Our museum resides in the original Rinaldo Putnam farmhouse, built in 1876 on land bought in 1872 from George Armstrong Custer and his wife, Libbie, who had inherited the land from Libbie’s father, Judge Daniel Bacon. Rinaldo sold his land and farmhouse in 1893 to Frank Cloud of Cincinnati, who built additions including a commodious porch and a tower on the southeast corner. The “Tower House” was a Cloud family summer home for forty years.
In 1936 the land and farmhouse-turned-cottage, as well as the Cloud “Rock House” just to the north, passed by will from Frank’s widow, Julia Cloud, to their son Rev. Charles Cloud, Provincial of the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus, and became known as Villa Marquette. The house gradually fell into disuse, until the Detroit Province (who then owned it) determined it should be razed. In 2004 the Omena Historical Society acquired the house for $1.00 from the Detroit Province, and moved the Putnam-Cloud House from its original location a half mile south of Omena to its current location. When the house was moved the Cloud family additions were removed to accommodate the size of the new lot, which is owned by the Omena Village Preservation Association, and is leased for $1 per year to the Omena Historical Society.
After a two year restoration project undertaken by dozens of community volunteers, the Putnam-Cloud Tower House Museum opened in 2006. The dedicated volunteers of the OHS have each year showcased unique exhibits and programs.
We are very proud of our little community, its history, and the people that made it what it is today. We hope you will come by and take a look. Remember, admission is always free!