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Historical society to mark 150th birthday

Food, music, activities set for Sunday at Wolcott Center


Charlie Boxell, the board president, left, curator Marilyn Wendler, and Jack Hiles, executive director of the Maumee Valley Historical Society, stand in the Wolcott House in Maumee.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
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The Maumee Valley Historical Society celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and a birthday party is planned from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Wolcott Heritage Center, with cake, music, and free access to the complex’s buildings, at 1035 River Rd. The event is free.

“We’‍re going to have activities for children, and there will be docents in each building,” said Jack Hiles, the heritage center director. “Besides cake, we’ll also have old-fashioned lemonade and ice cream.”

“We want the public to come out and celebrate with us. It will be an open celebration for the day,” added Charlie Boxell, the historical society board president.

The society will follow up with a party and fund-raiser Oct. 12 at the riverfront home of Colleen and Peter Demczuk from 4 to 7 p.m. Guests are encouraged to come dressed as a favorite historical character. Regular tickets are $45. A $60 patron ticket gets the donor’‍s name listed in the program book. There will be wine, food, and valet parking. Tickets can be purchased at the historical society office at the heritage center or by calling 419-893-9602.

In late fall, the society also plans to honor its past board presidents, said Marilyn Wendler, a volunteer at the center and local historian.

This has been an important year for the society, which changed the name of the 9.5-acre Wolcott House Museum Complex to the Wolcott Heritage Center as part of a rebranding process, Mr. Boxell said.

“What we’re trying to get away from is the idea that we’‍re just a museum,” he explained. “We preserve and we educate. The cornerstone [of the historical society] is the house and complex, but the educational process is really important. We have educational outreach to schools, and a speaker series. We want the name change to reflect this.”

The heritage center is owned by the city of Maumee, which pays the historical society to run it. With six paid part-time staffers, the center closes at the end of December and reopens in mid to late April. The furnishings, artifacts, and collections belong to the society.

The society has come a long way since it was formed in 1864, with the mission of encouraging members to write their memoirs and preserve historic sites. Its 1902 constitution was co-written by civic leader Jesup Scott, who became the namesake for Toledo’s Scott High School.

Today the society publishes a historical journal, Northwest Ohio History, and its collections include manuscripts and maps to glass, toys, dresses, and firearms.

Contact Carl Ryan at: or 419-724-6095.

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