Brownhelm Historical Association

The Brownhelm Historical Association works to preserve the rich history of Brownhelm, Ohio. The mission of the Brownhelm Historical Association is to honor Brownhelm’s rich heritage by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of its people and the area. The Brownhelm Historical Association currently maintains three historic sites.

Brownhelm School

The Brownhelm Historical Association is renovating the former Brownhelm School (1889-1988) located at 1940 North Ridge Road. The Historic Brownhelm School & Museum offers a place for meetings, hosts the annual Brownhelm Community Christmas, provides events for the community, and hosts fundraisers such as the annual Grandma’s Attic Sale. Upstairs classrooms house museum space displaying historical artifacts from the school’s past and from notable historical locations such as Swifts Mansion and the Light of Hope Orphanage.

Brownhelm Heritage Museum

The Brownhelm Historical Association maintains the Brownhelm Heritage Museum at 1355 Claus Road, Vermilion. Built in 1870, it was formerly the German Evangelical and Reformed Church and was given to the association by its last 3 remaining members. The church was restored and it now houses many artifacts of Brownhelm history. The December Christmas Meeting is held at the Brownhelm Heritage Museum.

Brown’s Lake Road Cemetery

The 'lost forgotten cemetery', located at 1863 Liberty Avenue in Vermilion, is no longer forgotten. Through much time and legal effort, the BHA managed to gain ownership to protect, renew, maintain and honor the cemetery site.  Now known as Brown’s Lake Road Cemetery, it was named after Col. Henry Brown, founder of Brownhelm and who established the first ‘burying ground’ in the new township. His daughter Charlotte Brown, young wife of Ezekiel Goodrich, was one of the first to be buried there. Many of Brownhelm’s early settlers were also laid to rest there, including a Revolutionary War veteran, Bildad Belden.

Step Back In Time With Us...

When Brownhelm Historical Association Began

The Brownhelm Historical Association, Established 1993.

On March 3, 1993, a group of interested people gathered at the home of Marcia DePalma with the intent of forming a group dedicated to preserving Brownhelm’s rich history.

The following fourteen people were at that first gathering:

Marcia DePalma, Jody Frimel, Ed and Marilyn Brill, Fred and Peg Fillmore, Mary Konick, Melvin Niggle, Lora Wilms, Bonnie Cutcher, Peg New, Don Bechtel, Tracy Lockhart, and Anne Gray.

We have now grown into the Brownhelm Historical Association with 150-plus members.  It was also at that meeting the group had it brought to its attention by the late Mary Konick of a 'lost and forgotten cemetery' on Lake Road.  From these early beginnings formed a strong group of people wanting to ensure the history and become active in the preservation of three historical locations within the township.

What Brownhelm Historical Association Is Doing

The Brownhelm Historical Association currently has a major project underway in the renovation of the former Brownhelm School (1889-1988) located at 1940 North Ridge Road.  In 2017 the school will be named the Historic Brownhelm School & Museum. The goal of the Brownhelm Historical Association is to create a place for their meetings, to host the annual Brownhelm Community Christmas, and to provide events for the community and fundraisers such as the annual Grandma’s Attic Sale.  (In September 2015, the school also saw a historical play on its stage, the first one in over 30 years, followed by a community dinner afterwards.)

The BHA will also use additional upstairs classrooms to create museum space to display historical artifacts from the school’s past and from notable historical locations such as Swifts Mansion and the Light of Hope Orphanage.  Through the dedication and hard work of a small group of members, the east classroom, former library, bathroom and hallway have now been completely and beautifully restored.  The west classroom and gym, now near completion, should be ready for use in 2017.  When many old schools are being demolished, the Brownhelm School still stands through their dedication and efforts!

Brownhelm Historical Association Meetings & Programs

The Brownhelm Historical Association holds meetings the first Wednesday of each month beginning in February, March, April, May and June; off July and August; resume September, October, November, and December.

Meetings are held at the Historic Brownhelm School and Museum at 1940 North Ridge Road, Vermilion.

Note: the December Christmas Meeting is held at the Brownhelm Heritage Museum (formerly the German Evangelical and Reformed Church) at  1355 Claus Road, Vermilion.

Doors open at 6:15 for those who wish to attend the business meeting from 6:30-7pm. Those wishing to only attend the program should arrive between 7-7:15pm for refreshments and socializing. Programs start at 7:30pm.

Become A Brownhelm Historical Association Member

We are always happy and grateful to welcome new members interested in learning about the history of Brownhelm and helping to preserve it for future generations.


Please mail both the application and a check for dues, payable to the Brownhelm Historical Association, to:

Brownhelm Historical Association

PO Box 303, Vermilion OH 44089

Brownhelm Historical Society Community Events

Brownhelm Township Events Dates & Details

BROWNHELM HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION PROGRAMS

The Brownhelm Historical Association holds meetings the first Wednesday of each month beginning in February, March, April, May and June; off July and August; resume September, October, November, and December. Meetings are held either at the Carriage Barn in Mill Hollow or at the Historic Brownhelm School and Museum on North Ridge Road. Note: the December Christmas Meeting is held at the Brownhelm Heritage Museum (formerly the German Evangelical and Reformed Church) at  1355 Claus Road, Vermilion. Doors open at 6:15 pm for those who wish to attend the business meeting from 6:30-7 pm. Those wishing to only attend the program should arrive between 7-7:15 pm for refreshments and socializing. Programs start at 7:30 pm.

