INFIRMARY / MUSEUM
- The Wood County Museum was the former Wood County Infirmary, or "County Home." The West Wing was built with Italianate influence in 1868 for $4,975.00, and used as the quarters for the Superintendent and Matron of the Infirmary. The west attic was added in 1873, followed by the Center and East Wings in the 1880s. Due to safety concerns, these two wings were demolished and rebuilt in 1898 and include a 2-story wooden porch and railings with a unique geometric design. In 1903, the front porch was added to the West wing for residents and staff to enjoy the beautiful grounds. All three wings rest on high, rough hewn limestone foundations.
After 103 years, the Infirmary closed in 1971 when a new County Infirmary (known today as WoodHaven Health Care) opened nearby. In 1972, the Wood County Park Commission and Historical Society became proprietors of the grounds and buildings. The Museum opened in 1975 as the recognized guardian of Wood County's historical development.
The Museum is open to the public daily for self-guided tours and special events.
- The 50-acre museum grounds are open to the public daily 8 AM until 30 minutes past sunset and are maintained by the Wood County Park District. We welcome guests to walk the grounds and enjoy the beautiful natural and historic sights.
LYLE FLETCHER ARBORETUM
- Many of the trees and shrubs on the property were planted under the direction of Lyle Fletcher. An online guide is available that outlines the tree's scientific name, common name, and comments about identifying features and uses.
The arboretum is dedicated to Lyle Fletcher (1901 - 2001) - reporter, editor, meteorologist, author, professor, and Wood County historian. His prolific career included saving the Wood County Infirmary (now the Museum) from demolition in the early 1970s.
ADAM PHILLIPS PARK
- A portion of the grounds is named for early Wood County pioneer Adam Phillips, who lived on the land from 1832-1854 (prior to it becoming the Infirmary in 1869). In the Pioneer Scrap-Book,Charles Evers wrote: "Phillips at once took a leading part in all improvements in the settlement; at every cabin raising or road chopping he was on hand and did his part well."
The Park District also maintains the Adam Phillips Pond for bank fishing. The pond is located on Gypsy Lane Road behind the Wood County Justice Center Complex.
- The Wood County Park District operates a public Archery Range on the Historical Center Grounds. The range is not, however, accessible from County Home Road due to the Linwood walking bridge. See the Park District website for directions from Rt. 6.
- There are two walking trails on the site. One starts at the Herb Garden and opens up by the Oil Derrick (short walk) or by the Log Cabin (long walk). The second trail can be entered near the Linwood Road Walking Bridge and circles around the south end of the property.
- Surrounding most of the property is a hand-made stone wall that was built during the tenure of Superintendent Frank Brandeberry (1904-1949). Many hired hands, as well as able-bodied residents, constructed the unusual glacial pebble-stone wall and concrete picket fence which surround much of the grounds.
- The Brandeberry Wall is over 580 feet long and made up of 43 sections, 50 columns, and 2 arches. There is an average of 865 stones in each section, 200 per column, and 1,025 per arch - totalling over 49,000 stones in the entire wall and more than 1,900 cubic feet (71 cubic yards) of stone and mortar.
PESTILENCE (PEST) HOUSE
- On July 11, 1933, a Pestilence (Pest) House was constructed for tuberculosis patient Quinten Herral. It served as living quarters for male infirmary residents with communicable diseases such as scarlet fever and influenza. A scale model of the Pest House is part of the Historical Society collections, courtesy of Herman Aufdencamp. A second Pest House for women has since been torn down.
- The Pest House was renovated in 2012 and is open to the public. Inside is an exhibit on the history of pandemics and cummunicable disease and an Iron Lung used in the treatment of Polio.
- Built in 1885 for $1,700.00, the Lunatic Asylum was designed to house mentally ill male residents. The first eight patients were transferred in 1886 from the Perrysburg Insane Farm. By 1900, Ohio legislation mandated that mentally ill patients transfer to state hospitals, which changed the focus of the facility to dormitory space for trustworthy male residents. Evidence of remodeling occurred between 1925 and 1940, most likely to accommodate more residents as a result of the Great Depression. In 2000, restoration began on the Asylum to return its look to the early 1900s. A scale model of the Asylum is part of the Historical Society collections, courtesy of Herman Aufdencamp.
- The Asylum is open to the public during regular tour hours and contains an exhibit on the history of mental health.
ICE HOUSE and ICE PONDS
- The Ice House was built in 1905 with cement blocks from Perrysburg's Wood County jail, which was torn down earlier that year. It held 300 tons of ice, which was cut from the Ice Ponds on the south end of the property.
- The first ice pond was built in 1885. Its purpose in the summer was to provide water to the Home and the gardens, and to farm fish for food. In the winter, up to 300 tons of ice was harvested and held in the Ice House for later use. In 1942, a second pond was built and concrete sides were added to both to maintain enough water and ice for the growing number of residents. A scale model of the Ice House is part of the Historical Society collections, courtesy of Herman Aufdencamp. The Ice House is open to the public during regular tour hours.
