Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum
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.
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.
Home 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
Andrew 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.
CURRENT EXHIBITS AT THE TUTTLE
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.
DINNER BELL FOODS INC.
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 the 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.
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.
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.
Defiance 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 collection, stories and images of the families that settled in the Defiance area are highlighted in this exhibit.
Tuttle Coins from the American Colonies
The Andrew Tuttle collection 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.
The Defiance City Hall of Fame recognizes persons who have brought fame and honor to the city by their personal accomplishments, here or afar, or have made direct or notable lifetime accomplishments to the city in education, arts, business, industry, government, civil service, literature, media, or sports.
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 Class of 2018 comprised of Dan Batt, Robert Boehm, Ph.D., and John T. Rohrs is highlighted.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.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.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
Class of 2016
Jane Martin Small
Fern Cunningham Stone
Class of 2015
Elizabeth (Betty) Wurst
Class of 2014
Robert Bruce Cameron, M.D.
T. T. Shaw
Class of 2013
Jonas Colby, M.D.
Lester L. Schmunk
Class of 2012
Richard R. Seibel
John H. Shock
Dr. Flossie E. Whitney
Alexander H. Wyant
Class of 2011
John Kissner, Sr.
Gen. Delbert Schultz
Eugene H. Smart
Karl H. Weaner
Class of 2010
Father Charles Ruess
Class of 2009
Class of 2008
Oscar W. Jones
Class of 2007
Joyce Parker Jackman
Class of 2006
Class of 2005
Class of 2004
Class of 2003
Wm. C. Holgate
TOWN AND GOWN
Watch for the TOWN and GOWN fall schedule.
All programs sponsored by the Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum are open to the public and are free of charge.
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
Randall Buchman, City Historian
Richard Rozevink, Director
Jan Bechtel, Curator of Exhibits
Herman Dally, Curator of Collections
Judy Dally, Director of EducationWatch for coming events and new exhibits dates.
The Tuttle will be:
Sunday, May 27
Memorial Day Weekend
Sunday, September 2
Labor Day Weekend
Thursday, November 22
Thursday, December 27
New exhibit opened July 13, 2017:
The Coins They Left Behind:
German Coins 1800-1900
Featuring coins from the Andrew Tuttle Collection. German immigration shaped the culture and history of Defiance and the surrounding area. German coins, stories and images of the families that settled in the Defiance area are highlighted in this exhibit.Archaeology and Fort Defiance Artifacts
The Coins They Left Behind: 1800 – 1900
Defiance During Times of War and Conflict: 1638-1843
The Dinner Bell Story
F.C. Duerk Passenger Car Patent Model
Refreshed – B&O Railroad Depot and Defiance Train
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.
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.
Odd and Curious Money
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.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
Twice a year 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 will be played as part of special programs.