History Walks

Plan an extra special outing. Stroll through time. Hear the stories. See the world around you in a new way. Teach your class history by experiencing Oberlin's historic places. Find your "place" in history. Create memories.


Fees for regularly scheduled history walks:


Fees for group history walks:


Accessibility and ADA page


History Walks Offered:


Scholars and Settlers History Walk

Learn about the earliest residents of Oberlin and hear fascinating stories of the triumphs, debates, and scandals linked to the landmarks around Tappan Square. Compare the buildings of today to the buildings of yesteryear using historic photographs and walk away with a lively appreciation of Oberlin's unique heritage. This hour long guided history walk is offered at special times and by group reservation, April through October, so please check our Event Calendar or call to reserve a group program.  This tour begins at the corner of Main Street (Route 58) and College Street, at the flagpoles in Tappan Square.  Whether you've lived in Oberlin forever or are new to the area, you'll find much to enjoy. 

2019 Schedule: By group reservation April - October.

Freedom’s Friends: Underground Railroad and Abolitionist History Walk

“Oberlin is perhaps the most important station along the whole line of the Underground Railway. It has rendered the most important services to Freedom. It is second only to Canada as an asylum for the hunted fugitive.” Hear stories about Oberlin’s most famous freedom seekers and people known to have helped them make their way to freedom. This guided history walk is approximately 90 minutes and is offered frequently during warmer months and by group reservation, April through October. Tickets are available online through the Event Calendar and at the Museum Store in the Monroe House up until tour time. Groups may call the Tour Coordinator at (440) 774-1700. This history walk will be cancelled if it is raining at start time and registrants may request refunds or transfers.  History walks may be cancelled if fewer than 5 people pre-register. This tour begins near the front steps of First Church, U.C.C. at the northwest corner of Main Street (Route 58) and Lorain Street (Route 511). 

2019 Schedule: Offered every Saturday at 11:00 a.m. in June, July, and August. Otherwise during special events and by group reservation April - October.

"One Step More": Oberlin Women's History Walk

In 1834, John J. Shipherd pledged Oberlin’s commitment to “the elevation of female character” through education. Little did he know, there was dynamite in that promise, and women carried the matches. This illustrated 75-minute walking tour explores how Oberlin confronted and defined issues of femininity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hear stories of powerful Oberlin women including Lucy Stone, Marianne Parker Dascomb, Adelia Field Johnston, Mary Church Terrell, and Lucy Stanton Day, and learn how they used John J. Shipherd’s promise to shape what it meant to be a woman in Oberlin and in the United States. This tour begins at the southeast corner of Tappan Square, at the corner of Main (Rt 58) and College streets in Oberlin. 

2019 Schedule: On March 30 for Women's History Month and by group reservation April - October.

Soldiers and Civilians History Walk: Oberlin and the Civil War

This guided walk highlights local perspectives, notable figures, and interesting stories on both the war and home front during the Civil War. From Luman Tenney and Henry Chester, who with the Second Ohio Cavalry travelled 22,000 miles and fought in over thirty battles and skirmishes, to Sarah Merion and Russell Hall, both of whom offer unique views into life on the home front for students, to O.S.B. Wall, a recruiter who was one of the first African-Americans to receive a commission as a Union officer, visitors will hear some fascinating stories. Find out about camp food, calls for emancipation, small-town life in the 1860’s, and Soldiers' Aid Societies through stories, landmarks and images. This hour and fifteen minute guided history walk is available for group reservations from April through October. History walks are recommended for those aged 9 and above but can be modified to meet younger visitor’s interests with advance preparation. Unless arranged otherwise, this .7 mile walk begins at the southeast corner of Tappan Square, at the corner of Main (Rt 58) and College streets in Oberlin. 

2019 Schedule: During special events and by group reservation April - October.

Radicals and Reformers History Walk

Walk with us through historic Westwood Cemetery.  This guided tour promises a pleasing balance of Westwood's scenic landmarks and stories of some of the many spirited men and women of Oberlin who simply refused the status quo.  Find out which resident was remembered as "gentle, soft-spoken, tolerant and yet nobody's fool."  Visit the headstone of the man who escaped from slavery (twice!) and later served on the Oberlin village council.  This walk is offered at special times during the year and to groups by reservation, April through October. Reservations are required for this program, so please check our Event Calendar or call to reserve a group program.  Meet near the entrance of the cemetery to begin this historic journey.

2019 Schedule: During special events and by group reservation April - October.

I Spy Oberlin: History and Architecture Scavenger Hunt

This fun program is designed for children aged 5-11 with an adult companion.  Families will be guided through historic Oberlin while keeping their eyes peeled for historic markers, decorative details, and Oberlin oddities.  Fun and engaging for all!  The "hunt" begins at the Monroe House and traverses outside in fair weather; we will "spy" inside our historic buildings if it's raining.  Reservations are required for this program, so please check our Event Calendar or call to reserve a group program. 

2019 Schedule: During special events and by group reservation April - October.

Architecture History Walk

Find out how the landscape, college campus, and town developed over its 180+ years on this 60-minute walking tour of Oberlin. Learn which architectural styles prevailed, which were criticized by the community, and how several renowned architects came to work in Oberlin. This tour can be linked to history, preservation, and architectural lessons in the classroom. This tour is available by group reservation from April through October.  For some visitors, it will be a trip down memory lane!

Register online for a History Walk