In 1995, a small group of local historians came together with the goal of documenting the history of Western Licking County including Harrison, Etna and Jersey townships as well as the village of Kirkersville and the city of Pataskala. They formed a 501c3 non-profit organization named the West Licking Historical Publication Committee. Their goal was realized with the publication of Preservation 2000. Since it’s publication, numerous copies of the book have been sold and it remains an important source of information about the history of the area.
In the course of the work to publish Preservation 2000, it became clear that there was significant interest in local history in Western Licking County. As a result, in 2000 the West Licking Publication Committee was reorganized and the articles of incorporation were updated to change the name of the organization to West Licking Historical Society. The administrative authority of the organization rests with its three member board of trustees. The executive authority of the organization lies with its officers, area representatives and standing committee chairpersons.
Since its inception more than 20 years ago, the West Licking Historical Society has grown to over 100 members. It has striven to preserve area historical sites and records, including placing historical markers at some sites, hosted numerous events and supported many other community organizations and events. In 2009, the Society spawned a child organization, Mead-Needham Museum Inc, which purchased the property at 300 South Main St, Pataskala, OH and which today operates the Mead-Needham Museum at that location.
The West Licking Historical Society is currently a member of the Pataskala Area Chamber of Commerce and the Licking County Historical Alliance. It manages the transportation museum at the historic Outville Depot and maintains local history displays at the historic Harrison Township House. In addition, the Society maintains a climate-controlled storage facility in which numerous historical artifacts and records are stored including every edition of the Pataskala Standard since 1886.
A proud supporter of the Mead-Needham Museum, the Society partners with Mead-Needham Museum, Inc to participate in the annual Pataskala Main Street Cookie Walk as well entering a float in the Pataskala Street Fair and Outville Christmas Parades. Together the two organizations happily host area third graders at the Museum each year for hands-on history lessons.
The Society is also a supporter of the Sterling Theater – Patakala’s Historic Theater and its ongoing preservation efforts and projects. As an educational outreach, the West Licking Historical Society prepares and installs bulletin board displays in several local schools. It also provides talks and other activities upon request.
The West Licking Historical Society currently owns two historical buildings – the Lima Township House on Summit Road in Summit Station and the Etna Township House on State Route 310 in Etna.