General Information

Affiliates of LCHS:
LCHS Women's Association
Elyria Historical Association
Penfield Historical Society

LCHS is a member of:
AASLH, National Trust for Historic Preservation, NEOIMC, OLHA, OGS, and Lorain County Chamber of Commerce.

LCHS Staff Members:
William Bird, Executive Director
Kelsey Voit, Office Manager
Eric Greenly, Archivist
Donna McGuire, Collections and Research Assistant
Janet Bird, Education Coordinator
Jim Smith, Education Coordinator
Anne Michael, Education Coordinator
Sarah Nemeth, Financial Assistant

LCHS Board of Directors:
Clarence Wills, President
Bonnie Ivancic, 1st Vice President
Jackie Kokai, 2nd Vice President
Bob Ebert, Secretary
Margaret Brooks-Terry
Benjamin Davey
Christine Davey
Gary Fischer
Sara Hobbs
Pam Monschein
Jeff Sigsworth
Robert Tarry
Patrick Verlotti
Becky Voit
Directors Emeritus: George Strom

The Lorain County Historical Society is an incorporated non-profit educational organization recognized by the State of Ohio, and has tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization as determined by the Internal Revenue Service of the United States. The society is governed by an ( 11-27 ) member Board of Directors, who are responsible for making policy and for overseeing the financial and property assets of the corporation.

The Lorain County Historical Society was organized on January 26, 1889, at the home of Mrs. W. E. Miller by members of the Lorain County Centennial Loan Association. The latter was formed in 1888 to develop an exhibit of objects representative of Lorain County for display at the Ohio Centennial Celebration in Columbus in 1888. The efforts of this group of women sparked an interest in the preservation and exhibition of objects and materials from the county's pioneer period, and in 1889 they formed the Lorain County Historical Society. Their stated purpose was: to collect, and provide a safe place for papers, documents, biographical sketches and objects pertaining to Lorain County, the several townships therein, and the pioneer and other residents thereof, together with any articles of an archaeological character, and such aboriginal and other relics as are worthy of preservation. 

Between 1889 and 1920 the society collected objects and materials relative to the county's early history; and it periodically exhibited same in a local residence in Elyria. rooms in the basement of the County Courthouse and in the Old Elyria City Hall. Between 1920 and 1947 the organization was semi active. In 1927 a fire destroyed a large part of its collections housed in the second floor of Elyria's Old City Hall on Court Street. In 1947 several area residents; including Professor Robert S. Fletcher of Oberlin College and Mrs. James ( nee Katherine Garford ) Thomas, led a successful effort to revitalize the organization. Under their leadership the society became incorporated in 1958, and received tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service in 1965. 

In 1954 the society rented space in the former home of George G. Washburn at 334 Washington Avenue for exhibiting artifacts and for offices. In 1964 the Society purchased the Jack Hannaford house at 331 Fifth Street for a museum and remained there until 1975 when the former mansion home of local industrialist, Arthur L. Garford, at 509 Washington Avenue was purchased.

During the years between 1947 and 1988 the Society also secured title to several other properties in order to save same from demolition. These included an early one room school in Elyria, the Sally Bronson House in Columbia Station, the Cahoon House in North Ridgeville, the Lorain Lighthouse, and the Laundon House in Elyria. All of these properties, except for the one room school which was too badly deteriorated to save, have been transferred to other groups and/or individuals and are serving useful functions today. 

The Society currently provides educational programs and activities to varied audiences throughout Lorain County. These include: occasional publications, lectures, workshops, museum tours and outreach programs (traveling suitcase, slide, PowerPoint, and living history presentations). In addition, the Society has sponsored the development of a local genealogical chapter, County Preservation Network, and an informal association comprised of representatives from all of the other historical and genealogical organizations in the county called the Inter Society. Also operates a research library and has archives available to interested researchers.

The society today is a multi-dimensional organization. Believing that an understanding of the past is critical to building a successful future. The current LCHS mission is to serve all persons and organizations interested in Lorain County's past, present and future by: collecting, preserving, interpreting and presenting the history of Lorain County. The Historical Society is headquartered at 284 Washington Ave.

Our development of the new Lorain County History Center at the Starr House has greatly enhanced our ability to accomplish this mission and to provide learning opportunities for all of Lorain County's citizens.