Abolitionist History Walk

This story is from a past edition of OhioTraveler

As warm weather returns to northeast Ohio, so do the Oberlin Heritage Center’s popular outdoor history walks.  All ages can enjoy time outside and learn more about Oberlin’s unique history with the Freedom’s Friends:  Underground Railroad & Abolitionist History Walk.  This 90-minute guided walking tour will be offered every Saturday at 11am during the months of July and August.  Prior to the Civil War, as many as 3,000 African Americans passed through or lived in Oberlin after escaping from slavery.  Tour participants will hear powerful stories about Oberlin’s famous freedom seekers and those known to have helped them make their way to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Tickets for individual history walks must be purchased in advance and are $6 for adults, and free for Heritage Center members, college students and children accompanied by adults.  (Even when tickets are free, reservations still must be made in advance.)  The Freedom’s Friends History Walk, as well as several other walking tours that focus on different themes in local history, also are available to groups of eight or more at other times by appointment.   Descriptions of all themed history walks may be found at www.oberlinheritagecenter.org.

Summer also is an ideal time to experience the Heritage Centers self-guided tablet tours that are convenient and adaptable to individual interests.   Simply borrow an iPad from the Oberlin Heritage Center between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and learn about Oberlin in a “do-it-yourself” format.  The Freedom’s Friends tour allows participants to move at their own pace through town and campus to learn about local monuments and discover new stories connected to Oberlin’s abolitionist history.  The Picture the Past: Historic Downtown Oberlin tablet tour covers a one-block radius extending from the corner of Main and College Streets and is filled with fun facts, historic photographs, and more!

Younger folks and the young-at-heart can also take part in some old-fashioned outdoor playtime at the Little Red Schoolhouse all through the summer months.  The Heritage Center will have classic games such as ring toss, jump rope, hoops & sticks, spinning tops, and more available FREE during OHC’s open hours, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Visitors just need to sign them out at the Monroe House (73½ South Professor Street) for use on the Heritage Center grounds.  It’s a great way to unplug, relax, and enjoy fresh air and fun with family or friends.

All year round, the Heritage Center also offers the “Upstairs/Downstairs Tour” which includes stories from Oberlin’s 1833 founding through the turn of the 20th century set within the beautifully preserved Monroe House (1866), the Jewett House (1884) and the hands-on Little Red Schoolhouse (1836).  These tours are offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and walk-ins are welcome.   The “Sneak Peek” Oberlin Origins Tour – a mini-version of the full tour for those who have less time yet still want to hit the highlights – is available Tuesday through Saturday on a walk-in basis between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

For reservations or to obtain more information about any of the Heritage Center’s tour experiences, please visit www.oberlinheritagecenter.org, e-mail tourinfo@oberlinheritage.org or call (440) 774-1700.

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