|National Register of Historic Places: Thirty-one Worthington Sites
The first Worthington site to be listed on the National Register was the 1974 qualification of the prehistoric Indian mound on the west side of the Olentangy River. The most recent sites include the Niles Interurban Car in 1987 and the Dr. Longenecker Office in 1990. Twenty-six properties were accepted in 1980 as a result of surveys conducted in conjunction with the Ohio Historical Society. Twenty-two of these thirty properties are pictured and described in more detail in Worthington Landmarks: Photo-Essays of Historic Worthington Properties.
1. Jeffers Hopewell Prehistoric Mound (a k a Vining Hopewell Indian Mound) – Plesenton Drive
A remnant of the Adena and Hopewell Indian cultures, this twenty-foot mound with a base diameter of one hundred and ninety-two feet was part of an eight acre ceremonial area when the New England settlers arrived in 1803. This acreage became part of the Scioto Company land purchase, and was divided into farm lots for William Vining. Vining was one of the 38 Scioto Company subscribers.
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2. St. John’s Episcopal Church and Cemetery – 700 High Street
St. John’s Episcopal Church is the original building on the lot granted for church use by the founding settlers in 1803. Their leader, James Kilbourne, was an ordained Episcopal deacon. This building was erected between 1827 and 1831. Historically, the church is significant as the organizational and spiritual focus of the original settlers. Nationally, it represents the first Episcopal congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains.
To search an online index for St. John’s Episcopal Church Cemetery, click here.
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3. Old Rectory – 50 West New England Avenue
The former Episcopal Rectory was built in 1841-45 near the church on the southeast quadrant of the village green. The interior features a cherry stairway and black walnut woodwork with crossettes and splayed bases (suggesting Egyptian columns.) It is an excellent example of a Greek Revival home. Today it houses the offices, doll museum and library of the Worthington Historical Society.
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4. Worthington Inn – High Street and New England Avenue
The oldest portion of the Worthington Inn was built as a home for the family of Rennsselaer W. Cowles, a Worthington merchant, civic leader and James Kilbourne’s son-in-law. The Inn has had significant additions which reflect the changing architectural tastes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Its Victorian decor reflects its status as Worthington’s only remaining nineteenth-century inn.
5. Worthington Presbyterian Church – 733 High Street
The Worthington Presbyterian Church has been at this site since the original building was completed in 1830. One of the congregation’s most illustrious pastors was Rev. Thomas Woodrow, grandfather of President Woodrow Wilson. This 1927 building inaugurated the classical revival construction boom throughout the community.
6. Orange Johnson House – 956 High Street
The Orange Johnson House consists of the original six room house built by Arora Buttles in 1811 combined with a more ornate Federal-style addition facing High Street built in 1819 for the Johnson family. The six room house stood on a thirty-five acre farm just north of the village and is noteworthy as a pioneer home still on its original site. Orange Johnson was an influential businessman in central Ohio and supervised construction of the Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike. The house is owned, restored and maintained by the Worthington Historical Society as a museum depicting early nineteenth-century life.
Click here to learn more about the history of the Orange Johnson House. >
7. Worthington Village Green – Intersection of High Street and Dublin-Granville Road
The Worthington Village Green was platted in 1804. Each quadrant measures approximately 100 feet by 300 feet. Before leaving New England, the founders of Worthington planned public and private properties and streets adjacent to the central green area. The green is significant as a vestige of New England town planning transplanted to Ohio.
8. New England Masonic Lodge – 634 High Street
The New England Masonic Lodge, built in 1820, is the oldest Masonic Temple west of the Allegheny Mountains in constant use. Many of Worthington’s founders were Masons and Masonic activity was part of the fabric of the original village. The Federal style lodge is now a Masonic museum showcasing ceremonial furniture and ornaments.
9. Snow House – 41 West New England Avenue
The John Snow House, built ca. 1815, is a typical Federal style brick. John Snow, the house’s best known owner, was active in Worthington and Ohio Masonic activity and master when the lodge was built. It is probable that earlier meetings were held in this home. The interior has two relatively deep arched alcoves flanking the fireplace, each framed by delicate pilasters.
