Just as the Maumee River winds it’s way through Northwest Ohio bringing life and vitality in the 21st Century, it brought pioneers and adventurers all the way back to the 1700’s. Names like Simon Girty, General Robert K. Scott, Henry Ford and Joe E. Brown tingled on the tongues of Henry County residents as these famous (and infamous) individuals made the county their own.
The industrious spirit of our forefathers drove the clearing of the Great Black Swamp. Henry County, and almost all of the extreme corner of Northwest Ohio, was covered in forest land and low lying swamps. Very few were adventurous enough to brave the wilds, but the lure of cheap land and a stake of their own opened the minds of a hard-working few. More and more hearty souls cleared the land and drained the swamps, allowing the world to take advantage of some of the best farmland to be found anywhere. Transportation spurred growth in the area – both the Miami and Erie Canal and the railroads brought people in and took goods out. Communities like Napoleon, Liberty Center, Deshler and more owe their vitality to the transportation boom of the 1800’s.
That boom led prosperous businessmen and individuals to build structures reflecting the styles of the day. Those architectural treasures live on today and catch the eye of many who travel through. Each of our communities take great pride in their classic homes and buildings. The Henry County Courthouse, built in 1880, stands as a beacon to those coming back home to the area. Structures like the Hamler City Hall, rail depots in Liberty Center and Malinta and Giffey Hall in Ridgeville Corners, take you back in time. When you spend time in our communities, stop and allow your senses to travel back to a simpler time. Gas lamps burn, cobble stone roadways ring with hooves, wooden sidewalks crack under the weight of a family doing their weekly shopping – the past can come to life once again!
Check out these Historical Society Sites in Henry County:
Henry County Historical Society:
Four Corners Historical Cooperative:
7-130 County Road M, Grelton (419) 748-8400
Malinta Area Historical Society:
Bartlow Township Historical Society:
115 West Main St. Deshler
Liberty Center Historical Society:
106 North Damascus St., Liberty Center (419) 533-2845
Hamler Heritage Society:
SR109 & Marion St., Hamler (419) 274-7194