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The Mills Brothers

Mills Brothers Exhibit

The Mills Brothers Exhibit is located at the north end of the museum. The exhibit features around 100 of the more than 300 Mills Brothers record albums that were donated by Pat Marra to the LCHC.

The Mills family moved from Piqua, Ohio to Bellefontaine in the late 1920s. The Mills brothers, John C., Herbert, Harry, and Donald began singing as boys at their father's barbershop, on street corners, in churches, at county fairs and in many other venues. Their first big break came in 1925, when they performed on WLW radio in Cincinnati. They signed a contract with CBS radio in New York in 1929.

The Mills Brothers had numerous chart-topping singles and performed with Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and many other musical greats of the time. The group held concerts on every continent and performed for such distinguished listeners as King George and Queen Mary. They also appeared in several movies in the late 1930s.

In 1939, John C. died of pneumonia at the family home in Bellefontaine. However, the boy’s father, John H., replaced his son as bass in the quartet. John continued to sing with the group until his retirement in the late 1950s. Donald, and his son John, carried on the music of the Mills Brothers performing together from the early 1980s until the elder's death in 1999.

The Mills Brothers made over 2,500 records with nearly 50 million records sold. The amphitheater at Southview Park was named after the Mills Brothers and The Logan County Historical Society erected an historical marker in their honor at Brown Park.

Mills Brothers Exhibit

Business and Industry Room

This room has exhibits on some of the long-standing and impactful businesses and industries that were, or are still, located in Logan County. The businesses and industries featured in the room will change every few years.

Current Exhibit: Fun, Funky, & Fascinating Businesses of Logan County

Items of interest:

  • Band Organ made by Don Stinson of Stinson’s Band Organ Co. in Bellefontaine

  • Zerbee Texteel outdoor furniture chair

  • Zerbee Rotating Toothbrush

  • Marie’s Candies exhibit

  • Logan County’s unique attractions – Ohio Caverns, Zane Caverns, Piatt Castles

Business and Industry Room
Doctor's Office
Doctor's Office

Doctor's Office

The Doctor’s Office or Medical Room details some of the medical history of Logan County and those who have practiced in the field. The exhibit includes information on Native American medicines up through the present. Most of the equipment displayed in this room was used by Logan County physicians in their practices.  For example, the x-ray equipment was used in Dr. Charles Barrett’s office.

The doctors’ bags contained instruments used in examining patients and performing minor surgeries.  Doctors also carried pills and medicine cases, as pharmacies were few and far between.  Physicians made “house calls” to homes of patients too sick to come to the office. They treated these patients in their homes and sometimes performed surgeries on the kitchen table.

Other items of interest:

  • X-ray table

  • Fee Bill from 1919

  • 3-legged walker made in Logan County

  • Wooden wheelchair

  • Old medicines / instruments

  • Pratt family medical / military exhibit

Toy Room
Toy Room

Toy Room

The Toy Room currently houses the exhibit entitled “Never Be Bored with Board Games”. The exhibit tells a brief story of the nearly 7,000-year-old history of people having fun playing board games. The colorful exhibit features over fifty popular board games and card games, as well as a few not-so-well-known games.

Items of interest:

  • Figure out how the words on the Scrabble board relate to Logan County

  • Determine who the guilty person, what weapon he/she used, and in what room the crime occurred in the Clue game

  • Correctly answer the Trivial Pursuit questions with Logan County connections

Agricultural Room
Agricultural Room

Agricultural Room

This room features exhibits on Logan County’s rich agricultural history. Farming has been a vital part of the county from the time of the American Indian tribes who lived here to the present. Although the equipment, technology and size of farms have changed, Logan County remains a strong agrarian area.

Items of interest:

  • Corn Sheller

  • Moldboard Plow

  • Foot-Mounted Corn Knife

  • Milking Vacuum Pump

  • Horse drawn corn harvester

  • Logan Fair & 4-H mini-exhibits

Communications Room
Communications Room

Communications Room

This room contains the equipment and instruments people use to communicate with each other and for entertainment. Changes in technology are a major feature of this room.

Items of interest:

  • Telephone collection

  • Camera collection

  • Phonograph collection —includes cylinder type, 78 records, 45 records, and eight track cassettes

  • Radio collection

School Room
School Room

School Room

Many children who grew up in the 1800s and early 1900s attended one-room schools. Students, regardless of age, were taught in one room by a single teacher. At different times in the past, Logan County had well over 100 one-room schools. Our schoolroom portrays a one-room school between 1870 and the early 1900s.


