the museum of vandalia & butler township
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
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
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
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
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
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
The 1880's Barn
more pictures of the barn and some other items of interest on the
1880's Barn Pictures page.