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

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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.

To Review the Constitution of The Niles Historical Society, Click Here






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


Niles Historical Society
2017 Scheduled Meetings

Open House Tours

Ward-Thomas Museum
503 Brown Street

Sunday, December 3, 2017
2-5 PM
Last tour begins at 4PM

McKinley Christmas Tour
Saturday, December 9, 2017
12-4 PM

Regular Meeting

Saturday, December 2, 2017
Westenfield Room
All members are welcome to attend.

Looking for a special gift for Christmas? The Niles Historical Society offers several books that feature Niles history. Click on the link to see books available: Books Page.

A favorite book for that special gift:

A Pictorial History of the Buildings of Niles Ohio

Over 400 high quality images from 1895-Present Day

Order your book from the Niles Historical Society

Cost of book is $40.00 pickup or $45.00 shipped

Call: 330.544.2143 or

Call Sandy: 330.652.8329


The Niles Historical Society will be hosting its monthly open house of the Ward-Thomas Museum at 503 Brown Street on Sunday December, 3 from 2:00-5:00 with the last tour beginning at 4:00.

The theme is Christmas in New York City with collectable New York buildings on display throughout the house.

The society will also be participating in the city's McKinley Christmas on Saturday December 9 from 12:00-4:00. There will be tours of the main floor of the museum.

A Christmas tree decorated with White House ornaments will be in the parlor and Christmas Longaberger baskets in the kitchen. There will be live music and refreshments in the Westenfield Room along with treats for the children.

Calendars will be for sale featuring pictures of recreation in Niles in the past such as Waddell Pool. McKinley Theater, and Handy Andy. Cost will be $10 and $1 for shipping.

Also for sale will be McKinley Memorial Centennial ornaments for $20.


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