The Museum, known as the Stewart-Studabaker house, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The beautiful, three-story brick Victorian mansion housing the Museum was built in 1882 by Alvin Stewart, an engineer in charge of construction of the first railroad through Wells County, the LE&W RR or Lake Erie and Western (nicknamed “Leave Early & Walk”). The Wells County Historical Society purchased the home in 1974. Its 14 rooms house more than 20,000 carefully catalogued items relative to Wells County’s history, culture, industry, and genealogy. These items are either on display or available for study and research. An extensive library devoted to Wells County history, records, and genealogy is available for research. Two rooms on the first floor and two rooms on the second floor are decorated as they were in the late 19th and early 20th century. Exhibits are constantly changing, so visit often.
Featured is an exhibit of Everett Scott memorabilia. Scott, a Bluffton native, was a member of the Boston Red Sox, and later the New York Yankees in the 192’s. He established records, some broken only recently. A friend of Babe Ruth, they roomed together. The Bluffton High School baseball field was named Scott Field in his honor and memory. Among the Scott material on display is his first pay check from the New York Yankees and a baseball autographed by Scott and his friend, Babe Ruth.
Another Bluffton native featured is Charles C. Deam (1865-1953), a local druggist whose hobby of botany developed until he became an authority recognized world-wide in his field. “Plain ol’ Charlie,” as he called himself, was Indiana’s first state forester. Named for him are the Deam Oak, Deam Lake State Recreational Area, and the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area.
Other displays include “Monday, wash day – Tuesday, ironing” with an original Horton hand-operated washing machine, made in Bluffton before the turn of the century. Read pages from the Civil War diary of William Bluffton Miller (the first child born in Bluffton). Also for viewing is a display of the Williamson-Cook Iris farms that were located near Bluffton.
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