The Roaring Twenties have come to life at Sauder Village, Ohio’s largest living history destination, located in Archbold.
The opening of the west side of the 1920s Main Street includes a theater, candy shop, fire station, soda fountain, clothing/dry goods store and more. Paired with the east side of the street — home to the train depot, barbershop, hardware store, gas station and more — 1920s Main Street offers guests a fully-immersive experience in a bygone era.
Costumed interpreters staff each building, offering information and answering questions about the time period and the street, which replicates a portion of a 1920s Main Street typical to Northwest Ohio.
While attending last week’s media preview event with my family in tow, I sat down at the tables outside the new soda fountain/pharmacy with Sheri Friesner, historic village manager, who said, “There are so many cool aspects of the 1920s, from innovations to entrepreneurs. It was the first time in history that people had disposable incomes,” so shopping and entertainment venues became more popular.
“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response (since opening the new portion of 1920s Main Street),” she said. “Now Sauder Village has reached an era where people’s parents and grandparents lived. Guests may have seen some of these items in a relative’s home. It creates an emotional connection.”
My sons’ favorite stops along the street were the depot — where we embarked on a train ride throughout the whole 235-acre complex — and Main Street Confections, a working candy shop that sells sweets that were available in the 1920s. Other high points included the gas station and repair shop, where a friendly and knowledgeable repair technician detailed the differences between two Ford models, and the movie theater, which showed real black and white cartoons from the silent film era.
1920s Main Street is a permanent part of Sauder Village’s Walk Through Time experience, which shows how life was lived in Ohio from 1803 through the 1920s. The experience includes farm animals, gardens, craft demonstrations and unique shopping opportunities.
“Sauder Village is just a calm place of wonder for kids and fond memories for parents,” Friesner said. “It’s a great place for families to come together and make memories.”
Know Before You Go: COVID-19 Precautions
While the attraction typically is very hands-on, including the “please touch” Little Pioneers Homestead for the youngest guests, precautions for COVID-19 temporarily reduce this aspect to a degree. To comply with Ohio’s mandatory mask mandate, Sauder Village requires face coverings to be worn at the Historic Village while entering any historic building or indoor venue (face coverings are required while walking outdoors when social distancing is not possible). Exceptions will be made for those with health and safety considerations and children under 10 years old.
Other health and safety protocols in place include social distancing practices, special hours, sanitizing stations, plexiglass shields at ticket counters and retail shops, one-directional experiences at most buildings, and one family unit at a time in most historic buildings.
I felt very comfortable with the measures that were taken and it was nice to take my kids somewhere after spending the majority of the summer at home.
Homeschool Appreciation Days
For Parents opting to homeschool their children this year, or those looking to supplement online learning with a field trip, Sauder Village offers Homeschool Appreciation Days Wednesday through Saturday, September 2-5 and 9-12.
Homeschool families are invited to join for a fun-filled, educational visit that includes different STEM activities each day, discounted admission, and the opportunity to explore historic homes, craft shops and the 1920s Main Street.
Sauder Village is located at 22611 State Route 2 in Archbold. The Historic Village is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Closed on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays this season.) Regular admission is $20 for adults, $14 for students (6-16), and free for members and children 5 and younger. For more information, go to saudervillage.org.