This is the second part of our series on Sauder Village, located in Archbold, OH. After a fantastic meal at The Barn, we headed into the Historic Sauder’s Village. While I knew the place was a reenactment of early American society, I really had no idea why Sauder’s Village was created out in the middle of no-where Ohio until about half way through my day.
The first building we went into was Erie’s building “Where it all began.” The period dressed woman inside told me about how this man Erie first started his wood-working passion in this little building. She also showed me several pieces of furniture that he put together, but nothing had quite yet clicked about what Sauder’s Village was really about. It was not until I had some time to talk with the train engineer to really gather a history lesson about Sauder’s Village.
Mr. Erie Sauder created the Sauder Woodworking Company. Oh yeah, I guess I have seen those trucks around before. The Sauder Woodworking Company provides ready to assemble furniture to IKEA, Target, Walmart, etc. Ok that explains where someone had all the money to undertake such a historic project.
During the 1970’s, Mr. Sauder started purchasing historic buildings and transporting them to Sauder’s Village. Over the years they have continued to purchase private historic collections and buildings, working to expand on Mr. Sauder’s legacy.
Today, the third generation of his family oversees the Village, which includes [over 40 buildings;] a 350-seat restaurant; a bakery; a campground; a 98-room country inn and an exhibit/performance center, Founder’s Hall.
We have been to several historic villages before including the Greenfield Village (Dearborn, MI), and soon will return to Colonial Willamsburg. I also knew of a local place called Hale Farm & Village in Ohio, but I had not been there since I was a kid. So the fact that there was another historic village relatively close really surprised me.
I also have to say I was more than impressed with Sauder’s Village! While it may seem gimmicky to some, I enjoyed that within most of the historic building, you not only got to see glassblowers at work, blacksmiths and tin makers making metal objects, and basket weavers, but you were also able to purchase the items in each shop.
I thought it was terrific to be able to go inside the herb shop and purchase various herbs and herbal items. There were GORGEOUS glass ornaments and balls in the glass shop; horseshoe nail rings in the blacksmith shop, and the General Store was stocked full of all kinds of items both old and new that you would expect to see. Every historic village I have been to of course had demonstrations, but it seems to have been rare to actually purchase the wares directly in each shop and not in a central gift shop location. All money raised throughout the entire Sauder’s Village, including the restaurant, hotel, bakery, etc. goes towards maintaining the village.
Some of the boys favorite activities was seeing the live animals (baby calves, sheep, horse, and ox) and riding the train. For a reasonable $2 each (children under 3 were free), guests could get on and off the train all day long. For our family, I thought it was an incredible value.
I learned several things while visiting Sauder Village, and the first most memorable one was a story the lady told us within the Elmira Train Depot. Please reference the photo above. When stations attendants had a message to deliver to the trains passing by, they attached it to the circular wooden stick, and the train person stuck their arm out and grabbed the stick through the loop, grabbed the message, and threw the stick so the station attendant could retrieve it.
After a while the station attendants would get tired of having to often walk several miles down the track looking to retrieve their mail delivery sticks. So they came up with the “Y” stick version, where the message was attached to the string. The train attendant than again stuck their arm off the train, hooking the message. Only now the string detached and went with the train and the stick was left behind. Genius, and I was so glad the staff at Sauder Village was so amazing at retelling the history behind the structures.
Sauder’s Village does an excellent job of being family friendly throughout the facility. There is one little thing I think most people easily overlook at Sauder’s Village. Both those requiring ADA accessible access as well as those pushing a big daddy double stroller greatly appreciate the ramps to get up into most of the buildings. While it is not exactly “period” and historically accurate, to have such ramps greatly helped this family get in and out of the buildings without having to unbuckle our boys from the stroller at each building.
I had never seen entire structures made of giant tree bark shingles. Often times several people lived within one of these structures. Today we would call these type of structures glamping accommodations.
There was a special section of town especially for little pioneers. The one building had a mock setup for milking a cow. Kids could pull the cow utters and milk (I’m assuming it was water) came out into a bucket. There was also a children’s garden, and Mary Ann’s Cabin, full of hands on toys and activities.
We have all been to an old printing press before, but I had never seen and learned about a Linotype machine. Previous to this machine, each individual letter or picture had to be inserted manually into the typesetting. Then the typesetting was used in a press to make the papers. With the Linotype machine, someone used a typewriter to write out what they wanted, which then dropped each letter into the typesetting, no longer requiring manual setting. Incredible engineering!
We wrapped up our visit at Sauder Village by stopping in old fashioned ice cream parlor. They serve locally made ice cream from Homestead, and the prices were incredibly reasonable, as they were throughout Sauder Village.
Just the other day I was wondering why we do not drive down the road on logs? The western portion of Ohio was very swampy, and in order for settlers to venture west, they laid logs down. Imagine how bumpy that road trip would have been?
Anybody for a trim at the old fashion barber shop?
So if you are traveling through northwestern Ohio, our family strongly recommends stopping at Sauder Village, located in Archbold, Ohio.
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