Marker to show history matters
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- The historic Barnhisel House reaches another landmark this weekend as its restoration continues.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, a marker designating the Henry Barnhisel House and Museum as a historical site will be unveiled.
The marker program administered by the Ohio Historical Society began in 1953 and recognizes historical events, places and people.
The Greek Revival-style house on North State Street near the old Ohio Leatherworks factory was built in 1843 by Henry Barnhisel Jr. and is considered one of the oldest homes in Trumbull County.
"People have been very generous when they have found out what we're doing," said Colette Chuey, vice president of the Girard Historical Society, which owns the house.
Volunteers began the restoration Nov. 6, 2000. Her husband, Ralph, society treasurer, said it hasn't been determined how much money has been contributed to the project or when it will be finished.
"It's been a long process," Colette Chuey said.
The house was opened to visitors in May 2003 after much of the first floor was restored.
Since then, two second-floor bedrooms and a hallway have been completed.
Colette Chuey pointed to chamber pots under the beds, water pitchers and washbowls, and "slop jars" into which the dirty water from the bowls was poured. In the remaining upstairs space, a sewing room and society office will be constructed.
The house is filled with memorabilia.
On display is a top hat that was pulled by a volunteer from inside a wall and a set of silverware made by the former Lutz Jewelry Store on West Liberty Street.
One of the major projects the historical society wants to see complete is rebuilding of the summer kitchen. Ralph Chuey said it will take about $50,000 since only the foundation remains.
Colette Chuey explained that the outdoor summer kitchen off the indoor kitchen was where the "dirty work," such as butchering, was done.
Barnhisel and his family were primarily involved in farming and real estate. The city-owned Girard City Cemetery was part of the Barnhisel estate. One of the Barnhisels' five daughters, Frances, married a son of Gov. David Tod, William Tod. Their son, David, died, and Frances Tod donated the land for the David Tod Memorial Park.
During Saturday's event, those attending will be able to park across the street in the Frankford Bicycle parking lot. There is also room along Smithsonian Avenue to the rear of the house. The small parking lot directly behind the house will be reserved for the handicapped.
The house is open for tours from 1 to 4 p.m. the second and fourth weekends of the month or by appointment. The charge is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and $2 each for students on field trips.
The historical society is looking for tour guides. To arrange a tour, call (330) 545-4049 or (330) 545-6162.