Experience the past at Wilder Museum’s season opening

Have you ever wanted to visit the former Irvine-Newbold estate but didn’t know where to find it? Although the once-grand mansion, barns and outbuildings are long gone, here is an opportunity to tour the land that this fascinating estate stood upon at the Irvine Flats along the Allegheny River. The huge Greek Revival mansion was built by Callender Irvine in 1822, although additions and changes were made over the years. On the property there once stood large barns, a creamery, a carriage house, workers’ or tenant houses, a green house, horse stables, a grist mill, a water tower, rock-walled flower gardens and even a private family cemetery. The ice house is still visible because it is partly underground. Sadly, when the last of the Irvine-Newbold family passed away, the house had fallen into disrepair. The National Forge bought the property but was unable to resell it. Over the years the buildings had begun to decay and had become a potential hazard to curiosity seekers. Everything was razed in 1973, but prior to the destruction, the National Forge commissioned an architect to build a scale model of the fabulous mansion and that model sits in the Irvine-Newbold Room at the Wilder Museum for everyone to view.

On Saturday, May 18 the Wilder Museum of Warren County History will offer a walking tour of the estate with local guide John L. Young & National Forest Service Archeologist Gary Dunn. John will point out various points of interest all around the estate. Visitors are asked to meet at the Wilder Museum at 11 a.m. Cost will be $5 per person at the door. Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes.

From 1 to 5 p.m., the Wilder Museum will be open for the season. The public is invited see what’s new this year. Guides will be stationed throughout the building to freely discuss exhibits and displays including the Joseph DeFrees gun collection, the Seneca & Native American exhibit, learn more about the Irvine-Newbold family including personal effects, furniture, photographs and view the scale model of the mansion. Learn about the early lumber industry, 19th & early 20th century medicine, and much more. Cost to tour the museum is $3 for adults, $1 for students.

The Wilder Museum of Warren County History will be open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. May 18 thorugh Oct. 5 and is located at 51 Erie Ave., Irvine, near the entrance to Elwood National Forge. For more information or other fun upcoming events at the Wilder Museum call 723-1795 or visit the website at www.warrenhistory.org.