Posts tagged Orange Johnson House
Fall into Fun at the Worthington Historical Society


There are so many great things happening at the Worthington Historical Society this fall! From festivals and tours to concerts and holiday celebrations, the Society provides an abundance of opportunities for the entire family to experience Worthington’s rich history.

Interested in what they offer? Read on:

Fall, Family, Fun

Looking for an event to get you in the mood for fall? Here are two:

·  Harvest Festival: Family Day at the Orange Johnson House - Experience what a typical fall day might have looked like for the Johnson family in the 1800s. From pressing your own apple cider to pioneer clothing dress-up, kids and adults will revel in this good old-fashioned fun.

·  Ghost Tours  - Just in time for Halloween! Round up your friends under the light of the full moon for a haunted tour of some of the spookiest spots in Worthington. Once the fright wears off, continue the ghost stories at The Worthington Inn where you’ll receive a post-tour discount on food and special beverages. 

Tröndlin Fortepiano Homecoming Celebration

After more than a year of restoration, the Historical Society’s beloved Tröndlin Fortepiano will make its triumphant return on Saturday, November 12. To celebrate the occasion, the Historical Society and the Griswold Center have teamed up for two, special events.

·      Piano Restoration Talk, 3 p.m. – Join Robert Murphy of Oberlin Conservatory for an in-depth look at his meticulous restoration of the Tröndlin piano. Pianist David Breitman, director of the Historical Performance program at Oberlin, will be on hand to demonstrate the unique qualities of this rare instrument.

·      Celebratory Homecoming Concert, 7 p.m. – Fans of classical music will not want to miss this celebratory concert. While the Tröndlin Fortepiano is billed as the star of the show, Ensemble 1816, a group devoted to the music of the early 19th century, will delight concert-goers with a program full of beloved works from well-known composers like Beethoven and Schubert.

Window Replacement Fundraiser

Like many historical buildings, the Orange Johnson House needs a little love from time to time. Next spring the Historical Society will be replacing the windows in the home’s 1819 wing. A generous donation from the Trucksis family, in honor of Jane Neff Trucksis, has been extremely helpful in getting the window replacement fund started. 

As many of you may recall, Jane was a longtime supporter of the Historical Society, and in addition to her many contributions, she was an important champion of the Orange Johnson House restoration project. Her family has agreed to match any donations to the window replacement fund through the end of the year or until the goal of $40,000 is reached. Contact the Historical Society for more information or to make a donation.

The Worthington Historical Society is located at 50 W. New England Ave. For more information, visit or like them on Facebook

Making Music

WHS Fiddlesix Concert to Benefit Tröndlin Piano Restoration Here's your opportunity to listen to live historical music and contribute to the restoration of the Worthington Historical Society's Tröndlin Piano—all at the same time. On March 13, Fiddlesix, a six-member family band from Monroe, Michigan, will perform "A Concert of Music in Early America" at the Orange Johnson House. The concert will feature a lineup of songs from the early 1800s, ranging from traditional Irish reels to folk music and popular songs from English operettas. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Tröndlin Restoration & Performance Fund.


Fiddlesix has played at numerous living history events throughout Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, including The Henry Ford—Greenfield Village, the River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Fort Meigs, Fort Jennings, Mississinewa 1812 and The Gathering at 5 Medals. Their music, instruments and attire date back to the 1812 Regency Period.

Parents Mike and Kim lead the Fiddlesix family, and they've both been playing music since they were in third grade. In the band, Kim plays mandolin, Spanish guitar and English guitar while Mike is featured on the pennywhistle, fife, recorder, clarinet, flageolet and double bass. Their four children, Andrew, Jonathan, Maribeth and Samuel, range in age from ninth grade to college, and bring additional talent to the ensemble. To learn more, visit their Facebook page.

Tröndlin Piano Restoration

An extremely rare, antique Tröndlin fortepiano is located in the sitting room of the Orange Johnson House. The instrument, which is one of the early pianos built by Johann Tröndlin in Leipzig, Germany in the mid-1800s, is estimated to be one of only 15 of its kind remaining. Thanks to the efforts of the Worthington Historical Society, plans are underway for Oberlin Conservatory fortepiano expert Robert Murphy to restore the Tröndlin piano.

