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The Logan County Historical Society owns a unique 3-building facility, which makes up the Logan County History Center. It is made up of The Orr Mansion, the Logan County Museum, and the Transportation Museum, all of which are connected and includes offices and a gift shop. The Archives collection and Logan County Genealogical Society Library are housed on the second floor of the Transportation Museum. The Society has a long and interesting history.

Logan County History Center Sign

Plant, Sky, Cloud, Tree

The Transportation Museum, History Museum, and Orr Mansion

Window, Cloud, Building, Plant

Old X-Ray table in History Center

Picture frame, Tire, Wheel, Vehicle

Orr Mansion West Parlor and Entry

Picture frame, Furniture, Couch, Hall

Wissler Plane hanging in Transportation Museum

Building, Light, Architecture, Interior design

According to records, the Logan County Historical Society was organized in 1930 with O. K. Reames as its first president. Most of this group died out, possibly due to the Great Depression. In December 1935, it was reorganized. The museum has the early Society minutes from a 1940 meeting, plus a treasurer's book from 1941 signed by the treasurer F. M. Henry. Sometime after this, the Society's records show no activity, this time possibly due to World War II. 

    In December 1945, another group met at the Sloan Library in Zanesfield and reorganized as the Logan Archaeological and Historical Society. It again elected O. K. Reames as its president. In May1946, the group incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio and this group exists today under the name of the Logan County Historical Society. 

The Society met in various locations and had exhibits at the Sloan Library, which was named after a famous Logan countian. The Society began marking historic spots in the county with bronze plates on boulders or by roadside markers. By 1957, twenty-seven of these had been erected. As the collection grew under Curator Rev. Guy Furbay, members decided to lease space in the county seat in Bellefontaine. In 1961 they chose a storefront on the southeast corner of East Columbus Avenue and Opera Street.  

This location was good for the Society, but the lease soon expired. In 1962, the Society moved again to the old Cox Grocery Store at 400 Linden St. In 1971, the Society moved its growing collection to its first real home when it purchased the old South-West or McBeth Elementary School located on the southwest corner of Seymour and West Chillicothe Streets for $17,500 from the First Church of God. The rooms, stage, and other large spaces provided much more display space, but it has been said that some historical exhibits from the Sloan Library came up missing from this site.  

 The McBeth School served the Society well, but in the 1980s the Orr Mansion at 521 E. Columbus Ave. with its attached Latham's Nursing Home became available. The nursing home has its own unique history. The land was purchased in 1906 by William J. Orr, a hardwood lumber baron and buggy spokes manufacturer. A modest house was built in 2 years for the cost of $40,000. The Orr’s lived in the house until 1922 and then sold the house to Carl and Helen Stuber. The house changed hands a few more times, until it was sold to Tom and Olga Latham in 1960, who turned the house into part of a nursing home. The Historical Society was the next and current owners of the historic home. 

In 1988 after great effort, the $50,000 purchase price was raised with the help of the City Council donating $25,000 from the William Kauffman Fund. After many hours of cleaning and remodeling, the museum opened at its new and current location in 1989. However, there was still much work to be done. Over the upcoming years, funds were raised to fix up the old mansion. The rooms of the mansion were turned into period appropriate rooms and the rooms of the nursing home were turned into exhibit spaces. 

The newest section of the museum is the Transportation Museum. The addition opened in April 2014 and was designed by local architect Karen Beasley. Its design was inspired by the Big Four/New York Central Roundhouse railroad that stood in Bellefontaine from the late 1890s to the 1960s.    

   Today, the Logan County Historical Society owns the sizeable complex of the Orr Mansion, History Museum, and Transportation Museum. Each part showcases a unique perspective of Logan County’s history. 

Logan County Historical Society Staff. Logan County History Center Self Guided Tour Docent Booklet . Bellefontaine , Ohio. Logan County Historical Society, 2022.

Home of the Logan County Historical Society. Bellefontaine, Ohio. Logan County Historical Society.

"Looking Back at Days Gone By."

"Nursing Home Liquidation." Bellefontaine Examiner (Bellefontaine Examiner ) January 1st 1989. .

Logan County Historical Society Staff. History of the William Orr Home . Bellefontaine , Ohio.

Resume of the Society's History.

Letter of Support. Bellefontaine, Ohio. Logan County Commissioners , 1987.

"State Speakers Address Group of Historians ." (Bellefontaine ) January 22nd 1931. .

"Zanesfield is to have a Historical Society." (Bellefontaine ) August 21st 1913. .

Wenger, Tami . "Step back into the past at Logan County History Center." Logan County River Current (Urbana) February 2nd 2019.