Ohio History Journal

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The Allen County Historical Museum

The Allen County Historical Museum



An Allen County dream is about to become a reality. Late in

1955 the new Allen County Historical Museum will open to the

public, an event long awaited in and around Lima. Few cities in the

country can boast such facilities for preserving and interpreting their


The new museum will have, in addition to ample exhibit space, an

auditorium seating 225, a local history library, and a thirty-car park-

ing area. According to James A. MacDonell, president of the Allen

County Historical Society, the museum will operate with a staff

of four--a curator, Mrs. Harry B. Longsworth, an assistant cur-

ator, a guard, and a janitor.

As an educational feature, near the museum, on a short piece

of narrow-gauge track, will rest an eighteen-ton, Lima made, Shay

locomotive. Gift of the National Lima and Stone Company and

restored by the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Company, the Shay will

represent Lima's oldest continuous industry. It was the Shay locomo-

tive which, in the 1880's, revolutionized the lumbering industry. The

iron work-horse of the northern forests, operating on a wooden

track, increased many fold the output of logs. This same engine

also proved to be a boon to the mining and quarrying industries.

Allen County's new museum actually began in the minds of its

citizens back in 1938, when members of the historical society dis-

cussed the need for a new historical museum. Through the years

a collection of museum objects had been housed on the upper

floor of Lima's Memorial Hall. The historical society was grateful


* Robert C. Wheeler is field representative of the Ohio Historical Society.