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

Historical Society Links
Historical Society Links
Historical  Society Events
Historical Society Tours

E-Mail Us

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

To learn about Historical Society Management Tools:

Collection Policies,Click Here
Toolbox Workshop, Click Here
Management and Policy, Click Here
Sample Collections, Click Here
Developing a CMP, 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


Mark Your Calendar:
Saturday, December 8, 2018
McKinley Christmas
12 – 4:00 PM
McKinley Memorial, McKinley
Birthplace Home and Ward – Thomas House


A Christmas china display at the Niles Ward-Thomas Museum is in the dining room. The China pattern, “Holly Holiday”, creates a beautiful festive holiday scene that is accented by red and green tableware. The formal place settings and glassware along with the various accessory pieces are beautifully arranged.

There is a tea set, musical figurines and matching salt and pepper sets, candle holders, candy dishes and dessert serving dishes that hold mini cupcakes and festively wrapped candy pieces. A truly exquisite table setting creates memories of welcoming guests for an evening of good food and conversation and with friends during this holiday season.

Shown in the picture with her china collection is Annette Batovsky of Niles.

Place: 503 Brown St., Ward-Thomas Museum, Niles Ohio

Niles Historical Society
December 2018 Calendar

In November and December, clocks from member Pete Sciullo's vast clock collection of Ansonia clocks from the 1800-1900's will be on display in the house.

Calendars featuring "Early Schools in Niles" will be on sale this year for $10.00. Shipping is available for an additional fee. Orders may be placed by calling 330-652-8329.

Plans for McKinley Christmas on December 8 from 12:00-5:00 are being made. This will be held in conjunction with the McKinley Birthplace Home, McKinley Memorial Library and McKinley Museum with activities planned at each location. The trolley will transport patrons between sites. The Ward-Thomas House will have crafts for children, special stories and refreshments as well as tours of the house which will be decorated for Christmas.

Looking for a unique gift for that person who has everything? Try one of the Niles historical books.


  Copyright©2008-2018, Niles Historical Society, All rights reserved
  Back to top