One doesn’t usually have to travel very far to experience the living history of northwest Ohio’s past. There are plenty of places in the area where you can immerse yourself in the historical people, places, and events that helped shape Toledo and the surrounding region. These kinds of places are all around you…
The Manor House at Wildwood Metropark. The Collingwood Arts Center. Sauder Village. Fort Meigs.
And, the Wolcott House.
Also sometimes referred to as the Hull-Wolcott House, this two-story, fourteen room mansion actually began as a tiny log cabin on the banks of the Maumee.
James Wolcott and his wife, Mary, built the small house with dreams of a big family and prosperous business.
Mary Wells was the daughter of William Wells, who it seems has his own historical claim to fame, and his Native American wife, Sweet Breeze.
As a child of 11, William was kidnapped from his home in Kentucky and eventually adopted by Chief Little Turtle of the Miami. William took to his new family and even fought alongside Chief and tribe during the Indian Wars. In 1795, William served as an interpreter for the Miami people at the historic Treaty of Greenville.
James Wolcott was a solid entrepreneur who owned two successful steamships that transported goods up and down the Maumee River. In fact, the business was so successful that between 1827 and 1836, the little log cabin on the river transformed into the stunning home it is today.
James and Mary had a big family, just as they had planned. Five boys and one daughter. Three generations of Wolcotts were born and raised here until 1957 when the last living member of the family, Rilla Hull, donated the house to public use upon her death.
The Wolcott House now serves as a historical center and museum operated by the Maumee Valley Historical Society. Visitors to the museum are able to see how daily life unfolded for the early settlers and builders of the northwest Ohio region.
But, that’s not the only attraction the Wolcott House may hold for visitors. Legend has it that previous occupants of the Wolcott family may still be lingering around, moving unseen from room to room. A lot of time, energy, and living took place here. A lot of connections were forged; connections that, perhaps, were so strong not even death could sever them.
Visitors to the Wolcott House have reported many strange instances of phenomena over the years. People often claim to have been touched or tapped on the shoulder by an unseen presence. Footsteps are said to be heard wandering empty halls and rooms. And, a few visitors have been said to have glimpsed the fleeting shadow of an apparition darting from one room to another.
The Wolcott House is one of those buildings in the northwest Ohio region that is just as historical as the exhibits it displays on a daily basis. It’s a building where the past is revered and explored. So, perhaps, it’s no wonder that while people come to visit the past, the past also steps forward to visit them.
Cover photo: The Toledo Blade
The Wolcott Heritage Center is located at 1035 River Road in Maumee, Ohio.
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