What's Nearby

The following historical societies, museums and educational institutions are located within Ottawa County or in a neighboring County.  While in the area, please include them in your travel.  See website or Facebook page for individual hours of operation.

Catawba Island Historical Society

Union Chapel
5258 E. Porter Street
Catawba, OHCatawba Island Historical Society
Facebook:  facebook.com/CatawbaIslandHistoricalSociety
Email:  info@catawbaislandhistoricalsociety.com

The Society was newly formed in Union Chapel on E. Porter Road on Catawba. The museum will open to the public on Saturday, June 16. The museum is a place where anyone and everyone with an interest in the Catawba story can learn from the books, maps, and documents available in our collection.

Elmore Historical Society

P.O. Box 154Elmore Historical Society
353 Ottawa St.
Elmore, OH 43416
419.260.5545 (Jim Krumnow/President)
Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/ElmoreHistoricalSociety

The Elmore Historical Society was established on January 1, 1980 to preserve and promote the history of Elmore, Ohio and its people. This non-profit organization has worked to restore historic buildings, engage in educational programming for the public, and to institute a museum to show case memorabilia from Elmore’s past. By calling the number above we can arrange tours of the Heckman Log Cabin & Train Depot Museum, or you can rent out the Historical Barn for special occasions. The organization also puts on several community events, such as the Portage River Festival, Grub n Suds, and

Ida Rupp Library

310 Madison StreetIda Rupp Library
Port Clinton, Ohio 43452
See the website for information on branch locations in Marblehead and Put-in-Bay.

The first public library in Port Clinton was founded in 1908 by the Ladies’ Literary and Social Club. On his death in 1964, Judge Lawrence C. Rupp bequeathed from his estate the sum of $42,000 toward a new library building as a memorial to his late wife, Ida, member of the Ladies’ Literary and Social Club, and a Library Board member from 1917 until her death in 1926.

Harris-Elmore | Genoa Libraries

P.O. Box 45Harris-Elmore | Genoa Libraries
328 Toledo St.
Elmore, OH 43416

The Harris-Elmore Public Library was conceived in 1937 by a group of volunteers that proposed a library for the village of Elmore. In 1945, groundwork being laid by the committees of the Federation of Women’s Clubs in Elmore, a small reading room was set up in space provided on site at the Brandes & Trautman Meat Locker. Two years after its opening, the Library Board decided to reorganize the library as a State School District Library, for the purpose of broadening scope and offering its services to a larger area. Accordingly, a new Board of Trustees was appointed, this time by the Board of Education of the school district. By 1952, the library outgrew it’s quarters and it moved to a room in the Willard Weis Law Offices on Rice Street. When it became obvious in 1954 that added space would be needed to accommodate the growth of the library, the board, under president, Harry Trautman, sought means of acquiring funds for a library building. Construction began in 1959 on the corner lot of Clinton & Toledo Streets. The new building was dedicated in February of 1960. In 1966, the Genoa Library was added as a branch of the Elmore facility. The Elmore Library boasts one of the finest collections of Ottawa County History in the area in its Grace Luebke Local History & Genealogy Department.

Johnson's Island Preservation Society

Confederate Civil War Prison CemeteryJohnson's Island Preservation Society
Gaydos Drive, south off Bayshore Road (Route 163)
Marblehead, OH 43440

A prison for Confederate soldiers was established on Johnson’s Island in Sandusky Bay during the Civil War. The prison cemetery on the island is open to the public while the museum is located in Sandusky at the Ohio Veterans Home. The cemetery is the only site remaining from the original POW Depot on Johnson’s Island that is open to the public. There are neither comfort stations nor public picnic areas on the island. Visitors to the cemetery pay a $2 fee (dollar bills only; no coin) at a tollgate on Gaydos Drive to drive the causeway to the island.

Kelleys Island Historical Association

224 Division StreetKelleys Island Historical Association
Kelleys Island, OH 43438

The entire Island is on the National Register of Historic Places which makes for an incredibly rich history. The museum features hundreds of photographs, documents from the 1700s, items from 1800s and 1900s, and Native American artifacts. The Old Stone Church, built in 1867, is open on weekends. Exhibits change every year.

Lake Erie Islands Historical Society

25 Town Hall Place
Put-in-Bay, OH 43456Lake Erie Islands Historical Society

The Lake Erie Islands are rich in local and American history. The 6,000 square foot museum has displays depicting early life on the islands and many aspects of life at the turn of the 20th century.

Lake Erie Shores & Islands

770 SE Catawba Rd. (SR 53)Lake Erie Shores & Islands
Port Clinton, OH 43452
Phone: 419-734-4386 or 800-441-1271

For assistance in planning your stay in the Lake Erie Islands Region visit the Lake Erie Islands Regional Welcome Center located on SR 53 just north of SR 2.

Lakeside Chautauqua

236 Walnut AvenueLakeside Chautauqua
Lakeside, OH 43440
(419) 798-4461

Since 1873, the Lakeside Chautauqua historic community offers religion, arts, recreation, and education activities during its summer programming season. It is also a year-round destination for groups of all sizes.

Lakeside Heritage Society

324 W. Third StreetLakeside Heritage Society
Lakeside, OH 43340
Phone: 419-798-5519

Founded in 1968, the Society preserves the history of the Marblehead Peninsula and the American Chautauqua movement.

Liberty Aviation Museum

3515 East State Road at the Erie-Ottawa International AirportLiberty Aviation Museum
Port Clinton, OH 43452

Newer aviation museum featuring WWII B-25 Mitchell Bomber, active restoration of Ford Tri-Motor and other historical aircraft and artifacts incl. Clark Gable’s WWII service uniform and more!

Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
110 Lighthouse Drive
Marblehead, OH 43440
419-734-4424, ext. 2
Society website:
State Park website:
Park open year round

Built in 1821, Lighthouse is standing strong as the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on all of the Great Lakes. New in 2016, tour replica of 1876 U.S. Life Saving Station.

The Milan Museum

10 Edison DriveThe Milan Museum
Milan, OH

The historic Village of Milan is the birthplace of Thomas A. Edison and recognized by the National Trust as a Distinctive Destination. Visitors to the Milan Museum learn a history rich in progress and creativity. Milestones in both history and invention are displayed in the history galleries. The new glass galleries explore European and American glass from the earliest piece in the collection of Roman glass through works of contemporary, local artists. The Milan Museum offers a day exploring historic buildings, filled with engaging exhibits and hands-on activities. Special events and activities for the whole family all year! Call 419-499-2968 or visiit www.milanhistory.org for more information.

National Museum of the Great Lakes

1701 Front StreetNational Museum of the Great Lakes
Toledo, OH 43605

The National Museum of the Great Lakes is a historical, hands-on museum offering students of all ages a unique opportunity to explore history in an entertaining, educational and profound way. More than 500 breathtaking photographs, 250 incredible artifacts, 45 interactive exhibits and a 617’ iron ore freighter tell the awe-inspiring history of the Great Lakes and provide a unique destination for family fun.

Oak Harbor Public Library

147 West Main StreetOak Harbor Public Library
Oak Harbor, OH 43449

The Oak Harbor Public Library was established in 1908 by the Oak Harbor Literary & Social Club. However, the free lending libraries in the Village of Oak Harbor dates back to at least 1875. The mission of the Library is to serve as a center for information retrieval, cultural and intellectual pursuits, self-education, and recreational reading by providing a facility, services, and materials which meet the needs of the community.

Ottawa County Genealogical Society

P.O. Box 193Ottawa County Genealogical Society
Port Clinton, OH 43452-0193

The Ottawa County Ohio Genealogical Society was organized on November 11, 1969 and is a member of the Ohio Genealogical Society.  Its mission is to promote the history of Ottawa County and its people by assisting members and others interested in genealogy in tracing their ancestors with emphasis to Ottawa County. In addition to a quarterly newsletter, the Society produces a number of genealogy-related publications available for purchase. OCGS generally meets the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Ida Rupp Public Library in Port Clinton, Ohio. Meetings are not held the months of January, February, July, August, and December. All meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome. Members of the Society do limited research for both members and non-members who live out of the area.  Extensive research may require an agreed upon fee.

Ottawa County Museum

126 West Third StreetOttawa County Museum
Port Clinton, OH 43452
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ottawa-County-Museum-110711658998159/

Established in 1932 by the Area Heritage Foundation to preserve and protect records and artifacts pertinent to the development of Ottawa County, to provide educational information and to create a lasting memory for future generations to study. This small museum features displays about the area. Hours are limited, so call first.

Port Clinton Lighthouse

205 E. Perry StreetPort Clinton Lighthouse
Port Clinton, OH
Operated by the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy
P.O. Box 389
Port Clinton, OH 43452

Located at the mouth of the Portage River, the City of Port Clinton was a shipbuilding port, thriving commercial fishing center, and home for many years to the famous Matthews Boat Company. Nowhere is Port Clinton’s rich maritime heritage more evident than in its unique lighthouses which guided ships into the harbor. The first 1833 lighthouse, built at the corner of Adams and Perry Streets, was a stone structure forty feet high with walls four feet thick at the base. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1870 and the old stone tower was demolished in 1899. Following the rerouting of the Portage River, a new lighthouse was built at the end of the west pier in 1896. The wooden pyramidal structure operated until 1952, when it was moved to private property alongside the bank of the Portage River, largely forgotten until 2010 when the owner decided the aging light deserved a home along the Lake Erie shore once again. A group of concerned citizens created the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy which, with the help of personal contributions and grants, completed restoration of the lighthouse in 2014 and accomplished its return to the waterfront in 2016.

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Spiegel GroveRutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
Fremont, OH 43420

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums houses 19th U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes’ Victorian mansion, a newly renovated museum, presidential library, tomb and a mile of paved walking trails through President Hayes’ 25-acre wooded estate, known as Spiegel Grove. The Hayes Presidential Library & Museum was founded on Memorial Day 1916. It is America’s first presidential library and the forerunner for the federal presidential library system. It is partially funded by the State of Ohio and affiliated with the Ohio History Connection.

Schedel Arboretum & Gardens

19255 W. Portage River South Rd.Schedel Arboretum & Gardens
Elmore, OH 43416

The Mission of the Schedel Arboretum & Gardens is to “Offer life enriching experiences, for current and future generations, by providing unique opportunities for the appreciation and study of nature and the arts.”  The 17 acre garden estate is home to many unusual species of plant life uniquely incorporated into a landscape loving sculpted by human hands.  Features include more than 10,000 annual flowering plants, a world class bonsai display, thirty foot waterfall leading to a Japanese Garden, many themed gardens and more than 20 pieces of large sculpture blended throughout the grounds.  The Brown Welcome Center is home to the McAlear Gallery which plays host to the exhibits of art from local to international artisans.  Visit our website for hours and more information.

Wolcott Keeper’s House

9999 E. Bayshore RoadWolcott Keeper’s House
Marblehead, OH 43440
Maintained by the Ottawa County Historical Society
See bottom of page for hours of operation.
Group tours by appointment. Send email to info@ottawacountyhistory.org.

The private residence of Benajah and Rachel Wolcott, the first two keepers of the Marblehead Lighthouse. It is believed to be the oldest surviving home in Ottawa county built in the early 1800s of limestone from local quarries.