Getting into character required more than reading a script for Jonathan Pauwels, a junior at Canal Winchester High School.

He also needed to study up on the history of his community.

"I enjoy hearing about things that used to be or was or still is, honestly," said Pauwels, who is one of three drama students from the high school taking part in the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society's Historic Ghost Tour for the first time.

Pauwels will help bring history to life by portraying Robert F. Holley, who owned Holley's Variety Store, which was built in the 1880s after fires destroyed the original downtown buildings.

The annual tour brings Canal Winchester's history to life, exploring six locations throughout the city.

The walking tours last about 90 minutes and begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 12. Each tour starts from the Frances Steube Community Center, 22 S. Trine St. Tickets may be purchased at the Community Center beginning at 6:30 p.m. The last tour leaves at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, ages 6-18. Children under age 5 are free.

Other stops on the tour include the The Times Building, The Stradley House, Dr. Saylor's House, House on the Hill and the Spence Funeral Home, the community's first funeral home.

The drama students are excited about getting out of the auditorium and acting and improvising in a much different way, said Abbey Phillips, the high school's drama director and auditorium manager.

"In preparation for the weekend, they have spent many hours learning the history of our town and the people that made it what it is today," she said. "We really think that has helped bring an understanding of our community to their generation. Communities are built on their shared history."

Junior Ariyah Wallace likes that she's getting out of her comfort zone in playing a ghost from the early 1900s. Her character, a mother named Claudia and her son, Bartholomew, relates to early medicine in Canal Winchester.

"This is something new," Wallace said. "I haven't really played a ghost character. Usually, I play a nerd. I'm more quiet, but this is a lot of fun because I get to scare people. I love it."

For junior Trinity Yeomans, the role is even more unique.

Her character, Pat Hartman, is alive and well.

"I learned where she went to college, and I learned what she did for a living," said Yeomans, who plans to dress in 1960s-era attire. "(Hartman) is really driven and actually worked at Bob Evans (as a hostess) in Canal Winchester until she was in her 90s. It's been interesting, because I'm learning a lot of different things that I didn't realize."

Hartman has devoted much of her time to community and charitable service and was one of the original founders of Canal Winchester Human Services, created in 1955.

Sean Cleary of the historical society hopes the partnership with the high school continues.

"We've never had this level of involvement from the schools and the students are really enthusiastic about learning about Canal Winchester's history," he said.

Cleary said old photographs and other items will be displayed at the community center ahead of the tours.

Proceeds benefit the historical society's programs and preservation projects.

For more information, visit cwhistory.org.

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