Oregon Jerusalem Historical Society

Preserving the History of Our Community
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Historic Brandville School & Museum Complex

Home of the Oregon - Jerusalem Historical Society
1133 Grasser Street (near Pickle & Wheeling Streets.)
Oregon, Ohio  43616



At the All-Member meeting in August, I will conclude my second four-year term as president of this wonderful organization which has been a main focus of my attention for many years.

My hubby, Richard and I both retired (early, I might add) in 1997 and became members of Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society.  He soon was elected trustee and, since the meetings are open and I am naturally curious (nosey), I attended many of the meetings as well.  Since that beginning in 1997, we have set aside almost all of our Thursdays for the historical society.

Right from the beginning, Bill Fischhaber allowed me to follow him around and encouraged me to see what OJHS was all about.  He was a dedicated member and a wonderful mentor.  He (repeatedly) asked me to be president but I always declined informing him I just wanted to be a “worker bee”.  Finally in 2005 he convinced me to take the office and I served as president 4 years and completed the term in 2009.

In 2014, out of necessity, I agreed to serve as “interim” president which evolved into my current term.

Over the years, there have been numerous events launched –most were successful, but there were several which weren’t.

The Holiday Tour of Homes was re-established in 2005 and that has been my favorite project ever since.  My love of old houses was the primary reason I became a member of OJHS.  This event will continue in 2017 with Dave Yenrick as the new chair.

The Living History Day Camp, initiated by Jeanette Mlynek, has been a success from the beginning and will celebrate its tenth anniversary with Diane Powers and Pat Davis as co-chair.

The tea for the ladies was also a brain-child of Jeanette Mlynek and she recruited Betty Metz for her expertise.  The first tea was presented to 36 attendees who were treated to a program honoring women of the Black Swamp with a small style show.  It’s obvious this on-going program has boosted the reputation of OJHS of having quality programs and events.  There have been many changes to the teas since its inception but Betty Metz has continued to be the motivator.

One of the most important improvements is “behind the scene” with the computerization of our inventory.  This is an on-going project, but we also have photos of all inventory on   display.   Every item in our inventory is not always on display but everything is validated.  Kathy Clark, our curator, keeps careful control of the artifacts and Al Adam has done the photography.

In 2009, the second floor of Brandville School was reorganized to become our military room.  When completed,  artifacts from all major conflicts in which the United States was involved from the Civil War through present day are on exhibit.  Wanda Rice was very instrumental in making this project happen.

Another change in Brandville School was the remodel of the restroom/kitchen area.  The renovation provided the two restrooms required – one which was handicap equipped.  It also provided work space and beautiful cabinetry, microwave, refrigerator and disposal.  No stove was installed due to fire and fume possibility.  Bonnie Olson spearheaded this project to completion.

Membership has waxed and waned in the past 20 years, but recently has increased, in large part to the First Family program which was launched last year and is continuing with criteria changes.

Two other significant fund-raising events, both initiated and orchestrated by Linda Wise are the Lawn and Garden Tour and the Barns and Their Bones Tour.  Plans are to continue with both events on a rotating basis.

Two smaller, but popular, events are the Nite at the Museum with Oregon Community Theater people bringing paranormal occurrences to life and the Photos with St. Nicholas.  They both draw loyal crowds and will continue for the foreseeable future.

Even though our focus is always on fund-raising to keep the doors open, there are three occasions which have made me most proud – the rededication of the World War I cannon which had been given to Brand Whitlock for his efforts on behalf of the people of Belgium during the Great War.  At this event, we had three honor guards, the Black Swamp Pipes and Drums, distinguished guests and a large response from the community.  The patriotism shown at this event was palatable.

The other event was the loan of the Gilbert Gaul painting of the  Battle of Cold Harbor, Va. to the Toledo Museum of Art to be used as the focal point of the exhibit commemorating the end of the Civil War.  Our valued painted was finally recognized in the larger community.

And lastly, the addition of the horse barn to give a permanent home to our dapple gray horses that were originally purchased by Clifford Dunn and Josephine Fassett and donated to OJHS.  This structure increased our complex to four buildings.

In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to the many volunteers who have made my tenure as president pleasant and productive.  There have been so many willing members who have stepped forward to take charge and/or volunteer however they could.  Yes – it has not always been smooth sailing, but the common goal of accomplishing our mission statement “Preserving our history and bringing our history to life” has always prevailed.

My sincere gratitude for your cooperation and loyalty in making Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society viable, visible and valuable.



                                                                                          Connie Isbell, President






Our complex is open 10 am-2 pm each Thursday (excluding holidays). Closed during the months of January and February.  Additional arrangements can be made for a tour by a trained docent for groups of 4 or more.  There is no charge for this, but donations are welcome.  

Our Email Address:  ojhs@att.net

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