The Delaware County Historical Society took advantage of the warmest day of 2016 Saturday to show off to the public perhaps the most historic site in the county.
The society celebrated the official opening of the Meeker Homestead and The Barn at Stratford with a steady stream of people checking out the 193-year-old House and 168-year-old barn, which were donated to the group in 2010.
“When you consider the development that will continue to happen between Columbus and the city of Delaware, this is like a little oasis,” Donna Meyer, executive director of the society, said of the county’s oldest complete pioneer homestead, settled on six acres off Rt. 23 just south of Delaware.
“You’re not going to find a barn like this, a stone bank barn with a house that is almost 200 years old together” and still intact.
The barn exterior has vibrant red wood and light-colored limestone from the nearby Olentangy River. Across the street are quaint houses where mill workers first lived in the 1800s.
“This arguably is the most historic site in Delaware County,” said Jack Hilborn, vice president of the society. “We’re excited about being able to show this place off.”
The ground floor of the barn has been developed into a space to host events, including weddings. Massive, hand-made virgin timber beams stretch along the ceiling, some with the bark still attached, complementing the small white light bulbs strung throughout, giving the room a definite wedding feel.
Clint Eutsey and his fiancée, Hailey Kinley, booked the site for their November wedding, and he brought his family Saturday to show them the space. He said a number of improvements had been made since he was last there.
“We saw it had potential,” said Eutsey, who lives in Dublin but plans to get married in Delaware, where he coaches soccer nearby at Delaware Hayes High School. “I just love that it’s an old barn.”
The venue has six weddings scheduled so far this year with more expected as future brides visit this weekend and word spreads. Revenue from the venue will go to the society for educational work and upkeep of the grounds.
The society recently spent $10,000 to hook the barn into the city sewer system. Remodeling of the bathrooms and kitchen is ongoing and, as with any historic home, a variety of repairs are needed, such as the barn’s tin roof and the 40-year-old roof on the house.
The two-story home, which still has its original staircase and wood flooring, will one day be turned into a museum.
Among those who visited was Julie Dawson of Galena, who has taken off layers of paneling, wallpaper and a drop ceiling in her own 1850s-era home.
“We came for some inspiration on what could this place look like if we tried to recreate, perhaps, an earlier time,” she said. She liked what she saw.
“We absolutely loved the hardware on the doors and the wood along the bottom of the room,” she said. “And I love the unfinished floors. I love that the plaster doesn’t have to be perfect.”
The society will hold another open house today from noon to 4 p.m.