In partnership with the Ohio History Connection, the Ottawa County Historical Society is bringing a County-themed Ohio History Barn to Ottawa County. The Ohio History Connection project is to have a County-themed painted barn in each of Ohio's 88 counties. Their last project was Sandusky County's Rutherford B. Hayes Ohio History Barn in Fremont.
Act One: Select the barn. Driving to and fro around Ottawa County provides one an opportunity to fully appreciate the diversity of the County with Lake Erie attractions in the east to hearty farmland in the west. The Ottawa County Historical Society members played "barn catchers" and developed a list of barn candidates submitting the finalists to the Ohio History Connection for their selection. Located at 14681 SR 105 west of Oak Harbor, Bonnie and Ron Schimming's perfect barn is the one.
Act Two: Design the image. As we learned in completing the Ottawa County 175th anniversary book, it is difficult to find a definitive image representing the entire County. However, the perfect image was found---Oliver Hazard Perry. There are no other counties in the entire country that can make two very important claims with national importance. The Battle of Lake Erie represented the bookend to the American Revolution settling once and for all any remaining hostilities between our young country and Great Britain as well as establish the longest border with another country--Canada. Also, the Battle of Lake Erie was the only time an entire British fleet was captured. Ottawa County stands alone in making these two claims. Bringing a naval image to the County’s farm heartland helps wed two very distinctive aspects of the County---the water and the land. And as OCHS President Paul Moon likes to remind us, the battle did in fact take place in western Ottawa County, on a line running from Rattlesnake Island to West Sister Island.
Act Three: Paint the image. Artist Scott Hagan is the artist-painter who completed all of the Ohio bicentennial barns in 2003. He started painting the Ohio History Barn on Tuesday, September 12.
Scene 1: Canvas Ready