The Henry County, Ohio, Historical Society
P.O. Box 443
Napoleon, OH 43545
Welcome to the January 2017 edition of “Historically Speaking.”
Now that our Christmas holiday activities are over, it’s time to let our buildings and volunteers rest a little and build up a renewed energy to study, display, and promote the history of our county.
2017 was a busy year with numerous teas, private dinners and luncheons at the Bloomfield Home; and festivals including the Strawberry Fest at the Bloomfield and the Open Door at the log home. We had a record group of re-enactors camp out at the fairgrounds complex on three separate occasions. Our Christmas tours were well attended and included extra days at the Bloomfield. We featured a family preparing for Christmas during the Civil War at the log home and we re-enacted a traditional German Christmas Eve church service that they would have attended. It was interesting, and gave me a chill, to see a Civil War canvas shelter tent set up, in the snow, outside of the log home. There was a fire going, but it was still cold.
We offered a speaker series at each of our buildings this past year on civil war era history, a special Bloomfield Home exhibit, and the history of the Ritter-Hartman Log Home. We expect a book to be coming out soon, written by our chief historian Taylor Moyer, detailing the history of the Ritter-Hartman Log Home. The Bloomfield Home Museum at Christmas was featured in a December issue of Farmland News.
I took the opportunity to look through our guest books for this year. Henry County is a very small county, but our historical society has connected with people across the United States. We have had visitors from 11 different counties in Ohio and 10 different states. There have been visitors from Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Alabama, New York, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Michigan. We may be a small county historical society, but we do touch a lot of lives.
We also met with representatives from at least five area historical societies outside of Henry County when they visited our sites to see our buildings and observe our programing.
I had my grandson Joshua in the radio studio watching what I do while taping the radio show. This is really a reflection of what we try to do with the historical society, a multigenerational approach. We have a great group of re-enactors who reflect this philosophy and we also offer several programs for the elementary schools. With these in place, we involve at least three generations of Henry Countians.
We are currently in the middle of our membership drive. The proceeds from the membership donations help us to sustain our structures and carry out our mission. They are vitally important to the future of our organization. But more importantly, it is the volunteers who are interested in local history that make our society hum. Become a member today. The application can be found on our website.
What will you see next year? At the log home, we want to finish the chinking project, add a stoop to the back door, and some minor repairs to the out buildings. We hope you took notice of the new front porch on the cabin this year. These changes and repairs have really made a difference to the interior atmosphere of the log home. We have some ideas for our speaker series that I am sure you will enjoy. We will continue our festivals as they have become favorite activities for many people. The society will again host a garden tour this year. We hope to continue to host special exhibits at the Bloomfield Home and Carriage House Museums. We try to change our exhibits throughout the year so our members don’t see the same thing every visit. Our teas have been sold out each time and remain very popular. People just don’t use china and silver anymore and you cannot top the setting of a Victorian Home for high tea.
This concludes this month’s edition of “Historically Speaking”. As always, we thank you for helping us keep history alive in Henry County.
- Tom Jenny, president of the Henry County Historical Society
The content that used to be here on the homepage can now be found HERE. We wll make it easier to find in the near future.
The Henry County Historical Society was formed
in 1970 to perpetuate the history of Henry County, Ohio, to learn about and preserve
the artifacts of the county, and to generate interest in the past of the county.
Our primary focus at this time is the completion of the restoration
work on the beautiful Dr. John Bloomfield Victorian home, built circa
1879. This house is located at the corner of West Clinton and Webster streets
in downtown Napoleon, across from the Napoleon Public Library. The house has been completely restored and is decorated with authentic period furnishings.
Work is in progress on the carriage house
and gardens. The home is open for special events, educational programs
and private tours. We welcome new and old members alike to lend a hand and help us in our
many programs and activities.
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