Remarkable Ohio

Serpent Mound Marker
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26-47 Side A

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Front Text: The intersection of Main and College streets has been the center of Oberlin since the town and college were founded in 1833. The first downtown buildings were made of wood and were destroyed by a series of spectacular fires. The first college building, Oberlin Hall, stood on the southwest corner of College and Main and included recitation rooms, a dining hall, chapel, offices, and lodging. In 1887, Akron architect Frank Weary designed the large brick building at numbers 5 to 13 West College. Number 23 West College (Gibson Block) once housed a silent movie theater on the second floor. East College Street's historic buildings include the Apollo Theater, which showed Oberlin's first talking movie on May 11, 1928. From 1897 to 1929, an interurban streetcar line connected Oberlin's downtown to Cleveland. Oberlin's downtown historic district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Back Text: Oberlin's historic downtown buildings are typical of American commercial architecture from the 1860s to the 1930s. The southeast corner block is the first commercial building in Oberlin with an iron frame. It was designed by Cleveland architect Walter Blythe in 1882 and has housed a bank since 1904. At 39 South Main Street is the Union School (now the New Union Center for the Arts), also designed by Blythe and built in 1874 of local red brick. Beyond it at 69 South Main is the old Town Hall, built in 1919. Across the street is the Post Office, designed in neoclassical style by Toledo architect Alfred Hahn and dedicated in 1933. At numbers 24 and 18 South Main Street were two African American businesses, Marie DeFrance's Millinery Shop and the Pettiford family's popular bakery.