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OWU Awarded Ohio Historical Marker for Elliott Hall as Part of Bicentennial

March 14, 2003

[ Elliott Hall Photo ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- Elliott Hall, Ohio's oldest collegiate Greek revival building, has been awarded the honor of an Ohio Historical Marker, celebrating the anniversary of the state's bicentennial.

The Ohio Wesleyan building dates back to 1833 when it was the Mansion House Hotel, and is a symbol of the collaborative effort that took place to found the University. In 1841, three Methodist leaders, including Dr. Charles Elliott, agreed on the need to establish a university "of the highest order" in central Ohio. When the Mansion House Hotel and its surrounding property went on the market later that year, Adam Poe, Pastor of the William Street Church in Delaware, Ohio encouraged citizens of Delaware to purchase the property. Together, 172 citizens raised a $10,000 contribution. The University's official charter was granted from the legislature on March 7, 1842.

"Ohio Wesleyan's original building is worthy of this recognition," said University President Thomas B. Courtice. "However, its significance extends far beyond its structure and presence. This building exists today because the citizens of Delaware, joined forces with Charles Elliott, Adam Poe and others to envision this University. Elliott Hall stands as a symbol of the important 'town-gown' spirit that is still an important part of our character and appeal."

At first, Elliott Hall was the only campus building and served as chapel, classroom and residence hall. Today, it houses the University's politics and government, history, and sociology/anthropology offices, as well as student classrooms. In 1891, the building was moved from its original site to accommodate a new University Hall. In addition, a $1.2m donation in 1990, enabled an extensive renovation to take place. The dedication of the marker will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 in front of Elliott Hall during Alumni Weekend. Administered by the Ohio Historical Society, the Historical Marker Program enables Ohioans to commemorate and celebrate local history and to learn more about the state. Designed to be permanent and highly visible, the historical markers are large cast-aluminum signs that tell stories about aspects of Ohio's history. Markers were awarded based on a set of criteria including historical significance, geographic diversity and neglected subject areas and historical periods.

In addition to University support, the marker was funded by a grant from the Longaberger Legacy Initiative and the Ohio Bicentennial Commission. The Initiative, sponsored by the Longaberger Company of Dresden and the Commission, is designed to encourage placement of Ohio Historical Markers throughout the state in celebration of Ohio's bicentennial in 2003.