Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum

Tuttle Logo

Andrew L. Tuttle, a lifelong resident of Defiance, Ohio, bequeathed his extensive collection of Native American artifacts, coins, documents, stamps, military memorabilia, and other artifacts, to the city of Defiance with the stipulation a museum would be established in his name. The City accepted the entire collection in 2003 and steps were taken to catalog and stabilize the collection. The Tuttle, as the museum has been nicknamed, officially opened to the public in May 2013.

Although the museum bears Tuttle’s name, the museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the city of Defiance and the surrounding area. The exhibits tell Defiance’s story by highlighting the who, what, when, where and how. Therefore, the exhibit topics change from time to time to allow more of the story to be told.

Come and view first hand why the city of Defiance has become a “Great Place to Live.”

Major Exhibit On Display:

Defiance During Times of War and Conflict

Defiance During Times of War and Conflict is a major exhibition illustrating the impact that the Great Black Swamp, the rivers, and the wars of national prominence had on the growth and development of Northwest Ohio and Defiance.

Beaver Wars

This exhibition is made up of several different exhibits. The first two exhibits look at the Great Black Swamp and the rivers near Defiance. A third exhibit is the Beaver Wars. These wars were actually a series of conflicts in Northwest Ohio and the Great Lakes region among Native Americans, the Dutch, the French and the British, fought between 1638 and 1700 to establish control of the lucrative beaver pelt trade.

With these exhibits find answers to what the Great Black Swamp was and how it impacted the area. Learn how important the rivers are to the region, and from the Beaver Wars exhibit why beaver pelts were so valuable to the Europeans, what items were being traded, and who was doing the trading. Learn who the voyageurs were. Discover the effect that the Beaver Wars had on area people. Learn how the Native Americans came to depend on the European traders.

The fourth exhibit in the Defiance in Times of War and Conflict is the American Revolution, 1774-1783. This exhibit features text, photos, and reproductions of art work to explain the impact of the American Revolutionary War had on Ohio and especially Northwest Ohio. The major events that took place in Northwest Ohio and the significant personalities from the Native Americans, the British, and the patriots are described.

The final exhibit of the exhibition highlights the Indian Wars, the War of 1812 and the Native American removal. The timeline of events show that the culmination of both the Indian Wars and the War of 1812 resulted in the transfer of control of the northwest Ohio territory to the young nation of the United States and forced the Native Americans from their ancestral home.

This major exhibition is designed to make the museum guests aware that all major conflicts in North America between 1628 and 1843 had some impact in Northwest Ohio and even the area near the confluence of the Maumee and Auglaize Rivers.

The Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum has been created to foster an understanding and appreciation of the history of the city of Defiance and its immediate surrounding area by responsibly collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting items from the area’s natural and cultural history for the benefit of present and future generations.

large safeHome Saving and Loan Building

On April 18, 1888, several local businessmen founded The Defiance Home Saving and Loan Association, which grew to serve the financial needs of the community as well as play an important part in the city’s development.  By 1917, the Home Saving and Loan occupied an impressive classic Roman style building at 514 West Third Street.

The Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum is proud to call this historic Defiance landmark its current home.

Andrew L. Tuttle and His Legacy

portrait of young andrew tuttleAndrew L. Tuttle is remembered in Defiance as a unique individual who had a passion for collecting fine objects, and who became the primary impetus and benefactor of the current Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum.

Andrew L. Tuttle was born in Defiance, Ohio on August 24, 1918.  During his early years he lived at 211 East High Street, in Defiance, overlooking the Maumee River.  Perhaps his father or grandfather sparked his interest in Native American tools and culture as they trekked the fields of Northwest Ohio looking for artifacts to collect.

Andrew Tuttle graduated from Defiance High School in 1937 and served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945.  He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in business from Harvard University in Cambridge.

Many facets of Tuttle’s life are a mystery, but he definitely was a world traveler whose excursions allowed him to expand his intriguing collection of coins, stamps, sculptures, Native American artifacts, and much more.

Unfortunately, in 2003 Andrew L. Tuttle died in a car accident while returning home to Defiance from Florida.  It was his final wish that his entire collection be a gift to the City of Defiance providing the city would establish a museum in his name.  The Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum opened proudly to the public in 2011.


