GALLIPOLIS — The Our House Museum in Gallipolis has long stood as a testament to community history and artifacts and this year it reflects on 200 years of standing along First Avenue.
“We find new things, believe it or not,” said Our House Site Manager Bev Jeffers. “All of the docents here and friends, we all research and so everything that we’re doing keeps us on the same page. We know that it’s true history. We found papers saying that on October 6, 1818, that Henry (Cushing) and Elizabeth (Our House founders) were finalizing everything (legal documents) and bought their final piece of property…That day, a paper says they started the building of the Our House and finished in November of 1819. A certain date (the building was finished) we don’t have, but we know it was in November because they had a huge Thanksgiving celebration.”
“We have a table upstairs that has lists of (Gallipolis resident) descendants from (then) up to present time and their families we have been in contact with,” said Jeffers. “It describes how they’re related.”
Jeffers said the Our House will recognize some of its 200-year history at an upcoming holiday open house event slated for Nov. 27, the night of the Gallipolis in Lights ceremony, with the museum looking to open its doors around 5 p.m. However, the museum tentatively aims to hold a more official 200-year celebration in the coming spring with the hopes of having original French 500 descendants present.
The museum is a brick Federal-style tavern which dates to the 1819. It was originally owned by Henry Cushing and was known to cater to the community’s elite. It was considered a center of the town’s social life. The Our House Museum has become a center for Gallia County and Gallipolis history.
“A (Joel) Barlow was sent over (to France) representing Scioto Company,” said previous site manager Becky Pasquale. “He was sent there to bring people over here to open up a settlement. (Gallipolis) City Park is where they ended up. The (French) paid for all their property, but there was a gentleman over there. He was an Englishman, his name was (William) Playfair. He’s the one who stole (the French) money before Barlow could bring it back and give it to the Scioto Company so they could give it to the government, so they could actually sell the property. The French 500 paid twice for the same property.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2324.