The Henry County, Ohio, Historical Society
P.O. Box 443
Napoleon, OH 43545
Welcome to this month’s edition of “Historically Speaking.” I am Tom Jenny, president of the Henry County Historical Society.
As we broadcast our radio show during the later part of December, we reflect back on our activities as a local historical society. We have been active in our community in so many ways this year.
Let’s look at our structures first: At the fairgrounds site, we were able to finish the Gazebo project with the addition of a new raised seam metal roof, landscaping, and painting. We have received so many compliments that it has made the project that more worthwhile. It is surprising the number of people who didn’t know the gazebo even existed on the fairgrounds. So, preservation of the structure was important. At the log cabin we sprayed for beetles, sealed it, and re-chinked the west side. We also replaced the storm windows. In the spring, we will begin again on the chinking and window repair.
Next we review our programs: All first grade students in our school district visited and participated in programs at the log cabin and schoolhouse this past year. All of the grade 3 students visited the Bloomfield House Museum and got a taste of how a Victorian family lived. The log cabin was also home to our re-enactors while they demonstrated what life was like during the American Civil War. This year, we had more re-enactors participate at the site during the Henry County Fair and the Napoleon Fall Fest than in recent past. They also put on a winter program demonstrating Christmas in the log cabin during the Civil War era. We had five open houses at the Bloomfield House so visitors could enjoy the beautiful decorations a Victorian House has to offer. We added three new days to our program this year which allowed many more people from Northwestern Ohio to enjoy the home. The Bloomfield House was also host to several Victorian Teas, private dinners, and the Strawberry Festival. At the historic gazebo, we were surprised that we had two weddings use the facility this past summer.
If you visited the Bloomfield, you noticed special collections of glass lamps and toys were on display, and a feature on the American Red Cross in Henry County. It has been our goal to rotate our collections and invite citizens of the area to share their collections with us. We continue to take in historic artifacts from past businesses and households in Henry County.
If you have accessed our website, you will have noticed our oral history section. There are many fascinating stories of Henry County’s past as told through business people, farmers, merchants, and residents on what part they played in history of Henry County.
A healthy, active, strong community has organizations such as ours and we intend to continue to share the history of Napoleon and Henry County through our archives, artifacts, structures, and programs for years to come. We are currently conducting the 2016 membership drive. The membership application is available on our website, www.henrycountyhistory.org. History cannot be shared without people who have the vision and the desire to do so. That is what makes a community, people willing to be active in the different quality of life organizations that our county has to offer.
Our fast fact about Henry County is a reflection on preservation. It is fascinating to stand back and watch the marvel on people’s faces as they enter the Bloomfield House. It is neat to see people surprised at the simple beauty that was uncovered when the historic gazebo was moved and restored. It is fun to watch children as they try to grasp what it was like to live as an early Napoleon resident or how they would fit in with a typical Victorian family. Once, when sharing the music of the 1920’s, a third grade student wrote in his thank you note that he didn’t know how much fun that old music was. I certainly did and was glad to share. That is the whole point of preservation.
This concludes this month’s edition of “Historically Speaking”. As always, we thank you for helping us keep history alive in Henry County.
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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