Kristen Dillard decorating Christmas tree in the 1910 farmhouse Photo courtesy Sauder Village
Historic Sauder Village
This historic village, founded by Erie J.
Sauder, opened in June 1976 as a non-profit living history
museum and educational complex. More than 30 historic and
craft buildings depict how life would have been in rural Ohio
during the 19th century. Four of these are former homes of
immigrants and early settlers, built between 1834 and 1910,
that were moved to the site, then restored. Visitors progress
from the earliest home, a simple dirt floor cabin, to a
clapboard-sided log home. Through stories and demonstrations,
costumed interpretative guides bring history alive. Artisans
in eleven craft shops demonstrate trades of that period:
glassblowing, pottery, gun smithing, silver smithing, spinning
and weaving, broom making, woodworking, basket making,
printing, and quilting. Their craft work is used throughout
the village. The 250-seat Barn Restaurant was once a
dilapidated barn, built by the Amish in 1861.
Although Ohio became a state in 1803, few permanent
European settlers considered entering the damp, forested wilderness
of northwestern Ohio, known as the Great Black Swamp, until the
1830s. In 1834, the first party of Mennonite immigrants arrived
just east of Sauder Village to start a new life away from the
religious persecution in their homeland. More settlers followed,
and within 10 years, they had drained a large portion of the swamp
which became among the state's best farmland.
Erie Sauder descended from those early European
settlers. Like his grandfather, he became a woodworker. His
company, Sauder Woodworking, is one of the world's leading
manufacturers of "ready-to-assemble" furniture. At an age when
other people consider retiring, Sauder conceptualized a recreated
village where new generations of Ohioans could learn about the
daily struggles and triumphs of their ancestors. The village, which
is open from mid-April through October, each season hosts 100,000
guests of which about one third are school children.
Sauder was hands-on in the development of Sauder
Village; he oversaw consulting, architectural and construction
work, and went to sales to gather household items and farm tools
left behind a century ago. During the 1990s, a campground and lake
behind the village, and a 35-room inn were added. A Founders Hall
was also built, which hosts community events, such as Toledo
Symphony concerts, a six-day quilt show; a woodcarvers' show; a
rug-hooking exhibition; a bluegrass festival; barbershop music
concerts; doll artists' exhibits; and a Farm Days Festival.
Traditional craft classes and a horsemanship are also offered at
Documentation includes a 6-page written report,
Sauder Village membership newsletters (three), seven color
photographs, brochures, postcards, transparencies, a map, class
catalogs, three videos, and a booklet,
Erie and his
Originally submitted by: Marcy Kaptur, Representative (9th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.