- The Black Swamp Herb Society cares for four traditional herb gardens (medicinal, everlasting, culinary, and fragrance); a Butterfly Garden, Children's Garden, and Thyme Bed. These gardens contain many perennial plants along with blooming annuals. Each month brings new views throughout Ohio's growing season, so visit them often. The Society was established in 1992 and members and volunteers maintain the gardens on the south side of the Center.
- To volunteer, call 419-352-0967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- This log cabin, built by Johann August Buck and his son Fred around 1865, was moved from its original location near Buck and Lime City Roads in Perrysburg Township to its present location at the Historical Center in 2007. The Buck family immigrated to the United States from Hanover, Germany in 1854 finally settling in Wood County, Ohio.
- Today it is a fully restored and functional educational space depicting Wood County life as it was in the 19th century. It is furnished with 1860s-era pioneer furnishings and is the backdrop of historic demonstrations during special events and monthly Demonstration Days.
- A historic stone mile marker dating back to 1842 can be seen at the start of the trail that leads to the Log Cabin.
1842 MILE MARKER
- This stone marker was placed on the Maumee & Western Reserve Road in 1842 to mark each mile from Perrysburg to Lower Sandusky (now Fremont). In 2013, it was moved from its original position along present day State Route 20 (5 miles from Perrysburg and 26 miles from Lower Sandusky) to the Wood County Museum. On the top of the marker, the year 1842 is carved into the limestone. The marker can be seen along the trail that leads to the log cabin on the museum grounds.
- The Maumee & Western Reserve Road marked the first attempt to traverse the Great Black Swamp by an overland route. In its day, it was called “the worst road in America.”
- The Blacksmith Shop in the "Boomtown District" has been an active part of the Historical Center since 2008. It was formerly the Granary Building, donated to the Historical Center by the Asmus family, and moved to its current site in the early 2000s. The Granary's red exterior was replaced with natural wood siding to match the Oil Derrick. A new forge was built inside, a chimney installed, and the blower and tools from the old structure set up to provide a functional demonstration area for special events and school tours.
- Although this structure was not original to the County Home, it represents the rich oil and gas boom that was critical to the development of Wood County. The first natural gas discovered in Wood County was found on the Infirmary grounds in 1884. On-site wells provided the gas that helped heat and light the Home for many years.
- Constructed over the summer of 1996, the 24' x 40' building is made of rough hewn lumber. This working well pumps colored water, which is channeled into the two storage tanks located in front of the structure. This exhibit includes a derrick, steam boiler, an 1880s gas engine from Acme Sucker Rod Company of Toledo, gear works from the AB Company in Findlay, and shackle rods that connect the pump jacks.
- The Pole Barn was built in 1986 by the Wood County Historical Society as a structure to house large artifacts from the Museum's collection. Unfortunately, much of the original farming equipment used at the Infirmary was auctioned off in February, 1966. Today, the barn protects the Wood County Historical Society's collection of mechanized farm machinery, tractors, and memorabilia, plus some interesting collectibles such as a horse-drawn white hearse and a McCormick Reaper. The "Barn Bums," one of the Society's volunteer groups, maintains the collections. The barn is not open to the public.
- The Hog Barn was built in 1913 and used to breed and house the hogs raised by the Infirmary for food. It was built using bricks from the demolished Corril House on W. Wooster Street in the "Boomtown District" of Bowling Green. It is not open to the public.
- The East privy is one of two privies on the grounds, this concrete building was not original to the site.
- The original chicken coop, built in 1873, is no longer standing, but its foundation can still be seen. A newer chicken coop was built, and now serves as a work shed for the Black Swamp Herb Society, who maintain the Herb Garden.
- Pictured below: The original Chicken Coop, circa 1940s.
- In 1898, a power house with a coal-fired boiler was built on the property to serve as a heating plant for the Infirmary. Up until this point, stoves in each room provided heat for residents and staff. In 1913, a great flood filled the Power House with 30 inches of water, causing the residents to stay in bed for heat. The Power House is not open to the public.
SLAUGHTER HOUSE and WASH HOUSE
- The Infirmary was a self-sufficient farm, so residents and staff had to raise and prepare livestock. The Slaughter House (white structure on left) was built in the 1870s for butchering hogs. Due to severe deterioration, this structure was taken down in 2015.
- The Wash House (stone structure shown below) was also built in the 1870s as a laundry facility. Clothes were washed then hung on a clothesline to dry.
CORN BARN / HORSE BARN
- The Corn Barn / Horse Barn is a gable-roofed, board and batten barn that was built circa 1875. It housed grains, horses, and whatever was needed for the daily Infirmary chores.
- The Infirmary's Cattle Barn was the largest in Wood County at the time it was built in 1892. A fire destroyed the barn on Sept. 8, 1965. The foundation is all that remains. A scale model of the Cattle Barn is part of the Historical Society collections, courtesy of Herman Aufdencamp.
- Out of necessity, a cemetery lot was needed on the grounds as a final resting place for residents who had no family or money. The gravesites are marked with simple numbered stones, except for one. Without original records onsite, the Historical and Genealogical Societies have been scouring public records to identify those buried in the cemetery.
- MORE ABOUT THE CEMETERY
- Superintendent Wayne Roe pictured here, circa 1950s.