The History of Hambden Township
Hambden Township is located in the northeast section of Geauga County. It contains 25 square miles of gently rolling land that was originally purchased in 1798 by Oliver Phelps. Mr. Phelps purchased 14,323 acres. In 1801, he sold 12,000 acres to Dr. Solomon Bond, who is given credit as the Township’s actual founder. It was originally named Bondstown. Bondstown was changed to Hambden in 1819 by vote at a town meeting because of a conflict in the post office with another town of the same name. It was named after John Hambden, a noted Puritan rebel who led the movement in England against taxation without representation, as King Charles the First practiced.
Dr. Bond came to Hambden in 1801 to look over his purchase. He settled into the southwest part of the Township about a half-mile east of what was then the Village of Chardon. In 1802, settlers arrived, and by 1808, there were 13 families consisting of about 70 people. Hambden was first mentioned in the United States census in 1820 when it had about 296 residents. In 1810, the first cooperative organization of record in Geauga County was originated in Hambden. It was called the Bondstown Logging Society.
The Township from its beginning remained a largely agricultural community. Dairy farming was the leading agricultural pursuit. A cheese factory was erected where the Hambden Grange currently stands on Route 608. The town center boasted a tavern operated by Hosea King and the Roger’s Store, later referred to as the F.A. Whitney Store and then the Hambden Department Store. It remained the Hambden General Store until the 1960s when it became a service station.
With its large concentration of sugar maple trees, the township made a significant contribution to the production of Geauga County maple syrup. Most early farms had their own sugar bush.
The Hambden Township Hall was built in 1884 at the cost of $700 and was dedicated on January 1, 1885. It was built by Byron Shattuck. A 1954 addition was added to the size of the original hall. In 1994, a much-needed addition was added to the rear of the building. The addition houses a meeting room, named after Dr. Solomon Bond, an office for the Fiscal Officer, a kitchen, and bathroom facilities. The new facilities were dedicated on February 25, 1995, at a ceremony and open house.
In recent years, our largely agricultural community has begun to change. Large farms have turned into subdivisions, and housing starts have increased dramatically. Hambden is no longer hidden in the corner of Geauga County. We’ve been found, and new residents are flocking from the Cleveland suburbs to the country. We welcome them but hope to maintain the rural atmosphere that helps make Hambden a community to be proud of.