PESTILENCE (PEST) HOUSE
- The Pestilence (Pest) House served as living quarters for men with communicable diseases such as scarlet fever and influenza. A second Pest House for women has since been torn down.
- The Pest House was renovated in 2012 and contains an Iron Lung and an exhibit on communicable disease. It is open to the public during regular tour hours.
- 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 Lunatic Asylum to return its look to the early 1900s.
- The Asylum is open to the public during regular tour hours and contains an exhibit on the history of mental health. The Asylum Sub-committee, made up of local mental health professionals and educators, plans partner exhibits and programs to link the site with current trends and obstacles in 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. 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
INFIRMARY / MUSEUM
- The Wood County Historical Museum was the former County Infirmary. The West Wing of the building is the oldest structure on the site, built 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 ... and again in 1898! Due to safety concerns, the original structures of the Center and East wings were demolished and rebuilt. In 1903, the front porch was added to the West wing for residents and staff to enjoy the beautiful grounds. The Museum is open to the public during regular tour hours.
- The Log Cabin was built around 1865 and moved in 2007 from its original site on Buck Road to the Wood County Historical Center. 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.
- The Blacksmith Shop has been an active part of the Museum since 2008 as part of the Wood County Historical Center's "Boomtown District." The current Blacksmith Shop was the former Granary Building, donated to the Historical Center by the Asmus family, and moved to its current site in the early 2000s. The 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.
- 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, built the wall.
- The stone wall at the front entrance of the Museum is over 580 feet long, made up of 43 sections, 50 columns, and 2 arches. It takes about 200 rocks to build one column. There are an average of 865 rocks in each section, 200 rocks per column and 1025 rocks per arch. This means that there are more than 49,000 rocks in the entire wall, and more than 1,900 cubic feet (71 cubic yards) of rocks and mortar.
- 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 on exhibit inside the Museum, courtesy of Herman Aufdencamp.
- 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.
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 Granary was donated by the Asmus family and brought to the site after the establishment of the Museum. It is not an original Infirmary structure. In the early 2000s, the building was moved to the new "Boomtown Area" of the Historical Center, where it was resided and re-purposed as the Blacksmith Shop.
- 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.
LYLE FLETCHER ARBORETUM
- Many of the trees and shrubs on the property were planted under the direction of Lyle Fletcher. Each tree is numbered and an online guide is available that outline 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 historian of Wood County. His prolific career included saving the old Wood County Infirmary (now the Historical Museum) from demolition. The Grounds are open to the public dawn to dusk and maintained by the Wood County Park District.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The East privy is one of two privies on the grounds, this concrete building was not original to the site.
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.
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 Historical Center. 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.”