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

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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 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
2018 Scheduled Meetings

Open House Tours

The Niles Historical Society's monthly open house of the Ward-Thomas House at 503 Brown Street will be from 2:00-5:00 on Sunday June 3 with the last tour beginning at 4:00.

Plans for participation in Harry Stephens Hot Dog Day on Sunday July 1 will be discussed. The society will be selling its historical books, food and baked goods.

Also Heritage Day on the grounds of the museum will be on Saturday August 4.

Artisans, crafters, and vendors may sign up to take part by calling 330-652-8329.

The membership meeting will be at 10:00 on Saturday June 2.

10:00 AM Westenfield Room
All members are welcome to attend.

The Niles Historical Society Officers for 2018

Front Row l-r: Treasurer, Linda Ralston; President, Anna Marie Beagle.

Back Row l-r: Trustees, Nancy Malone and Sandy Bilovesky;
Vice-president, Dave Martin; Secretary, Coleen Tominey.


A few remaining 2018 calendars featuring 'Recreation in Niles in the Past' will be for sale for $5.00 (additional shipping fee:$1.00) .

Pictures include those of Waddell Pool, Handy Andy, McKinley Theater, Ma Perkins and others.

Calendars can also be obtained by calling: 330-652-8329.

Please renew your membership for 2018.

One of the many books available that document the history of Niles, Ohio. Please check out the books that are for sale Here.


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