Click on the circles to navigate through the exhibits.

Simplex Aircraft Corporation

In 1928 the Simplex Airplane Corporation began manufacturing an airplane it would soon fly and advertise as far away as California. For as little as $3500, a person, even in small Defiance, Ohio, could own a plane of his own – but where was an airport to accommodate this marvel? The Defiance Chamber of Commerce proposed to build that airport and planned to purchase forty acres of land, twenty acres on either side of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, east of Squires Avenue and south of the Children’s Home on Second Street. The Chamber eagerly suggested a community fundraiser – a “flying circus” for Labor Day 1928. A temporary runway was constructed just to encourage other aviators to fly in and show off. Twenty thousand folks crowded the flying circus, so many that the National Guard and local police kept order, and a hospital tent sat close by just in case of accidents. The B & O Railroad sent ten policemen to keep the crowd from overflowing onto the train tracks. The Diehl Brewing Company set up a concession stand selling “Chocolate Baby” for a nickel. There were two bands, a zeppelin, a parachutist whose lines tangled up, thirty airplanes, flying races, but, alas, “wing-walking” was not allowed. The entire story of the Simplex Corporation is the current feature exhibit at the Tuttle Museum.

Bronson Air Circus Show Two Simplex Red Arrows
From left, Delbert Hammon, Mayor Ronald Baringer, Francis Johnson
Earl J. Allen, President George Roberts


Dinner Bell Foods Inc. grew from a small beginning as Defiance Sausage Works to be a large

Defiance area employer with a loyal and dedicated work force. Old photos, documents, dinner bell

advertising,and artifacts document Dinner Bell Food, Inc. story.

Jazz Greats Milt Buckner and “Wild Bill” Davison

The lives of Milt Buckner and “Wild Bill” Davison, two noted jazz musicians from Defiance, are highlighted in this exhibit. Their contributions and innovations to the world of jazz music are presented with photographs, posters and their music.

"Wild Bill" Davison
Milt Buckner

Locks of Defiance on the Miami and Erie Canal

The Miami and Erie Canal played an important role in the early development and growth of Defiance.

This exhibit highlights the canal infrastructure, that once was very prevalent in the Defiance downtown area.

Photographs, artifacts and written material answer questions about why the canal was built, how the

locks worked, the economic impact of the canal, and why the canal declined in use.

Defiance’s Attic

The updated exhibit features a miscellaneous collection of items from Defiance businesses of the past and present including pharmacy and beverage bottles, advertising give-a-ways, and decorative pieces. Commemorative plates featuring Fort Defiance and other Defiance sites and institutions are also on display.

The Great Black Swamp

This exhibit describes the Great Black Swamp and answers questions regarding its formation, location, size, and impact on the region. Where did it go?

The Big Three –

Rivers in Defiance

This exhibit describes the impact of the Maumee, Auglaize, and Tiffin Rivers on the Defiance area. The confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee Rivers is a major natural feature of the area, used by Native Americans and early European traders and soldiers to identify the region.

Native American Artifacts

The Native American artifacts currently on display represent only a small part of Andrew Tuttle’s collection of ground stone objects and pottery. The items are believed to be artifacts of the Archaic, Glacial Kame, and Adena cultures.

Bird Stone

railroad memorabiliaDefiance Passenger Depot

Showcased are artifacts from the former Defiance passenger depot, which curtailed services in 1971, and was burned by vandals in 2005.  A variety of related artifacts add to the story of the importance of the B & O Railroad to the development and growth of Defiance.

The Coins They Left Behind: German Coins 1800-1900

The German heritage of Defiance from 1800 to 1900 is central to the story of our community. The German immigrants came to the Confluence (Defiance) seeking freedom from the oppressions of their German state. They brought to their new home the energy and ingenuity that created the growth and development of Defiance and its surrounding area. German coins from the Tuttle collectionstories and images of the families that settled in the Defiance area are highlighted in this exhibit.