10. Sharon Township Hall – 67 East Granville Road
This 1856 building was constructed as the first union or graded public school in Worthington. Second floor rooms were rented to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge. In the 1870s it was sold to the Sharon Township Trustees, and for many years it was the Town Hall, the center of political and social life for both the township and the Worthington town council. It is now owned by the Episcopal Church.
11. Gilbert House (a k a Travis Scott House) – 72 East Granville Road
This modified ‘saltbox’ home was probably built ca. 1820 and later moved from Main Street to this location. The Ezra Gilbert family were the first to own and live in this house at this location in the 1840s. It is noteworthy for the intact preservation of a modest early nineteenth -century laborer’s home.
12. Park-Vest House (a k a Jonathan Park House) – 91 East Granville Road
This house was built ca. 1860s as a retirement home for Jonathan and Aurelia Park who farmed east of Worthington, but it is associated for many years with the Vest family. School teacher Winfield Vest enlarged the house and added the decorative tracery carpenter work along the front gable and sides. Until a few years ago a matching gazebo stood to the east of the house.
13. Topping-Evans House (a k a J.R. Topping House) – 92 East Granville Road
This Second-Empire style home is distinguished by the mansard roof added by Whitfield Evans in an 1884 remodeling of a modest brick home which had housed the Topping family for a number of years. Widow Mary Ann Russell Topping was the daughter of James Russell, the builder of a magnificent orrey (planetarium) exhibited in New York City, and the family she raised here included J. R. Topping, superintendent of Goodale Park in Columbus.
14. Gilbert-Wilcox House (a k a Hiram Wilcox House) – 196 East Granville Road
This Federal style brick house was built just after the Civil War for Theodore and Ellen Gilbert, a great-granddaughter of Worthington pioneer Ezra Griswold on a lot from his farm. A decade later it was sold to Hiram Wilcox, a Delaware County farmer retiring to the village, and his heirs lived here well into the twentieth century.
15. Sharon Memorial Hall – 137 East Granville Road
The Sharon Memorial Hall was built in 1861, the Victorian home of Horace Wright. Wright, also, operated a sawmill on this property. The porch and columns were added ca. 1900. The house was occupied until 1940 by the Wright family who served Worthington in many civic capacities.
16. Skeele House (a k a Captain J. S. Skeele House) – 700 Hartford Street
This braced-frame home was constructed in the 1830s and originally faced Granville Road but was turned to face Hartford in the early 1900s. Its double-galleried facade was somewhat unusual for early nineteenth-century Worthington. It was purchased by Harriet Skeele while her husband John was fighting with the 113th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War and remained their home for many years.
17. Hart House (a k a Cyrus Fay House) – 64 West Granville Road
The post-Civil War Hart house is significant as a local manifestation of Italianate style, one of the few in Worthington, which was not growing during the late nineteenth century. It was built for Lucy Hart’s family, a widow whose husband was involved in constructing the railroad east of Worthington.
18. Gardner House – 80 West Granville Road
The Gardner House, built in 1896, has many distinctly Queen Anne architectural characteristics. Historically, it was the home of Lyman Gardner, founder of the Worthington Savings Bank. This ten-room home was considered a social center for the day with a ballroom on the third floor.
19. Boarding House – 25 Fox Lane
The center section of this residence was originally the boarding house built in 1814 for single men working for the Worthington Manufacturing Company. This historic site had an early sawmill, and with Kilbourne’s manufacturing company a series of shops producing woolen cloth, leather goods, iron products, pot and pearl ash. In 1862 this site became Camp Lyon, where the 46th Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered and trained for Union Army service.
20. Mattoon-Woodrow House (a k a Ladd-Mattoon House) – 72 East North Street
This Federal style brick home, which originally stood on the southwest corner of High and North Streets, was built in the late 1830s for the family of blacksmith Ansel Mattoon. He served as president of the Worthington Anti-Slavery Society and this was reportedly a station on the Underground Railroad. In the mid-1850s, it was the home of Rev. Thomas Woodrow, minister of the Worthington Presbyterian Church.
