Welcome to the John Hay Center
The John Hay Center is committed to the preservation and remembrance of the heritage of Washington County, Indiana.
In 1965, with only 15 active members and $50.00, we became the benefactor of a former resident. Her generosity and that of hundreds of interested people (both monetary and volunteer) enabled us to build a facility known as the Stevens Museum. We also acquired the John Hay Birthplace., restored it to the 1840 period and placed it on the National Register of Historic Places.
The campus of historical assets, known as “The John Hay Center” was dedicated in 1971, debt free. In subsequent years, additions to the museum include opening the Dean Gallery on the 3rd floor, doubling the display space and building a two story wing to the library in 1984. The Pioneer Village on the grounds began in 1980 by moving and reassembling an authentic log cabin.
Annual Membership Meeting - November 11th 2023
The meeting of the membership of the Washington County Historical Society Inc. will take place on November 11, 2023 at 6:00 pm, at The Depot Railroad Museum 206 South College Avenue, Salem, Indiana. The meeting shall be a general business meeting, including committee reports, membership report, financial report, President’s statement to the membership, and the election of directors. Information about the meeting and forms relating to the meeting are available below.
Proxy voting is highly encouraged if you are uncomfortable attending or are unable to attend in person.
**Please understand that non-members will not be permitted to attend the meeting.
The John Hay Center Includes the Following
Stevens Memorial Museum
Built in 1970 as a memorial to preserve the community’s history, the Stevens Memorial Museum is the centerpiece of the John Hay Center, founded by the Washington County Historical Society. The museum was designed to preserve the heritage of Washington County, Indiana and contains dozens of exhibits representing thousands of artifacts from generous donors.
Our Genealogical Library is known nationwide for the outstanding collection of research material on local and affiliated history and is added to weekly by our staff, volunteers and patrons.
The Pioneer Village
The Pioneer Village is a replica of an 1830’s community featuring a jail, blacksmith, school, church, Haganman house, smoke house, barn, bell tower, loom house, and New Philadelphia Post Office and General Store. At various times during the year, volunteers portray renditions of various community figures such as the blacksmith, teacher or loom worker.
Birthplace of John Hay
John Hay was born in Salem on October 8, 1838. Hay’s birthplace is a small brick house on South College Avenue. It was built in 1824 for use as a school building. Dr. Charles Hay purchased the building in April of 1833. The Hay home was acquired by the Washington County Historical Society in 1967. The house has been restored and furnished in the 1840 period. The Hay birthplace has been a National Historic Site since 1971.
The Depot Railroad Museum
The stuff of dreams, now realized in one of the most modern, up-to-date railroad museums, The Depot transforms the great moments of a past era of Monon history into a reality to be remembered and enjoyed by countless visitors — those who remember they were once kids, and those who have the spark of adventure and intrigue that says they still are.
The Depot Railroad Museum is also home to The Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society
The Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society, Inc. was formed in the mid-1970s as a not-for-profit organization exclusively for educational purposes by a group of individuals interested in preserving the memory of the Monon Railroad.
From popular local bands, theatrical performances, movie screenings and much more coming to the John Hay Center Amphitheatre this year. Our new amphitheatre is located behind the Stevens Memorial Museum and nestled on a hill sloping down to the stage. Grab a picnic blanket and some snacks and make plans to attend an event this year.
We Look Forward to Seeing You at The John Hay Center
Keep in Touch with the John Hay Center