Due to its unique construction, the Tröndlin fortepiano is known for its uniform and clear timber in the higher register. Historically, composers Felix Mendelssohn and Clara and Robert Schumann were partial to the sound of Tröndlin pianos, and Clara Schumann's picture appears on German currency with one of these instruments.

Do your part to contribute to the restoration by attending the Fiddlesix concert on March 13. It promises to be an entertaining performance with historical significance that you won't want to miss.

If You Go....

The Orange Johnson House
956 High Street, Worthington

March 13, 2016, 5 p.m.

$20 per person; available at the Old Rectory
50 W. New England Avenue, Worthington

Worthington Historical Society Antiques Show: Something For Everyone

mongenas2014swopesecretaryBoth experienced collectors and antique newbies should mark their calendars for the upcoming Worthington Historical Society Antiques Show, an annual event that is now celebrating 70 years of success. Scheduled to take place on January 31 and February 1, the show boasts a little something for everyone--regardless of style, taste or experience. “The great thing about the show is that the dealers really bring a wide variety of items,” said Director Kate LaLonde. “In fact, I have what I consider to be a mid-century, modern/eclectic/contemporary style, and I came home with a painting and a necklace after last year’s show.”

Age is also not a factor. The 2014 show attracted multiple generations, including a 12-year-old from Riverlea who arrived at the show in search of treasures. He found what he was looking for--a Native American textile, a knife and a needle.

This year the event is being held a few weeks later than usual so as not to interfere with the holidays, and it will feature several new exhibitors and their items, from city, country and painted furniture to stoneware, decoys, antique dolls, redware, quilts, linens, antique writing instruments, estate and costume jewelry, silver and much more. Last year a late 19th century Sheraton ladies secretary from New England attracted many admirers and sold early in the show.

Proceeds from the show, which typically attracts between 600 and 700 shoppers, benefit the preservation of the Worthington Historical Society properties, including the Orange Johnson House Museum, Jeffers Mound and the Old Rectory.

Where:            Holiday Inn Worthington, 7007 N. High Street, Worthington

When:              January 31 - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; February 1 - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission:      $8/person

Partial List of Dealers

Signature Antiques, Lakeview Ohio (Fine & Country Antiques, Accessories and Art)

Ohio Valley Antiques, Steubenville, Ohio

Mad Hatter Antiques, Newark, Ohio

Jack Squire Antiques, Grove City, PA (19th Century Antiques)

Timeless Treasures, Pittsburgh, PA

Keystone Antiques, Chagrin Falls, OH (Primitive Antiques)

Pins Abigail, New Albany, Oh (Fine Jewelry, Silver, Smalls)

Charles Hodges, Miamisburg, Oh (Quality small accessories & lamps)

Springhouse Farm, Lewis Center, Oh (American Country Furnishings & Smalls)

David and Carroll Swope, Canton, Oh (Traditional Furnishings & Sporting Items)

Dick Anderson, Lodi, OH

Pages from the Past, Westerville OH

Mapleside Antiques, Titusville, PA

For more information about the Worthington Historical Society Antiques Show, visit, call 614/885-1247 or email

Convention & Visitors Bureau of Worthington

Worthington, Ohio, offers a variety of activities, attractions, specialty shops and dining options for visitors of all ages and interests, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Worthington is your resource for all the latest information, including the event calendar at You can also follow us on Facebook at Visit Worthington Ohio.



200 Years Later: Celebrating the Arrival of Orange Johnson

OJ portraitJust about everyone who lives in Worthington is familiar with the name Orange Johnson, one of the city's earliest settlers. Now you have an opportunity to learn more about the man, his life and what brought him to Ohio. On August 24, the Orange Johnson House will host a celebration that honors its namesake and his arrival to our great city. Presented by the Worthington Historical Society, the event will feature master horner Carl Dumke, a walking stick that belonged to Johnson, and several of his original letters from the 1830s and 1840s. "What's exciting about the event is that some of the letters we got in 2012 will be on display, written to and from Orange, for this event only," said Kate LaLonde, director of the Worthington Historical Society. "They are the originals from the 1830s and 1840s, and they are fragile enough that they will never be able to be on permanent display. This is a great chance for people to see the primary documents."

