–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff
PUBLICATION DATE: Oct 30, 2018
The barn in the Sylvania Historical Village housing the blacksmith area, classroom space and memorabilia of early Sylvania has been officially named the Armstrong Barn, in recognition of Bob and Joy Armstrong. A naming dedication ceremony followed the 33rd annual Fall Festival parade at the barn. Family, friends, Sylvania Historical Village board members and city officials attended the event to honor the Armstrongs and commemorate their long years of service to the Village and the city of Sylvania.
The Sylvania Town Crier Mike Lieber opened the ceremony with his traditional cry and ended the cry by thanking Mrs. Armstrong for all her help, especially with the era-appropriateness of his outfit and her continuing encouragement for him throughout the years.
Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough opened the ceremonies by pointing out the historical significance of the Armstrong’s involvement with the Sylvania Historical Village. Emphasis on preserving the history of the community became a reality in 1990 with the birth of the historical society and the city’s subsequent purchase of the Cook/Kuhlman house in 1993, which was to become the Sylvania Heritage Museum. The mayor noted that Bob Armstrong became the first president of the early historical society in 1992 and was named to the Historical Center advisory board the following year. Joy Armstrong served as a volunteer and did programming until she was named director of the Sylvania Historical Village in 1995.
“It was 25 years ago, during the
Fall Festival of 1993, that we held an open house introducing the community to the Heritage Museum,” he remembered.
The mayor pointed out that during Mrs. Armstrong’s tenure, with help from her husband and several volunteers, the log cabin was purchased and moved to the village, the train depot was donated and moved, restrooms were constructed, the 1850s barn was built, the stone house school was constructed, the 1915 Engine 403 Baldwin Westinghouse Steeplecab electric locomotive was purchased and renovated, and the car barn was constructed. Mrs. Armstrong led the effort to produce a very successful community play, “Just Around the Bend.” She also orchestrated a large community celebration for Sylvania’s 175 year anniversary. Her primary passion though, was to bring history alive for the hundreds of children whose classes visited the village through the years. She coordinated a group of volunteers who assisted in offering countless historical presentations to school children throughout northwestern Ohio.
“Without their vision, without their enthusiasm, without their vigilance, this Historical Village would not have been possible,” Mayor Stough emphasized.
“The Armstrong roots run deep,” noted Mrs. Armstrong as she referenced the length of time the family has called Sylvania home. “The Armstrongs have been here for 178 years farming the land on what is today, Corey Road and the Franklin Park Mall.”
Today, there are descendants of those early Armstrongs living in Sylvania, actually three families on Summit St. and another on Maplewood Ave. “Discovering one’s past helps us to understand who we are as individuals and maybe see ourselves differently when we see our reflections in the mirror. Looking up ancestor’s records brings history and mystery together and brings families together,” she said. “And, a great source of Sylvania’s history can be found in the series of books by Gayleen Gindy.”