​During the school day, the teacher listened to each student read and recite poems and speeches, as well as watched each student do arithmetic on slates. The students would spend long hours practicing penmanship, as great emphasis was placed on this art. Students were divided up by age (or grade) so the teacher could teach them at the appropriate level. Older students helped the younger ones when the teacher was busy.

*Note – the Society owns the Flatwoods School, a one-room school used by a black settlement in northeastern Logan County from 1868-1927. The school is now located at Veterans’ Park in West Mansfield. Starting in the Spring of 2003, the Society opened the school for field trips where students can experience what it was like for students in one-room schools.

Other items of interest:

  • Exhibit of Logan County one-room schools along the wall

  • Slates/slate pencils

  • School bell

  • Desks – including some made by A.C. Elliot & Co. in Bellefontaine

  • Harper School sign

  • Lunch pail

Indian Pioneer Room

American Indian/Early History Room

Logan County has a rich American Indian history from prehistoric peoples who hunted here to the historic tribes that called the area home from the mid-1700s to the early 1830s. The Shawnee was the most prevalent tribe in the area with Blue Jacket’s Town, Mackachack, Moluntha’s Town, Wapatomica and others. The Wyandot and Delaware also had villages here. Benjamin Logan led a force of Kentucky mounted militia against many of these Indian towns in 1786 and burned them. Most of the villages were rebuilt. After Gen. Wayne’s defeat of the Northwest Indian Confederation under Blue Jacket at Fallen Timbers (near Toledo) in 1794 the Indians were forced to sign the Greenville Treaty. The treaty line ran through Logan County with the land south of the line becoming U.S. land. Old Town, near DeGraff, was the site of one of Tecumseh’s first councils championing a united Indian amalgamation. The council was discovered by Simon Kenton & James McPherson. The Indians had to sign other treaties that gave away more land and put them on reservations, including the Lewistown Reservation in the northwest part of Logan County. Eventually the Indians were forced to reservations in Oklahoma and Kansas in the early 1830s.

This room contains some collections from Logan County American Indian enthusiasts, ranging from the Paleo Indians c. 9500 B.C. through the 1830s including:

Items of Interest:

  • Indian & pioneer history timeline on wall outside of the Indian and Pioneer Room

  • Tools/utensils

  • Weapons - tomahawks, axes, atlatls, bows and arrows, projectile points

  • Kentucky Long Rifle

  • Shawnee war club donated by Allan W. Eckert

  • Map on the floor showing the Indian towns in Logan County

  • Tools found near where Alexander McKee’s Trading Post stood at south end of Bellefontaine

  • Artwork of Hal Sherman, including “Death of Chief Moluntha”

  • Re-creations of American Indian tools and weapons by Michael Brinkman

  • Stone blocks from Simon Kenton’s barn near Zanesfield

  • Mastodon’s tooth found in 1888 by Eugene Grimes in Mac-O-Chee Creek near West Liberty

  • Mastodon jawbone and femur bone - A mastodon was a hairy, elephant-type animal that died out a few thousand years ago. 

General Store
General Store

General Store

Each community had at least one store. It was known as the general store since it had a varied inventory of items for sale. Everything from foodstuffs such as sugar, spices, and flour to yard goods, garden tools and farm tools could be found here or ordered from a catalog and delivered to the store. The general store sometimes served as the local post office and a meeting place where neighbors could hear the local news, visit, or play checkers.

Miracle remedies were also available for sale. One famous remedy was Sloan’s Liniment -- “good for man and beast.” It was marketed by Earl Sloan, who grew up in the Zanesfield community. His father created a horse liniment, and later, buyers discovered it was good for human aches and pains. Earl became a millionaire, and his philanthropy benefited many in Logan County.

Items of interest:

  • Post office boxes from Russells Point

  • Cash register from Jackson’s Newsstand (Bellefontaine)

  • Sloan’s Liniment bottle and case

  • Cigar case/humidor from the old Big Four Railroad Depot in Bellefontaine

Military Room
Military Room

Military Room

Logan County has a long history with the military from the Indian wars through the present. This room features Logan County’s contribution to our country’s war effort through the local men and women who have served in the armed forces. This room contains military artifacts from the early pioneer days to the War on Terror.

Items of interest:

  • Tree stump from the Battle of Shiloh, Civil War, 1862, in Tennessee, brought back by members of the GAR in the 1890s.  The number of rounds embedded in the wood (inactive) illustrate how fierce the battle was.

