Oberlin, Ohio (Hayward)

John Hayward, Gazetteer of the United States of America… (Philadelphia: James L. Gihon, 1854), 503-504.
Oberlin, O., Lorain co. A village situated in the southern part of Russia township, 32 miles S. W. from Cleveland, and 11 miles S. from the port on Lake Erie, called "Black River Port." This place was laid out and settled, in 1832, to be the seat of the literary institution located there, and named Oberlin, in honor of the Rev. John Frederic Oberlin, a distinguished philanthropist of Switzerland. The village is located upon a level plain, in the midst of a tract 3 miles square, embraced in the original purchase, and to a great extent yet covered with the primitive forest. The site was selected because it was supposed to be healthy, could be easily approached by the western lakes and other avenues of travel, and yet was sufficiently remote from the vicinity of large towns to secure an exemption from the temptations to dissipation and vice which they offer. Another consideration was, that extensive and fertile lands could be obtained for the purposes of the seminary, which was to be made a manual labor institution ; and for the settlement of a colony around it, which, by the lease or purchase of the property at a value which would be created in a great measure in the progress of the enterprise, should supply the means of an ultimate investment for the college.

Oberlin is now a pleasant and thriving village, with a population of over 2000 souls, with stores, mechanics’ shops, &c., suited to the conditions of such a place. The sale of ardent spirits has never been permitted within its limits.

The houses in Oberlin are generally two stories in height, built of wood, and painted white ; giving to the place a striking resemblance to a New England town. The Presbyterian Church edifice is one of the largest in the state. Near it, upon a green of about 12 acres, stands the principal edifice of the college, named Tappan Hall, in honor of Arthur Tappan, Esq., of New York, an early and liberal benefactor of the institution. Facing the Green are Oberlin Hall, Ladies’ Hall, and Colonial Hall, all of which, with other buildings, belong to the institution. The distinguishing objects proposed in the establishment of this seminary are, “to secure the development of a sound mind in a sound body, by the aid of a judicious system of manual labor,” and to afford “thorough instruction, in all the branches of an education, for both sexes ; and to which colored persons, of both sexes, shall be freely admitted, on the terms of equality and brotherhood.” The institution possess 500 acres of land at Oberlin and 10,000 acres in Western Virginia. See Colleges.
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