What a treat for Jill and I to have a personal tour of the "not-yet-opened" Ohio Glass Museum. Because we were at the Fairfield County Visitors and Convention Bureau, which is right next to the new museum, the man in charge of the museum asked us if we wanted to see the Museum itself.
It would be two weeks before the museum was actually open to the public, but we were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time. What an incredible space it is....brand new hardwood floors that gleam; high ceilings of "tin", Art Deco Lighting, hand-built (by a local) display cases (as seen in the second photograph), and a prime location downtown.
The enthusiasm of our tour guide, Bob Sherman (also Director/Curator of the museum), was contagious...he was so proud, and rightfully so. This is truly a magnificient feat. I'm always so pleased when people in a town save their history and share it with the community and with visitors.
He showed us an old bank vault (pictured in photo three) used by previous tenants that they saved to use for special exhibits. Everywhere one looks, beauty abounds. The glassware from the many Ohio glass makers just sparkles in the various lightings. They have forgotten nothing...wonderful new restrooms, work rooms, display spaces, and quality renovation, indeed.
We'll just have to return to see the finished product!
Jill and I felt fortunate to visit Lancaster when we did. It was off "season" and not at all crowded. We seemed fortunate to have tours for just the two of us, and in case of the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, one of our favorite designers was the spotlighted exhibit. They were busily setting up for the opening that night. Our tour guide was kind enough to take us through the exhibit; a woman in charge of the exhibit was "miffed" about us being able to see it, but they agreed to let us continue.
The exhibit was called Russel Wright "Living with Good Design'. Russel Wright was one of most terrific industrial designers during the 1950s and 1960s. His work has been exhibited by the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Wright's roots are in semi-rural Ohio.
Wright is famous for his tableware and furniture; ironically, Jill's dinnerware when she was first married was designed by Russel Wright! I love his designs because of the clean lines and lack of clutter.
This Arts Center presents changing exhibitions (historic and contemporary) that celebrate the arts. It's located in an 1835 mansion. The Wendel Center for Art Education has a year-long schedule of classes, special events, and programs. Opened in 2000, The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio has become quite popular in a short amount of time.
Don't miss this lovely, educational, and inspiring place.
We had the BEST TOUR GUIDE to see the historic Reese-Peters House (one of the great Greek Revival houses of Ohio). It was built in 1865 by William James Reese (grandson of German immigrant, Reinhold Dietrich Riess; son of Johann Jacob Riess, a wealthy merchant of Philadelphia.
Reese was a lawyer (as were many men here in Lancaster). Reese fell in love with Mary Elizabeth Sherman, General William Tecumseh Sherman's eldest sister. Mary was only 15, so they had to wait 2 years to be married. William built this home for her as a wedding gift in the 1830s.
The home had White painted Woodwork (patterned after the European "look" at the time. It also had wall-to-wall carpet (which was quite expensive and rare at the time In addtion the ceilings were 13.5 feet tall to emphasize their wealth!).
The home was started in 1834, but, as a result of the depression, Reese had to sell the home. Philip and Caroline Rising ended up with the home and it remained in the family until 1995! The Reese-Peters House was given as a gift to Fairfield County. Ohio Legislature gave 1.2 million dollars to help support the renovation of the House as the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio.
It is extraordinarily elegant highlighting the extravagance of the time. Jill and I were just delighted to see this beautiful house--downstairs renovated and looking just as it once was--upstairs, serving as the Arts Center.
The Sherman House should have been a most interesting tour, especially for Jill since she is really into anything to do with the Civil War. Here is what she had to say about the Sherman House Tour:
"In this house, Civil War General, William Teacumsah Sherman, was born, son of Charles Sherman and wife Mary. Few of the furnishings belonged to the family; most are replacements of the era.
Sherman's wartime writing case and chests are seen in a room decorated as an army tent, with sound effects, and it was one of the better rooms.
Unfortunately, we were guided through the house by a gentleman who knew nothing about the Civil War's history nor that of the artifacts. In some ways, a poor tour guide is worse than none at all.
The Sherman house, restored to the simplicity of the 1840s era, should be received in conjunction with the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio. The latter house was built for Sherman's sister and shows the elaborate decor of the past Civil War age and the European influences."
I personally was quite dismayed that such a valuable historic site would not have topnotch tour guides. Jill was correct. We would have been better off seeing it by ourself.
Although Sherman was a controversial Civil War Commander, his place in history is a fact and should be presented with decorum and knowledge.
The Georgian was built from 1830-1833 by Daniel Sifford. Thank goodness, this elegant old home was saved from destructed and restored by the Fairfield Heritage Association.
It's situated on Original Town Square 13. Samuel F. Mac-cracken, a local businessman, had The Georgian build. It has Regency style of architecture (often seen in Philadelphia). It's a combination of English and American Georgian style architecture; thus, it results in a Federal style! It has 5 huge fluted Ionic portico columns on the west portico. "Each column encloses a massive tree trunk for support."
John D. Martin owned it for a time, and then it went back to the Maccracken family. Then the Reeves owned it, but because of financial trouble, they sold it in a sheriff's sale in 1935. Then, in 1972, the Georgian was purchased by the Fairfield Heritage Association; this organization began "a $100,000 restoration to its original condition."
It has 13 rooms filled with elegant furnishings. You are able to see this great reflection of histy, which is now operated as a "living museum" every month except January, February, and March.
Open from 1-4 p.m. Tuesday - Sunday. Tour takes 45 minutes.
The first place that Jill and I walked to in Lancaster, Ohio was the Fairfield County Visitors and Convention Bureau which is located at 126 West Main Street in the Ohio Glass Museum Building.
We were very pleased with the reception that we received upon entering this modest bureau. A beautiful young woman greeted us with a genuine smile as asked if she could help us. We were given post cards, brochures, maps, suggestions, and explanations.
At this same location is a gift shop, and the man in charge of the new Glass Museum volunteered to give us a tour of the gift shop. There are many examples of glass that was done in one of the many glass factories in Ohio, especially Lancaster.
Jill told them about VT and asked if we could take a picture of the four people who worked there.
They were glad to cooperate.
Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Closed on Holidays
It's always very wise, if possible, to visit a visitors center in any new location. Once you have information and maps, it is much easier to enjoy your day.