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The Allen County Museum has a variety of oral history recordings within its collection. The oral history collection includes approximately 20 unique conversations with Allen County area natives, including monthly programs at the museum. Covering a wide range of topics, the collection displays the stories and memories of Lima and Allen County in years past. 

Oral histories have been recorded starting in 1977 on audio cassettes and videotapes. Videotapes have been converted into digital recordings seen on this page.

Oral histories continue to be collected. If you are interested in sharing your story, contact Charles Bates at or at 419-222-9426. 

Topics Include:

  • Railroading and Lima Locomotive Works

  • Work at area institutions, including Superior Coach and Westinghouse

  • Veteran and wartime stories

  • Growing up in Lima in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s

  • The Black community in Lima and Allen County 

  • Allen County Museum


As first hand accounts, the language and terminology used in oral histories reflect the narrators' beliefs, culture, and personal biases.


The museum is still working to verify stories as well as research them to provide historical context. If you are interested in assisting in our oral history program through researching and indexing oral histories, please contact Brittany Venturella, Director of Curatorial Affairs, at

Personal Stories

Scott Trostel, 2021

  • John H. Keller and Railroad Archives

  • Allen County Museum community in the 20th century

  • Personal experience with railroad preservation and history

View Index

Bill Miller, 2021

  • Commercial photography

  • Area businesses

  • Experiences as a photography business owner

View Index

Growing Up in Lima

Dr. Emmett C. Murray, Jr., 2003

  • Growing up in Lima

  • Childhood experiences

View Index

"Octogenarians," 2000


Panel: Walter White, Dorothy Black, Judge Robert Light, Mary Porter, Joe Dunlap, Robert L. Townsend Jr., Helen Mack

  • Growing up in Lima 

  • ​Lima culture and significant locations

View Index


Superior Coach, 2004

Panel: Fred Barrington, Otto Bollenbacher, Joe Bunn, Bruce Campbell, Bea Kautz Anderson, Don Fultz, Bill Roush, Carlos Conley

  • Company history

  • Employee memories

View Index

Westinghouse, 2002

Panel: Earl Hefner, Tony Pranses, John LaRotonda, Clara LaRotonda, Pat Maley, Peg Griffith

  • Company history

  • Employee memories

View Index


Korean War Veterans, 2001


Panel: Bob Edwards, Dillon Staas, Gene King, Wilbur Hurd

  • Joining the military

  • Military life in Korea

  • Korean War general overview

View Index

World War II Veterans, 2000

Panel: James (Jim) Hunt, Frank Love, John Tillitson, John Timmerman

  • Joining the military

  • Overseas experiences

View Index


To view an index for an interview, click on the text of the interview you are interested in. To listen to recordings, contact Charles Bates, Curator of Railroads and Transportation, at