New $3 million transportation museum opens today in Logan County

The grand opening for the new $3 million Logan County History Center Transportation Museum is today.

A parade will start at 11 a.m. at the Logan County Fairgrounds and end at the History Center, 521 E. Columbus Ave., where a new 15,000-square-foot addition has been added to house the museum.

“I am a lover of history, so just being able to see all our local history in one place is just amazing,” said Benjamin Logan Middle School eighth-grade student Ray McCormick, whose father, Todd McCormick, is the Historical Center curator.

The Historical Center applied for ODOT’s community enhancement grant in 2011. The grant set aside $2.4 million, which could not be used for road improvements. The remaining funding came from donations by private and corporate donations, which included Honda of America and other Honda subsidiaries, said the society’s past president, David Wagner.

In the past, ODOT had split the grant up among different counties. But Logan County was awarded the full amount for the year, according to Wagner.

“It just knocks my socks off that we got it and we got the whole grant,” said Wagner of the grant, which no longer exists.

The new transportation museum is designed as an old railroad roundhouse. It takes visitors on a tour of county transportation history, from when settlers first came to the area in covered wagons to its current role in the Honda pipeline.

“I think it is just amazing that we live in such a blessed county, because first it was an early settlement and then we progressed to being a center for the railroad and now we have Honda plants around us; so it’s just a series of evolution of transportation,” McCormick said.

Logan County Chamber of Commerce President Paul Benedetti said he believes the new attraction will help bring money into the economy.

He said Honda is planning on opening a similar museum this year that showcases its history in Ohio, and Benedetti hopes the two can work together to attract tourists.

“They could be nice destinations for people in the area for a few days,” Benedetti said.

History Center board of directors member Brian Baker said he was very impressed with the way the museum turned out. He said board members agreed it exceeded expectations. He added that a lot of the museum’s traffic will come from school field trips.

“I think the museum is really aimed at children, if you really think about it. I think they are just going to be able to understand the history of Logan County so much better. They are going to really see first-hand the objects that were used in the past,” Baker said.

McCormick believes people from all different backgrounds will find something to appreciate at the museum.

“I think kids everywhere would love to be here because of the history and all the vehicles that are so affluent in our lives today,” said Todd McCormick. “Instead of always looking forward, it is nice to take a step back and look in our past.”

The museum will be open from 11:30 a.m-4 p.m. today and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Regular summer hours for the museum are 1-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.