HISTORIC BROWNHELM SCHOOL OPEN HOUSES

Tours are offered throughout the year of the Historic Brownhelm School & Museum (1889-1988). See the restoration that has been done by the Brownhelm Historical Association. If you are alumni of the school, or are simply interested in seeing what has been accomplished in the beautiful building, please stop by for a visit!

BROWNHELM MEMORIAL DAY PARADE “The Shortest Parade in Town”

The Shortest Parade in Town takes place on Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend. The Amherst American Legion leads the parade, followed by the Brownhelm Historical Association wagon, Brownhelm 4-H Club, antique cars, tractors & more; all are welcome! At the Veterans Memorial site a short ceremony honoring our Veterans follows.  There are also services at the Rugby Cemetery on North Ridge Road & Brown’s Lake Road Cemetery after the ceremony at Brownhelm Cemetery. All are welcome to join in the parade or at the Brownhelm Cemetery. 


ANNUAL BHA POTLUCK DINNER & WHITE ELEPHANT AUCTION

Join the Brownhelm Historical Association for the last meeting before summer with a potluck dinner and an exciting and fun auction. White Elephant items and some wonderful donated items make up the auction. Bring a side dish to share. The event takes place at the Historic Brownhelm School & Museum - 1940 North Ridge Rd, Vermilion.

BROWNHELM CEMETERY GRAVESTONE RESTORATION PROJECT

Participants attend workshops to learn how to properly and safely restore headstones. This ongoing project seeks to restore the historic gravestones in Brownhelm Township Ohio cemeteries through volunteer efforts. Join the cause and learn how to restore headstones.

CIVIL WAR DAYS AT MILL HOLLOW PARK

The Brownhelm Historical Association, in partnership with the Lorain Metro Parks, presents Civil War Days in September.  Experts in Civil War era topics share their knowledge during scheduled demonstrations on period cooking methods, medical practices, uniforms, music and more throughout the day.  Take a tour of the Benjamin Bacon home, then spread out a picnic and enjoy the day! Educational fun for the whole family! Free admission at Vermilion River Reservation - Mill Hollow Park.

ANNUAL “IF TOMBSTONES COULD TALK” CEMETERY WALK  

Come stroll through the Brownhelm Cemetery in October where you will walk back in time and meet some of Brownhelm’s earliest pioneers and residents. Costumed reenactors share their life stories in a program that “brings history life”! Brownhelm Cemetery is located at the corner of North Ridge and Sunnyside Road 


CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING AT HISTORIC BROWNHELM SCHOOL 

Join us for an Old Fashioned Christmas Tree Lighting and singing a few carols in November to start the holiday season. Refreshments and socializing are offered in the Historic Brownhelm School & Museum in Brownhelm Township Ohio.

OLD FASHIONED HOLIDAY AT THE BENJAMIN BACON HOUSE

Each December re-enactors recreate an Old Fashioned Holiday at the Benjamin Bacon House located in Mill Hollow Park, also known then as Brownhelm Mills or Bacon’s Mills.  Guests travel in time to the 1860’s as re-enactors portray early Brownhelm residents preparing for the holiday party.  Enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of Christmas in the candlelit home.  Tours leave about every 15 minutes from the Carriage Barn. Outdoor campfire, hearth cooking demonstrations, music, and more.  Performed by many members of the Brownhelm Historical Association and sponsored by the Lorain County Metro Park. 



BROWNHELM COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS

December 24th, annually, the Community Christmas with Santa Claus delivers gifts to Brownhelm Ohio residents. 20 Santas visit all homes in Old Brownhelm, the area originally served by the Brownhelm School before it was consolidated with Firelands Schools. Every child under 10 receives a gift; those up to age 14 receive candy and fruit. Seniors citizens are gifted with a half-peck basket of fruit. Cards are sent out to everyone serving in the military. Anyone who might go without Christmas dinner discreetly receives food packages.

The Brownhelm Community Christmas Santa visits have become an integral part of the season for Brownhelm residents. Organizers rely solely on donations; they do not solicit businesses but local businesses donate fruit and solicit donations. Volunteers drive Santa from house to house, wrap gifts, assemble fruit baskets, pack candy into bags, and help the Santas get dressed on Christmas Eve.

Brownhelm Township Events Calendar

Brownhelm celebrates its rich history and cultural heritage with a variety of events scheduled throughout the year. Join us for seasonal celebrations, museum tours, reenactments, parades, outdoor concerts, car shows, community potlucks, auctions, rummage sales, workshops, presentations and more.


Brownhelm Historical Association Officers & Board

For more information about the Brownhelm Historical Association programs, events,  and projects please call one of the following people on our board: 

  • President: Sue Giancaterino 
  • Vice President: Marcia DePalma 
  • Treasurer: Jim Giancaterino 
  • Secretary: Nancy Denslow 
  • Historians: Marilyn & Ed Brill  
  • Programs: Marcia DePalma 
  • Membership: Katie Rivet
  • Cemetery Preservation: Katie Rivet 

Trustees               

  • Dorothy Bechtel 
  • Anne Palmer         
  • Bob Leimbach

Contact Brownhelm Historical Association

By Mail

Brownhelm Historical Association

PO Box 303, Vermilion OH 44089

By Email

[email protected]



Brownhelm Historical Association
Preserving the Rich History of Brownhelm, Ohio

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