The Cook Fitch Kirtland Home-Poland, Ohio
(a k a The Bishop House)

This lovely Greek revival style house was built in 1851 and was extensively remodel in 1880 when Mr. Kirtland added the dining room with a bay window and a tower containing a side entrance and a Mansard roof with its cast iron cresting. This house sits on an elevated piece of property on the west side of Pittsburgh Road about a quarter of mile south of the Poland Village Green. Behind the house is a two story board-and-batten covered servant’s quarters with a large carriage garage on the lower level. The residence is flanked with gardens on the south and a driveway and lawn on the north. The house and side yards are all that is left of a large 380 acre farm that was once wedged between Pittsburgh, North Lima and Spitler Roads.

The house displays the life-style of C. F. Kirtland. He was a third generation Poland aristocrat having inherited much of his wealth from his grandfather, Turhand Kirtland; the founder of the community and one of the largest land owner in the Western Reserve. Cook was born in 1826 and his father, Henry Kirtland, wanted his son to have a proper education which was not afforded in the early days of the Ohio frontier. So Cook was sent off to school in Chestershire, Massachusetts. Returning to Poland after his schooling, he arrived just in time to join his uncle, Elkanah Morse, on an adventure to California in a search for gold. Back home in 1851 after amassing a large fortune, Cook built his dream house on the land inherited from his father. Then a year later he married Marie Swift. They had two children who died very young.
For the next twenty years Cook Kirtland was active in the advancement of education in Village, becoming the president of the Poland Seminary. It was during this time that he and his half-brother, Charles, joined a group of prominent citizens in starting the Poland Riverside Cemetery. From 1865 to the time of his death in 1896 Cook was both the superintendent and a member of the Board of Trustees of the cemetery. He was also the driving force in the incorporation of the Village of Poland in 1866. The local citizens elected Mr. Kirtland as their State representative in 1871. We are told that he traveled extensively, visiting Europe two times and returning to California twice.

When his wife died, Cook married Marie’s cousin, Harriet Swift in 1876. The second marriage resulted in two more children being born. Their names were Isabel and Lucian. It was Isabel who purchased her brother’s half share of the house. Isabel Kirtland married George S. Bishop and the house stayed in the family until recently.