Oberlin supports #charlottesville

Last weekend horror was listed upon the citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia. Neo-Nazis and White supremacists rained terror upon the home of the University of Virginia, converging upon the community bearing torches, sticks, guns and hate-filled speech. Ultimately as a result of this unwanted and unwarranted assault dozens of people were injured, some badly. Tragically it also resulted in the death of one Heather D. Heyer, a thirty-two year old who stood peacefully with the anti-protesters. 

As the country, indeed the world, reeled in shock and horror, Oberlin citizens came together to hold a candlelight vigil to speak out loudly against the Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and White Nationalist groups and their heinous actions. It also came together peacefully to show her support for the citizens of Charlottesville and to express condolences to Ms. Heyer's family, friends and fellow citizens. 

Oberlin was a small yet powerful voice once again...

If you, your children, and others have questions about tolerance, inclusion and acceptance we offer the Teaching Tolerance site.

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Photos from Oberlin's candlelight vigil held in Tappan Square on the Oberlin College campus.

13 August 2017

The Five & Dime - Ben Franklin Store & Mindfair Books

Situated at 13 West College Street, Ben Franklin Store and Mindfair Books is a prominent and enduring fixture in Oberlin's downtown area. Owner Krista Long offers the following history of the stores on her website:  

Ben Franklin Stores were originally opened in the 1920’s and served many communities as the local general store, providing quality merchandise in a variety of categories at low prices. That concept has continued today at the Ben Franklin Store located in Oberlin, Ohio. While the Ben Franklin stores of the past were a chain, each store is now independently owned and operated.

The Oberlin Ben Franklin formally opened on September 26th, 1935, and was started by John Cochrane. Over the years, Cochrane Inc. opened a number of stores in Oberlin and the area. From the 1960’s to July 2001, the store was managed by Cochrane’s daughter Marianne.

Krista Long purchased the store from Cochrane, Inc in 2001 and has added to the classic variety store concept by adding new and used books, fair trade merchandise, and natural and sustainable products. While continuing continue to provide a broad range of merchandise for the budget conscious customer and the variety needed for local convenience, we strive to offer quality merchandise that meets the values of a green consumer. We also support local suppliers of honey, beauty products, maple syrup and other products.

This commitment to the local economy and the environment makes the Oberlin Ben Franklin an economically and environmentally responsible place for local residents and visitors to shop.

Oberlin is very fortunate to have a woman owned business with such a rich history. Unfortunately many Ben Franklin Stores are disappearing from the United States, being replaced by the "big box" stores.

One cannot put a price on the feeling of community and history that imbues every square inch of these stores.

William A. Johnston, Jr. - Tuskeegee Airman

Remembering my dearest friend William A. Johnston, Jr. on his birthday. Bill, you were one of those individuals who made a mark on my life, my mind and my heart. I honor your service and hold dear to my heart your friendship. I also remember your dear wife and my friend Rosa as well as the best birthday present you ever received, your daughter Holly. I will remember you always... <3


William A. Johnston, Jr. - Tuskegee Airman   

William A. Johnston, Jr. - Tuskegee Airman


Want to know more about the Tuskegee Airman?

The Ginko Gallery

"Distinctive Destination" 

Situated at 19 South Main Street in Oberlin, Ohio, Ginko Gallery is truly a community treasure. It exudes warmth and invites visitors and residents in to see their amazing and very impressive array of artwork. One of the original founders Liz Burgess has a smile that lights up a room which I suspect comes from being able to live her life doing something that she loves and contributing to her community.

Taken from the ginkogallery.net :

Three fiber artists in search of a supportive work environment started this gallery and studio in 1997. One of the original founders, Liz Burgess, still owns and manages the contemporary gallery which features the work of over 250 individuals and very small studios.

Over the years the gallery has expanded to include pottery, jewelry, glass, wood, metal, and other media. But true to its origins, most wall space is reserved for fiberart such as contemporary weavings by Kathleen L. Roig, and art quilts by June O'Neil. Moveable walls create an exhibition space for formal shows several times a year.

Half of the building is still dedicated to the working studios of 5 resident artists and is open to the public. "When people actually see someone working at creating art the concept of original handmade art becomes real. Then they start to understand how what we sell is unique" says Liz.

Located in a storefront in downtown Oberlin, Ohio, the gallery has a significant tourist business. Oberlin, a surprisingly cosmopolitan small college town located 35 miles west of Cleveland, was recently named a "Distinctive Destination" by the National Historic Trust. An array of cultural events bring visitors town. " We pack for carry-on and we ship all over the world" says Liz Burgess.

What is Ginkgo?


Carlyle Shop - Lorraine & Bob Morrison & Francine Toss

The Carlyle Shop has hopped from one location to another since 1935. What always remains the same is its unique product line, the warmth and inviting spirit of the shop and most importantly the affability of its owners, from Grace Harlow & Elizabeth Martin (the first owners we personally knew) to Lorraine Morrison and Francine Toss, the current owners. 

