The Wolcott House Museum

1035 River Rd.
Maumee, OH 43537

419-893-9602   |
Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tours available 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Adult General Admission: $8, see website for discounts

The Life and Legacy of James Wolcott and Mary Wells

Built over 175 years ago, the Wolcott House is a museum dedicated to the history of the Wolcott family and Maumee Valley. The home’s beautiful architecture tells its own story of the Wolcott’s life along the river.

The Wolcott House Museum was built by James Wolcott and his wife Mary Wells, daughter of Indian scout William Wells and the granddaughter of Little Turtle, the Miami leader of an Indian confederation against white settlement in the Ohio territory. During the nineteenth century, Ohio’s strategic location between Lake Erie and the Ohio River made the land very desirable to potential settlers. Construction of Ohio’s major canals in the 1820s and new commercial opportunities caused an influx of immigration to areas near the future canal systems. James and Mary journeyed to Maumee in 1826, and settled between the Maumee River and the developing Miami and Erie Canal. The following year, the US government granted Indiana land to build the Wabash and Erie Canal, which connected Lake Erie to the Wabash River in Fort Wayne; when completed, it which became the longest canal in the country. The new waterway provided settlers along the Maumee River access to shipping routes across the nation, and during the canal era’s peak merchants in northwest Ohio prospered. Wolcott established retail and wholesale businesses, building his own steamships to transport merchandise. By 1837, Wolcott’s business along the river was thriving, and James and Mary became prominent members of the Maumee community. During the ten years spent growing his business, Wolcott made additions and renovations to their home, a Federal-style mansion visitors can tour today. Over the years, the house passed between generations of the family, and in 1957 the final Wolcott descendent to own the land, Rilla Hull, donated the home to be operated for the benefit of the public.

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Notes for Travelers

The Wolcott House Museum is the home of the Maumee Valley Historical Society, and located on the Wolcott Heritage Center & Grounds. The grounds include a Welcome Center, the Maumee Memorabilia Museum; and historical structures originally constructed in the mid to late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, preserved and moved to the site, including a log cabin, farmhouse, schoolhouse, depot, and a church.

Additional Resources

Canals for a Nation: The Canal Era in the United States, 1790-1860, Ronald E. Shaw.