Memories of Lockbourne’s Historical Hall


By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Linda Dillman
Cora Bethel (left) and Lockbourne Mayor Christie Ward (right) enjoy the view from a newly installed patio, deck, and handicap ramp at the town’s Historical Hall, all done at no cost to the village.

Lockbourne’s Historical Hall holds a special place for resident Cora Bethel because, long before it became the village’s event center and home to Masonic organizations, it was where she spent her early elementary school years.

“I’ve lived my entire life here,” said Bethel reminiscing inside the brick building where original wavy glass windows look out upon a new patio with large planter boxes, an extensive handicap ramp, and space for outdoor gatherings.

On July 5, Bethel—who was born in the 1930s in an elegant brick home once part of the Underground Railroad—accompanied by Lockbourne Mayor Christie Ward, was the first person to officially walk up the ramp since its construction.

“I went to all six grades here starting in 1941,” said Bethel, “when it was two rooms upstairs and two room downstairs. There was a little place upstairs where they fixed lunch, but I lived so close I would walk home for lunch or carry it with me wrapped up in a newspaper. The bathroom was outside with 10 to 12 holes. The water pump was outside as well and we only had one swing set and a teeter totter and a small ball diamond.”

An original fire escape, still as sturdy as the day it was installed, was off-limits to Bethel and her fellow students. However, during her recent visit, she finally ascended the first few steps of the iron structure, something she was never allowed to do 80 years ago.

During Bethel’s time as an elementary student, May Day was celebrated with a pole entwined with ribbons, the PTA was active in sponsoring events throughout the school year, and kids who acted up in first grade might find themselves spending time under the teacher’s desk.

Bethel said she was happy when she learned the village bought the building and restored it to its original condition.

Ward said the village purchased the structure on Valentine’s Day in 2019 after the Freemasons, who bought the building from the school district in the 1950s, agreed to sell it for $17,500. All of the demolition work, such as tearing down walls and suspended ceilings, was done by volunteers. A contractor was hired to do the interior renovations.

All of the concrete work in the front of the hall was donated by the Shelly Company, Savko Construction donated and installed all of the concrete for the patio and the north facing sidewalk, and Preferred Living installed all of the decking and the planter boxes at no cost to the village.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” said Ward in tallying donations large and small. “The city of Groveport donated tables and chairs they were replacing, a councilman donated the sound system, and there are so many others. So far, there’s been at least half a million dollars in donations to this project and we’re not done yet.”

Ward said a list of future restorations includes sandblasting and painting the fire escape, landscaping, and finishing kitchen updates. The biggest and costliest item on the list is an elevator to the second floor.

The Historical Hall opened for events in 2021 and has hosted weddings, family gatherings, birthday parties, fish fries, formal teas, and neighborhood activities like ones Bethel experienced as a child growing up in Lockbourne.

“We once had a carnival come to town,” said Bethel, who said a highlight of the year was when girls would go to the grain elevator and choose feed sacks for new dresses or when the first family in town to own a television set opened their doors to all of the children to take a look.

“Halloween was a big thing in town,” said Bethel. “You didn’t have to worry about bad things happening. At Mrs. Coker’s house, she made popcorn balls and Mary Smith would make fresh donuts. After we came home, then the adults would go out trick or treating, just like the kids. It was a very social bunch of people living in the village. We all played together, even doing things like using tin cans to go skating on a pond that would freeze over in the winter.”

Ward hopes with the new patio and accessibility, Historical Hall will become the centerpiece for the resurgence of community events and activities similar to those from long ago. For information about the village, seasonal activities, or use of the hall, visit or call 614-491-3161.

Previous articleCollier named Groveport Madison Schools treasurer
Next articleMadison Messenger – July 2nd, 2023


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.