George W. Davis
Marlboro Township in northern Stark County near Alliance is known as a quiet, close-knit community where numerous businesses plus fun things to do make the area a friendly place for neighbors, visitors and curiosity seekers.
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The township Is 36.5 square miles and bordered on the east by Alliance and Lexington Township; on the north by Randolph Township and northeast by Atwater Township in Portage County; on the southeast and south by Washington and Nimishillen townships; and on the southwest and west by Plain and Lake townships and the village of Hartville. The unincorporated community of Marlboro is centered around the intersection of Edison Street Northeast and Marlboro Avenue.
The community was laid out in 1827 and took the name Marlboro Township. By 1833, the unincorporated town of Marlborough had 50 inhabitants and a post office. The town spelling was changed in 1893 to Marlboro. Among notable residents were geologist Walter Mendenhall and physicist Thomas Mendenhall.
In 1805 Abraham Wileman and son Mahlon came from Columbiana County and built a log cabin in Marlboro Township. Mahlon stayed through the winter as the township’s first permanent resident.
When pioneers saw the area, about a quarter of the township was underwater. Drainage systems were created to make the land more tillable, but in the 1880s the vast peat beds were considered useless until FP Keener saw the swamps and was credited with starting the area’s famous “muck” vegetable industry in the Swamp Road area.
Marlboro Township has its own police and fire departments, and Police Chief Ron Devies has been a member of both. He was a paramedic township from 1976 to 2004 and a police officer from 1984 until 2003 when he was named to succeed his brother, Police Chief Dennis Devies, who died that year.
• Cutty’s Sunset Camping Resort at 8050 Edison St. just east of state Route 44, is a 122-acre campground and entertainment center that includes 485 campsites. Purchased by Jason and Tara Abel in 2016 after they had been camping there for 11 years, Cutty’s has been a family-owned business for over 45 years.
Cutty’s features include a heated pool, spray park attractions plus poolside activities, a scavenger hunt, choo-choo rides, sports events, playground, crafts and a full-time activities coordinator. Also there is a snack bar and camp store for gifts and groceries.
• The Cut Cafe restaurant in front of the campground is owned by the Abels. They lease the facility to military veterans Brad and Danielle Vaughan, who offer a full, tasty menu with discounts for veterans and first responders. Brad runs the kitchen, and Danielle and others assist while she also runs the business side. The cafe is open from 11 am to 8 pm Tuesday through Thursday; Friday 1 pm to 9 pm; Saturday, 8 am to 9 pm; Sunday, 8 am to 1 pm Closed Mondays.
• Walborn Reservoir is a shining star in Marlboro Township, at 11324 Price Ave. off state Route 44. Walborn was established in the 1950s as a water source for the city of Alliance. The park, named for then-Mayor Dale Walborn, has 1,806 acres of land and 472 acres of water and is in Stark and Portage counties.
Boating and fishing lure many residents to the reservoir, which is part of Stark Parks. Deer hunting is permitted with archery only, while small game and turkey hunting with guns and fur trapping also are permissible. Waterfowl blinds are available during waterfowl season. Stark Parks rents out boats, kayaks and canoes, or boaters can bring their own, up to 10 horsepower.
• Pegasus Farm at 7490 Edison St. NE is a therapeutic equestrian center aiding those with development disabilities. The dream of three Canton City Schools teachers, the center opened in spring 1986 and now assists adults and children through financial donations.
In addition to an outdoor and indoor arena, the farm has a country store and garden featuring bulk food, including some organic and gluten-free non-GMO products, fresh baked goods, local honey, farm-fresh eggs, gift items and fresh produce . The store is open to the public at 7656 Edison from 10 am to 6 pm Monday-Friday and 9 am to 4 pm Saturday.
• For golfers, there is the 27-hole Sable Creek Golf Course at 5942 Edison Ave. NE, owned by Robert and Mary Frase. They opened the public course in 1994 with just 10 holes and expanded to 18 holes in 1997. They added the final nine holes in 2002.
Ray Headley, the course’s director of golf, said Sable Creek also has facilities and staff for wedding receptions and similar events, a driving range and a snack bar. There are around 30 employees during the busy season. Hours are from 7 am to 9 pm seven days a week.
There are three major muck farms in Marlboro Township, including the Brenckle Farms at 12434 Duquette Ave. NE; Hartville Sod Farm at 13755 Duquette; and KW Zellers & Son farm at 13494 Duquette.
• Brenckle Farmsstarted in the 1930s by great-grandfather Raymond Brenckle and now owned by Thomas Brenckle, is a 150-acre farm where Thomas’ son Jon Brenckle raises sweet corn, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, radishes, green onions, cilantro and several varieties of lettuce.
• Hartville Sod Farm is owned by Kevin Graver and covers about 200 acres. Jacob Graber, Kevin’s grandfather, started it in 1912 as a vegetable farm, but ownership switched to a sod farm in 1993.
