialization and main highways, and continues to focus on the home and community. Although it seems that some of the housing has changed since Taborville was first settled, the values of the community have not.

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2 Comments »

  1. What is your last name Chris? Are you from a Czech family? I enjoyed the write up about your field trip to Taborville.

    My grandparents built one of the first cottages there in 1928. There was no electricity of running water. In Sept 2009 my husband and I vivisted the community. There at 9839 Broadway was the tiny cottage. If you drive more of the streets you will see a few of the original cottage designs.

    Did you see the pretty area around the lake?

    We had traveled from San Diego to my 50th high school reunion and were so happy to revisit Tabotville which I had not seen since 1956.

    Mr Ray Tittl would be a great contact person for you regarding any more info you might need. He is the current chairperson for the community. We heard his presentation “100 years at Tabortville” during our Sept visit.
    Sandy

    Comment by Sandy Lev Bigsby — October 24, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

  2. I just read your comment on 4/23/11. I live at 9839 Broadway, remodeled the original cottage to a 2400 square foot home. I believe you and your friends may have stopped here some years ago after Cheksy Den. I would be more than pleased and honored if you would like to tour the house and property again. Please contact me. It would be a pleasure to meet you (again?).

    Comment by Richard Nelson — April 23, 2011 @ 4:19 pm


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