About

The Botkins Historical Society and The Shelby House

The Botkins Historical Society was formed in 1975 and is housed in an historic railroad hotel located just west of the railroad on West State Street in Botkins, OH. Their facility, The Shelby House Hotel, was built in 1865 by Phillip Sheets to serve railroad passengers from the Dayton & Michigan Railroad. It is one of 2 buildings still standing in the Village of Botkins that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel is now the historical society museum and houses documents, photos, and memorabilia from Botkins' past.

The society remained very active until the mid to late 1990's as membership and interest began to dwindle. In the fall 2015 a community wide meeting was held to determine the fate of the society and The Shelby House. This meeting was attended by over 30 interested people and out of them a group was formed that has re-energized the society and completely renovated the Shelby House.

We can assist anyone wishing to learn about the history of Botkins, or the history of their Botkins ancestors.

The Historical Society can be visited by contacting Greg at (937) 726-2718 or Botkinshistorical@gmail.com

Board of Directors

Officers

Greg Geis, President

Nancy Stutsman, Vice President

Anita Uetrecht, Treasurer

Rita Hemmert, Secretary

Trustees

​David Hemmert, Jerry Kempfer, Ed Limbert, Jennifer Young-Doseck, Chris Burmeister, Ray Schmerge

History of the Village of Botkins

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There is evidence that humans first arrived in this area as far back as 12,000 years ago. However, the The Village of Botkins traces its beginnings back to the namesake and founder of the community, Richard Botkin. Mr. Botkin was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, on September 25, 1803 and moved to Shelby County with his family in 1832 shortly after the areas north of the Greenville Treaty line were opened for development. He promptly secured a land grant, and after making the necessary improvements, lived and conducted his farming operation and stock dealing business upon the land until the time of his death on April 29, 1858.

Before his death he struck a deal with the Dayton and Michigan Railroad to donate a mile long right of way through his property in exchange for a rail station that would best accommodate himself and his neighbors. In his will he asked that a town be platted out in his name, and in July 1858 his son Russell Botkin directed the initial surveying and chartering of “Botkinsville” in honor and memory of Richard, his father. Formal incorporation followed August 2, 1881.

The original plat contained 12 numbered lots along the south side of Rail Road Street (current W. State St) along with a one acre Monger lot and half acre Botkin lot.

Renovating the Shelby House

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The Historical Society began (another) much needed renovation of the Shelby House Museum in 2016.

The first renovations were started when the building was purchased by the society in 1976. It had been used as a storage building and received no maintenance for decades.

After years or dwindling interest and activity in the society a new group was formed that re-energized the society. In 2016, thanks in large part to a grant by the Louise Sheets Fund of the Community Foundation of Shelby County, exterior work began to ensure the structural integrity of the building and to preserve the internal improvements to come. The roof was good but siding was rotten. All the siding was removed, insulation installed and replaced with new stained cedar siding. When the siding was removed several structural rot issues were discovered and repaired. All windows were removed, re-glazed and painted and new gutters & downspouts installed.

Improvements were then made to the interior including patching and painting of all walls and ceilings, floor refinishing, HVAC installation, kitchen and restroom updates.