Hittin’ The Town: Magnificent estate along the Maumee River

The 577 Foundation in Perrysburg has been open to the public for decades.
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 5:53 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - We have a lot of great interactive historic sites and parks to explore in our region and one of them is the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg.

You can wander through the magnificent grounds or even take a class there.

The 577 Foundation opened in 1988. It was the home of Virginia Secor Stranahan, and she wanted to make sure the place she loved was here for the community to enjoy long after she was gone.

Heather Gallant, Executive Director of the 577 Foundation, said it’s the foundation’s goal to connect to the community through various learning opportunities.

“Our mission is to be open to all. 577 creates a caring, creative community through curiosity and lifelong learning. Everything we do here is related to the words in that mission statement. This is a place for people to escape into nature, to immerse yourself in the beautiful things around you and experience a sense of awe and wonder in the ordinary everyday things you see,” Gallant said.

Gallant said there is true beauty everywhere you turn. " It’s a magical place. We hear that all the time, people look around in wonderment, saying what is this place?” Gallant said.

And the spectacular scenery is not limited to summer. This is a place for all seasons.

Kelly Hirsh loved exploring the grounds with her friends as a kid. So much so, that she now works here.

“It changes from season to season. It is beautiful throughout the year, and you find something new every season. I do think it does force you to pause and take a closer look at things you might miss. It is a peaceful place and so beautiful. You learn something new every time you come here.”

There are all kinds of opportunities to learn here for the young and the young at heart. You can take classes in everything from cooking and pottery to painting and sewing.

“We have about 40 classes a month on a variety of topics that relate to crafts, history, culture, the environment, and gardening. Anything someone is passionate about, we allow community members to come and teach that to people here,” said Gallant.

While Virginia and her family lived here for decades, Gallant said the land was originally developed as a hobby farm by another family. “They used this as a gentlemen’s farm, an escape from the city, and their busy lives. They enjoyed the outdoors and working with their hands.”

The staff here is trying to promote that same feeling today. They encourage guests to put down their phones and engage with other visitors and with nature. “It’s a great area to just sit and reflect. A lot of people come here and have their own special place to sit and just think and take a break,” said Hirsh.

In addition to the beautiful grounds, there are more than a half dozen buildings that help tell the original story of this land. “We have 8 historic buildings people can visit. We offer classes in a few of them. We have an observation beehive so people can see how honey is made right next to the bees. We have a bio-dome that is full of tropical and desert plants, which is unusual,” said Gallant.

The 577 Foundation offers an important reminder of all the beauty that surrounds us. “It just connects to the most human level of joy, satisfaction, and generosity in a way a lot of other places don’t, so to provide that every day is the greatest joy and experience.”

Virginia Secor Stranahan died in 1997, so she was able to see people enjoy her gift for almost a decade. So why the “577″ in the name? Well, 577 is the address of the site, which is open seven days a week with the exception of a few holidays.

You are more than welcome to come to wander the grounds free of charge whenever the site is open.

To learn more, click here.

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