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 Us Phone: 330.544.2143

Mail: PO Box 368 Niles, Ohio 44446


Individual Membership: $20.00
Family Membership: $30.00
Patron Membership: $50.00
Business Membership: $100.00
Lifetime Membership: $500.00
Corporate Membership:
Call 330.544.2143


Do you love the history of Niles, Ohio and want to preserve that history and memories of events for future generations?

Click here to donate:

As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, your donation is tax deductible. When you click on the Donate Button, you will be taken to a secure Website where your donation will entered and a receipt generated.


 

 



Read or Download:

Niles Historical Society
5-Year Strategic Plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 from 2 - 5 pm.
The last tour begins at 4:00 pm and ends at 5:00 pm.

Additional guided tours may be arranged by contacting the Niles Historical Society
or calling: 330.544.2143.

Building used as workspace for green house

 

Calendar of Events

Business Meeting:
Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 10:00 AM
Ward-Thomas House.

Open House:
Sunday, October 3, 2021
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM.
Last tour starts at 4:00 PM.


President’s Notes:

The monthly meetings will again be held the first Saturday of each month in the Westenfield Room at 10:00 am. The public Open house will occur the first Sunday of each month and is open from 2-5 pm with the last tour beginning at 4:00 pm

Newsletter:

The Society will gladly publish stories of the accomplishments of current or former residents of Niles. Contact: Anna Marie Beagle 330.719.5716 or ambgeb@aol.com

Update on the Ward-Thomas property:

The Westenfield Room, the old carriage house, which serves as a meeting space has been renovated and is now open again. The improvements include: proper insulation, painting, flooring and temperature – humidity control.

Also discussed at the September 2021 meeting was performing necessary repairs to the greenhouse. Caulking of the windows is a continuing issue. Companies that perform this service will be sought for bids on the project.

The barn roof is leaking. Mayor Steven Mientkiewcz is investigating ways to repair the roof. The Society thanks Mayor Mientkiewcz for his cooperation. By lease contract the Society is responsible for maintaining the inside of the structures and the flower beds. The City of Niles which owns the property is responsible for maintaining the physical structures, trees and grounds.

Advisory Committee sought:
It is necessary to form a committee to determine the direction to take with the monies in the New Building Fund account that was begun in 2011. The Society requires an improved space for education, research and storage of the collection. At this time there is not adequate space or temperature and humidity control to accept any more physical donations.

There is a proposed rendition for a facility that would be expensive to build and maintain. The amount of money in this fund is not adequate to cover the expense of this lofty plan. The Board of the Society seeks input from members on how to best use the building fund monies to provide an improved space.

I implore members to weigh in on this discussion. Average attendance at meetings is approximately ten members who should not be making this enormous decision for an organization with over three hundred members.

Please contact Anna Marie Beagle at 330-719-5716 or ambgeb@aol.com for further discussion.

Thank you, Anna Marie Beagle, President.

 



Tour the Buildings and Garden

Ward-Thomas House

1924 Green House

 

 

 



Memberships Available:

The yearly membership drive is underway with fees of $20 for individuals, $30 for families, $50 for patron level, $100 for businesses and organizations and $500 for life memberships. Memberships support the society's programs and includes the bimonthly newsletter.

Gift Ideas:
Society memberships may be obtained for $20.00 an individual and $30.00 for a family. All are welcome to join. Members receive the newsletter six times/year and free admission to the Ward-Thomas Museum when open on the first Sunday of the month.

Gifts with a Niles' History connection. Click on link below:

Try one of the many Niles Historical books.

Books vary in price.

Sample of book content

'A Pictorial History of the Buildings of Niles Ohio'

Over 200 pages and 400 high resolution photographs

To order your book call: Sandy at: 330.652.8329
Niles Historical Society Office at: 330.544.2143

or Email Us

Price: $40.00 local pickup or $45.00 shipped

To save on shipping costs, all of the listed books are available for purchase at any Ward-Thomas Museum open house.
Shipping/Mailing costs are $5.00 for each book ordered.

Please make checks out to: Niles Historical Society
Send your name, address and phone number, and check to cover costs to:

Niles Historical Society
P. O. 368
Niles, Ohio 44446

Thank You

 


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