I read an article today in Preservation magazine that sheds light on one of the country's little-known gems.
Set in a small community roughly 34 miles from Cleveland, Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college steeped in history. It was founded in 1833 by John Jay Shipherd and Philo P. Stewart, both Presbyterian ministers. The college was built on 500 acres of land donated by the previous owners: Titus Street, founder of Streetsboro, Ohio, and Samuel Hughes, who resided in Connecticut.
Its namesake city, Oberlin, was known as an abolitionist stronghold. In fact, it served as a major stop on the Underground Railroad.
Oberlin College is distinguished as the first college in the United States to admit African-American students (1835) and to offer bachelor's degrees to women (1841) in a coeducational program.
The Allen Memorial Art Museum, designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert (who also designed the Woolworth Building in New York, the world's tallest building when it was constructed in 1913), boasts over 14,000 works in its collection and offers a unique art rental program.
Furthermore, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music is the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the country. Even bibliophiles would love this place, as the college's library is one of the largest undergraduate libraries in the nation.
Oberlin remains a socially conscious, activist campus and a can't-miss stop for those visiting the Cleveland area or thereabouts. There's no denying that over its long history, the college has become synonymous with progressive reform.
Would you ever visit if you were in the area? Why or why not?