Cromaine Crafts

“Things Useful and Beautiful”  –Hartland Area Project slogan

In 1933, Crouse created Cromaine Crafts, a community handcraft program. He purchased an old tavern and made it a workshop and display area for the crafts program. Courses in pottery, weaving, basket making, book binding and leather craft were offered and instructors were brought to Hartland from all over the world.

Over a period of forty years hundreds of weavers learned to weave for pleasure or profit in the Cromaine Crafts homes in Hartland. During the 1930s and 1940s, Hartland was the third largest handweaving industry in the country only behind Churchill and Berea Kentucky. Cromaine Crafts served about 200 retail stores and enticed thousands to travel up US 23 to the peaceful, rolling landscape where they could purchase hand-woven items reflective of a less complex style of life.  Tea towels, placemats, lace, blankets, tablecloths and runners would accompany visitors as they returned to the city. The weavers, customers and visitors who shared the beauty of this craft can direct their gratitude toward the intellect, values and philanthropic efforts of one individual-John Robert Crouse, Sr. and his Hartland Area Project. Of all the facets of the Project, the one that gave the most pleasure to so many individuals inside and outside the community was the craft industry.