• KW Zellers & Son farm grows vegetables under President Jeff Zellers, the grandson of founder KW Zellers. Workers farm more than 1,200 acres, with lettuce growing on 700 acres while radishes take up another 300 acres and cilantro about 100 acres. The Zellers sell a wide variety of other vegetables as well.
• For antique fanciers, the township has Mack’s Barn Antiques and Dick’s Garage Antiques at 14665 Ravenna Ave. NE. Opened in 1985, Mack’s Barn is owned by Cheryl Mack, who named the shop after her father, who owned the barn. Dick Swanson owns Dick’s Garage. The shops are open from 11 am to 5 pm Friday and Saturday and 12:30 to 5 pm Sunday.
• Mud Wagon Antique Store at 14722 Ravenna Ave. is a remodeled 1820 stagecoach stop packed full of vintage décor and antique collectibles. Hours are Thursday and Friday noon to 4 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm; and Sunday “by chance.”
Dining and drinks
• Among the newest businesses is the Lost Trail Winery and Vineyard at 5225 State St. NE, just inside the Marlboro-Lake Township border. Owned by husband and wife Chris and Kim Rohr, the business will hold its grand opening Saturday, April 30, from 11 am to 9 pm at its 10-acre site, including 8.5 acres where patrons can walk around and enjoy the property. The Rohrs have six different wines from their own 165-vine vineyard and can ship online to 40 different states.
Ten vendors from food (noon to 7 pm) to lumberjacks doing chainsaw carvings will be on-site with music throughout the day by area musicians and vocalists. Regular business hours are 5 to 8 pm Friday and 1 to 8 pm Saturday.
• Maize Valley Winery & Craft Brewery at 6193 Edison St. NE, across from Sable Creek Golf, has dining facilities, a farmers market and family fun zone. Founded in the 1960s by Kay and Donna Vaughan, the family-owned business and popular watering hole occupies 750 acres and includes a refurbished 160-year-old barn.
The family has 16 craft beers on tap, an award-winning winery with over 25 wines, gourmet specialty foods, a deli, bakery and Amish meats and cheeses.
• Candle’s Kitchen at 13435 Ravenna Ave. NE is owned by 18-year proprietor Debbie Candle. Previously known for 17 years as Betty’s Restaurant, Candle’s is open from 6:30 am to 2 pm Monday through Saturday and 7 am to 1 pm Sunday, providing down-home cooking, including fresh hamburgers. Other specialties include homemade onion rings, mushrooms and soups.
• County Line Bar & Grill on state Route 44 just north of the Portage-Stark County line has been owned for 11 years by Sally Higginbotham and managed by daughter Sara Higginbotham. It offers drinks, savory food and an outdoor patio.
• New Baltimore Homemade Ice Cream at 2939-3271 Edison St. NE is open for the season serving homemade scoops of classic and unusual flavors. Open Sunday through Thursday noon to 9 pm and Friday and Saturday from noon to 10 pm Closed Sunday.
• Buckeye Packaging at 12223 Marlboro Ave. NE was founded in 1948 by inventor and entrepreneur Ford Davis. The firm produces polyethylene bags and polyethylene film – anything you want in plastic, says Accounting Manager Lisa Heavener – for manufacturing facilities. The firm has about 100 employees, and assists domestic and international customers. Ford Davis’ son Ron took the helm in 1954 after his father’s death. The business grew and expanded and has continued to do so as Ron Davis’ son, John Davis, was named president in 1992, marking the third generation of the family to own the firm.
• Marlboro Supply at 9271 Edison St. is the latest firm to occupy a facility whose doors opened to customers in 1938. Marlboro Supply, which is open from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am to noon Saturday, specializes in drainage pipe supply and is a leading distributor of drainage-related products in Northeast Ohio. In 1981, George Schwinn, father-in-law of current owner Marci Schwinn and father of Marci’s husband, Scott Schwinn, leased the store then known as RJ Vaughn Builder Supply. In 1984, Marci and Scott helped run that company until 1987 when they took over ownership. They changed the name to Marlboro Supply in 2009.
• PPC Flexible Packaging, 9465 Edison St., acquired Custom Poly Bag of Marlboro Township at the end of 2020 as the firm’s sixth acquisition of specialty and differentiated flexible packaging firms in the last three years. Custom Poly Bag was founded in 1969 by Lloyd Carlile and Donald Prather. The firm has grown from one bag machine to a fully integrated flexible packaging converter serving bakery, protein, medical and specialty consumer markets nationwide.
• Marlboro Manufacturing at 11750 Marlboro Ave. NE specializes in custom-making hinges from aluminum to stainless steel for the storm door industry, both domestic and international. The firm began by producing hardware and hinges for the storm door industry and then shifted focus to serve original equipment manufacturers with industrial hinges in the mid-1970s.
About Marlboro Township
Population: 4,277 in 2020
Township website: Under construction
School district: Marlington Local Schools, The Dukes
District website: marlborolocal.org