Historic Lyme Village takes visitors back to the early 19th century
BELLEVUE — Visitors from Lyme Historic Villagelocated in the “Firelands” of Ohio, will give you a fascinating insight into the lives of the first settlers of Ohio who arrived in the area from New England in the early 19th century.
They will also learn why the area is called the Firelands.
Lyme Village (www.lymevillage.org), 5001 Ohio Route 4, is now home to more than a dozen original 19th-century buildings built on land once claimed by the State of Connecticut.
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The state of Nutmeg eventually relinquished its claims to the Ohio country, said Tim Rife, president of the nonprofit Historic Lyme Village. But land in what is now Huron and Erie counties was sold to compensate Connecticut residents who had been burned by British troops during the American Revolution, Rife said.
Hence the Tierra del Fuego.
Lyme Township in Huron County was part of Ohio when settlers began arriving in 1808. Like several places in the old Western Connecticut Reservationthe township is named after a town in Connecticut, which is named after the city of Lyme Regis In England.
Most of the buildings at the historic site are authentic structures that have been moved from their original Firelands sites to allow them to be preserved, restored and displayed together, Rife said.
Today the buildings form a “village” that includes several log homes, historic barns, stores, and community buildings.
Among these buildings is the original Lyme Post Office, built in 1824; and the old town hall of Groton, another name for Connecticut, built in 1880.
Other buildings in the village include the Rose Tavern, built in 1830 near the town of Fremont. The roughly hewn log building shows the kind of hospitality travelers of the time might expect, including beds that would have been shared with strangers for overnight accommodation.
The Seymour House, built in 1836 just six years after the relatively rudimentary tavern, shows how quickly carpentry progressed in the area, Rife said. The house, which looks like a neat and tidy New England cottage, is also documented as having been a stopover on the Underground Railroad, providing fugitives from slavery with refuge en route to Canada. Exhibits inside the house tell of the Underground Railroad and the difficult journey made by runaway slaves along a path that today is approximated by Ohio Route 4.
Detterman Church was built in 1848 and is considered by site historians to be one of two original log churches remaining in Ohio. Sunday services are still held at the church during the summer, and the church is also available for wedding rentals.
Merry Schoolhouse was built in 1864 in Oxford Township in Erie County. It was used until 1935 and moved to Lyme Village in 1991. Visitors will see and learn about learning and teaching in a one-room schoolhouse.
The Biebricher Barn has special decorative features that make it a “Centennial Barn”, built in 1876 when the United States celebrated its 100th anniversary. Inside, exhibits show how crops were managed 100 years ago. Young visitors can sometimes shell and ‘crack’ corn on period equipment, then feed the result to the village chickens.
The Cooper General Store, relocated to the village from neighboring Seneca County, is outfitted like a typical general store just after the Civil War.
The oldest structure on the site is a barn built in 1803, now used as the village blacksmith shop, where blacksmithing demonstrations are held at special events.
The jewel in the village’s crown, the Wright Mansion, still stands on its original foundations.
The three-story Victorian mansion is relatively young, having been built in the 1880s by John Wright, a local entrepreneur who emigrated from England, started as a farm laborer and rose through the ranks to become one of the most rich of the Firelands. .
Its Second Empire-style mansion, today National Register of Historic Places, featured all the latest technologies such as gas lighting and interior plumbing. Visitors will discover the original gaslights and other decorative elements, magnificent woodwork and plasterwork as well as period furniture illustrating the appearance of the mansion at the end of the 19th century.
Most Lyme Village guides are teenagers and young adults, which is encouraging for us history buffs. This means there is limited time to experience the village this summer – regular tours will end on September 3 when the guides return to school.
But the village will host several special events this fall, including Pioneer Days on September 10 and 11, featuring costumed re-enactors, artisans and sutlers (merchants).
A Storybook Adventure program on October 8 will feature costumed characters from children’s favorite tales; and an exhibition of vintage wedding dresses and tea will be offered on November 6.
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For the holiday season, Lyme Village will host Victorian Christmas Dinners from December 2-4, and a Village Christmas Celebration and Display from December 10-11.
Admission to Lyme Village is $12 and $6 for children ages 6-12. For hours, ticketing and more information, visit www.lymevillage.org.
For more information on other things to see and do in the Bellevue area, visit www.bellevuetourism.org.
Steve Stephens is a freelance travel writer and photographer. Email him at [email protected].