Inn celebrates bicentennial

Staff Reports

Photo is late 1800s of Center Inn. The girl in front is Carolyn Carpenter, granddaughter of the Gilbert Van Dorns.

The Big Walnut Historical Society – The Big Walnut Area Historical Society, located in Sunbury, Ohio, is celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Van Dorn Inn in October. You are invited to join our celebration! It will be a great event for both young and old!

The old Van Dorn Inn (known as the “Center Inn” or “Vans Valley Inn”) located at the intersection of State Routes 37 and 605, just west of the Licking County line in Delaware County, is celebrating its 200th Anniversary. This home was a part of the Underground Railroad! Built in 1817, it was the first brick building in Delaware County, now listed on the National Historic Register.

The Inn has been beautifully restored and updated with artisan finishes throughout the nearly 4,000 square feet, with five fireplaces, five bedrooms, two and a half baths, a formal dining room, library, family room, updated eat-in kitchen, and charming private guest suite. The four+ car garage has a finished living space. Enjoy the lush gardens on the private patio. Fenced yard on 1.44 acre lot with mature trees. This beautiful home was photographed by and featured in “Country Living Magazine.”

We would like to invite you to come see this dramatic home that combines old world charm with elegant country living!

Gilbert Van Dorn opened an Inn in a log cabin when he settled in Trenton township on 1000 acres in 1817. He soon added extra log rooms. Later he made brick on the property to build the house now owned by Timothy and Amy Welsh. The Welsh family is opening their home yard as a fund raiser for the Big Walnut Area Historical Society from 1 to 4 on Saturday, October 21.

Don a costume from your favorite historical decade from 1817 to 2017 and head out St. Rt. 37 towards Johnstown. Just park your carriage at the Vans Valley Community Church, 14440 State Route 37. You may easily walk or ride in a hay wagon to the historic Center Inn or Van Dorn Inn at 14659 E. State Rt. 37. Arrows will lead the way. If it isn’t wet, you may drive into the Longshore field from 605. This is next door to the Welsh home.

When you enter the property near the driveway, an information table will be set up to direct guests through the events. Tickets will be on sale for the house tours and for the Speak Easy Password. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for the Myers Inn Museum. Note the donations jars near all the events and exhibits. Please donate generously.

Guided tours of the home are scheduled at 1:30, 2:00 and 2:30. A bell will ring to bring you to the front door for each tour. The tour costs $5 for everyone age 8 and older. Younger children will have to be carried by their parents. The tour is not handicapped accessible.

On the west yard demonstrations and exhibits are set up for your enjoyment. Old time hands-on crafts for the young include dipping candles, making corn-cob dolls or making Tussie Mussies. All ages may try their hand at the tavern games or watch women hooking rugs. Or you may schedule a 15 minute reading with Lisa Noland-Shalosky for $25. (Her fee goes to the historical Society).

50/50 tickets will be sold for a $1 each, 6 for $5 or 12 for $10. Be sure your name and phone number is on each of the tickets when you put them in the jar. The winner will be drawn at 4:00.

A Silent Auction with an original oil painting of General Rosecrans’ Statue in front of the Town Hall, an overnight stay in Hocking Hills Get Away, two Half Hour private readings by Columbus, Ohio’s very own Psychic Medium, Trance Channel and Certified Spiritual Hypnotist Lisa Noland-Shalosky as well as many other items which will make great gifts. Check it out at On the day of the event Silent Auction items will be under the canopies along the east side of the driveway. Return often to up your bid.

Homemade cookies, cider, lemon-aid, snacks and a birthday cake will be served in the food court throughout the event. Be sure to buy a password for $10 to get into the Speak Easy for adult beverages.

Special $25 VIP Pass includes a house tour, one 50/50 ticket and two adult drinks. VIP Passes are sold online at using credit cards or Paypal or for cash at the Myers Inn Museum Gift Shop. All advance sales completed before day of event will have buyer’s name entered in a drawing for a basket of Sunbury Goodies. VIP Pass will also be sold at the entry table At 3:30 all costumed attendees are invited to meet on the front steps for the Costume Contest. A prize will be awarded for the costume best representing the decade it is portraying.

Once again the Center Inn, as Gilbert Van Dorn called it, will be the hub of community activity in Trenton Township. Need more information, call 740-965-3582.

Photo is late 1800s of Center Inn. The girl in front is Carolyn Carpenter, granddaughter of the Gilbert Van Dorns. is late 1800s of Center Inn. The girl in front is Carolyn Carpenter, granddaughter of the Gilbert Van Dorns.×213.jpg

Staff Reports

Information for this story was provided by Richard Fisher and Polly Horn.

Information for this story was provided by Richard Fisher and Polly Horn.