Wood County Historical Center and Museum
(Former Wood County Home)
Bowling Green, Ohio
On June 17, 2005 I met Mike McMaster and his wife for a night tour of the Wood County Historical Center and Museum. I took lots of photos, so I have divided them into the following sections to make it easier to find what you're looking for:
A little information about the building:
The Wood County Historical Center and Museum is located in the former Wood County Home/Infirmary. The County Home opened in 1869. The first people to live in the County Home were six inmates from the "County Insane Farm". Over the years more people moved in, the number grew to sixty-five during the 1870's. The people who lived at the County Home helped keep it up, by farming the 150 acres of land, constructing new buildings, and by doing basic household chores.
The Wood County Home was in operation until February 15, 1971. The residents were moved into a new facility, and the County Commissioners planned to have the building torn down. But thanks to Lyle Fletcher, secretary of the Park Commission and editor of the Wood County Historical Society, the building was saved. He suggested that the County Home be saved and used as a museum. He was able to get enough support for this idea, and the museum opened in 1975.
This is just a very brief history of the museum...for more information, visit the official website for the Wood County Historical Center and Museum: http://www.woodcountyhistory.org.
Even though the County Home wasn't a horrible place to live, many of the people there were very down on their luck and were therefore quite depressed. Many residents also died there; from sickness, old age, suicide, even murder. Maybe that's why the Wood County Home has so many ghost stories surrounding it. It isn't uncommon to hear the sound of foodsteps in the building, even when workers are alone - especially in the Lunatic House (where the violent and insane inmates lived). People have also claimed to see apparitions. One of the most frequently seen ghosts is that of an old lady wearing pajamas. People have also supposedly seen an old man walking out of an upstairs room with his arms stretched out in front of him. Psychics and ghosthunters have captured orbs and strange sounds on video and film. I didn't experience anything strange when I visited, but it definitely is a creepy place!
In July 2006 I received an e-mail from Bev Price about a creepy experience she had at the Wood County Historical Center:
I'm just writing you about the experience my daughter and I had at the Wood County Museum. It was in the Lunatic House, the man who works there unlocked the door so we could go in and look around since there was nobody else there yet. My daughter, who was 14, my 5 year old son, and myself went in. The upstairs was roped off, so I warned my daughter not to go up there. My son and I started looking around in the cells where the displays are, and my daughter went her own way in a different cell. A few minutes later I heard heavy footsteps upstairs. I called out to my daughter and said, "I told you not to go upstairs." She yelled back and told me she wasn't upstairs. In the mean time, the foot steps continued. A little upset with her, I said "I can hear you up there!" She then told me she was right behind me...she was looking in the 1st cell in the front, and I was in the back. The footsteps continued...we all looked at each other and ran out! We sat on the porch for awhile, but the footsteps stopped and didn't return.
I DEFINITELY recommend visiting the Wood County Historical Center and Museum. Even if you don't see a ghost, it's an extremely interesting museum with plenty of terrific displays. Several of the displays are sort of gruesome too - there are even a lady's severed fingers from a murder that took place in 1881, right beside the noose that was used to hang her husband, the murderer!!
A HUGE thank you to Mike McMaster for telling me about the museum, and for showing me around...he's a fantastic tour guide! I really appreciate all of the information he shared with me!