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

The new book, A Pictorial History of the Buildings of Niles Ohio, is now available for you to purchase. The book has over 400 high-definition photographs from the early 1900s to modern day with descriptive text.

The book follows a timeline as the changes in the buildings take place with the following sections featured:
The Early Years 1 — 43, The Middle Years 44 — 90, Urban Renewal 91 — 107, Schools 108 — 144, Churches 145 — 170,
The 'Strip' 171 — 184, Downtown Rebirth 185 — 194, Extra Photographs 195 — 202.


The cost of the book is $35.00 or if you want the book shipped there is an additional $5.00 shipping fee. To order your copy contact:

The Niles Historical Society at 330.544.2143, Sandy at 330.652.8329, Nancy at 330.652. 5278

Checks may be mailed to: Niles Historical Society; P.O. Box 368; Niles, Ohio 44446.

The book would make an excellent Christmas present for anyone.


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Niles Historical Society is looking for photographs to scan and preserve the History of Niles

If you or someone you know has interesting or historic images, call: 330.544.2143


Niles Historical Books for sale

Pictorial history of Niles, Ohio
Click here for details

old photograph of Fire Station and city hall
Stories and Historical Photographs

Urban Renewal

Niles Railroads

Niles Bridges

1913 Flood

View Past Issues of the Niles Historical Society Newsletters


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.

Additional guided tours may be arranged by contacting the curator or calling: 330.544.2143.

Building used as workspace for green house

Join the Niles Historical Society

Individual Membership: $15.00
Family Membership: $25.00
Corporate Membership: Call

Phone:330.544.2143 or
E-Mail Curator



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