Westerville News & Public Opinion

Tapestry of a Town tour to showcase historical sites

The tour of Westerville landmarks will raise funds for Habitat

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A local charity is offering the opportunity to explore Westerville's historic sites while raising money for a good cause.

Westerville Habitat Partnership has organized the Tapestry of a Town tour, which will take patrons to 12 historic Westerville sites, where they will get an inside look at the buildings while hearing about each building's history from those who know it best.

The tour will be from 1 to 5 p.m. July 28.

For $10, tour participants will receive a booklet with information on the 12 tour sites: Hanby School, Emerson School, Java Central, Holmes Hotel, the building that houses the Old Bag of Nails, Hanby House, the Hanby Park Train Depot, Cellar Lumber Co., the mausoleum at Otterbein Cemetery, Towers Hall, the Anti-Saloon League Headquarters and the original Corbin's Saloon.

Tour participants will be able to stop at the sites in any order they choose.

All of the sites except the Hanby Park Train Depot will have someone leading a tour -- generally someone who works at the site or knows the building well, said tour organizer John Cameron.

"Wherever we could, we engaged the people who owned the buildings because they know more than us," Cameron said. "People are going to get some real inside information (during the tour) that you don't typically get."

Many of the sites also will feature musicians and artists as entertainment.

"Since (2013) is called the Year of the Arts in Westerville, we decided that would be a good thing to do," said Bernadine Simpkins, publicity chairwoman for the tour.

Funds raised through the tour will go to the Westerville Habitat Partnership.

The partnership has existed for 25 years and is comprised of five Westerville churches -- Church of the Messiah and Church of the Master United Methodist, First Presbyterian of Westerville, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church and Central College Presbyterian Church -- and Columbus Academy.

"For all of those 25 years, our mission has been to raise money to share with Habitat for Humanity so they could buy building materials to build homes for people who need a good home," Cameron said. "Every penny that we raise goes directly to Habitat for Humanity. It doesn't go anywhere else."

The partnership has helped to fund the construction of more than 45 homes for Habitat For Humanity in Delaware County, Cameron said.

It also recruits volunteers, not just to build Habitat homes, but to work with Habitat families and at the Habitat ReStore in north Columbus, Cameron said.

The idea for the tour was sparked by a walking Christmas concert the partnership began organizing two or three years ago, Cameron said.

In it, concertgoers walk from church to church and are treated to a Christmas concert at each stop.

"We heard comments from people that they enjoyed not only the music and the holiday spirit, and what they paid for the tickets they knew exactly where that was going, but they enjoyed seeing the churches," Cameron said. "Since people enjoyed seeing the inside of churches, it seemed people might also enjoy seeing and touring the iconic buildings of Westerville."

Like the holiday concert, Cameron said, the partnership hopes to make the walking tour an annual event.

Tickets for the tour can be purchased at the churches or during business hours at the Westerville Visitors and Convention Bureau, 20 W. Main St.

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