This historic college opened in 1847 as Otterbein University of Ohio, named for Philip William Otterbein (1726-1813), a founder of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. The church later merged with the Evangelical Church to become the Evangelical United Brethren Church, and later with the Methodist Church to become the United Methodist Church. Otterbein was one of the first colleges in the United States to open its doors to persons of color and women without restrictions on what they could study. While Otterbein’s educational offerings have evolved over the years to meet society’s needs, the college has remained committed to the liberal arts as the foundation of all learning.
The first in a succession of schools that eventually gave College Hill its name was CARY’S ACADEMY FOR BOYS. Freeman Cary opened this school in his home on Hamilton Avenue in 1832. Success necessitated larger quarters and in 1833 PLEASANT HILL ACADEMY was built at the corner of Hamilton and Colerain (now Belmont) Avenues. Continuing growth and a distinguished faculty led to formation of a college. Money was raised by selling shares, mostly bought by local farmers. FARMERS COLLEGE OF HAMILTON COUNTY was chartered on February 23, 1846 and Cary Hall was built on this Belmont Avenue site in 1847. Future President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, attended the college from 1848 to 1850. During the 1860s Cary Hall served as a station on the Underground Railroad. (Continued on other side)