The Vermilion River Reservation is home to natural and historical beauties, not the least of which is the Bacon House Museum in Mill Hollow. Benjamin Bacon, the original settler of the area and one of the first commissioners for the county, built this Greek Revival home in 1845.
“It was a popular format in the Western Reserve and in Northeast Ohio at the time,” says Matt Kocsis, a historian and naturalist at the Lorain County Metro Parks. In 1957, Bacon’s distant relatives donated the home and property to what is now called the Lorain County Metro Parks. In 1962, Bacon’s house was transformed into a museum where people could experience what life was like more than 150 years ago.
“This takes us to a completely different time that isn’t that far away from where we’re at. It’s a typical Lorain County, Ohio, family,” Kocsis says. “It’s a nice snapshot of life in the 19th century.”
The house is set up as it would have appeared in the mid-1800s, and includes a summer kitchen, parlor, office, furniture and artifacts, several of which belong to branches of the Bacon family. One of the most treasured pieces rests in the parlor — a 1860s melodeon organ. Kocsis says the organ still works, adding that someone plays the organ for the museum’s holiday program that takes place the first weekend in December. The museum also offers self-guided tours every Sunday until Labor Day from 1 to 4 p.m. where visitors can explore the art and displays set up to explain everything in the house.
The carriage barn that sits next to the museum was built in the mid-1990s to mimic a barn Bacon built in almost the same spot, according to property photos historians found. “Basically, it was about recreating footprints of what was there at one time,” Kocsis says, adding that they use the inside of the barn for history and nature programs and other activities.
The museum and barn rest on the Vermilion River Reservation’s more than 1,000 acres, the home of more than 5 miles of wooded trails, a playground, two ponds, 273 picnic tables and a nine-hole disc golf course. The grounds also feature an amphitheater, which hosts several family-friendly activities year-round, including a car show each August and evening concerts on Sundays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. throughout the summer.