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 2011.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
CURRENT EXHIBITS AT THE TUTTLE
Click on the circles to navigate through the exhibits.
Defiance City Hall of Fame
2020 Defiance City Hall of Fame
HALL OF FAME CRITERIA
The criteria for a nomination are: the person must have been deceased for more than ten years, thus ensuring the legacy of the nominee; 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; in addition, the nominee must be associated with a significant historical, cultural or humanitarian activity in Defiance or must have brought recognition to Defiance.
Defiance High School government students under the supervision of Hans Zipfel will give presentations on each of the 2020 Defiance City Hall of Fame members. The museum will be open following the program where there will be an exhibit of memorabilia for each of the 2020 inductees. The Stroede Center for the Arts is located at 319 Wayne Avenue. There is an easy access entrance to the building on Third Street.
The Defiance City Hall of Fame selection committee chose Leslie Brooke, Evelyn Ryan, and Robert Switzer as members of the 2019 Defiance City Hall of Fame class.
Leslie A. Brooke
1918 – 1995
Music Educator and Promoter of Musical Talents
Brooke was a dominant spokesman for choral music of the Defiance community as an educator, church choir director, and Rotary music coordinator. Under his leadership Defiance High School vocal music was outstanding and considered one of the best in the state. His gift to our students has had a lasting impact on our community.
Writer and Humorist
Ryan wrote humorous stories of her family life that were published in the Toledo Blade, Readers Digest, and Grit. Her successful poetry entries in the Toledo Blade’s poetry contest garnered the title of Poet Laureate. Ryan’s family thrived in difficult times with the contest winnings from her clever jingles and prose. She was memorialized in the book The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio written by her daughter Terry Ryan and a movie of the same name.
Robert Edgar Switzer
1921 – 1995
Local Industrial Administrator, Naval Hero, and Public Servant
Switzer’s leadership at General Motors as Superintendent of Production ensured the company’s success. He received the Air Medal of Honor for his service in the US Navy in WWII. Switzer served his community for nine years as a Defiance County commissioner.
Class of 2018
Robert Boehm, Ph. D
John T. Rohrs
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
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.
TOWN AND GOWN
Postponed – Between Two Worlds: The Life of Alexander McKee
A new presentation date will be posted in the near future.
Between Two Worlds:The Life of Alexander McKee
Presenter: Dave Westrick
Stroede Center for the Arts 7:00 P.M.
319 Wayne Avenue
Alexander McKee was one of the most powerful men on the American Frontier and the virtual king of the Maumee River area. Born to a Scotch-Irish father and a Shawnee mother, McKee spent his life between two worlds. He was a very successful businessman and entrepreneur and an advisor to King George III. The English considered him a gentleman of intelligence and taste. McKee, a member of the Shawnee Nation, was known as Wappemassawa, the Great White Elk. During the French and Indians Wars, he was a confidant of all the tribes in the Northwest. The Indians willingly followed him into battle. The Americans saw him as a traitor, a turncoat, and a dangerous agitator. David Westrick will highlight McKee’s life journey.
Buggies and Wagons and Trucks, Oh My!
Presenters: Leon Jones and Ethan Plummer
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Stroede Center for the Arts 7:00 P.M.
319 Wayne Avenue
The Town and Gown programs are 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 Education
225th ANNIVERSARY of the BUILDING of FORT DEFIANCE EVENTS
The Andrew L. Tuttle Museum thanks the donors to the
Fort Defiance 225th Anniversary Financial Campaign
in support of the anniversary programming and the future success of the Tuttle Museum
Mark Moats Ford, Inc.—Wes Moats
The State Bank
Brent Joost—RE/MAX Realty
Keller Logistics—Bryan Keller
Buckeye Roofing and Exteriors
Advanced Frame and Body Ltd.
Amvets Post 1991—VFWOhio Charities
John W. Weaner—Weaner, Yoder,
Hill, & Weber, Ltd
Bruce S. Kunesh
Kissner’s Restaurant, Inc.—Karl Kissner
Gary C. Grant Insurance Agency
Sam Switzer Realty LLC
The Sherwood State Bank
Rettig Music, Inc.
Jim Zeller, Inc.
Coldwell Banker Sigg Realty, Inc.
First Federal Bank
Keith Hubbard Family Fund
Defiance Rotary Club
Dear Tuttle Guests and Friends,
The health and welfare of the Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum’s staff, board members, volunteers, and guests are of the utmost importance. In keeping with the directives and guidelines put forth by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the Tuttle will comply with the following postponements and closures.
- Postponed – Town and Gown – Thursday, March 26
- Postponed – Town and Gown – Thursday, April 23
- Closed – Tuttle Museum – Monday, March 16 through Sunday, April 12
- No group visits to the museum will be scheduled through Sunday, April 12
Please keep updated by visiting the Tuttle website and Facebook page. If you need to reach the Tuttle, call 419-782-0746 or email email@example.com.
The Tuttle appreciates your patience during this time of uncertainty for not just our institution but for our nation and globally. You will be apprised as the Tuttle’s future plan unfolds.
Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum’s Staff
Randy Buchman, Richard Rozevink, Jan Bechtel, Herman Dally, Judy Dally
November 26, 2020 – Thanksgiving
December 24, 2020 – Christmas Eve
December 31, 2020 – New Year’s Eve
NEW EXHIBIT OPENING
OPENED July, 2019
225th Anniversary of Fort Defiance Commemoration
General Wayne’s Defiance: Images of Fort Defiance
Defiance A Century Ago: The Photographs of Henry Roehrs
Bridging the Maumee: the Clinton Street Bridges
Weapons of the Indian Wars
General Anthony Wayne’s Defiance: Images of Fort Defiance
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 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.
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.
Tuttle Coins from the American Colonies
The Andrew Tuttle collection
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.
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.
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.
Edwin Phelps Memoirs
Edwin Phelps was an early pioneer in Defiance County. As an entrepreneur and a civic leader holding city and county offices, Phelps was instrumental in the county’s development. He recorded his life’s journey in a memoir.
Some of the Phelps memoirs were published in the Defiance County Express in 1886 and 1987 and reprinted in the Defiance Crescent-News in 1934. Another portion was published in the Northwest Ohio Quarterly in 1945.
Those articles, in PDF format, can be accessed through the Defiance County Genealogical Society at http://www.defiancecountygenealogy.org/.
The Tuttle is now on Facebook! Please like and follow our page Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum for Defiance history and events.
Fifty Years and Still Going
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 is played as part of special programs.