Preserving Yesterday to Prepare for Tomorrow



Catawba is rich in legends. The story of an Ottawa Indian named Nabagon is one of the most famous. Following his death, Nabagon’s profile allegedly appeared on a rugged cliff to continue watching over his people. It is said that his spirit maintains the vigil, inspiring and protecting all who live here. 

Much has changed since the Ottawa Indians left here in 1831. We have been famous for our abundance of fruit orchards, our vineyards, and our brief effort to produce cement. Today Catawba Island is principally a fun and relaxing vacation mecca where the stress of daily life is traded for gorgeous sunsets and the tranquil rhythm of waves lapping at its shores.   

The Catawba Island Historical Society’s goal is to preserve and protect the story of where we have been and illustrate the connection between past and present. We offer both as a platform which visitors can stand upon to get a better look at what the future has in store.

Perhaps Sir Winston Churchill, past British Prime Minister, put it best when he observed that, “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” Our mission is to enhance that view!    



  Have you ever wondered why our peninsula is called an island? The origin of the Catawba name? Who Betsy Mo-John was? 

The Catawba Island Historical Society can answer those questions and many more.  Feel free to visit the Museum at Union Chapel to ask, research and investigate. 

If we don’t have immediate answers you can bet our Curator or Docents will be able to help you find them.  



Another of our services is arranging for guest experts to visit and speak at least twice a year. They inevitably have fun and surprising knowledge to share.  For example, did you know that “Catawba” is an internationally designated name of a color? Or did you realize that Catawba Island spent more than half of its geological existence in the Southern Hemisphere?

Longer term CIHS plans to sponsor activities that will allow friends, neighbors and visitors to bond in a historical context.  By way of example, other communities have successfully used softball games played in period uniforms, bicycle and pet parades, or costumed picnics as events to promote public pride and spirit.  Please contact us if you have suggestions for activities that could advance this objective!

Contact Us

Questions? Feel free to send us an email or give us call!

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Catawba Island Historical Society

5258 E. Porter Street, Catawba Island, OH 43452

Phone: (419)-967-5363


Mail: PO Box 396 Port Clinton, OH 43452