Discovering history at the Richard Howe House

Written by: George Ebey, Grants & Strategic Initiatives Coordinator

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The Richard Howe House offers a prime location for visitors who are looking to discover more about the history of the Ohio & Erie Canalway system in Northeast Ohio. In particular, students from many local grade schools have made it a destination to learn about this rich cultural resource.  Built in 1836 by Richard Howe, Head Engineer of the Ohio & Erie Canal Norther Division, the house now offers a first floor Visitor Center as well as over a half-acre of well-maintained grounds for students to visit and explore.

Students who come to the Howe House can expect to find a variety of interactive displays and presentations designed to introduce them to this fun and fascinating chapter of their community’s history.

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Guests enjoying the displays of the Richard Howe House. Photo by Meghan Meeker.

One person they’ll meet is none-other than Richard Howe himself in the form of our virtual presenter.  Our unique projector display brings the head engineer of the Ohio & Erie Canal to life as he gives a three-minute discussion about his life and his accomplishments. His smiling face, authentic outfit, and fascinating canal facts never fail to leave an impression with all who stop by.

After their visit with Mr. Howe, students can learn more about what life was like for children their age during the canal era. Trunks like the one at the Richard Howe House were used to store goods on canal boats where space was at a premium and luxuries like closest and wardrobes were unheard of. Our trunk contains numerous props and artifacts that help illustrate the way of life for a canal family in the early and mid-nineteenth century.  For instance, a replica of a canal boat leads to a discussion about the boats themselves, how they worked, and what it was like to live on one at the time. Practical artifacts such as cooking utensils and Canal-era toys will bring the history alive right before their eyes.

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George Ebey presents Canal facts to students in the Richard Howe House amphitheater.

During the spring and summer months, larger groups can enjoy a presentation in our very own outdoor amphitheater. This unique setting offers students a chance to learn more about the history of the Ohio & Erie Canal while they sit directly next to the canal itself!

The Ohio & Erie Canalway is one of Northeast Ohio’s most endearing cultural resources and we hope that you and the young students in your life can visit us soon to learn more about it.

The Richard Howe House is open year round on Monday through Friday during business hours. Visitors are encouraged to stop by anytime. For classroom trips and larger groups, we ask that you please contact us in advance so that we can make the proper arrangements for a group presentation. Presentations typically run from twenty to thirty minutes and are subject to staff availability. Thank you.

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