Increasingly, we hear of storytelling as a successful and engaging way of presenting historic programs.  One example in the past few years has been Wood County’s Cemetery reenactments in Bowling Green.  Another interesting program was a Lake Erie ferry trip sponsored by the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society in which visitors helped resolve an old island mystery on North Bass Island through conversations with residents cast as early settlers. 

In the winter of 2018 at the National Maritime Museum in Toledo, members of OCHS were first introduced to the work of professional storyteller Brian Ellis.  For almost two hours, Ellis held the audience spellbound with moments in the life of French explorer Robert La Salle as he sailed down the St. Lawrence into the Lake Erie Islands. 

The performance by Ellis surely triggered our imaginations about the power of storytelling.  The OCHS Program Committee has been wanting to transform treasured family stories from our Page & Stage Oral History collection into the charm and circumstance of live performance.  Thus was launched the Ottawa County Historical Society Story Telling project.  It welcomes participation by everybody.  The project particularly encourages those who are interested in history and who have a taste for sharing through performance.  When the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy offered OCHS an opening to tell county “water” stories at the Lighthouse Festival in August 2019, it provided an opportunity to do a program (see details below).    We were encouraged by those folks who came forth to contribute time and talent and the audience that came to share the stories.   

We are working on plans for a storytelling event in 2021 and encourage those who enjoy history and storytelling to get in touch with Program Committee coordinator Nancy Dunham at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Continue to check our website to learn on the project’s progress as well as learn about upcoming related events.  

Help us explore!  Become involved!

  • Tales from Ottawa County's Past - Saturday, August 17, 2019

In cooperation with Playmakers Civic Theatre, the first OCHS Story Telling project was held as part of the Port Clinton Lighthouse & Maritime Festival.  Moderated by Kathleen Giesler, music was provided by Patrick Fleming and Alex Hefner.  The program included (1) "Water", written and told by Patrick O'Keeffe; (2) "The Day The Rebels Came", written by Rich Norgard and told by Susan Doell; (3) "Donkeys on Middle Bass", written by Martha Dykes and told by Debbie Gordon; (4) "Boat Trip and Violent Lake Erie Storm in 2006", written and told by Tepp Dunham; and (5) "Early 30s at Eagle Beach", written and told by Richard Dunham.  Here's a few action snapshots (photos courtesy Kathy Leonard):



Moderator: Kathleen Giesler and Music by: Patrick Fleming and Alex Hefner





"Water" written and told by Patrick O'Keeffe


"The Day The Rebels Came" written by Rich Norgard and told by Susan Doell



"Donkeys on Middle Bass" written by Martha Dykes and told by Debbie Gordon


"Boat Trip and Violent Lake Erie Storm in 2006" written and told by Tepp Dunham