Local History Books

In Depth Local History

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Supporting the preservation and appreciation of Perrysburg's historic architectural heritage

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Books on Local History

Ten years ago Historic Perrysburg published a book on this town's fine old homes and business buildings. It contained a reprint of 63 articles written by Board Member and local historian C. Robert Boyd that had appeared in the Perrysburg Messenger-Journal and Bend of the River magazine.

Because that book had a very limited distribution and covered only part of our architectural heritage, Bob has produced a new book (in an entirely different format) that incorporates almost 100 additional articles.

Called Perrysburg Historic Architecture, the book is published by Arcadia Publishing in its Images of America series. Arcadia claims to be the leading publisher of local and regional history in the nation. The book can be purchased locally at Books-A-Million, Ken's Flower Shop, The Flower Shop,  Kazmaier's Grocery and at Historic Perrysburg's booth at Harrison Rally Day in September every year.

The book will be of interest to anyone who loves Perrysburg and would make a thoughtful gift for relatives or friends who grew up or lived here, or who are interested in local history.

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Perrysburg Historic Architecture
C. Robert Boyd 2006

When the 1929 Fort Meigs Memorial Bridge (a.k.a. the Maumee-Perrysburg Bridge) was replaced in 2002, Board Member and local history buff Gary L. Franks, a semi-retired professional engineer, documented the construction of the new bridge and demolition of the old on a website.

As the construction proceeded, Gary became interested in the history of the bridges preceding the 1929 bridge. As he researched old books, newspaper records and ODOT files, adding tidbits to the website about the older bridges dating back to 1839, he decided to document the information he had accumulated.

The end result was a book entitled Bridges At The Foot Of The Rapids - An Illustrated History of Maumee-Perrysburg River Crossings and Construction of the 2002 Fort Meigs Memorial Bridge. Local historical river fords and ferries are also documented as well as railroad and interurban line bridges. The 250 page book is published in full color with many historical  photographs being in print for the first time.

Anyone interested in  local transportation history and in the types of bridge construction employed over a 160 year period should have a copy of this book in their library.

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Bridges at the Foot of the Rapids
Gary L. Franks, PE 2003

The Maumee & Western Reserve Road began as an Indian trail running between two important rivers and two Native American settlements in Northwest Ohio. One was the "Foot of the Rapids" of the Maumee River, known in early times as the "Miami of the Lake". The other end of the trail terminated at the lower rapids of the Sandusky River, also the location of a river ford. 

Lands in the Black Swamp region ceded by the Indians to the United States under the Treaty of Greenville (1795), included a Twelve Mile Square Reserve centered near the Foot of the Rapids as well as a Two Mile Square Reserve centered near the lower rapids of the Sandusky River. But with no roadway between them, settlement of these reserves was very slow. In 1823,  the United States Congress gave the State of Ohio the authority to build a road and title to the one-mile strip of land on each side. The resulting Maumee & Western Reserve Road was completed in 1827, with many improvement upgrades in the following years..

Historical roadside plaques in Woodville and Perrysburg indicate that the original thirty (30) milestones were placed along the road in 1842, after the completion of a major upgrade. In 1961, milestones of cast concrete were placed in the nine (9) locations where the originals were missing.

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The Maumme & Western Reserve Road: Its History and a Survey of the Milestones
Gary L. Franks & Tony Clark 2008

This book, currently out-of-print, written by Ardath Danford, a librarian at the Way Public Library, was published for Perrysburg's Sesquicentennial in 1966.

It was a substantial undertaking of gathering and assembling numerous facts. Ardath's acknowledgement section in the book states "Interest in local history is expressed nowhere more frequently that at the public library. That is where readers expect to find the answers to questions, whether about their own community or about the world at large. Unfortunately, the latter often prove to be more readily available than does the record of past events in the immediate vicinity. rarely does the librarian have the opportunity to solve the problem somewhat by writing the record herself, but such was the case in this instance."

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The Perrysburg Story: 1816-1966
Ardath Danford 1966

This book, currently out-of-print, written by Ardath Danford, a retired librarian from the Way Public Library, was published to update the original title, The Perrysburg Story 1816 - 1966 (above).

This book incorporates virtually all of the information in the 1966 book as well as events occurring in the twenty-six year period between publications.

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Perrysburg Revisited
Ardath Danford 1992

The Local History Room at Way Library is a great resource for books, maps, pictures and other printed materials about Perrysburg and the surrounding area.  In addition to the books identified above, the following local history books are included in the Way Library Local History Collection:

The Spaffords in Wood County by Judith P. Justus 2003

A history of Amos Spafford and his descendants. Amos Spafford was one of the earliest settlers in the area, arriving here with his family in 1810 to serve as "Collector of the Port for the District of Miami". The family settled on the plain just below the bluff where the future Fort Meigs would be constructed. This book chronicles the life of Amos, his wife Olive, and their descendants.

Friendly First Church by Judith P. Justus 1996

A history of Methodism in the Maumee Valley. Methodism came to the Perrysburg area in 1819 with the arrival of John P. Kent, a circuit rider preacher. The Spafford Family was active in the formation of the church here. This book covers the 175+ year history of the First United Methodist Church of Perrysburg from its formation in 1819 to 1995.

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