Currency of the Civil War

The outbreak of America’s Civil War brought great changes and challenges to the money system on both sides of the conflict. The governments of the North and South needed to find ways to keep the economy running, while dealing with paper and metal shortages, and the rising costs of war. These pressures changed our form of currency to this day. Historical figures and classical symbols on coins and paper money expressed the values and ideals of both sides. Come explore this interesting era through a variety of Civil War era currency. The exhibit includes examples of paper money, coins, and other forms of exchange.

Defiance City Hall of Fame

2019 Defiance City Hall of Fame

The Defiance City Hall of Fame selection committee, comprised of 17 members, is seeking community members to recognize in the spring of 2019. Mail or deliver nominations to the city historian at the Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum by Friday, January 10, 2019.. Nomination forms are available at the Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum, The Crescent-News business office, Defiance Public Library, and City Hall.

The criteria for a nomination are: the person must have been deceased for more than ten years; must meet two of the following, born in the city of Defiance, lived in the city of Defiance for at least eight years, died a resident of the City of Defiance, or buried in the City of Defiance; and the nominee must be associated with a significant historical, cultural or humanitarian activity in Defiance or must have brought recognition to Defiance. Supporting information for nominations should include biographical information, photo, newspaper articles, and display items if available.

Defiance High School government students under the supervision of Hans Zipfel will give presentations on those chosen for the 2019 Defiance City Hall of Fame. The Defiance City Hall of Fame induction is scheduled for Friday, May 10, 2019, at 7:00 P.M. at the Stroede Center for the Arts. The museum will be open following the program. The event is held in conjunction with the Lilac Festival on Saturday, May 11, 2019.

Each year plaques honoring current Hall of Fame members are prominently displayed within the museum, and information is available about each one. Currently the Hall of Fame is comprised of Dan Batt, Robert Boehm, PhD., and John Rohrs. The Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum, 514 West Third Street, downtown Defiance is open Thursdays from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., the first Sunday of the month 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M., and by appointment. The Tuttle is closed on holidays.



batt - Copy (495x640)

Dan Batt
1904 – 1982
Local Jurist and Political Leader
Dan Batt was a local jurist, political leader, and involved in bringing Northwest State Community College to this area.

boehm b - Copy

Robert Boehm, Ph.D
1925 – 2007
Scholar and Civic Leader
Robert Boehm was a nationally recognized scholar, citizen leader in the Defiance political arena, and president of the Defiance City Council.

Rohrs, John T.

John T. Rohrs
1918 – 2000
Developer and Community Leader
John Rohrs was a community leader and developer, instrumental in developing Defiance’s medical services and facilities, and a major promoter of Defiance City Schools.

Class of 2017

M. Ben Gaeth

August A.W. Martin

Lester Snyder

Class of 2016

William Daoust

John Deindoerfer

Jane Martin Small

Fern Cunningham Stone

Class of 2015

Milt Buckner

Goldie Maag

Justin Coressel

Michael Schultz

Elizabeth (Betty) Wurst

Class of 2014

Thomas Boyd

Robert Bruce Cameron, M.D.

T. T. Shaw

Class of 2013

Reinhard Brown

Jonas Colby, M.D.

Lester L. Schmunk

Class of 2012

Jane Bohlmann

Richard R. Seibel

John H. Shock

Dr. Flossie E. Whitney

Alexander H. Wyant

Class of 2011

Asel Hagerty

John Kissner, Sr.

Gen. Delbert Schultz

Eugene H. Smart

Karl H. Weaner

Class of 2010

Jacob Ballreich

Nicholas Conomos

Erwin Clemens

Paul Goldenetz

Father Charles Ruess

Class of 2009

Nellie Gary

Jonathan Hale

Karl Hench

Claude Henkle

Florence Palmer

Class of 2008

Jacob Greene

Theodore Hench

Oscar W. Jones

John Nolan

Robert Whitaker

Class of 2007

Emilie Brown

Reeder Hutchinson

Joyce Parker Jackman

Alexander Latty

Don Miller

Jane Weisenberger

Class of 2006

Ronald Baringer

William Davison

Ralph Peters

Lee Serrick

Robert Zeller

Class of 2005

John Cameron

Bert Davis

Clarence Derricotte

Harold Palmer

Lee Tustison

Class of 2004

Fred Brown

Robert Compo

Peter Kettenring

Kevin McCann

Horace Sessions

Bud Widmer

Class of 2003

Edward Bronson

John Fauster

Wm. C. Holgate

Augusta Kehnast

Charles Slocum


Thursday, January 17
7:00 P.M.
Schomburg Auditorium – Defiance College Campus
Randy Buchman, city historian, will survey the historical story of Defiance, Ohio, and its significance in the creation and development of the United States.


