Canal Winchester to celebrate its history with two day event

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Linda Dillman
Area resident Anna Whitmer visits the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society complex at North High and Oak streets.

A day of old-time fun preceded by an evening white-tented gala raising funds for a trio of historical landmarks will take place in Canal Winchester this month.

The first-of-its-kind pair of events take place Oct. 18 and 19 in and around the grounds of the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society complex, located at North High and Oak streets. The site is home to the Queen of the Line train depot, Prentiss School and the O.P. Chaney grain elevator.

On Oct. 18, a ticketed gala—limited to 125 guests age 21 and older and held from 7-10 p.m.—celebrates “Bringing History Forward” in an intimate setting with food and beverage. The cost is $60 for an individual or $100 per couple.
Canal Winchester Area Historical Society Trustee Carm Smith said the grounds will be lit by a professional team and even though the Oct. 18 gala is a fundraiser, the driving force behind the event is to get people to look at the space in a different way.

Proceeds from the gala will be used to improve the society complex. Ticket information is available at

On Oct. 19, the society opens the grounds for its first Founders Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free and family-friendly. Visitors can enjoy the complex while meeting a weaver, baker, candle maker and more. Old time games such as pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, bucket walk, hula hoops, etc., will delight young and old alike. Raffles, food and beverage will be available for purchase as well.

“The trustees of the CWAHS are grateful to have ownership of the iconic historical complex,” Smith said. “We have hopes and dreams for the future of the complex and are working on several big next steps, but before we partake in new ventures, we want folks in and around our area to spend time enjoying the special nature of our unique complex.”

According to Smith, while the complex housing the train depot, schoolhouse and grain elevator is a beautiful backdrop for Canal Winchester’s historical district, the trustees are hoping to get visitors to begin thinking of the complex in a new and broader way.

“This became the impetus for the Founder’s Day event—to get people to fall in love with the complex by experiencing it in different way,” said Smith.

The one-room Prentiss School originally housed students in grades 1-8 and was built in the latter half of the 19th century. It was used by children living in the rural area outside of town and moved to its present location in 1980.

The Queen of the Line train station was built in 1894 to replace a previous depot that burned down after a spark from a locomotive landed on the roof.

The present O.P. Chaney grain elevator was constructed in the late 1870s on an original sandstone foundation after a previous structure burned to the ground. It stands four stories tall.

Both the grain elevator and the railroad depot are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We have the opportunity to let others explore the history of Canal Winchester in the late 1800s while creating new memories for them today,” said CWAHS President Steve Donahue. “The complex is a gem for our town – we are willing and eager to share it with others.”

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