Front View of Thomas House Five images of buildings and grounds
Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums

Ward — Thomas Museum
Home of the Niles Historical Society
503 Brown Street Niles, Ohio 44446

E-Mail Curator Phone: 330.544.2143

Mail: PO Box 368 Niles, Ohio 44446

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Built in 1862, the Ward Thomas House was the home of two prominent Niles industrial families. James Ward, who built the house, was a pioneer in the iron industry in the Mahoning Valley. He built puddling plants, Falcon Nail and Iron Company and the Russia mill for manufacturing steel.

The second owners were John and Margaret Thomas who came to this country from Wales. The Thomas family founded the Niles Firebrick Company and later, Mahoning Valley Steel. The Thomas family occupied the house until 1969 when the property was deeded to the City of Niles. Through the efforts of Clare Westenfield, a local attorney, the house became the home of the Niles Historical Society.

Formal front door of Ward-Thomas Museum




The house is now a museum consisting of fourteen rooms, many furnished in the style of the period, some with furniture owned by the Thomas family and donated to the museum. The museum collection has more than 5000 items, including many from the two families. Throughout the museum, mannequins wear life size replicas of the White House ladies’ gowns displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C..

Two White House Ladies' gowns
Also on the five acre property are a recently restored barn and a 1925 green house as well a various gardens and 56 varieties of trees in the arboretum. Care of the house and gardens is done by volunteers and the house is decorated appropriately for each season.
Rebuilt green house



Proceeding from the back porch of the Ward-Thomas house, a walk-way leads to a secondary building. This building is used as a workspace for the greenhouse.

The first Sunday of each month the Thomas House is open to the public.

Additional guided tours may be arranged by contacting the curator or calling: 330.544.2143.

Building used as workspace for green house

The Ward-Thomas House will be open for the McKinley Christmas Celebration on Saturday, December 5th from 12:00 — 4:00 PM.




The Ward Thomas House will be open for the McKinley Christmas Celebration on December 5th. The house is decorated around the theme of Christmas Around The World. There will be plates, dolls and ornaments depicting many countries.

A trolley will provide transportation for stops at the Ward Thomas House, The McKinley Birthplace, and the McKinley Memorial. The Belles and Beaux choir will perform in the Westenfield Room between 12:15 and 12:45. Santa will be visiting the House between the hours of 2:30 and 3:30. Come and enjoy our decorations, music, and a little taste of Christmas.

The House will also be open on Sunday,December 6th, for regular monthly Open House tours.

The Niles Historical Society will have a booth at the Eastwood Mall on December 14th, 15th, and 16th from 9 to 4. We are going to be selling our books, streak free cloths, and other various items to help you with your Christmas shopping. Come support us and find a unique gift for a special person.

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