Founded in 1833 by John Jay Shipherd and Philo P. Stewart, Oberlin is the home of Oberlin College- a liberal arts college featuring a world-renowned conservatory of music. Having met and bonded in nearby Elyria, the pair headed south on a mission to create a community and school that would be more in line with their religious beliefs. Riding through the forests in search of an ideal location, Shipherd and Stewart stopped to rest and pray in the shade of an elm tree.
Legend says that a nearby hunter witnessed a family of bears climb down a nearby tree. Although the bears saw the men, they turned away without harming them. Upon hearing this story from the hunter, the two ministers took this as a sign that they had selected the site of their community and school. The name of said community would be named after Jean-Frederic Oberlin, a minister whose prior achievements in a poor and remote area, served as an inspiration to them.
Oberlin is also the birthplace of the Anti-Saloon League and the Hall-Héroult Process which reduces aluminum from its fluoride salts by electrolysis and made it possible to industrialize the production of aluminum.
Centered in Oberlin sits the public park, Tappan Square. Until 1965, this National Historic Landmark was home to the Historic Elm, where Shipherd and Stewart decided on the location of Oberlin to build their new found community and school. Today, a beautiful memorial stands where the historic elm once stood.
Albino Squirrels are a fixture in Tappan Square
Albino squirrels are a common site around Tappan Square and have long been a delight for Oberlin students and residents alike. In 2014, the Huffington Post named Oberlin as the College most obsessed with squirrels and the College adopted the squirrel as its athletic mascot in the same year. Let us know if you spot any of these fluffy rock stars during your visit to Oberlin.