Front View of Thomas House Five images of buildings and grounds
Calendar of Events
Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums

Ward — Thomas Museum
Home of the Niles Historical Society
503 Brown Street Niles, Ohio 44446

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E-Mail Us Phone: 330.544.2143

Mail: PO Box 368 Niles, Ohio 44446

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.


Read or Download:

Niles Historical Society
5-Year Strategic Plan






How to Schedule a Tour of the Ward - Thomas Museum.

With the price of gas going up and people trying to find things to do close to home, may we suggest, visiting your local historical home. It is interesting how many people in Niles have never been inside the McKinley Memorial Library building, let alone our Ward-Thomas museum.

People travel all over the world looking for interesting places to visit, and here in their own home town, sits one of the most beautiful museums in the country. The Ward-Thomas Museum exists because caring people have volunteered to create it. It holds over 5,000 items in the 14 rooms and it takes over an hour just to walk through. If you take your time, you could spend hours and still not see everything.

I once asked a Niles man, who has traveled the world, why he never visited our museum. He said, “I guess because it will always be there.” “No, it will not”, I answered him. If no one visits and donates money to support it, the Ward-Thomas Museum will fade away like everything else in town”.

Remember we are open for public tours on the first Sunday of every month from 2-5 pm. However, we are more than glad to open the doors just for you, if you call ahead and schedule a tour time. Just E-Mail Us or call the office, 330-544-2143 and leave your name and phone number. We will return your email or call and schedule a tour.

Sample piece of 19th Century bedroom set on the second floor of the Ward-Thomas Museum

Sample piece of 19th Century bedroom set
on the second floor of the Ward-Thomas Museum

President’s Notes: May — June 2021
Spring is here and is absolutely beautiful and welcome! As we pass from winter to spring and an improved COVID the Niles Historical Society is ready to resume activities.

Writers encouraged:
This issue of the Niles Register includes articles contributed by our members. Lynda Ralston was intrigued by the story of the Ahlstrom piano highlighted in the last issue and presented the research on the history of the piano.

Joan Matheny
approached the Society to present a story of Ed Vargo’s achievements. Joan, Ed Vargo and Bill Browning contributed the information for this article. Dick Bullock was also instrumental in this endeavor.

The Society will gladly publish stories of the accomplishments of current or former residents of Niles. Contact: Anna Marie Beagle 330.719.5716 or

Update on the Ward-Thomas property:
Currently the Society is working to improve the condition of the Ward-Thomas property. The work crews of Niles City have removed several dead trees from the property. Dave Martin, our grounds keeper has been clearing away debris from fallen branches. Volunteers are needed to help weed and plant the flower beds.

The Westenfield Room, the old carriage house, which serves as a meeting space is currently closed due to an extensive mold issue. A bidding process with companies that perform mold remediation is ongoing. The plan is to improve the space with proper insulation, painting, flooring and temperature – humidity control.

Also discussed at the April 17 meeting was performing necessary repairs to the greenhouse. Caulking of the windows is a continuing issue. Companies that perform this service will be sought for bids on the project.

The barn roof is leaking. Mayor Steven Mientkiewcz is investigating ways to repair the roof. The Society thanks Mayor Mientkiewcz for his cooperation. By lease contract the Society is responsible for maintaining the inside of the structures and the flower beds. The City of Niles which owns the property is responsible for maintaining the physical structures, trees and grounds.

Advisory Committee sought:
It is necessary to form a committee to determine the direction to take with the monies in the New Building Fund account that was begun in 2011. The Society requires an improved space for education, research and storage of the collection. At this time there is not adequate space or temperature and humidity control to accept any more physical donations.

There is a proposed rendition for a facility that would be expensive to build and maintain. The amount of money in this fund is not adequate to cover the expense of this lofty plan. The Board of the Society seeks input from members on how to best use the building fund monies to provide an improved space.

I implore members to weigh in on this discussion. Average attendance at meetings is approximately ten members who should not be making this enormous decision for an organization with over three hundred members.

Please contact Anna Marie Beagle at 330-719-5716 or for further discussion.
Thank you, Anna Marie Beagle, President

Tour the Buildings and Garden

Ward-Thomas House

1924 Green House



Calendar of Events

Story Walk in Stevens Park:
The theme of the Story Walk in the month of May is “Niles History”.
Audra Dull at the McKinley Memorial Library directs this project for which the Niles Historical Society’s Sandy Bilovesky provided pictures and dialogue of early Niles.Take time to visit the park and enjoy a little bit of history.

Victorian Tea:
Sunday, May 16, 2021, 3:00 PM at the McKinley Memorial Museum. High Tea catered by Quintealia’s Tea Parlor.
Call for reservations: Ami at 330-652-4273

Business Meeting:
Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 10:00 AM
Ward-Thomas House.

Open House:
Sunday, June 6, 2021
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM.
Last tour starts at 4:00 PM.
Protective Masks required.

In Memoriam: History of Niles Street Names
Tuesday, May 18, 6 P.M.
In this virtual program, Ralph Tolbert of the Niles Historical Society will delve into the history behind some Niles street names. Many Niles natives gave their lives for their country during World War I, and their city honored their sacrifices by naming streets after them.
This is a virtual program, so you will need internet access and an email address to participate. Call Audra Dull:
(330) 652-1704 ext. 3 or email to register.
Presentation will be recorded and later available on YouTube.

Memberships Available:

The yearly membership drive is underway with fees of $20 for individuals, $30 for families, $50 for patron level, $100 for businesses and organizations and $500 for life memberships. Memberships support the society's programs and includes the bimonthly newsletter.


Gift Ideas:
Society memberships may be obtained for $20.00 an individual and $30.00 for a family. All are welcome to join. Members receive the newsletter six times/year and free admission to the Ward-Thomas Museum when open on the first Sunday of the month.

Gifts with a Niles' History connection. Click on link below:

Try one of the many Niles Historical books.

Books vary in price.

Sample of book content

'A Pictorial History of the Buildings of Niles Ohio'

Over 200 pages and 400 high resolution photographs

To order your book call: Sandy at: 330.652.8329
Niles Historical Society Office at: 330.544.2143

or Email Us

Price: $40.00 local pickup or $45.00 shipped

To save on shipping costs, all of the listed books are available for purchase at any Ward-Thomas Museum open house.
Shipping/Mailing costs are $5.00 for each book ordered.

Please make checks out to: Niles Historical Society
Send your name, address and phone number, and check to cover costs to:

Niles Historical Society
P. O. 368
Niles, Ohio 44446

Thank You




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