Open 12-4 Sundays, Memorial Day through Labor Day, or by appointment.
We feature interns in living history who provide first-person interpretation of the site.
The Doty Homestead was a family farm for 125 years until it became part of the developing Hueston Woods State Park in the mid-1950′s. As Acton Lake was being created the Ohio Division of Parks and Recreation renovated the old brick farmhouse for use as a park office. The house was made available to the Oxford Museum Association through a state lease and, in 1959, the Association opened it to the public.
The present site has a fascinating history. Only a few years after Indians hunted and camped in the area, this tract first was bought by William Pack of Hamilton, Ohio, at the original sale of land parcels by the trustees of Miami University on May 23, 181 0. Pack sold it to Gabriel Hutchins in 1814. When Hutchins in turn sold it to Joseph Morris in 1832, no structures had been built on the land.
Morris soon started his home, but construction progressed slowly. The house was to be of brick fashioned from clay dug and baked on the site. Inexperienced builders generally waited until itinerant brick makers arrived with their wooden molds to produce the bricks. Local legend says that until the house became available, Morris lived in the “cave” which eventually became the root cellar at the northwest corner of the house. Early construction included the well and the brick privy still to be seen just north of the house, plus a woodshed and smokehouse, now gone, along a path to the barn.
In 1837 depression struck southern Ohio and the nation. Morris had borrowed money from Wales Bonney of Oxford and was in debt also to James Ratliff, an Oxford merchant. In lean years, hecouldn’t repay. In 1842 the Morris farm passed to Bonney and Ratliff at a collector’s sale. In the spring of1844 they sold it to Samuel Doty. Soon the neighborhood became known as the Doty Community – from the Doty Homestead south a quarter mile to Doty School, with the Doty Road leading west from the farmhouse to Todd Road. For nearly half a century the Doty family kindled fires in the four chimney hearths. Jesse Doty inherited the farm on the death of his father in 1859. In 1890 Mary Doty transferred the house and land to Carolton Paris. He owned the property for 22 years, selling it to George Van Ausdall. In 1950, the State of Ohio as part of the recreation area purchased it from Van Ausdall, which was to become Hueston Woods State Park.
Over the years, the Museum Association and the Park administration have cooperated in the kind of repairs, which might be expected for any house in its second century. The museum house got a new shake roof and new wooden gutters. Oak flooring was replaced, with some joist repairs. Shutters were added and some new windows and doors were installed. For these and other improvements, the Park often provided manpower or materials. Continuing maintenance and renovation costs are paid for from Association funds raised through visitor donations and through proceeds from a variety of annual fund raising events.