Western Reserve Historical Society

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The Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) was founded in 1867, making it the oldest cultural institution in Northeast Ohio. WRHS is located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, and is focused on the history of the Western Reserve.


Located in University Circle, an arts and culture district of Cleveland, the Society houses and curates collections of cultural artifacts and documents from various people. The mission of the Western Reserve Historical Society is to collect, preserve and present the history of all the people of the Western Reserve. WRHS is a private, membership-based society that also receives funding through investments, grants, and gifts.

University Circle museums[edit]

The Society’s headquarters at University Circle houses several facilities:

  • The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum houses over 150 vintage and antique automobiles and airplanes.
  • The History Museum has changing exhibits of local history. The History Museum also includes:
    • The Hay-McKinney House, a 1911 home with luxurious turn-of-the-century parlors and living areas.
    • The Bingham-Hanna House, built between 1916 and 1919 on the land neighboring the Hay-McKinney property, Harry Payne Bingham built a 35 room house designed by Walker & Gillette, with a landscape by Olmsted Brothers and featuring ironwork by Samuel Yellin.
    • The Chisholm Halle Costume Wing, houses over 30,000 garments from the late 18th century to the present.
  • The Library and Archives feature over 20 million archives and manuscripts for genealogical research or any aspect of Northeast Ohio history.

Other properties[edit]

The society also owns and operates the Hale Farm & Village in Bath, Ohio and Shandy Hall in Unionville, Ohio. Built in 1815, Shandy Hall is an example of early life and architecture found in the Western Reserve. The society also operates Loghurst, built in 1805 in Canfield, Ohio which is thought to be the oldest residence in the Western Reserve.


The Western Reserve & Northern Ohio Historical Society formed in 1867. Its first president was Charles Whittlesey, "a geologist and historian". "Originally, the society was located on the third floor of the Society for Savings Bank in downtown Cleveland."[1]

"By the early 1980s, the Western Reserve Historical Society had become one of the largest private historical societies in the United States. In 1986, its library contained approximately 250,000 books and six million manuscript items."[1][2]

In 2009, WHRS sold nineteen of its historic vehicles in an effort to raise money for the organization.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Western Reserve & Northern Ohio Historical Society". Ohio History Central. Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  2. ^ "Western Reserve Historical Society Research Center". Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  3. ^ Mazzolini, Joan. "Western Reserve Historical Society selling off more of its rare cars to erase debt". Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland.com (Aug. 8, 2009). Retrieved 2013-06-09. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°30′48″N 81°36′37″W / 41.51333°N 81.61028°W / 41.51333; -81.61028