National Historic Landmarks in Oberlin

National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. Learn more about the National Historic Landmarks program.

 

Wilson Bruce Evans House

Location:

33 East Vine Street

Significance:

This house was the home of Wilson Bruce Evans (1824-1898), a leading black abolitionist and successful member of Oberlin's commercial and educational communities. Evans and his brother Henry participated in the dramatic 1858 Oberlin-Wellington Rescue, saving an escaped slave who had been captured and was to be taken back to his owner in Kentucky. This was one of several well-publicized confrntations resulting from the Fuitive Slave Act of 1850, and it was significant in fueling the nation's sectional differences priort to the Civil War.

 

 

John Mercer Langston House

Location:

207 East College Street

Significance:

From 1856 to 1867, this simple clapboard structure was the home of John Mercer Lanston (1829-1897), the man who became the first Black American elected to public office when he was elected township clerk in 1855. He later served in the Freedman's Bureau and was first dean of the Howard University Law School, U.S. Representative from Virginia (1890-91), and Minister to Haiti.

 

 

Oberlin College Campus / Tappan Square

 

Location:

Bounded by Professor, Lorain, Main, and West College Streets

Significance:

Founded in 1833, Oberlin Collegiate Institute developed into a socially and politically influential college during the years immediately preceding the Civil War. Oberlin made the education of Blacks and women a matter of institutional policy. The admittance of four women in 1837 marked the beginning of coeducation on the collegiate level in the United States; free Blacks were admitted on the same basis as whites.
(Image is of the college chapel and Tappan Hall, both formerly in Tappan Square; circa 1860)