Fun and games at the Oberlin Heritage Center

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I love the city of Oberlin! It offers its visitors and residents endless shopping, dining, and artistic opportunities. But back in the early 1800s, Oberlin offered the prospect of an entire new life to those fleeing slavery in the South. Today, beautiful historic buildings can be seen throughout the city, each of them holding its own memories of past lives of those who lived before us.

One of these beautiful brick structures is known as the Monroe House, home of the Oberlin Heritage Center,  and I was lucky enough to be given a tour there recently. Originally home to Civil War General Giles W. Shurtleff, leader of the first African-American regiment from Ohio to serve in the Civil War, the house was subsequently the long-time residence of James Monroe.

Upon exploring, I learned that Monroe was an important abolitionist, and made impressive movements in abolition. By enacting a personal liberty law, Monroe provided a loophole to the Fugitive Slave Law in 1856. This loophole enabled an alleged runaway slave to apply for a writ of habeas corpus, so that they could be free, and never return to the south. Monroe was also a politician, holding offices in the 1869 senate, and five consecutive terms in the House.

The five rooms that I visited were each charming in their own way, and told stories of the families that once lived there. One of my favorite parts of exploring the home were finding foreign looking objects and guessing at what they were.

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Try and guess what these two objects were used for, and find out at the Monroe House if you were right!

History buff, or just curious, the Oberlin Heritage Center has something for everyone. Pick a guided tour, or grab a map of the city and walk it on your own! But wait… one of the most exciting new things that the Heritage Center offers is an Amazing Race-style scavenger hunt of Oberlin! I got to gather a group together and be one of the first to try it out, and it was so fun! A guide will send your group a clue and a question through your phone, and you get to take off through Oberlin to find it. Anyone can play and learn something new! I know I definitely did! You may even get to play games like kids did back then!

allie game

You can visit oberlinheritagecenter.org to make a reservation for any time between April-October, Tuesday-Saturday from10am and 4pm.

Whatever you decide to do, get out there and explore Lorain County and Oberlin’s Heritage!

posted by lorain at 2:02 pm
labels: 2014, History, Oberlin,

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