Thursday, February 21, 2019
7:00 P.M. – Stroede Center for the Arts

Meet the infamous Simon Girty, portrayed by Dave Westrick. Girty struck terror into the hearts of the U.S. settlers in the Ohio Valley and Kentucky from 1770 to 1815. He was a trusted friend and translator to the Native Americans and a traitor to those who won the American Revolution. Decide for yourself. Was Simon Girty a friend or a foe?

All programs sponsored by the Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum are open to the public and are free of charge.

Any easy access entrance to the Stroede for the Arts is located on Third Street.

Contact Information:

The Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum
514 West Third Street
Defiance, Ohio 43512


Open Thursdays: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
First Sunday of the Month 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tours by Appointment
Closed Holidays


Randall Buchman, City Historian

Richard Rozevink, Director

Jan Bechtel, Curator of Exhibits

Herman Dally, Curator of Collections

Judy Dally, Director of Education

Special Events

Please refer to the  2019 spring Town and Gown programs.

The Tuttle will be:


Thursdays, December 20  and December 27



Sunday, December 2, 2018
1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.


Journey back in time through the lens of Henry Roehrs in an exhibit of his photographs of Defiance at the turn of the last century.

As cameras and film became available to amateur photographers, Henry Roehrs joined others, like Edward Bronson, snapping pictures of his hometown. Roehrs documented public buildings, businesses, the canal and railroads, and events in Defiance from the early 1900’s. Thanks to a donation of these photos by his granddaughter, Rita Meier, we are able to share them with the community.

Please join Rita Meier and us December 2, for a glimpse of Defiance a century ago.

The Coins They Left Behind: 1800 – 1900

Defiance’s Attic – Updated

Defiance During Times of War and Conflict: 1638-1843

The Dinner Bell Story


Tuttle Coins from the American Colonies

The Andrew Tuttle collection

1765 mexico pillar dollar

of coins and currency is extensive, including traditional and nontraditional coinage and currency from many countries and time periods. Presently coins from the United States Colonial Era are displayed in the massive vault that was part of the former Home Saving and Loan, and which now is an attraction of the Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum.

Odd and Curious Money

Katanga Cross

Katanga Cross

Money includes more than just paper bills and metal coins. For thousands of years, countries and cultural groups have developed their own unique forms of exchange.

Andrew L. Tuttle collected currency,coins and various forms of money from countries all over the world. Featured in this exhibit are some of the oddest and largest pieces from his collection, such as a piece shaped like the body of an alligator, shoe money, pieces pierced with holes and those shaped like knives or straight razors. The exhibit attempts to answer questions regarding the history of money and how it has been used through the years.

apothecary jars

Apothecary Jars

Defiance’s Attic

The Defiance’s Attic exhibit features objects from the Tuttle’s permanent collection that are recent gifts or are items that cannot be used alone as part of a major exhibit. Currently featured are old promotional items from downtown Defiance merchants and businesses, a WW II Civil Defense helmet, apothecary jars, and many pieces of Defiance memorabilia saved in Defiance attics over the years.

Defiance’s Attic

The Defiance’s Attic exhibit presents highlights of the history of the Defiance City Schools and the Defiance College with a display of a variety of articles that offer a glimpse into the education story.

Do you have items that may be of interest to others?

Help the Tuttle.

Residents can share local history-related items with the Tuttle by calling 419-782-0476 to arrange an evaluation time with a staff member.

Fifty Years and Still Going

rettig family organ

Rettig Family Organ

The Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum honors Defiance city businesses that have been operating for over fifty years in the community. Each business is recognized at a civic program hosted by the Defiance City Mayor at the Stroede Center located at 319 Wayne Avenue.

The Rettig Music Store is one example of this. Founder Emma Rettig’s family Miller organ is exhibited inside the museum, along with a timeline of the business’s development. The organ isplaye d as part of special programs.