It has come to my attention that there is some confusion about whether or not the Hardin County Heritage Farm is part of the Hardin County Fairgrounds. I wanted to take a moment to clarify things. The Hardin County Fairgrounds and the Hardin County Heritage Farm are two different properties. It is easy to see how people could think they are the same property because they are so close together but they are not the same. While both properties are owned by the county, the fair board controls the fairgrounds while the Hardin County Heritage Farm is controlled by the museum. Neither has a say in what happens on the other’s property even though throughout the years there have been instances of collaboration between the two. Both parties are respectful of the other.
In 1986, the Hardin County Commissioners leased the Yost Farmstead (where the house and Burnison Barn are located) to the Hardin County Historical Society which would later become the Hardin County Historical Museums, Inc. In 1995, the Commissioners leased 11.23 acres located on the east side of the Hardin County Fairgrounds to HCHM to develop an agricultural museum. This land is where the Beech Grove School House and Ada railroad building are located while the rest is used as fair parking during the fair and farmland the rest of the year. The house on the Hardin County Heritage Farm is controlled by the commissioners and has a caretaker who helps maintain the property. The upkeep of the house is taken care of by the commissioners while the other buildings such as the Beech Grove School, Ada Railroad building, Staadt Log House, Dunkirk Jail and Burnison Barn are all the responsibility of the museum.
We are very thankful that the Commissioners of the county both past and present have allowed us to continue to be on Fairground Road. We look forward to the future as we continue to develop the property. The work we have done at the Burnison Barn is just a small step in this process. Currently, we have a committee working to develop the Beech Grove School house so that county schools and other groups can use it. We have recently turned the Dunkirk Jail back into a General Store and we hope that in the future we will have the buildings open more often for people in the county to enjoy.
I hope this helps to give everyone a clearer picture of the Hardin County Heritage Farm. As always, if you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact the museum. I am always willing to answer questions and help to educate the community about our amazing museum.
Sheena Striker, Director
Hardin County Historical Museums, Inc.
223 N Main Street, Kenton, OH 43326