Ice House & Ice Ponds
Lyle Fletcher Arboretum
Slaughter House & Wash
The Power of Yesteryear
Planting & Harvesting Demos and other events at the Historical Center [more]
Wood County Historical Center & Museum is proud to offer
the public beautiful grounds, numerous original outbuildings,
and a massive Victorian-style museum. The grounds are a public
park and are open to the public dawn to dusk year-round. The
Museum is open for self-guided tours April - October and selected
dates in December.
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 remains and is still
The original chicken coop, built in 1873, is no longer
standing, but the foundation can still be seen. This adjacent
building, also used as a chicken coop, now serves as a work
shed for the Black Swamp Herb Society, caretakers of our herb
The original Chicken Coop, circa 1940s.
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.
The Black Swamp Herb Society contains four traditional
herb gardens (medicinal, everlasting, fragrance, and culinary)
as well as an "in progress" Oak Savannah Garden reflective
of area pre-agriculture plant life, a Butterfly Garden, Children's
Garden, Rose Garden, Grandma's Garden, and many blooming annuals.
The Society was established in 1992 and has grown to over 38
members and volunteers who maintain the gardens on the south
side of the Center.
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 nearby Bowling Green.
BARN / HORSE BARN
The Horse Barn is a gable-roofed, board and batten
barn that was built about 1875. Today the old Horse Barn houses
part of our collection of farm machinery and related items.
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. It's 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 oldest structure on the site, the West Wing of
the museum was built in 1868 for $4,975.00, and was 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
Many of the trees and shrubs on the property were planted
by Lyle Fletcher. Each tree is numbered and guides are available
on the Museum's front porch. The guides 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 from demolition.
Built in 1885 for $1,700.00, the Lunatic Asylum was
designed to house mentally ill male residents. The first eight
patients were transferred here in 1886 from the Perrysburg
Insane Farm. By 1900, Ohio legislation mandated that all 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 early 1900. The building
will be open to the public and will showcase an extensive
exhibit on Mental Health starting April 17, 2004.
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 grave sites are marked with simple numbered
stones. Unfortunately, the Infirmary's Cemetery records were
destroyed in a fire, so very little information is available
about who is buried here.
Superintendent Wayne Roe
pictured here, circa 1950s.
The Pest House served as living quarters for men with
communicable diseases such as scarlet fever and influenza. Women
with disease were kept in the main building.
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, all of the farming equipment
used at the County Infirmary was auctioned off in February,
1966. Today, the barn highlights a growing collection of antique
farm machinery, tractors, and memorabilia plus some interesting
collectibles such as a horse-drawn white hearse, an iron lung,
and a McCormick Reaper. The "Barn Bums," one of the
Society's volunteer groups, maintains the collections.
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
The East privy is one of two privies on the grounds,
this concrete building was not original to the site.
HOUSE and WASH HOUSE
Since the Home was a self-sufficient
farm, the residents and staff had to raise and prepare livestock.
The Slaughter House (white structure on left) was built in
the 1870s for butchering hogs.
The Wash House (stone
structure on right) was also built in the 1870s as a laundry
facility. Clothes were washed in here and hung on the line
THE POWER OF YESTERYEAR CLUB [POY History & Website]
The Power of Yesteryear Club is a non-profit organization in Wood County, Ohio, with an interest in antique power, farm tractors, and agricultural equipment. The Club maintains a small strip of land at the Historical Center between Route 6 and County Home Road for planting and farming demonstration. On the east end of the property (just as you turn onto County Home Road from Route 6), they have planted 3 acres of wheat, which will be harvested in late July/early August. If you keep heading down County Home Road, just past the Museum at the bend, is another patch of land where they have planted just over 4 acres of soybeans to harvest in October.
The Power of Yesteryear also hosts their annual FARM & TRACTOR SHOW at the Historical Center in conjunction with the Wood County Heritage Days in June.