of Events November
Business meeting: November 5, 2022, Saturday,
Open House: November 6, 2022, Sunday,
2 – 4 PM
McKinley Christmas: December 10, 2022,
Sunday, 12 – 4 PM
first Sunday of the Month Open House
Business meeting: December 3, 2022, Saturday,
The Society will gladly
publish stories of the accomplishments of current or former
residents of Niles.
Contact: Anna Marie Beagle email@example.com
The Society will gladly publish
stories of the accomplishments of current or former residents
of Niles. Contact: Anna Marie Beagle at firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrating 159 Years
That is correct! I was born in 1862,
during the Civil War days. James Ward built me on this
little knoll and here I have been ever since in the town of Niles,
Mr. James Ward was an industrial
leader in Niles and came here in 1841 when only 300 people lived
here. He founded the Ward Iron Manufacturing Company and he and
his family lived in a house on Main Street (where the "Farmers
Bank" now stands).
Mr. Ward built me on the property on the south side of the Mahoning
River at 503 Brown Street. He used square nails, which were manufactured
in his factory to hold my boards together that were cut from trees
on the property. The double front doors were designed with windows
which could be opened to allow the north breeze to blow in and
race up the staircase in the main hall to cool the upper rooms
in the summer. Mrs. Ward's brother designed the frosted glass
panels in the door. He was a glass maker in Pittsburgh.
Look up at my decorative designs
on the porch and the cornices under the roof as you pass by. You
will not see any buildings like that today. Inside, the decorative
plaster mouldings in the ceiling are exquisite designs from a
hand carved wooden form. My walnut staircase in the main hall
is a thing of beauty also.
I have remained the way I was built with little change since 1862.
Well, they had to change a few things, such as the windows that
were low to the floor. They had to be raised for the placement
of radiators when they changed to hot water heat. Before then
they heated me with fireplaces in most every room. Of course changes
were made when they installed running water and electric wiring
into my walls too. There was a large 2 story "outdoor kitchen”
building at the back of my house that was removed in 1925. The
ladies would cook in there to prevent the open fires from burning
down the main house. It was a nice building to dry the clothes
in the winter, too.
John R. Thomas, founded the Niles Firebrick Company in 1871.
He and his wife, Margaret purchased my property in 1887. Members
of their family lived here till 1969, caring for me throughout
the years. I've had many people pass through my doors to enjoy
the hospitality of all the families that have lived here, even
Presidents of the United States have visited here.
I have seen a lot of things happen in the town of Niles, Ohio.
Yes, I've seen floods and tornadoes pass right by me, and here
I have stood for 150 years. In 1907 there was a flood and again
in 1913 another flood came close to my door. A tornado went through
in 1947 and another one in 1985. There has been a lot changes
in Niles through the years, and the people who take care of me
now are preserving that colorful story. They are the Niles Historical
Society volunteers and they renamed me "Ward-Thomas Museum".
Come visit me at 503 Brown Street in Niles, Ohio 44446 .
There will be people wandering all
through my 14 rooms which are filled with displays. It will take
you about 1 1/2 hours to tour the museum. I am always open on
the first Sunday of every month. Donation $5.00 for adults with
children under 12 free if accompanied by an adult.
See you on Sunday, at the public "Open House" 2-5 pm.
You may E-Mail
Us or call 330-544-2143 for more information
Or schedule a private tour.
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.
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:
of the many Niles Historical books.
Books vary in price.
Sample of book content
Pictorial History of the Buildings of Niles Ohio'
200 pages and 400 high resolution photographs
order your book call: Sandy at: 330.652.8329
Niles Historical Society Office at: 330.544.2143
or Email Us
$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
Shipping/Mailing costs are $5.00 for each book ordered.
Please make checks out to: Niles Historical
Send your name, address and phone number, and check to cover
Niles Historical Society
P. O. 368
Niles, Ohio 44446