The Waterville Gas Company President Robert Black, announced today that the company is proud to donate two of its historic properties, The Waterville Gas Company Building located at 11 North River Road and the adjacent Dr. Welcome Pray home located at 15 North River Road to the Waterville Historical Society.
Both properties are considered to be amongst the most historic buildings in the City of Waterville. Founded in 1888, The Waterville Gas & Oil Company is the oldest family owned utility in the State of Ohio and until 2009, the Waterville Gas Company building served as the headquarters for the Waterville Gas and Oil Company before its move to its current headquarters on Farnsworth Road in Waterville.
According to Mr. Black, “The donation of these properties to the Society was a significant event in the history of the company since they represent a cherished family legacy having been in the family dating back to the founding of the company in 1888. It was a decision that was not lightly made, but with the excellent reputation of the Waterville Historical Society, we were convinced that this significant contribution of a piece of our history would be preserved and utilized in a way that we would be proud.”
“In addition,”Mr. Black stated, “The Society is currently in the process of raising funds for its major capital campaign and we felt and hope that our gift would provide positive momentum to their efforts.”
Founded in 1964, the Waterville Historical Society has been preserving the rich history of Waterville for over 50 years. What began as an organization established by 34 citizens has grown into a dynamic Waterville community asset owning and maintaining four historic properties in the city including: the Sargent House, the Robbins House, Wakeman Hall and a Cobbler Shop. The addition of the historic Waterville Gas & Oil Company building and the Dr. Welcome Pray home will provide the Society with additional historic properties to showcase to visitors and area students.
James Conrad, President of the Waterville Historical Society said, “The Waterville Historical Society is extraordinarily honored to accept this amazing donation of not only a significant piece of Waterville History, but the important contribution of the R.G. Stitt Family and Gas Company to our community.” Mr. Conrad said, “Our current plans for the buildings are to not only restore and preserve the historic nature of the properties, but use the donation as an opportunity to educate Toledo area visitors about natural gas and the R. G. Stitt family’s important contribution to Waterville and the surrounding area.
While exhibits and displays within the properties are still to be planned and developed, we envision a restoration of the original 1888 interior with photos, documents and artifacts representative of the time in addition to interactive educational exhibits on the oil and gas industry.”
Dennis Jones Executive Director Waterville Historical Society Watervillehistory@gmail.com (419) 276-4674