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A Blast from the Past: The History of Dr. James Ford Historic Home

Visitors and residents alike are no stranger to our town’s deep, historic roots. From theatres built in the early 1900s to century-old hotels, there is something for every history buff - and it’s all accessible right here in Wabash.

Located at 177 W. Hill Street, the Dr. James Ford Historic Home offers a piece of Civil War Era history that is frozen in time. The Dr. James Ford Historic Home attracts many visitors each year, ranging from Civil War enthusiasts to regional students attending an afternoon field trip.

With roots dating back to the 19th century, it’s no surprise that this historic monument holds quite a bit of history. Continue reading for more information about the life of Dr. James Ford, and the current use of his former home.

Dr. James Ford: A Jack-of-All-Trades

Wabash-native Dr. James Ford originally purchased the land to build his home in 1838. By 1841, his family took up residence, despite that fact that the home was unfinished. Dr. James Ford designed and built several additions to the home throughout the years, which now expands to nearly 4,000 square feet.

While the Ford family resided in the home, their family blossomed. As time went on, Dr. James Ford and his wife, America Holton, raised seven children. Also residing in the home was Dr. Ford’s mother, Rebecca Snedeker Ford. Rebecca helped raise the children of Dr. Ford’s oldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth, who passed away at the age of 28.

While his official title would indicate he was a physician, Dr. Ford was much more than that. He also served as a surveyor, agronomist, architect, Civil War surgeon and, of course, father. The details of his life are chronicled in his personal writings.

The Transfer of the Historic Home

Ownership of the home was passed on from generation to generation. Then in 2002, the Charley Creek Foundation purchased the venue. The chairman at the time, Richard E. Ford, was actually the great grandson of Dr. Ford. The organization began a full restoration of the Ford home in 2003, opening it to the public in 2005.

Since then, visitors have flocked to the Dr. James Ford Historic Home to get a first-person view of life in the Civil War Era. Richard E. Ford specifically requested that The Honeywell Foundation be granted ownership and operation following his passing in 2015.

Today, the Dr. Ford James Historic Home is open to visitors every Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday through Thursday by appointment. Admission is $4 for adults, and free for children ages 12 and under. Seasonal events are also held throughout the year.

To hold a private or corporate event at the Dr. James Ford Historic Home, contact Michele Hughes, Dr. Ford Historic Home Manager, at or (260) 563-8686.

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