Sauder Village managers and contractors broke ground, Thursday, Dec. 14, for the 1920s Main Street project.
The project will replicate a portion of a 1920s Main Street typical to Northwest Ohio.
In a press release, village officials said the project is the next phase of the Sauder Village “Walk Through Time Experience.”
Kim Krieger, Sauder Village public and media relations manager, said the first phase, which starts construction soon, represents an investment of about $1.5 million.
Future phases will be added over time.
Funding includes $630,000 from State of Ohio capital funds administered through the Ohio Facility Construction Commission.
Local contractors Armstrong Excavating, Fayette, and Wyse Electric, Archbold will be on-site in December to begin the first steps to install the infrastructure for the expansion.
The Main Street road will be constructed with the necessary water, gas, sewer and electric lines in place for the project.
The plan also involves building of new structures including a community plaza and bandstand, a new barbershop, and livery.
The barbershop will include the collection of artifacts from the present Okuley Barbershop.
Krieger said the Elmira Depot, located in the Village Green, will be moved to the new site and will become a stop on the Erie Express, the miniature train that circles the Village.
The depot is period correct to the 1920s and is “very much part of the story,” Krieger said.
Walk Through Time
The “Walk Through Time” at Sauder Village has been developed over the past 15 years.
Designed to preserve history in a chronological series of living history areas, it began with Natives & Newcomers, which was the first phase of the village master plan. It opened in 2003.
The project includes Natives & Newcomers, the Pioneer Settlement, the Grime Homestead, and the 1920s Main Street.
Planning for the Main Street project started in 2011, Krieger said.
Guests visiting the Village can experience more than 120 years of Great Black Swamp history while traveling from Natives and Newcomers to the Pioneer Settlement, The Grime Homestead, and soon, the 1920s Main Street, the press release states.
“From doing research, gathering artifacts and fundraising to collecting parts of facades from historic buildings being torn down in local towns, a lot of behind-thescenes work has already taken place,” said Debbie Sauder David, village president and chief executive officer.
“We’re excited to have local contractors beginning their work on this project so that we can move forward with our plans to share even more unique demonstrations and hands-on experiences with our guests next season at our 1920s Main Street.”
“My grandpa built Sauder Village to honor the past and inspire the future,” David said.
“As part of our master plan, we continue to look for new ways to immerse guests in authentic experiences that make history relevant to our lives today.”
David is the granddaughter of the late Erie Sauder (1904-1997), founder of Sauder Woodworking, which started in 1934. The company has grown to be the largest manufacturer of ready-to-assemble furniture in North America.