Sauder Village is named after Erie Sauder, the founder of Sauder Furniture. Sauders is known for its inexpensive ready to assemble products sold in many big box stores. The village started in 1970’s as a dream of Erie’s and soon became a reality. Over the years Sauder Village collected many old, but not unusual, buildings from around the black swamp area.
The village is divided into multiple sections. Each section has a theme that ties the buildings and surrounding grounds together. At the main entrance is the main village area. This area contains buildings that would be found in a typical small village of the 19th century, including a doctor’s office, a train station, a herb shop, and Sauder’s original workshop, a museum housing a large number of artifacts, and more. Beyond the main village is newcomers and natives area, telling about the early traders in the area and the original inhabitants. Further along is a pioneers settlement, which tells about settlers of the area. Before swinging back into the main village the trail runs through a small homestead of (as of June 2015) the 1920’s.
Each building contains many artifacts and history of the time period of the section of park it is in and of the use of the building. On busy days most have interpretors and artisans inside to help explain the history. These artists and interpretors are what bring the village to life. Everything from the daily routine of a pioneer, to what a barber charged, are brought to life through the stories and teachings of the employees. If the building is dedicated to an art, such as tin-smithing, or glass blowing, it is run by an actual purveyor of the art. Not only will they tell of the history of the art, but will probably be working on something to sell. This living history is brought to life spectacularly through out the village and seamlessly woven in at the same time.
From a small child learning about the history of the Black swamp, to an older person watching the craftsmen ply their trade, Sauder Village will have a little bit of something for everyone interested in history.