Welcome to the Charlemont Reservation page! Charlemont is a 757 acre undeveloped park located in the main farming region of southern Lorain County and is the only reservation in the Lorain County Metro Parks system that allows hunting (rabbit and pheasant.) The park is also a favorite of horseback riders, who are free to enjoy the equestrian trails built and maintained by the Lorain County chapter of the Ohio Horse Council.
Mostly Forest & Field
Natural Habitat at Charlemont includes forest, meadows and fields, successional and some wetland areas. Two small headwater streams, Buck and Charlemont Creeks, run roughly south to north through the reservation. Charlemont also has seven ponds ranging from .5 to 2.1 acres which attract waterfowl, marsh birds and other wildlife and provide an additional habitat for amphibians.
Charlemont's forested acreage is predominantly of the upland variety and elm, ash and maple are probably the most abundant. Mast-producing beech, oak and hickory are less well represented and exist primarily in isolated stands.
Field habitat consists of three types: cool season grass, grass/forb and switchgrass. Cool season grass fields include rye, timothy, brome grass, orchard grass and red clover. Grass/forb fields include goldenrod, milkweed, iron and joe-pye weed. Switchgrass dominates in switchgrass fields, which is encouraged through conservation efforts as it provides cover for pheasant and other wildlife. Efforts include mowing of alien species such as Canada thistle, teasel, chicory and Queen Ann's lace to allow for native grasses to take hold.
The Beckley Family
One of the earliest landowners of what is now Charlemont Reservation was the Elnathan Beckley family, who moved to the area in 1863 and established a dairy operation. Lyman Beckley, Mr. Beckley's son, joined with a neighbor and built what became known as the Beckley Cheese Factory on the eastern bank of Charlemont Creek in 1869. Lyman later assumed control of the family dairy business when his father died (1872).
In 1876 the dairy operation was sold to Harley O. Beckley, the eldest son of Lyman and Mary Beckley, and under his leadership became one of the more successful farming operations in Lorain County. In 1892, Harley built one of the more substantial barns in the county for $2000. This barn burned to the ground in the mid 1930's. A replacement barn was built in 1937 north of New London-Eastern Road. It was razed in 2001. The cheese factory was dismantled in the 1960's.
The Beckley School House was built on the northeast corner of Quarry Road and New London-Eastern Road in the mid 1800's. The school served surrounding homesteads until 1919 when the county's school systems were reformed. At this time the modest structure was moved to the southeast corner of the intersection and saw use as a granary. The building still stands today.
The Ramesy Road
The abandoned railroad corridor traversing Charlemont was a part of the 66 - mile long Lorain, Ashland, and Southern Railroad. Nicknamed the "Ramsey Road" for early financier Joseph Ramsey, Jr., the line began operation in 1914. The line was soon thereafter (1914) sold to the Pennsylvania Line which subsequently sold half interest to the Erie Line. Competition for Lorain's commerce with the Baltimore and Ohio and the Wheeling and Lake Erie proved too strong and operations were ceased in 1925. Steel from the track saw use as scrap during World War II.
A small cemetery is located along Charlemont Creek on the south side of New London-Eastern Road, across the road from the old cheese factory site, The cemetery is maintained by the township and represents perhaps the most noteworthy reminder of Charlemont's past.