by Alix Adams (Image courtesy of OZinOH)
Welcome to “You Should Move To…”, in which we travel the country scoping out beautiful, under-the-radar old house towns where big charm can be had for little cost. Have a city, town or neighborhood to recommend? Send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Just nineteen miles square, Delaware is a small but sparkling gem in the center of Ohio just twenty-five or so miles outside of Columbus. Founded in 1808 and now home to Ohio Wesleyan University, the area nicely melds historic charm with the vibrant arts, food and entertainment scene of a college town. Certainly best of all, there are old houses galore and they are cheap, and they are for sale. Run to Delaware!
Downtown Delaware delivers historic architecture aplenty. Photo by BEV Norton.
The beautiful Italianate-style Delaware County Courthouse, c. 1868. Photo by Bwsmith84.
In 1812, when the capitol of Ohio was moved from Chillicothe, Delaware and Columbus were both in the running. The story goes that Delaware only lost to Columbus by a single vote, which basically means Delaware was almost the capital of Ohio. Not just that, the town was the site of two Union training camps during the Civil War and home of Mr. Rutherford B. Hayes, nineteenth president of the United States. A long standing (since 1946) and internationally known horse race called the Little Brown Jug takes place here also and is part of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing. Not too shabby.
The c. 1890 Folk Victorian home at 370 W Central Avenue is for sale for $248,000. Full listing HERE.
Aside from the fact that you’d be living in a gorgeous and affordable old home, Delaware just sounds like a really fun place to live. Approximately 35,000 residents have created a warm and locally-operated business network including a fair trade shop, plenty of independently-owned restaurants, bookstores both new and used and active farmers and flea markets.
The c. 1853 Second Empire-style home at 496 W William Street is for sale for $429,000. Full listing HERE.
For the architecture buffs among us (I’m looking at you!), a walk along beautiful W Winter Street will satisfy all of your yearnings for Federal, Greek Revival, English Gothic, Second Empire, Italianate, American Gothic, and early 20th century styles. Check out the website of the neighborhood association for the Historic Northwest District for some serious eye candy.
The stunning home at c. 1875 23 S Union Street is for sale for $229,000. Full listing HERE.
What did it for me, though, is the Arts Castle. An 1854 Anglo-Norman style castle built with local blue limestone (by the gentleman who ran Blue Limestone Quarry at the time, Mr. George Campbell) and meticulously preserved, the structure was eventually purchased by the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center’s Board of Trustees. Repurposed as an art center and in my opinion given the most suitable name of all time, the non-profit run center now provides an array of art programs covering fine art, yoga, dance, creative journaling and more in pursuit of their mission to “nurture the creative energies” of the residents of Delaware County, per their website. Are you charmed yet? What a colorful little city.
The Arts Castle. Photo by The Penniless Traveler.
Did I mention cheap? There are charming late 18th century TLC-needing homes on sale for fifty or sixty grand in Delaware. There are preciously detailed Victorian two-stories well under 300,000 on the market by the handfuls! This 1913 farmhouse, though, had me convinced the $405,000 price tag was a steal. It’s settled on over ten acres of lush woods, with 3.5 acres of actively farmed land, complete with the original 1901 milk house AND charming red and white Sears and Roebuck catalog-ordered 1958 cattle barn with hay loft. Swoon.
Grab some coffee at The Mean Bean, take a ceramics class over at the Castle, return home to your gorgeous relic and count your money. Sounds good, right? Head to Delaware!
OLD HOUSES FOR SALE IN DELAWARE, OH:
206 N FRANKLIN ST
$309,000, c. 1900
99 COLUMBUS AVE
$140,000, c. 1910
$179,000, c. 1900
$379,900, c. 1850
168 E WINTER ST
$113,900, c. 1901
$125,000, c. 1910< [/twocol_one_last] [twocol_one]
72 SPRING ST
$129,900, c. 1875
$159,000, c. 1906
391 N FRANKLIN ST
$169,900, c. 1901
$284,500, c. 1884
37 MONTROSE AVE
$137,900, c. 1900
$127,500 (foreclosure), c. 1905
297 W WILLIAM ST
$92,000, c. 1890
$89,900, c. 1901
20 E FOUNTAIN AVE
$142,500, c. 1916
4 W WINTER ST
$189,000, c. 1880
100 OAK HILL AVE
$129,900, c. 1900
AUTHOR ALIX ADAMS
Alix hails from Charleston, South Carolina. She earned degrees in Historic Preservation and Art History from the College of Charleston and continues to be captivated by the city’s old-world values and architecture as they brush up against the new. She lives in an 1890 Charleston Single with her Sheltie Oliver and prefers to make the commute to work on her shiny red bike.