The drama of living history walks the streets of Canal Winchester Oct. 3-4 with the third annual historic "Ghost Tour" sponsored by the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society.
Eight local landmarks – including the Cherry Hotel, Faith United Methodist Church, Interurban Station, O. P. Chaney grain elevator, Conrad’s Market, Victoria’s Attic, Ed Jeffers’ barber shop, and The Boys’ School – are part of the hour-and-a-half long walking trip throughout the downtown area with feature actors representing figures from the town’s past.
"Last year, we had about 200 people go on the tour and even had to turn people away," said tour committee member Jeannette Schneider. "We’ve had people from all over central Ohio go on the tour, which has grown in popularity since it first started in 2006. It’s a historical ghost tour with drama bringing history to life."
At the O.P. Chaney Elevator, society members cleared out a drive-through, formerly used by farmers to deliver their grain by horse and wagon, for visitors. While the elevator itself is not open to the public, people will have the opportunity to learn about the 19th century structure, the second such business constructed on the same site.
The Cherry Hotel, 67 N. High St., originally served travelers passing through Canal Winchester. What is now a private residence was built in 1875 and named for its fifth owner, Noah Cherry, who purchased the building in 1896. A livery stable operated by Cherry is still standing at the rear of the property.
At the corner of High and Waterloo Streets is the Harvest Moon coffeehouse, which previously served as Conrad’s Market. The building’s history, dating back to 1888, also includes a decades-long stint as Phil Weber’s drygoods store and as an Independent Order of Odd Fellows hall on the second floor.
Victoria’s Attic was built in 1910 on E. Columbus St. and was an attorney’s office before moved to its present High Street location, where it became a doctor’s office, hamburger shop, and appliance store.
Completed in July 1904, Faith United Methodist Church was designed in the Late Gothic Revival style. A rear wing was added in 1920, followed by a second larger wing in 1958. It was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
The Interurban Station, now part of the iBeam building, was a hub for local transportation at the turn of the 20th century. Operating on a third, electrified rail by the Scioto Valley Traction Company, the first car reached Canal Winchester on July 10, 1904 and operated until 1930, when the popularity of cars and trucks outstripped rail service.
In the Lehman Building block, at the westside corner of High and Waterloo streets, is the home of Ed Jeffers’ Barber Museum, now operated by the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society. Ghost Tour visitors will have the opportunity to visit Jeffers’ second floor barber shop, but the museum will not be open for the event.
"People will have to climb several steps at both the church and the barber shop," cautioned Schneider, who also suggested visitors bring along a flashlight to help guide their way along the sidewalks.
The last stop is the former Boy’s School, constructed on land donated by John Kramer circa 1848 as a brick schoolhouse. Up until 1855, only males were permitted to attend classes at the 32 N. High St. structure.
The first tour group leaves at 7 p.m. from the Queen of the Line Depot in the historical complex at the corner of North High and Oak streets, and, due to the 90 minute length of the tour, the last group departs no later than 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students six to 18, and may be purchased through the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society by calling 833-1846 or at the train depot at 6:30 p.m. the two nights of the tour. The event is free for children five and under.