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the museum of vandalia & butler township

Hoottinger Homestead

The Hoottinger house is identified by its features as an 1840 federal house.  Federal style houses are of a more conservative exterior decor than the later Victorian period.  Typical of the period, these houses had a balanced facade with minimal decorative additions.  The Hoottinger house gains its impact via shutters on the windows and the main entrance door.  The other external impact items are the handsome half round window light, above the front door, along with the raised panels that surround the door opening.

The interior design layout was called a "saddle back", due to a central hall with rooms off to each side.  The interior is of a colonial style.  The baseboard and the windows treatment were common for the period.  The fireplaces were functional with the parlor fireplace having a decorative mantle.  There is a cooking fireplace in the kitchen and a dainty fireplace in the 2nd floor master bedroom.

The basement is constructed of coursed stone, with a bonding material of lime and sand, and is otherwise not impressive being of a shallow nature.  This original farm house with its period outbuildings effectively portrays early Americana.


We began restoration efforts by stabilizing the exterior, including tearing down the chimneys and restoring them, followed by installing a wood single roof that is correct for the period.

The emphasis feature of the house beyond the interesting door area is the very effective shutter treatment.  Beyond being decorative, the shutter allowed windows to be opened with the benefit of keeping unwanted animals out, as well as offering shading for the sunny days.  All of the infrastructure items have been renewed including - heating and cooling, electrical, plumbing, plastering, repair of interior trim, and floor repair.  The basement was critical, due to structural damage by termites and re-pointing the coursed stone of the foundation.  Restoration is an art of making the house reflect how it might have looked a hundred years ago.

View pictures of the interior of this house, as well as early pictures of the Hoottinger family & farm, on the Hoottinger Homestead Pictures page.

Log House

This classic old two story log structure was originally located in Loramie Township / Shelby County near Russia, Ohio.  The exact age is not known, however, we do know that the existing steeple notch log corners were discontinued around 1825.

This structure was the home of the Francis family until 1898, and was then owned by the Barga family until 1971.  The Dunker family kept it for a while and sold it to Lawrence Royer, who ultimately sold the dwelling to the Historical Society of Vandalia-Butler on April 23, 1979.

Members dismantled and stored the timbers until 1980, when Mary C. Hoottinger donated the 8 1/2 acres homestead to the Historical Society.  Ground was broken on this site on May 3, 1981 and the log house was officially dedicated on September 18, 1983.  Typical furnishings and decorative items have been donated by members and friends.

View additional pictures of the interior, as well as the dismantling and move of the log house, on the Log House Pictures page.

Brown School House

Brown School was a one room subscription school established in 1811 in the eastern part of Butler Township.  This brick structure replaced the original log school around 1850.  By that time it was a public school supported by property taxes, instead of individual subscriptions.

The ringing of the bell in the bellfry summoned the children to school every morning.  Brown School, named after its first teacher, Mr. Brown, included grades one through eight with the same school master for all students.  On Fridays, parents would come to school to watch the students cipher.

These one room schools were placed within walking distance of the students, normally one to two miles apart.

In 1921, when "One Room" schools were disbanded, Butler Township had amassed 12 schools pus a two story multiple room school in the village of Vandalia.  The schools had no indoor plumbing or electricity.

The school board sold Brown School on December 31, 1921.  It was remodeled into a residence, consisting of four rooms with indoor plumbing, electricity and a back door.

The school was moved by the Historical Society of Vandalia-Butler from Brown School Road (East of Vandalia) to this site in September 11, 1991 and placed on a new foundation (including a basement).  A new wood single roof, shutters and belfry were restored on the exterior.  The interior was carefully renovated to depict the 1860 era.  The school was dedicated April 25, 1993.

See more pictures on the Brown School House Pictures page.

'Alkaline Springs' Spring House

The Spring House has a rich history of being used by the Hoottinger family to provide Alkaline Springs well water to its guests. When the Hoottinger property was donated to the Society we continued to make the water available. We don’t snow plow in the winter so weather permitting the Spring House is open every Saturday 9AM – 3 PM and every Sunday 12:30 – 3 PM. We ask for a donation of 25 cents per gallon for the water and we ask that you bring your own containers to fill from our Spring House sinks.

See more pictures of the exterior and interior of the Spring House on the Spring House Pictures page.





The 1880's Barn

See more pictures of the barn and some other items of interest on the 1880's Barn Pictures page.