Individual Membership: $20.00
Family Membership: $30.00
Patron Membership: $50.00
Business Membership: $100.00
Lifetime Membership: $500.00
The Niles Register is the official newsletter
of the Niles Historical Society and is published six times/yearly.
To view samples of a full newsletter and directions on becoming a member
of the Niles Historical Society, click here
Do you love the history of Niles, Ohio
and want to preserve that history and memories of events for future
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:
5-Year Strategic Plan
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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 email@example.com
for further discussion.
Thank you, Anna Marie Beagle, President.
Calendar of Events
Story Walk in Stevens Park:
The theme of the Story Walk in the month of May is “Niles
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
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
Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 10:00 AM
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Presentation will be recorded and later available on YouTube.
Scene below is of Niles Soldiers Leaving for
Celebrating 159 Years
That is correct! I was born in 1862,
during the Civil War days. James Ward built me on this
little knoll and here I have been ever since in the town of Niles,
Mr. James Ward was an industrial
leader in Niles and came here in 1841 when only 300 people lived
here. He founded the Ward Iron Manufacturing Company and he and
his family lived in a house on Main Street (where the "Farmers
Bank" now stands).
Mr. Ward built me on the property on the south side of the Mahoning
River at 503 Brown Street. He used square nails, which were manufactured
in his factory to hold my boards together that were cut from trees
on the property. The double front doors were designed with windows
which could be opened to allow the north breeze to blow in and
race up the staircase in the main hall to cool the upper rooms
in the summer. Mrs. Ward's brother designed the frosted glass
panels in the door. He was a glass maker in Pittsburgh.
Look up at my decorative designs
on the porch and the cornices under the roof as you pass by. You
will not see any buildings like that today. Inside, the decorative
plaster mouldings in the ceiling are exquisite designs from a
hand carved wooden form. My walnut staircase in the main hall
is a thing of beauty also.
I have remained the way I was built with little change since 1862.
Well, they had to change a few things, such as the windows that
were low to the floor. They had to be raised for the placement
of radiators when they changed to hot water heat. Before then
they heated me with fireplaces in most every room. Of course changes
were made when they installed running water and electric wiring
into my walls too. There was a large 2 story "outdoor kitchen”
building at the back of my house that was removed in 1925. The
ladies would cook in there to prevent the open fires from burning
down the main house. It was a nice building to dry the clothes
in the winter, too.
John R. Thomas, founded the Niles Firebrick Company in 1871.
He and his wife, Margaret purchased my property in 1887. Members
of their family lived here till 1969, caring for me throughout
the years. I've had many people pass through my doors to enjoy
the hospitality of all the families that have lived here, even
Presidents of the United States have visited here.
I have seen a lot of things happen in the town of Niles, Ohio.
Yes, I've seen floods and tornadoes pass right by me, and here
I have stood for 150 years. In 1907 there was a flood and again
in 1913 another flood came close to my door. A tornado went through
in 1947 and another one in 1985. There has been a lot changes
in Niles through the years, and the people who take care of me
now are preserving that colorful story. They are the Niles Historical
Society volunteers and they renamed me "Ward-Thomas Museum".
Come visit me at 503 Brown Street in Niles, Ohio 44446 .
There will be people wandering all
through my 14 rooms which are filled with displays. It will take
you about 1 1/2 hours to tour the museum. I am always open on
the first Sunday of every month. Donation $5.00 for adults with
children under 12 free if accompanied by an adult.
See you on Sunday, at the public "Open House" 2-5 pm.
You may E-Mail
Us or call 330-544-2143 for more information
Or schedule a private tour.
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.
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:
of the many Niles Historical books.
Books vary in price.
Sample of book content
Pictorial History of the Buildings of Niles Ohio'
200 pages and 400 high resolution photographs
order your book call: Sandy at: 330.652.8329
Niles Historical Society Office at: 330.544.2143
or Email Us
$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
Shipping/Mailing costs are $5.00 for each book ordered.
Please make checks out to: Niles Historical
Send your name, address and phone number, and check to cover
Niles Historical Society
P. O. 368
Niles, Ohio 44446
1924 Green House