  • Gun collection – includes military and hunting weapons

  • Uniforms from all armed services including West Point Cadet uniform worn by Fred Reynolds of Bellefontaine and Air Force Academy uniform worn by Nathan Bratka of West Liberty

  • Veterans’ organizations exhibit

  • Cold War exhibit including the 664th A.C.&W. Radar Detection Base that was located at Campbell Hill (Ohio’s highest point) in Bellefontaine

  • Various Vietnam artifacts on loan, including POW shackles

  • Military helmet/hat collection, including helmet from a German officer taken by decorated soldier and movie star Audie Murphy. The helmet was donated by Bellefontaine native Clayton Benton V who was friends with Murphy.

  • The Bellefontaine Canteen exhibit includes photographs, text and letters about the canteen that the wives of the railroad workers and other ladies operated during WWII. The ladies on the homefront provided soldiers coming through the county on trains with free food, hot coffee or a cold glass of milk, magazines or even allow them to make a phone call home.

  • Special exhibit on the three local men who have been killed in the War on Terror: Jeremy Hodge (Rushsylvania), David Spicer (Zanesfield) and Dennis Hansen (Indian Lake)

Rotatin Exhibit Room
Lions Club

Rotating Exhibit Room

Current Exhibit: Fraternal & Sororal Organization Histories

This room will feature rotating exhibits (2-3 years). The current exhibit is about Fraternal and Sororal Organizations in Logan County. The exhibit features Masonic organizations, Order of Odd Fellows, Elks, Lions, Eastern Star, and much more.

Items of Interest:

  • Bellefontaine Elks Bylaws

  • Shriner Clown shoes of Bret Stahler

  • Antioch Shriner Fezzes of Dr Charles Barrett and Tom Schoff

  • Knights Templar apron and sword of Forest Booher

  • Knights Templar uniform of Howard Lutz

  • 33rd Degree Masonic ring of Alfred Butler

Indian Lake Room
Indian Lake Room

Indian Lake Room

The Indian Lake Room tells the history of the lake region from its time as a swampland, to the Lewistown Reservoir, to its heyday as Sandy Beach Amusement Park and the Big Band era dance pavilions, through the 1960s riots to the present time as a state park and recreational lake. Indian Lake has always been an important part of Logan County, and for much of its history the county’s primary visitors’ attraction, known as “Ohio’s Million Dollar Playground”.

Items to note:

  • Collection of autographs from Big Band performers who played at the dance pavilions at Indian Lake in the 1940s & 1950s

  • Governor’s table made by an inmate of the Ohio Penitentiary for Gov. Vic Donahey (1923).  This parquet table was used by the Governor in his summer home on Governor’s Island, Indian Lake. 

  • Section of Dream Bridge that connected the islands

  • Mouse head from the Wild Mouse roller coaster

  • Car from a “Kiddie ride” in Playland Park

  • Model of the Silver Streak roller coaster built by Dennis Long

Undergrond Railroad
Underground Railroad Room

Underground Railroad Room

Logan County played a very important role in the Underground Railroad in the years leading up to the Civil War, with many stations or stops in the county. Numerous Logan Countians hid runaway slaves in their homes or on their property, while others helped lead the refugees on their escape. The Pickrelltown area was the most concentrated area of the UGRR in Logan County because of the prevalence of Quaker families there. The exhibit in this room details some of these people and their efforts in this secret and illegal system.

The furniture in this room belonged to Obadiah and Sarah Williams who were active on the Underground Railroad in both Logan and Hardin Counties. Escaping slaves slept in this bed while staying with the Williams. The ladder in the hallway across from this room was used by runaway slaves to get in and out of a cave on the Isaac Patterson homestead near Northwood in northern Logan County.

Other items of note:

  • Rifles made by local gunsmith and escaped slave Mesheck Moxley

  • Desk from Geneva College

  • Wood from the Henry Pickrell home

  • Map showing the UGRR routes through Logan County and Ohio

Household Room
Household Room

Household Room

This exhibit contains tools and utensils that were so important in households from about 1850 to 1950.


Items of interest:

  • Step Ladder/Ironing Board invented by John W. Miller of Bellefontaine

  • Butter churn collection

  • Spinning wheels

  • Quilts and hand-woven jacquard coverlets made in Logan County in the 1840s-50s

  • Laundry equipment, including a “cradle” washing machine

  • Early non-electric vacuum cleaners

  • Gasoline stove

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