James Barnes, whose business was livery service in Willoughby, built the house in 1908. The livery service was located across the street where the City Hall parking lot is now. The house is Bungalow architecture built from dark red wire-cut brick and glacier rubble boulder, described as cobblestone. The Barnes family owned the house until 1943.
Various families owned the house from 1943 to 1973 when the City of Willoughby bought the house and used it for the Parks and Recreation Department. In 2011, the Willoughby Area Welcome Center bought the house and began renovation. The Welcome Center opened October 22, 2011.
Inside the house you will find visitor information brochures and maps for northeastern Ohio, gifts, souvenirs, and post cards of the Willoughby area. Historical rooms in the house are:
The Medical History Room tells the story of the Willoughby Medical College which was located in Willoughby from 1834 until 1847. This school occupied the same site as the present Willoughby-Eastlake Technical Center. In 1843 part of the medical faculty moved to Cleveland and organized the Cleveland Medical College which is now the medical school of Case-Western Reserve University. In 1847 the remaining Willoughby faculty moved to Columbus and started what is now the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Additional displays in this room include antique and modern surgical instruments, historic patent medicines in bottles, boxes, tins and other containers and archival diagnostic and treatment devices from the 19th century.
The Willoughby Historical Society Room featured items are: Western Reserve Map showing Willoughby in the late 1700s as Charlton, Ohio, a diploma from Willoughby Union High School for Florence Sheffield whose family owned Sheffield Dairy in town, a bookcase containing miniature English books, a red Victorian style lamp, leather traveling cases, period style hats, parasol and dress. A World War II Army uniform, coat and blanket along with a bookcase filled with memorabilia that tells the story of Willoughby businesses 1850-1950.
The Fireplace Room holds historic displays that are changed every few weeks to reflect what events are going on in Willoughby. During the “Cruise-In” mid-June, we will display pictures and information about old cars like the Ben Hur that was manufactured in Willoughby. For the “Last Stop Willoughby” in August, interurban pictures and information will be shown at the house, and during baseball season in the summer we will feature collections of baseball cards and books.
10 am – 4 pm Saturday