The term “landmark” can certainly be applied to things other than buildings. A relatively new object can also be a landmark, depending on the context.
A good case in point is the magnificent Rexford Keller Memorial Organ in University Hall’s Gray Chapel on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University.
The instrument, built and installed in 1980 by the Klais organ company in Bonn, Germany, is a four manual, tracker action organ with 82 ranks, 55 stops, and 4,644 pipes. It is the largest of the 12 Klais organs in the United States; as it so happens, one of the others is also in Delaware at Asbury United Methodist Church. More…
It’s one of the iconic early 20th football fields that have survived into the 21st century, still used for its original purpose.
Ohio Wesleyan University’s Selby Field is the home of the Battling Bishops football team, as well as field hockey, track & field, and lacrosse. With a seating capacity of 9,100, all seats fall between the 15 yard lines of the field, making it a remarkable place to watch a sports contest. It remains one of the country’s largest Division III stadiums. More…
The early decades of the 20th century saw public buildings built across the country, each making a statement about the importance of institutions housed inside their walls.
And, as a bustling city with a population nearing 9,000 inhabitants, a county seat as well as the location for a prominent liberal arts college, Delaware was exactly the kind of place where those investments were being made.
Over 100 years later, the city and the college are both benefiting from the erection of a classically-designed building that has stood the test of time. More…
History records that Diadutus James Keeler, in addition to having a unique name, was an “enterprising man.”
Such a claim is borne out by the fact that after arriving from Vermont in 1819, he became an important farmer in Genoa Township and a recognized breeder of sheep and hogs.
Specifically, those would be fine-wooled sheep and China and Berkshire breeds of hogs.
Keeler was also one of the original elders of the Genoa Presbyterian Church More…
The house on Gorsuch Road is very much part of Delaware County history, as the location on which it sits has a 210 year-plus history.
The John Cook House was the home of John and Helen Tompkins Cook; John was a farmer who also dabbled in raising livestock. When he constructed the house in 1863, doing much of the carpentry himself, he was doing so on land owned by his family since the first decade of the 19th century.
John’s parents, Benajah and Cassandra Cook, came to Ohio after buying 4,000 acres of farmland for the princely sum of $1,700 (something tells us Harlem Township land goes for a bit more today). They were the first settlers from the east to settle here. More…
A bit of the old south may yet survive in, of all places, the northern reaches of Delaware County.
The beautiful Samuel Sharp House at 7436 Horseshoe Road, west of Ashley, is uniquely connected to the American Civil War. It was constructed about 1867 by Samuel and Lorinda Sharp, who had married 13 years earlier.
Samuel Sharp was the son of the well-known William Sharp, known locally as the “greatest bee-hunter” in Marlboro (then Marlborough) Township. The Sharps had several children whose given names, with the exception of one child, all began with the letter “L” — Laura, Landon, Lettie, Leslie, Lawrence, and…. Mary. More…
Just inside the main entrance to University Hall on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University sits a piece of American history.
The item is a 10 foot tall frame made of black walnut, and housing a large pier mirror. The frame was a gift to the University by a former US President and his wife, a member of the OWU Class of 1853.
It is said that Rutherford B. Hayes, a native of Delaware, proposed to Lucy Webb Hayes on the steps of OWU’s Elliott Hall. What is certain is that the Hayeses maintained lifelong relationship with the University, and made more than one gift to the school during their lifetimes. More…
With a setting on important routes heading to Lake Erie and freedom from Columbus, and with its known abolitionist leanings, Delaware County was on an important location for the Underground Railroad.
Many travelling along that fabled route found themselves along what is now Africa Road, which ran between Westerville and Africa.
An Ohio historic marker recounts how the settlement and the road got their names: “Samuel Patterson arrived in East Orange in 1824 and, within a few years, began to hide runaway slaves in his home. He also invited anti-slavery speakers to the pulpit of the East Orange Methodist Church, which brought Patterson and his neighbors into conflict with the bishop. Following their consciences, they became the Wesleyan Methodists and built a new church. A pro-slavery neighbor mocked them by calling their community Africa, and so East Orange was renamed. The village has disappeared but several homes owned by Patterson and his neighbors still stand in this vicinity.” More…
We continue our ongoing look at the historic resources of Delaware County with a stop in the Northwest Neighborhood, home of an extraordinary collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century residences and churches.
Today, we look at a house which might best be known as the childhood home of a prolific and prominent architect.
The house at 123 North Franklin Street is a magnificent Queen Anne style structure. It was built by prominent local merchant Edward Erford Neff, who was born in 1830 in Dover, Ohio. Neff was married to Mary Ann Glover in 1862, and the couple went on to have three children — John, Addella, and Clarence. More…
The location of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Sanborn Hall hearkens back to a key part of the university’s history.
It stands on Elizabeth Street on the Monnett Hall campus, an area named for the former Monnett Hall which stood near it. That building was constructed in 1857 to house the Ohio Wesleyan Female College, and for most of its life served as a women’s dormitory before its demolition in 1978.
That area seemed ideal to OWU Trustees when they received a generous gift from an alumna earmarked for a new music building. More…
Ohio Wesleyan University is home to 11 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a walk around its campus does evoke both a keen sense of the past and optimism for the future.
Perhaps this is most keenly felt in the interior of buildings like Edwards Gymnasium, long home to many OWU athletic offices and activities, and now transformed into a modern fitness and activities center.
Edwards began its life in 1906 as a 1,800 multi-purpose arena on the south end of campus. It came into existence thanks to the generosity of Trustee John Edwards of Leipsic, Ohio. More…
Lovers of the arts in 19th century Delaware knew the venue on East Winter Street very well. Williams’ Opera House was s staple of the city’s cultural scene, with its four storefronts on the street level and the large auditorium/opera house on the second floor.
The building originally featured a large mansard roof, giving the appearance of a third story. The 1885 Sanborn Map of Delaware, shown here, called it a “French roof.” More…