Wilberforce in Greene County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Old Wilberforce University Campus at Tawawa Springs
In the early 1800s, William and Eleanor Kendall owned this land, known for its natural springs, beauty, and farmland. In 1850, Elias Drake, lawyer and former speaker in the Ohio General Assembly, purchased the property and named it Tawawa or Xenia Springs. He developed a health resort hotel surrounded by summer cottages, all of which were completed the following year. “Tawawa” is believed to be Shawnee for “clear or gold water,” alluding to the clear, mineral-rich springs. From its beginnings, the resort did not fare well as it was popular among southern planters who, much to the consternation of nearby antislavery sentiment, brought slave entourages whenever they came. In October 1855, negotiations for its sale opened with the Cincinnati Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which purchased Tawawa Springs, including 54 acres and the hotel and cottages, for $13,000 to establish a university for African Americans.
Erected 2002 by The Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Central State University, and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 8-29.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African AmericansChurches & Religion • Civil Rights • Education • Industry & Commerce • Science & Medicine • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection series lists.
Location. 39° 43.01′ N, 83° 52.934′ W. Marker is in Wilberforce, Ohio, in Greene County. Marker is at the intersection of Brush Row Road and Shorter Avenue, on the left when traveling east on Brush Row Road. Marker is near the northwest edge of the Central State University campus. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wilberforce OH 45384, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Martin Robison Delany (within shouting distance of this marker); Carnegie Library (1907) (within shouting distance of this marker); Kezia Emery Hall (1913) (within shouting distance of this marker); Central State University (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Brigadier General Benjamin Oliver Davis, Sr. (approx. 0.2 miles away); Payne Theological Seminary (approx. 0.2 miles away); Paul Robeson (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hallie Quinn Brown (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wilberforce.
Also see . . . History of Wilberforce University. (Submitted on December 3, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 2, 2008, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 12,915 times since then and 227 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 2, 2008, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.