21. Buttles-Pinney-Brown House (a k a Sidney Brown House) – 12 East Stafford Avenue
This five-bay Federal brick built in 1818 by Arora Buttles is similar to the Snow, Johnson, and Mattoon houses. Its early owners were prominent community leaders, Buttles a mason and builder, Abner Henry Pinney a merchant, Sidney Brown a cooper and grocer.
22. Adams-Heath House (a k a Demas Adams House) – 721 High Street
The 1817-18 Adams-Heath House is the oldest frame home in Worthington. The interior retains much of its original woodwork and detailing. Demas Adams married one of Kilbourne’s step-daughters and operated a boarding house in conjunction with Kilbourne’s Worthington Hotel. While living here in the mid-century Methodist minister Rev. Uriah Heath inaugurated a tree-planting program for the village green.
23. Kilbourne Commercial Building (a k a Kilbourne House) – 679-681 High Street
The 1808 Kilbourne Commercial Building is believed to be the oldest commercial building in Ohio in continuous commercial use. Constructed just south of James Kilbourne’s 1804 brick home, this building had three ground-floor entries to his survey office, retail store and the Western Intelligencer newspaper he established. Second floor rooms served with his home as the Worthington Hotel.
24. Ripley House – 623 High Street
The Ripley House is a gable-ended structure built for both home and business with a front entrance facing the main street for the shop. One important feature remaining today is the Adam style mantel that has diminutive fluted columns and a delicate elliptical sunburst medallion. Historically, it is the 1823 birthplace of Roswell S. Ripley, who attended West Point, married and settled in Charleston, South Carolina, and became a Confederate general during the Civil War.
25. Principal’s Cottage (a k a President’s Home) – 38 Short Street
The Carpenter Gothic Principal’s Cottage with elaborate bargeboard trim was originally located east of High Street and served as residence for the principals of the Worthington Female Seminary and the Ohio Central Normal School, which contributed to Worthington’s reputation as an educational center. It was moved across High Street when the current Methodist Church and parking lot were built.
26. Wright House (a k a Potter Wright) 174 East New England
This Federal style home was built for the Potter Wright family in 1818 on the Methodist Church site, but moved in the 1920s. It is notable for its cherry stairway, and interior ogee molding with bead. Potter Wright was a manufacturer of carding equipment associated with the Worthington Manufacturing Company.
27. Lewis-Noble House (a k a Bishop Noble House) – 48 West South Street
The original portion of this house was constructed by the Lewis family in 1857-59, and a two-story wing added by the Nobles in 1883. The original woodwork is intact. It is an important link to the agricultural heritage of the area south of Worthington where the Lewis and Noble families farmed.
28. Dr. Longenecker Office Building – 633-635 High Street
The original portion of this building was a drugstore built ca.1833 but it was remodeled and enlarged early in the twentieth century. It is significant as a commercial building, and for the period from 1917-1926 when it served as Dr. Longenecker’s dental office.
29. Niles Interurban Combine #21 – 990 Proprietors Road
This fifty-foot late nineteenth-century electric railway car manufactured by the Niles Car and Manufacturing Company is significant as a rare example combining both passenger and baggage compartments. It accommodated forty-six passengers and commemorates the Columbus, Delaware and Marion interurban railway which served Worthington from 1901-1933.
30. Rush Creek Village Historic District – Residential subdivision centered along East South St., E of Morning St.
Rush Creek Village stands as a planned, architecturally unique community of more than 40 houses. These houses are carefully situated on sites varying in size from a minimum of one half to three quarters of an acre, over a rolling, wooded terrain, penetrated by ravines and a brook. The organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, demonstrated in his Usonian houses, was the major inspiration for Rush Creek Village. Construction actually began in 1956 with the house of Martha and Richard Wakefield, who then became the builder of the neighborhood as well. The designer was Theodore van Fossen, who planned the entire community, defining the individual sites and designing the original houses.
31. Worthington Historic District
The Ohio Historic Preservation Office provides forms for nominating a property for the National Register of Historic Places, criteria for selection, and a searchable database of Ohio properties. To search for a Worthington Property, o the left side of their web site, click on National Register of Historic Places > Searchable Database > Franklin County, Worthington. This brings up all 31 Worthington properties and you can click on any one for detailed information. You do not need to fill all the boxes on the form such as name and reference number to find a property.