Windham Historical Society
 
   

Windham Historical Society
9001 N. Main St.
Windham, Ohio
Email- orchid@neo.rr.com

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Officers: In the Process of updating

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Membership:
Dues are $5 for Jr., Senior $8, and adults $10 per year. Mail dues to Windham Historical Society, 9001 N. Main St., Windham, Ohio 44288. A membership card will be issued. The W. H. Society welcomes your membership, as they work to learn of, document and present Windham’s rich historic past, for present and future generations.

Meetings:
In the Process of updating

Programs:
In the Process of updating

 

 

History of the Society :

The Windham Historical Society was founded in the fall of 2002. It began with 49 Charter members, each paying $ 50 to join. We also have 2 honorary Charter members, who are the great-great-great granddaughters of Col. Benjamin and Sara (Sally) Higley, one of the founding families of this community in 1811. First meetings were held at the Windham branch of the Portage County District Library until June of 2003, when at that time the Congregational Church of Christ of Windham which owns the Brick Chapel, offered the use of the Chapel to the Historical Society. The Historical Society was beginning to grow and needed a more permanent space to hold their meetings and house their society library and museum.

Historic Wall / Time Line Mural: Title--- 1811 Windham 2002

This beautiful mural with black and white pictures of various sizes and written articles of explanation, have been silk screened onto ceramic tiles, to tell the History of Windham. The mural contains small bland colored mosaic tiles interspersed to make the entire wall appealing and aesthetic to the eye. It comprises at least 12 different categories, some of which are: founding fathers, churches, organizations, sports, commerce, notable people from the community, politics, the future, maps, businesses, library and more. It measures approximately 16’ x 5’ and then is enhanced with a beautiful frame of black and gold (school colors), of approximately another 2 feet. It is situated at the front entrance of the new High School. This mural was produced and erected by Gregg Aliberti, a noted artist in his field from Cleveland Ohio. Windham’s own art teacher Mr. Slavin, did the finishing touches, by painting the black/gold border around the entire mural after the tile portion was completed. According to the artist, we are the first and only community in the country to have this type of mural in it’s school system, that he is aware of. This type of tile work is usually only used in public buildings for decoration. This was considered one of his best efforts to date.
This project was first a vision of the school psychologist, Trina Prufer now retired, who became the project coordinator. She had first seen something similar at the Summit County Children’s Home, done by the same artist. It was one of his first works, but in it he used only a few pictures and kept a repeating pattern throughout, it wasn’t a time line of their history. She spearheaded a drive to get community involvement, school interest and a partial grant to help pay for this project. The entire project was at a cost of $10,000. Some of the money came from grants, with the remainder being donated by residents, groups and businesses of the community.
Once the community got involved Kathi Baum, the local librarian, became the archivist and Lynnea St. John, a community member newly retired from the USPS, became the Committee Chairperson. Some of the school staff, students and other community members offered help, suggestions, input, pictures and information, to formulate this beautiful wall. It was definitely a community project which pulled many members together for the common good.

History of the Brick Chapel:

The Brick Chapel was built in 1838 by the Disciples of Christ Church. It was used for a short time by the Church and later was used as the Windham Academy. Over the years it has been used for a variety of purposes. It was purchased by the Congregational Church. In 1970 the Chapel underwent some remodeling with an addition being added. A large banquet room was built, along with a stage, a beautiful kitchen and new restrooms. It’s a lovely building which sits on the Township Green, land donated to the Township by the founding fathers when Windham was settled in 1811. It is a lovely old building that still maintains its historical architecture.

3 Different Names for Windham :
Strongsburg :
Sharon :
Windham :

When Windham was first settled by the 16 families in 1811, most had come from Becket Mass. The township was first named Strongsburg after Governor Strong, from whom the land was purchased. Later as his political views changed, the name did not fall in favor with the Windham residents.
The name was changed to Sharon, by an act of legislature in about 1820….
A few years later the name was again changed to Windham, which it has remained to present. Some of the families had previously lived in Windham, Connecticut.
Ongoing Projects:

Since the beginning of 2004 we have been doing Video/audio interviews of some of the elder residents of Windham who have valuable information concerning the early history of Windham. These video interviews are extremely interesting and informative. We have gained much knowledge that would have been lost if the interviews were not done and recorded. These residents are so happy that someone is interested in what they have to say and that they can contribute to the legacy of Windham, their beloved town.

Grant Obtained :

The Windham Historical Society has recently applied for and obtained a grant to fund the cost of, among other things, having the video/audio interviews transcribed to written form. This will be a wonderful and valuable teaching tool down the road.