Kim Krieger, media relations director for Sauder Village, said the doors will open on a new car dealership and a service station this week.
The two businesses are additions to the 1920s Main Street at Sauder Village.
“As guests enter the Rich Ford auto dealership they’ll be immersed in a car dealership of days gone by, with a 1926 Model T Ford in the showroom, a table and chairs where sales took place, and an office complete with telephone and typewriter,” Krieger said.
“Guests visiting the dealership will learn about the transition from horses to automobiles and how America’s new love for the automobile had an impact on society.”
Information from the Archbold Buckeye 1991 Quasquicentennial (125th) anniversary edition states the first Ford dealer in Archbold was operated by P.M. Bacon.
The dealership operated out of a building in the 200 block of North Defiance Street.
John Rich purchased the business from Bacon on Nov. 5, 1926, renaming it “Archbold Sales & Service.”
The business was later renamed “Rich Ford,” eventually adding Lincoln and Mercury lines.
The dealership moved to a building on Depot St., and then in 1973, to a new building on Stryker St.
The business was sold in 2017 to Terry Henricks, who now operates both Ford and Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealerships in the village.
“As a local dealership in business during the 1920s and with the support of the Rich family, it was appropriate for the Rich Ford business to be represented as a local Ford dealership along our 1920s Main Street,” said Andy Brodbeck, director of development for Sauder Village.
“There are so many interesting stories to be shared about farmers trading cows, horses or plows to get their first automobile, the popularity of the Ford brand in the 1920s and the role of dealerships in sales and financing of vehicles.”
Adjacent to the auto dealership is a service station, “complete with an old-time gas pump and a service shop full of car parts, batteries, tools, oil and other unique artifacts to help bring the history of this time period to life,” Krieger said.
Construction continues on the rest of the 1920s Main Street project.
All brick, block and stonework are now complete and contractors are working on the sidewalks and road.
“Wooden beams are now in place at the livery and wooden boards are being added to the walls,” Krieger said.
“Other new updates include the addition of four lights hanging over the street, installation of a fire escape, and the finishing touches being put on the theater front,” Krieger said.