Henry County Historical Society

Current officers for the Henry County Historical Society include (front, seated, from left) Sue Bockelman, secretary and treasurer; Jean Steele, trustee; Peggy Johnson, trustee; Jean Keller, trustee; (back, staggered, from left) Austin Patrick, trustee; Rodger Hefflinger, trustee; Cathy Hefflinger, trustee; Katy Benson, trustee; Laura Lause, trustee; Rose Wiemken, trustee; Taylor Moyer, president; and Brian Tilse, vice president.

Feature background: The Dr. John Bloomfield Home in Napoleon.

The Henry County Historical Society has not been deterred by the pandemic this year, as it seeks to continue the mission it has worked toward for 50 years.

The year 2020 not only marked the 200th anniversary of the formation of Henry County, but also the 50th anniversary of the Henry County Historical Society. Henry County Historical Society President Taylor Moyer said the anniversaries go hand-in-hand with preserving history, and they will be celebrated in the future when it is safer to do so.

“Unfortunately with COVID, we have had to cancel our entire season,” he said. “However, we are looking forward to moving that entire schedule into next year, into 2021, for, not only our 50th, but also what we had planned for the 200th anniversary of the county.”

Moyer said the organization currently plans to revisit a previous event, as well as working the anniversary themes into its annual programming.

“People might remember our prohibition event that we held last October,” he said. “We’re looking at doing another costumed and historical immersion event of that nature for next year. What that might look like, we’re not quite sure. It might be a different time period, something different. We are looking at having our annual Strawberry Fest again, and our Christmas Open House, but all with the 50th and 200th theme kind of infused into everything that we do.

“And, obviously, the Henry County Fair,” Moyer said. “We really hope that will happen again, because we have a lot of big things planned for that as well.”

Moyer said the historical society is of importance so the county’s history does not become lost on future generations.

“Locally, the Henry County Historical Society helps preserve, perpetuate and promote the history of the county,” he said. “We feel that it is our job and our mission to preserve all aspects of the county history and make that available for the future generations. So, it’s something we take a lot of great pride in. If you look at the 50-year record of our organization, with the preservation of different historic buildings, including our fairgrounds site and the Dr. John Bloomfield Home, it’s something we take a lot of pride in, and we hope to continue to gain new members and continue to promote that history.”

On top of records preserved by the organization, the Henry County Historical Society has also been able to maintain historic buildings to present them to residents in the current day.

“We have the beautiful Dr. John Bloomfield Home, which is an 1894 Queen Anne Victorian home, which also has the carriage house museum with it,” Moyer said. “We have the Nathaniel Hartman log home, which was built between 1860-1866. We have a summer kitchen, a smokehouse, and we have our historic Immanuel Lutheran one-room school house as well.”

Another area of historic preservation is in marking sites around the county that have historical value.

“We also have a variety of different historic markers around the community,” Moyer said. “We have three Ohio Historical Society markers on old U.S. Route 24 — one in front of the city building, one down near Buckeye Building Solutions and one near Camp Latty at Ritter Park. So, it’s not just about our sites, it’s about getting out and preserving other sites and marking those sites as well.”

In looking at what the historical society has accomplished over 50 years, Moyer noted it wouldn’t be possible without the support of its members and the community.

“I think that if you look at any one of our members, or the trustees, we all take great pride in what it is we specialize in,” he said. “We have a wonderful house committee that decorates the Dr. John Bloomfield Home, and provides teas, dinners and tours. We have wonderful living historians and re-enactors, and people who do exhibits for us, and educators and curators. Everybody kind of has their place here, and, when it all comes together, the way it has the last 50 years, we get an organization like the Henry County Historical Society, that I hope, other community members will support by becoming a member, attending our events and even helping out with special events.”

Moyer added it is easy to become involved with the Henry County Historical Society, and the organization is always looking at ways to benefit the community.

“I think the biggest question we get is ‘How do I get involved?’” he said. “It’s really easy to become a member. You can go check out our website at www.henrycountyhistory.org, our Facebook page ‘Henry County Historical Society,’ or Instagram page (henry_county_hist_society). We post membership opportunities and options for people, including pricing. We try to keep our rates really low. Anyone can message those pages and ask how to get involved, what can they do, and we will get back with you, and hopefully get you involved in this organization. The Henry County Historical Society serves the community. Well, we can only do that if we have a community that participates.”

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