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

Click here to become a Niles Historical Society Member or to renew your membership

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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






Calendar of Events:

Community Connection Presentation
May 29, 2024, Wednesday,12:00 PM
Reservation by May 23, call 330-652-8329 or 330-719-5716.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Holy Family Hall
381 Robbins Ave., Niles, 44446
June 1, 2024, Saturday, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Family Day
Warren – Trumbull County Public Library
444 Mahoning Ave NW, Warren, 44483
June 2, 2024, Sunday, 2:00 – 5:00 PM

Open House
Ward – Thomas House
Last tour at 4:00 PM
June 8, 2024, Saturday, 10:00 AM

Business meeting in Westenfield Room
July 6, 2024, Saturday, 10:00 AM
All are welcome to attend.

Open House
Ward – Thomas House
July 7, 2024, Sunday, 2:00 – 5:00 PM
Last tour at 4:00 PM


Dear Friends of the Niles Historical Society,

Ladies of White House displayed in theAs you know, the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States is rapidly approaching. In addition to this important date, the Niles First Ladies Gowns are approaching the 50th anniversary of their creation.

In 1976, in order to honor the Bicentennial, some of the ladies of Niles formed an organization to recreate the First Ladies Gowns that were in the Smithsonian collection.
The gowns were all locally made and sewn after many painstaking drawings, photos and visits were made to Washington DC in order to ensure absolute accuracy.

After the gowns were made, they were modeled and displayed in many venues around the area, and the ladies even went back to Washington DC to model the dresses there.

White House Ladies Gowns displayed in theThe Niles Historical Society is incredibly fortunate to have been given most of the First Ladies Gowns. In order to put this in perspective, Niles is the only community in the Unites States to have a life sized collection of these gowns, outside of the Smithsonian National Museum. But as all things age and deteriorate, the gowns have also, and as they approach their 50th year, the Niles Historical Society is asking for your help.



We are asking you to sponsor a First Ladies Gown. This would entail paying for the cleaning, mending where necessary, and storage of the dresses. A one-time fee of $100.00 will ensure your sponsorship of one of the dresses. When the dress is displayed, as we hope they all will be between now and 2026, your name and/or your family name will be prominently displayed with the dress.

Please take some time to consider this opportunity. If you are interested, please fill out the form below, enclose it with your check and mail it to:

The Niles Historical Society
PO Box 368
Niles, Ohio 44446.

As we work together to preserve the past for the future, we appreciate your generous support.

Meredith Elliott
Niles Historical Society

I/we would like to sponsor a First Ladies Gown.
Enclosed please find a $100.00 donation for the cleaning and preserving of one of the gowns.



Phone #___________________________________________

Since the Niles Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN 34-1276513) and no goods or services are provided for donations, your donation is fully tax deductible.

For more information call:

Sandy at (330) 652–8329 or
Anna Marie at (330) 856–8274.
Please leave a message and we will contact you.


To view an electronic file of this form, click here.


Please save/print and share this form with any family or friends that may want to help preserve the White House Ladies' gowns.

Create an email and attach the file or print the form and share.

A studio portrait of Lucille Bassett who portryed Lucretia Randolph Garfield in her Inaugural Ball gown during the Bicentennial celebration in 1976.

A studio portrait of Lucille Bassett who portryed Lucretia Randolph Garfield
in her Inaugural Ball gown during the Bicentennial celebration in 1976.

Update on the Ward-Thomas property:

The Westenfield Room, the old carriage house, which serves as a meeting space has been renovated and is now open again. The improvements include: proper insulation, painting, flooring and temperature – humidity control.

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

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

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

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.

Tours of the Ward-Thomas Museum for groups will be scheduled as requested. We have frequent requests for private tours from those visiting the area, various organizations and church groups.

Please call Sandy (330) 652-8329 or
Anna Marie (330) 719 -5716 to schedule a tour.

A membership drive is currently being held.

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.

For more information call:

Sandy at (330) 652–8329 or
Anna Marie at (330) 856–8274.
Please leave a message and we will contact you.

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


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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