You can travel back in time to see what life was like in a small town in Ohio in the 1800s with a visit to Heritage Village Museum, just a few minutes from busy downtown Cincinnati.
The living history museum has a collection of historic buildings that were moved to Sharon Woods Park, where visitors can take guided tours of the interiors or stroll through the village on their own on a self-guided tour and get an idea what life was like long before automobiles, airplanes, and computers. Costumed interpreters are on hand to answer questions and demonstrate old-time crafts like weaving, spinning, and cooking over a fireplace.
The buildings are arranged much like they would be in a small community during that time period. They include an old-time train depot like one would see in a thriving small town when people and cargo traveled the rails.
Every small town had at least one general store, and the Fetter General Store at Heritage Village is a good example. Originally built soon after the Civil War in Boston, Ohio, the store has examples of the kind of products that businesses like its kind carried long before Walmart ever existed.
The small two room Langdon Medical Office was built in Cincinnati before the Civil War, and for many years Dr. Henry Langdon treated everything from simple injuries and broken bones to all kinds of illnesses, many of which are never heard of these days.
Inside, a display includes early examination and surgical tools that seem very crude by today’s standards.
Being an old newspaperman, a stop at the Schram print shop was mandatory. It houses a collection of old printing presses and printing equipment donated by the Schram Printing Company of Covington, Kentucky.
Religion was an important part of life in small rural towns back then, and the Somerset Church, built in 1829, served Cincinnati’s Presbyterian community for many generations. Today the church is available for weddings and other special events.
The Myers Schoolhouse, built in 1891, was once located in Delhi Township. It was used to teach young people reading, writing, and arithmetic for over 35 years. After that it became a community center, and later housed a series of small businesses before being moved to Heritage Village in 2009.
One of the most popular homes at Heritage Village is the charming Elk Lick house. It seems like the kind of place you would go to visit your grandparents or a favorite aunt. At one time it was the home of U.S. Senator Thomas Morris and is fully furnished in time period furniture and accessories.
Another favorite house is the Benedict Cottage, which was built in the early 1800s. Starting life as a simple workman’s cottage, today it houses spinning wheels, looms, and other textile items women once used in the home to make clothing, blankets, and rugs.
Other buildings in the village include an 1820s farmhouse, a barn filled with early day farming equipment like horse-drawn plows, and a log house that was built in 1804 and was home to the Reverend James Kemper, along with his wife and 15 children. He was the first Presbyterian minister ordained north of the Ohio River. A separate building served as the kitchen, which was a common practice back then.
The Greek Revival style Hayner House was built in 1852 near South Lebanon, Ohio on the bank of the Little Miami River and features seven fireplaces. One wing of the house includes a gift shop and a Victorian parlor.
It’s easy to get lost in time in more ways than one when you visit Heritage Village, and you could easily spend a whole day and not see everything there is to see. But that’s okay, if you don’t see it all the first time around, you have a good reason to come back.
Located inside Sharon Woods Park at 11450 Lebanon Road in Sharonville, Ohio, Heritage Village is open Wednesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. May through September. Guided tours inside the buildings are available during those months.
October through April the Village is only open for outside self-guided tours Wednesday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-11, and children 4 and under are free. A GreatParks Parking Pass is required to enter Sharon Wood park and costs $3/day or $10/year. For more information, call (513) 563-9484
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of my friend Suzie O’Connell’s Starlight Magic, from her popular Northstar romance series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – I’m super lazy today. It’s like normal lazy but I’m wearing a cape.