Assignment: Westerville


Assignment: Westerville

By Giles Kennedy

Family and Travel Columnist


Recently the United States and the world has been ridden by the COVID-19 virus.

Unfortunately, that has placed a major break on travel; in general.

But, that will not stop Columbus Wired to bring you fresh content and great ideas for stuff for the family.

The “Assignment” series meant to be a guide to each area of Central Ohio covered.


Since a lot of you are stuck at home…I thought what better way to educate and entertain; homework.

Don’t get mad yet.

Think of this as a guide for a scavenger hunt or a walking tour.  Maybe pick up some local food for a picnic.


I could not think of any better place to start then Westerville. Dave Weissman’s adult hometown; where his kids went to school, where many of Columbus Wired staffers call home as well.



You can do a walking tour of Otterbein University. This is where Matthew and Peter Westervelt started a failed men’s seminary. Although the men’s seminary failed, in 1847; Otterbein began educating the masses. It was during this period, many church based colleges and universities were open to women and African Americans.

Three notable graduates were history makers in their own right.

Kate Hanby and Sarah Miller were the first two women in Otterbein history to earn their degrees; in the very first graduating class.

Kate Hanby went onto be a leader in Otterbein as well as the Westerville community.

The History of Otterbein University

An African prince from Sierra Leone, Joseph Hannibal Caulker; came to Otterbein in 1896. He was active in the music program, set a track record, and many other programs. Sadly, a dorm fire claimed him and other classmates lives. 96 years later; Otterbein honored his family with his degree in a ceremony.


Westerville is known for the start of the Anti-Saloon League.

Most people don’t realize there are many other things Westerville has help start or built.

Many of the nation’s construction projects have been products of Westerville.

Along the Alum Creek Greenway; south of the city, two firms have placed headquarters there.

Corna Kokosing Construction (originally headquartered in Knox County), built a multi-million dollar campus near the Alum Creek trails.

Virginia-based New River Electrical Construction has their Midwest headquarters literally right down the street from Kokosing.

Both have helped build highways, commerce centers and provide infrastructure to a growing economy.


Speaking of trails and parks; many of Westerville’s trails go right by its historical sites.

You can even download an app to navigate through this beautiful city by bicycle.

Don’t stay coup up through the COVID-19 crisis. Get outside.

Look for more Assignment travel guides in the future.


(History sources by Westerville History Center, a service of the Westerville Public Library)








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