One can easily spend an hour or two winding one's way through the store, looking at unique items that are hard to find anywhere else. There are the ubiquitous albino squirrels, teapots, postcards, earrings (my personal favorite) and other jewelry, distinctive cards, and of course their gorgeous flowers. 

One of the favorite aspects of our experience with the Carlyle Shop is that we don't go there simply to shop. We go there to catch up on city politics, share stories about our respective families and just feel as if we are in the company of friends. Only in a small community like Oberlin are we able to find that sort of experience.

Please click on this link for a delightful article about the Carlyle Shop from "The Oberlin Review".

For more information on 17 West College Street, visit The Oberlin Heritage Center.

Please visit The Carlyle Shop's FB page and "like" them! We do.

Blue Rooster Bakehouse - Leo & Wendy Boes

Blue Rooster Bakehouse is one of Oberlin's favorite storefronts. it is located at 38 South Main Street. Not only are the baked goods fresh, unique, homemade and delicious, the owners Leo and Wendy Boes are two of the nicest people in town. They dreamed a dream, brought it to fruition and Oberlin is the better for it. Celebrating a recent two year anniversary Blue Rooster is one shop that we hope stays around for a very long time. 

For more information of previous business located at 38 South Main Street, please click on the link below to the Oberlin Heritage Center.


Our inspiration has always been simplicity and love and yummy, fresh from the oven, goodies. As a child I remember going to my grandma's or my aunt's house in West Virginia and the moment I walked in the door knowing I was loved by not only the way I was treated, but also by all of the love that went into the food. It was just such a wonderful experience that has stuck with me my entire life. We wanted to recreate that here for all of our new friends! 

We started out doing mostly cupcakes and cakes but now offer a much larger variety of treats including breakfast goodies, specialty cakes, amazingly yummy breads, decadent brownies, bars, cookies and much more. We also offer vegan and gluten free items on a daily basis. We don't stick by a set "menu" and our flavors change daily but, rest assured, you're definitely sure to find something that tickles your tastebuds no matter when you visit. 

More than anything in this experience, we have been absolutely blown away by the support of the local community. After two years we are "over the moon" in love with this town and the people of Oberlin.  It is truly just the coolest, most unique, amazing little spot. To say we have been blessed is an understatement! We look forward to many happy years and memories here with our family.

Blue Rooster FB Page


Verité Stained Glass - Sheree Ferrato-Keron


Don't make the same mistake we did by walking past one of Oberlin's newer storefronts Verité Stained Glass. Sheree Farrato-Keron is one of the area's premier glass artists and once you walk into her shop you will be blown away by the beautiful array of not only stained glass art pieces but many other art forms as well. Sheree has a love of teaching and she and her staff offer classes. Stop by and see just what we mean.

Verité Stained Glass - Owner Sheree Ferrato-Keron

For a history of 11 South Main Street please click on this link to the Oberlin Heritage Center.

One of Ohio’s premier stained glass artists, Sheree Ferrato is the owner of Verité Stained Glass, Inc. located at 11 South Main Street in Oberlin. Her studio offers clients and students a glimpse into her work and the opportunity to learn about glass through her classes.

While art is her passion, art education is her focus. Sheree has been teaching for 20 years,most recently with The Center for Arts Inspired Learning (Young Audiences), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “help make the arts an essential part of young people’s education.” Sheree also teaches at many local school districts within their art and science programs.

Besides her studio collection, Sheree’s artwork is seen throughout the community with her donated pieces to the Avon Library, Ireland Cancer Center in Lorain, North Ridgeville Library, the South Lorain Library, as well as Parma General Hospital among others.

Sheree’s credentials are extensive, covering a 40 year career. She studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art, attended seminars in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. She apprenticed for 4 years under renowned artist Narcissus Quagliata in San Francisco. She has used these experiences and knowledge to develop her amazing work and in helping people enjoy art as much as she does.


Local Business...the Core of a Small Community.

We will begin a series celebrating downtown business in Oberlin. Because this page is all about the city of Oberlin, its people, its spirit its history...this is a great place to begin. Too many 'downtowns' have disappeared and to its credit Oberlin's local businesses have continued to stay in place. There has been change but there are also storefronts that have been here for many many decades...some over a century! 

We will also explore some of the challenges that face downtown business and ask for your input as well.

The Oberlin Business Community

So much of the history of Oberlin is entwined in its businesses. From the original five and dime store (Ben Franklin), to the Apollo theatre, to a multi-generational real estate and insurance agency Sperry-Gorske. Here we will highlight Oberlin's business owners, their businesses, storefronts, what they contribute to our history and the faces behind them.