Hands-On History at AuGlaize Village

Hands-On History at AuGlaize Village
May 16, 2024 mcdmarketing
People dressed as soldiers after a WWII reenactment at Auglaize Village

Tim Frederick has always held a deep appreciation for history. As treasurer of the Defiance County Historical Society, Frederick says the stories of our ancestors illustrate how our community arrived in the present day, offering guidance and wisdom to the future.

“I think we’ve got an awesome country. We’ve got a lot to offer in terms of opportunities,” Frederick said. “Sometimes kids don’t understand that nowadays, and I’d like to build on that and teach them about our history.”

visitors learning about how early settlers live in AuGlaize Village

Preserve Our History

Since 1966, AuGlaize Village has been dedicated not only to preserving the history of Defiance County but to retelling and recreating moments in history through special events held on the village’s grounds. Such occasions provide residents with a rare glimpse into the past and an opportunity to share in the appreciation of the community’s development since Revolutionary times. Best of all, those who attend discover these events are much more than mere demonstrations.

“The Defiance County Historical Society volunteers’ goal is to promote the history of our country and get young kids interested with a hands-on approach,” he said. “We like getting kids involved whether they could pick something up and check it out or help make apple cider or sorghum molasses. We like getting people engaged more hands-on rather than sitting and watching somebody else do it.”

Blacksmith at AuGlaize Village

Experience Our History

The three-day Settlers’ Encampment offers a glimpse of life from the time of the French and Indian War through the War of 1812. In addition to live cannon demonstrations, guests are invited to visit with a blacksmith, tinsmith, and coppersmith onsite crafting handmade items. Meals made from period-accurate recipes also give visitors a taste of the cuisine of that time, while a trapper display showcases the different furs one might find in what was then known as the Northwest Territory. Additionally, the three-day Johnny Appleseed Festival captures the life and times of one of Defiance County’s most famous residents while beckoning guests to try their hand at numerous pioneer techniques, such as sorghum molasses and apple cider presses, cooking apple butter, operating a sawmill and offloading the cut wood, and trying tractor pulling during the antique tractor shows. Events such as these provide a chance not just for children to try these activities, but the parents as well.

Last year, I was running the sorghum press and let some kids run it. I think the youngest was 4 years old,” Frederick said. “Afterward, both parents wanted to try it.”

A Global Scope of History

But events at AuGlaize Village aren’t just limited to telling the story of Defiance County. Events like the World War II re-enactment showcase the technology and strategies used during the European Theater as well as highlighting the lives of the G.I.s who served. “The World War II re-enactors had a lot of weapons displays, a field hospital with medical tools, and the food rations they used,” Frederick said. “They even had a group come in and set up a foxhole, and of course, a couple battle re-enactments each day.”

Other occurrences like Motorama — a showcase of antique cars, firetrucks, and motorcycles — offer a fun, family-friendly atmosphere to gather and admire the relics of a bygone era. Others like the AuGlaize Village Muzzleloaders, AuGlaize Riflemen, and AuGlaize Rough Riders Cowboy Action Shooters allow groups to indulge in some friendly competition.