Remarkable Ohio

Results for: swpmtx=dc8cbf0af9c8b9d5928014f6a3fd7960&swpmtxnonce=363f736c1f/4/&toll-house
240 W Columbus Avenue
Bellefontaine

, OH

Bellefontaine was a railroad town from the 1890s to the 1950s. The city was the site of one of the largest roundhouses and repair centers on the Big Four/New York Central Lines and trains stopped here to have steam engines serviced and to switch crews. Up to ninety freight trains and over forty passenger trains came to Bellefontaine each day. The railroad was a major employer in Logan County. Over two hundred employees worked at the roundhouse and shops at any one time and many others were members of train crews. Bellefontaine’s importance as a railroad center waned in the 1960s with the increased use of diesel engines, newer technology, and other modes of transportation. Yet, the railroad and its workers left an indelible mark on the history of Bellefontaine.

110 S. Second Street
West Union

, OH

The First Presbyterian Church of West Union, built in 1810, is known as the “Church of the Governors.” Although the date is uncertain, the congregation was organized circa 1800 on Thomas Kirker’s land on Eagle Creek, about three miles from West Union. Kirker, Ohio’s second governor, was influential in organizing the congregation and raising funds for the construction of the building. Stonemason, Thomas Metcalfe, Kentucky governor from 1828-1832, was awarded the contract to build the walls for $250.00; the total construction cost was $500.00. The first three regular ministers – William Williamson, Dyer Burgess, and John P. Van Dyke – all held strong anti-slavery sentiment that was felt throughout the congregation. During the Civil War, soldiers of the 70th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment of recruits from Adams County and eastern Brown County, were said to have been temporarily quartered in the church before leaving West Union in 1861.

335 College Street
Urbana

, OH

John Anderson Ward had this Federal style house constructed from 1823-1825 on land inherited from his father, Urbana’s founder Colonel William Ward. The Colonel’s will stipulated that a local mason use 26,500 bricks to build the house and be paid $80.00. The original house is thought to have had four rooms, two rooms each on the first and second floors and both divided by central hallways. John and his wife Eleanor Ward reared seven children in the house, two of whom became nationally recognized artists, John Quincy Adams Ward and Edgar Melville Ward. The farmstead, consisting of 172 acres, was also the site of a huge feast held in honor of General William Henry Harrison’s visit to Champaign County during his 1840 presidential campaign. Twelve 300 foot-long tables were spread across the lawn where thousands of people from the surrounding countryside dined on barbecued beef and lamb and drank barrels of cider.

7935 South Ridge
Unionville

, OH

First known as the Webster House, later as the New England House, and finally as the Old Tavern, this inn has served travelers on the old Cleveland-Buffalo Road (now State Route 84) since before Ohio became a state. As traffic on the old Indian trail increased and it became a post and stage road, the two original log cabins, built in 1798 and later, were converted to this two-and-a-half story inn between 1815 and 1820. While the tavern was the scene of Civil War-era parties and dances in the second-floor ballroom, local tradition suggests it offered much more clandestine hospitality to escaping slaves as a station on the Underground Railroad. The Unionville Tavern was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1973.

101 W. Main Street
Shawnee

, OH

In 1869 a secret organization, The Knights of Labor, was founded in Philadelphia. The K.O.L. promoted an ideal society based on bettering life for others with the slogans, “labor was the first capital” and “an injury to one is the concern of all.” Shawnee’s Local Assembly #169 Knights of Labor was organized in 1876, and quickly became a powerful voice for labor in Ohio. National labor leader, William T. Lewis, later Labor Commissioner of Ohio, taught free grammer classes at night for the miners. Lewis initiated “The Ohio Plan,” the first free empployment bureaus in the United States. William H. Bailey, later head of National District Assembly #135 of Miners and T.L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers in 1910, also started their careers here. Meetings involving these leaders led to the formation of the United Mine Workers in 1890. (Continued on other side)

132 East Jefferson Street
Jefferson

, OH

This building served as the law office to Joshua Reed Giddings, a Whig congressman who advocated for the abolition of slavery and an end to the domestic slave trade. Born in 1795, much of Giddings’ young life was occupied by working on his father’s farm. After serving in the War of 1812, he began to study law, gaining admittance to the bar in 1821. A successful lawyer, Giddings was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1826. In 1837, he was elected as a Whig to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he quickly established himself as a staunch opponent of slavery. In 1854, he joined the Republican Party, contributing greatly to the platform during the party’s conventions of 1856 and 1860. As reward for his dedication, President Abraham Lincoln appointed him as consul- general to Canada, where he served until his death in 1864.

N of the intersection of OH 73 and Retreat Lane
Oxford

, OH

Zachariah Price DeWitt was born of a Dutch family in New Jersey in 1768. With brothers Jacob and Peter, he migrated to Kentucky where, in 1790, he married Elizabeth Teets, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1774. By 1805 all three brothers had settled in Ohio near Four Mile (Talawanda) Creek. Here Zachariah and Elizabeth raised corn, hogs, and eventually, nine children. Zachariah became a prominent community leader, operating a sawmill, building houses in Oxford, serving as Masonic Lodge secretary, and commanding a rifle company during the War of 1812. Tradition has it that Elizabeth wore a black sunbonnet to cover a scar from having been scalped as a child in Kentucky. Elizabeth died in 1843, followed by Zachariah in 1851. Both are buried in Darrtown Cemetery.

5700 Rush Creek Road
Somerset

, OH

Erected in 1828, the Randolph Mitchell House is a five-bay, Federal-style “I” house. Its facade features a doorway with an Adam-style fan and sidelights. The interior boasts a grand stairway in the foyer and fine woodwork throughout. Randolph Mitchell (1796-1847) was born in Rockingham County, Virginia. In 1819, Mitchell and his mother Sarah (1765-1844), settled in New Reading and he married Lydia Witmer (1798-1872). They had four children. A merchant, Mitchell kept an ample smokehouse and owned a tannery and real estate. He served as a justice of the peace for Reading Township. After Mitchell’s death, his son-in-law, Dr. W.W. Arnold (1818-1872) maintained his practice in the home, where he and Caroline Mitchell Arnold (1825-1888) lived. Their son William Arnold (1858-1948) acquired the house, which remained in the family until 1951. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.