Kelton House Museum & Garden 586 E. Town St. Columbus, OH 43215 Work614-464-2022 Visit Web Site
Standing for over 150 years at 586 E. Town St., the Kelton House is the cornerstone of the Town Street Historic District. Built by Fernando Cortez Kelton, a prosperous wholesaler of dry goods and pharmaceuticals, the Kelton House exhibits the restraint of the Greek Revival period while also showing elements of the Italianate style. In the garden you will see hedges, statuary, diverse plant specimens, lattice work and mixed perennial borders that demonstrate a Victorian sensibility.
The simple beauty of the Museum's facade, however, housed dangerous politics (for the time period). The Keltons were active supporters of the abolitionist movement and did all they could to assist fugitive slaves.
According to Kelton family tradition, runaways were hidden in the barn at the back of the building, in a 300-barrel cistern or sometimes in the servants' quarters.
In 1864, Sophia Kelton, Fernando's wife, found 10-year old Martha Hartway hiding in the shrubbery alongside the home. The Keltons accepted the little girl into their home, where she was raised and educated by the Kelton family.
The Museum collection, most original to the family, includes 19th century furniture, paintings, china, silver, crystal, books, music boxes and family photographs and records.
You can tour the Kelton House on Sundays from 1-4 p.m. with a costumed docent. Audio tours are available Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (no appointment necessary). Group tours are available by appointment.
Lectures and programs on 19th century topics are held throughout the year. On the second Sunday of each month the Museum presents Trails of Hope, historic re-enactments that bring stories of the Underground Railroad to life. Special experiential tours provide vivid first-person meetings with Sophia Kelton as she shares her family secret (reservations required).
The Kelton House was restored and is maintained by the Junior League of Columbus.
Experience living history at the Kelton House, a restored Underground Railroad stop filled with original furnishings.
Tour and tea with Sophia
Enjoy tea and experience living history at the Kelton House, a restored Underground Railroad stop filled with original furnishings.
History in Columbus
History buffs rejoice: Columbus' rich history hotspots include museums, government buildings, Civil War points of interest, and more!