8 Historical Highlights in Ashtabula County

This county is full of history. Find museums centered around WWII, the Underground Railroad, maritime heritage, and more.

Explore these historic spots to learn more about Ashtabula County’s place in history.

Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum – Ashtabula

A terminus, or end point, of the Underground Railroad, William and Katharine Hubbard’s house on the shore of Lake Erie helped fugitive slaves reach freedom.

Fast facts:

  • Around 1834, the Hubbards moved to the area to help relatives with their businesses and in 1840 they built a home on the shores of Lake Erie.
  • They risked stiff penalties by opening their home, operating under the code names of “Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard” and “The Great Emporium,” to slaves seeking safe passage to Canada years before the American Civil War.
  • Although no records were ever kept as to the number of slaves that found protection at the home, no slave was ever captured.

Ashtabula Maritime & Surface Transportation Museum – Ashtabula Harbor

The museum dedicated to maritime heritage was built in 1871 and was once home to the lighthouse keeper and Coast Guard chief. It displays maritime artifacts and tells the story of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes shipping.

Don’t miss:

  • The world’s largest piece of beach glass – it weighs 275 pounds!
  • The world’s only scale model Hulett ore unloader.
  • A six-foot model of the Titanic and a survivor’s personal story

North Coast WWII Museum – Conneaut

This museum features exhibits and artifacts that showcase the history of WWII, as well as the life of service personnel and their families.

The highlights:

  • Uniforms and equipment used by U.S. soldiers during this tumultuous time in U.S. history
  • Vivid photos of war found on the pages of Life Magazine
  • War-time ration stamps on a table in a kitchen showing what the American home front was like
  • Exhibits focusing on the German forces and the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944


Finnish-American Cultural Center – Ashtabula

Sitting on the former site of the Sovinto Hall that was built in 1897, the Finnish-American Cultural Center has been resurrected to promote and preserve the Finnish heritage in the area. Artifacts, photos, and a vintage rug loom are on display.

Ashtabula County Antique Engine Club – Williamsfield

The club opens three times a year to showcase its antique engines, tractors, vehicles, and more. Among the permanent displays are the O&LE Depot, a country store, a one-room schoolhouse, a functioning sawmill, a blacksmith shop, and 1930s gas station.

Historic 19th Century Jefferson Depot – Jefferson

Take a costumed guided tour back in time through one-room schoolhouses, train depots, and general stores. This historic living history village started as a movement to save the passenger and freight depot of the Lake Shore and Michigan Railroad.

Olin’s Museum of Covered Bridges – Ashtabula

These historic structures were the life passion of Naomi Olin Bottorf, known as “The Covered Bridge Lady.” Find this museum within walking distance of Olin’s Covered Bridge and learn about different truss types and the significance behind Ashtabula’s covered bridges. Preview some local favorite bridges or check out our full list and map of Ashtabula’s covered bridges.

Conneaut Railroad Museum – Conneaut

This museum is located inside the 1900-built former Lake Shore and Michigan Southern passenger station. Climb aboard and glance into the train engineer’s cab of a Nickel Plate Steam Locomotive, take a peek inside a classic wooden caboose, or marvel at the HO-Gage train display.

Categorized Under: History Covered Bridges Museums Things to Do