Another highlight of the event will be a hornsmithing demonstration from Dumke, a prominent member of the Honorable Company of Horners and one of the few individuals in this art form who have attained the rank of Master. This is the trade that Johnson practiced when he arrived in Worthington in 1814, using horn to make combs and other utilitarian tools. "The hornsmith will bring to life a craft that most people probably don't think about in their everyday lives. It is an interesting process that most people, including volunteers at the Orange Johnson House, have often only read about," LaLonde said. "He will demonstrate the process of softening cow horn into a pliable, workable medium that can then be shaped into tools and combs."

The public is invited to attend this event and learn about Johnson's life. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 16, and members and children under the age of 5 will be admitted free of charge. For more information, contact 614/885-1247 or visit

In the meantime, here’s some Orange Johnson history from the Worthington Historical Society:

Orange Johnson was a young man in 1814 when he traveled from New England to Worthington with a small trunk of combs to sell. By the middle of the century, he was the wealthiest man in Worthington. Born in Mansfield, Connecticut, Johnson trained as a horn smith before heading west after the War of 1912 to seek his fortune. Attracted by James Kilbourn’s Worthington Manufacturing Company, the 24-year-old arrived in August 1814 with a small trunk of combs and reportedly $16.50 in his pocket. He quickly made a $10.50 sale to the Neil Brothers’ store in Urbana. He probably boarded at the company boarding house (now part of 25 Fox Lane), purchased cow horn for his workshop at Mechanics Square and sold his combs through the company’s chain of retail stores.

Although the grammar and spelling in Johnson’s letters reveal his meager formal education, he was an astute businessman and a personable young man. A year after arriving here, he married Achsa Maynard, daughter of Moses Maynard, who owned the prosperous farm directly south of the manufacturing company site. A year later he paid James Allen $1500 for the 35-acre farm and six-room brick house (now known as the Orange Johnson House), which had been built five years earlier by Arora Buttles.

Stay up to date on Worthington events! Check out the event calendar at or “like” us on Facebook at Visit Worthington Ohio.



Orange Johnson House Opens the 2014 Season with Plenty of Kids Activities

Pioneer Days gamesThe Orange Johnson House opened its doors for the season on April 6. The season continues through November 6 with docent-led tours that take place on Sundays. This year a new hands-on area for kids, sponsored by Park National Bank, will feature scavenger hunts and visual exhibits focused on pioneer life and farming in the early days of Worthington. Young visitors can use Lincoln logs to build log houses and barns, try on authentic pioneer clothing, read books about pioneer lifestyles, and make quilt patterns using magnetic quilt piecing kits. Pioneer Days: A 50-Year Tradition

In 1964, Pat MacCleary and several other Worthington Historical Society (WHS) volunteers started a program for third-grade students in the community. This year the program, which is now called Pioneer Days, celebrates its 50th year and hosts more than 1,000 area students during the month of May. The program will host 13 elementary schools and bring Worthington's history to life for another generation.

Before the Field Trip: A WHS volunteer visits each school with a basket of items commonly used by families during the pioneer days of Worthington. The items are part of the WHS educational collection, and students may handle them—unlike other items they will see on display during their trip to the Orange Johnson House.

On the Day of the Field Trip: Children are encouraged to come in costume to enhance the experience of life as a child in the early 1800s. They will visit St. John's Episcopal Church and cemetery, the Orange Johnson House and the Village Green. Volunteers will share a brief history of St. John's Episcopal Church, an institution that played an integral role in Worthington's establishment. In the cemetery, the kids will make grave-rubbings. And back at the Orange Johnson House, they will participate in an age-appropriate tour of the museum. Finally, everyone will head over to the Village Green to participate in Pioneer Games like rolling hoops and ring-on-a-string.

For more information about Orange Johnson House activities, Pioneer Days, or the Worthington Historical Society, visit, email, or call 614.885.1247.

For updates about Worthington events and places of interest, go to Get the latest updates on Facebook: Visit Worthington Ohio.