From Factory to Fine Arts: 106 years of Edgar Hall

Postcard from, about 1912

Postcard from, about 1912

The Edgar Hall building which currently houses part of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Fine Arts department sits on the border of two historic districts in Delaware.  As part of the Sandusky Street Historic District, it was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.  The Ohio Wesleyan buildings were [Read more…]

Welcome to Africa


Think about the word “Africa.” Now what do you visualize? The Red Sea? Games of Cricket? Drums beating to the sounds of African sambas? Could you ever imagine the word “Africa” holding a more personal, local definition? In Delaware, Ohio, that’s exactly what the word has.

Africa was the name of a community of runaway slaves who lived in log homes, were employed by anti-slavery farmers, and settled in the southern Delaware County area. In 1824, a man named Samuel Patterson began to hide runaway slaves in his home, which was located in what is now north of Westerville. These slaves were mocked by pro-slavery neighborhoods, who referred to their community as “Africa,” and so East Orange was renamed. Country gentlefolk had erected small cabins there as temporary housing while building permanent homes on their estates. After a time, the woodlands north of Westerville harbored a cluster of these abandoned cabins, as folks began to move into their newly completed houses. To this time, the village has disappeared, but several of Patterson’s homes still stand in this vicinity. Africa is said to be the only town named after the Underground Railroad.

Photo of Maker #6-21, photo from

Photo of Maker #6-21, photo from

What’s even more astounding is the fact that Ohio had an extensive network of trails used by anti-slavery activists, free Blacks, and churches to help fugitive slaves flee from the South to Canada. Ohio had one of the most active Underground Railroad operations in the nation; some sources estimate that 40,000 slaves escaped to freedom through Ohio. The Ohio Department of Transportation designated portions of U.S. Route 23 and State Route 4 – one of the most frequently used corridors on the Underground Railroad – as a commemorative highway to be known as River-To-Lake Freedom Trail. This trail follows the present day alignment of 23 from the Ohio River at Portsmouth, north through central Ohio.

An Ohio Department of Natural Resources site has a page called Ohio’s Underground Railroad to Freedom which talks about slave coming across the Ohio River from the south. The site says: One of the most famous Underground Railroad routes in central Ohio was Africa Road. This was the setting of one of the most extraordinary chapters in Underground Railroad history.

Why do you think central Ohio was such a good pit-stop for these runaway slaves? And what else do you know about secret slave routes in the Delaware area?


Ghost Towns in Delaware County

The Forgotten Places of Delaware, Ohio…


Have you seen this Ghost Town?

Have you seen this Ghost Town?

According to author and researcher Rick Helwig, there are approximately 8,000 to 9,000 ghost towns in Ohio.  Helwig, the director of the Center for Ghost Town Research in Ohio, spoke to a large crowd during a program put on by the Delaware County Historical Society at the First Presbyterian Church.

Helwig runs the center from his home [Read more…]

The Delaware County Fair:  Ponder the Past and Prepare for a Blast

Hungry as horse at the fairgrounds
Hungry as horse at the fairgrounds

Delaware County Fair’s history and tradition leads makes the fair what it is today.

So it’s almost time for the Delaware County Fair.  While dinner options might include fried candy bars and pepperoni sticks, or perhaps a trip to the Buckeye Valley booth for healthier fare, there was a time when the county fair meant [Read more…]

OWU Officer First to Author Delaware’s Ghostly Encounters

Ghosts and its paranormal branches have been a very popular subject for millennia, appearing in countless publications, such as “Macbeth,” to the Bible, and now in John B. Ciochetty’s books “Ghosts of Historic Delaware, OH” and “The Ghosts of Stuyvesant Hall and Beyond.”

Front cover of Ciochetty’s book ‘The Ghosts of Stuyvesant Hall and Beyond’ written in 2007

Ciochetty currently holds a position at Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of [Read more…]

Open House for Friends of the Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati Railroad August 16, 2014

Celebration of 165th Anniversary of Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati or Big Four Railroad (formerly New York Central and now CSX Railroad) in Oxford and Brown Townships and points north and south.

Anniversary celebration will take place on August 16, 2014 from 10:30 until 4:00 at the Oxford Township Hall, 5125 Shoemaker Road, Ashley, Ohio  (just east of CSX track) (2 miles south of Ashley off of Route 42)

Did you know that the Gold Spike ceremony connecting the railroad from the north and the south occurred on February 18, 1851 on a farm two miles south of Ashley at the Shoemaker Road crossing? (Re-enactment of Gold Spike at 1:30) Open House Celebration will include displays, railroad memorabilia, a model train display, and Memories of that railroad happenings through the years by volunteer speakers.

Some displays are: Delaware County RR Safety Task Force display (with prizes for children); Brandon Townley with his professional railroad photography and published photo books; Friends of Big Four Depot in Galion display; Suzanne Allen’s Preserving Our Heritage of Trains and Railroads book and photos and more; Vicki Rife’s memorabilia display (Dad worked in NYC tower at Westview near Cleveland); Ken Beamer and the Delaware Model Railroad Club.

Dan’s Deli will be on site.

For more information contact Friends of the Cleveland, Columbus, and CincinnatiRailroad-


The Delaware Chair: A Seat Worth Saving

The Sturdy Line (

The Sturdy Line (

Grab a reader, take a seat, and lets explore the Delaware Chair Company.

The Delaware Chair Company was an international award winning manufacturer of chairs, some of which found their way to the White House.  Ranging from institutional chairs for firehouses and schools including Ohio Wesleyan University, to more plush versions for the nation’s capitol and such places as the Great Southern Hotel and the Neil House, the chairs were eventually sold around the world.

Known for their unique [Read more…]

Ohio Fallen Heroes

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Sunbury Ohio is small town in located in the almost exact center of Ohio which is why it was chosen to be home of the Ohio Fallen Heroes memorial which [Read more…]

Browsing Around Berkshire Township

Glacial boulder in downtown Sunbury
Glacial boulder in the Sunbury Square

Berkshire Township is home to some big rocks.

To be more precise, two of Ohio’s largest glacial erratics are located in or near Sunbury.  One is in the town square, supporting the statue of General William Starke Rosecrans.  The other is located three miles east of Sunbury on private property – all 200 tons are right where the glaciers left it over 10,000 years ago.

As with almost all of our townships, Berkshire has [Read more…]

Take a Bite Out of Orange Township

Delaware County's Bicentennial Barn on Bale Kenyon Road

Delaware County’s Bicentennial Barn on Bale Kenyon Road

Starting in the 1950s, Orange Township land was coveted by developers and needed by state and federal agencies.  Land was acquired for a Columbus Metro Park, U.S. Rt. 71, Alum Creek Dam, and the Polaris shopping mecca.  Long gone farms, villages and stories of settlers give glimpses of the early days while two hundred years later, residential growth is soaring and parks and services are being developed to keep up with the changes.

The 1914 Archaeological Atlas of Ohio shows  6 mounds and 1 enclosure in Orange Township.  Unlike any other township in Delaware County, two mounds and prehistoric earthworks have been preserved in [Read more…]