Remarkable Ohio

Results for: black-history
129 Courtright Street
McGuffey

, OH

The Village of McGuffey was named for John McGuffey, who in the 1860s first attempted to drain the Scioto Marsh. A larger and more effective drainage effort, made by others who entered Hardin County in the 1880s, continued for several decades until thousands of acres of land were in production, principally of onions for which the marsh became nationally known. During the era of highest production of onions, most townspeople were involved in planting, weeding, and harvesting. The fields were bordered by windrows of willow trees to decrease wind damage over the black silt-like muck that was originally ten or more feet deep throughout the marsh. Successful treatment against wind erosion and oxidation reduced the depth of muck to only a few inches.

2792 E. River Road
Lorain

, OH

In June 1815, Captain Jabez Burrell settled this land after coming from Sheffield, Massachusetts. Five years later the brick homestead was constructed. Five generations of the Burrell family occupied the homestead continuously from 1820 to January 2001 when Eleanor B. Burrell passed away. In 1836, the racially integrated Sheffield Manual Labor Institute, a branch of Oberlin College, was established at the Burrell Homestead, but the Institute closed the next year because the Ohio Legislature refused to grant its charter unless it excluded black students. From 1837 until the start of the Civil War, the homestead was a major stop on the Underground Railroad. Runaway slaves were hidden in the grain barn until Robbins Burrell could arrange for captains in Lorain, such as Aaron Root, to hide them on vessels for the trip across Lake Erie to freedom in Canada.

644 Brierly Ave
Pemberville

, OH

During the War of 1812, Northwestern Army Commander General William Henry Harrison led troops through northwest Ohio on the way to Detroit and Ft. Malden in Michigan. After the decimation of General James Winchester’s division at Frenchtown (Monroe, Michigan) by British and Indian forces, Harrison retreated and led his troops southward to the Portage River. Near this site, now the William Henry Harrison Park, Harrison’s men waited for supplies and reinforcements, which were delayed due to heavy rains and flooding in the Black Swamp. With the addition of General Leftwich’s brigade at the end of January 1813, Harrison’s forces reached approximately 1,700. The troops endured the harsh, wet weather and several soldiers died of exposure and were buried at the camp. Once the winter freeze set in, Harrison led the remaining troops to the rapids of the Maumee River where construction of Fort Meigs began.

Central State University, Brush Row Road
Wilberforce

, OH

Central State University originated on March 19, 1887, when the Ohio General Assembly passed an act establishing a Combined Normal and Industrial (CN&I) Department at Wilberforce University. Through various transitional changes, it emerged as an independent, state university. In 1941, the General Assembly expanded the CN&I, which offered two-year courses, into the College of Education and Industrial Arts, with four-year programs. In 1947, it separated from Wilberforce University. The history of Central State University tells the history of higher education and advancement for African Americans in Ohio. It is within the walls of these structures, and others unfortunately demolished or destroyed by the 1974 tornado, that thousands of African Americans received valuable training for successful and rewarding careers. Thus, many of the contributions of African Americans to the promotion and betterment of education, medicine, law, social justice, technology, and the arts in Ohio have their roots here on the campus of Central State University.

325 Ohio Street
Huron

, OH

Ohio’s oldest continuing summer theatre, the Huron Playhouse has been housed at McCormick Middle School for its entire history. Dr. Frederick G. Walsh (1915-1999) of the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Speech Department founded the theatre in 1949. Huron met Walsh’s expectations for an attractive site for the playhouse, and Huron Schools Superintendent R.L. McCormick (1904-1978) offered the use of this school. The curtain opened on the first Huron Playhouse production, Norman Krasna’s hit Broadway comedy John Loves Mary, on June 29, 1949. With persisting support from BGSU, actors and alumni, and the local community, the acclaimed Playhouse has provided theatrical experience for thousands of students and entertainment for generations of Huron residents.

1 Paul Brown Drive SE
Massillon

, OH

Paul E. Brown, born September 7, 1908 in Norwalk, Ohio, and raised in Massillon, is a member of the Professional Football Hall of Fame and was one of the greatest coaches in the history of football at all levels. From 1932 until 1940, he led Massillon High School to a record of 80-8-2. He coached Ohio State to the 1942 national collegiate championship, and joined the professional football ranks in 1946 as coach of the new franchise in Cleveland. He coached his namesake Cleveland Browns to seven league championships in 17 seasons.

13 S. Mulberry Street
Mount Vernon

, OH

Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, the lone religious property within the Mt. Vernon Downtown Historic District, served what became only the second African American congregation in the city. The cornerstone for 13 South Mulberry Street was laid October 17, 1915, and a dedication service was celebrated in March 1916. Mt. Calvary grew out of the Black Baptist traditions brought by Southern refugees during the Great Migration. Although dwindling membership and resources closed the building, it provided Mt. Vernon’s African American community with a vital space of worship, communion, mutual assistance, asylum, social support, and community celebration for almost a century.

507 N Cherry Street
West Union

, OH

John Graham (1798-1849), pastor of the West Union Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church from 1841-1849, erected the house he called Pleasant Hill in 1842. An outspoken abolitionist who preached against the evils of slavery, Graham used his house as a station on the Underground Railroad. “Black Joe” Logan, an escaped slave who lived nearby, conducted runaways from Pleasant Hill to stations north. Reverend Graham died of Asiatic cholera in 1849 and is buried in the old West Union South Cemetery.