Happy Friday everyone!
Today’s Friday Fantasy will be in celebration of Columbus Day. Granted, the average citizen knows a lot more about Christopher Columbus than they did even fifteen years ago, and quite frankly, we know he wasn’t such an outstanding guy. Add to that the fact that we don’t really have a lot of fantasy architecture from his time and you might be wondering how I’m going to make this happen…. Quite simple! I’m going to stretch it. So, without further ado, I give you the Kelton House in COLUMBUS, Ohio.
The Kelton House is a brick Italianate style mansion with ties to the Underground Railroad (and they’re even real ties, not the imagined ties that anyone with a Georgian sporting a tiny closet likes to boast about at cocktail parties). Built in 1852 by prominent dry goods wholesaler, Fernando Cortez Kelton. Kelton and his wife were both dedicated abolitionists, and aided slaves fleeing the south by hiding them in the barn, cistern or the servants quarters in the house, giving them a place to rest in safety before continuing on along the road to Canada. In fact, they even welcomed an escaped slave from Virginia into their family. Martha and Pearl Hartway were found hiding in the shrubbery near the Keltons’ home by Fernando’s wife, Sophia. She quickly took them in, and when it was found that Martha was too ill to continue north to Canada, she remained at the house and was educated by the Keltons. In recognition of Kelton’s work for the cause of abolition, he was actually chosen as a pallbearer for President Lincoln during his final journey westward through Ohio to his resting place in Illinois.
The House and its story was passed down through the family until 1975, when Grade Kelton, the last family member to own the property, left it to the Columbus Foundation with the stipulation that it be used for education. Today, it operates as a house museum and runs programs with docents in costume who teach about the Underground Railroad.
A photo of the primary facade. (Photo from wikipedia)
An historic photo of Kelton House (Photos from the Ohio Counsel of Arts)
I hope you enjoyed this small detour to Ohio. Have a great weekend