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Spotlight: Oberlin Heritage Center, Ohio

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Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
VIsitor Services Representative

Oberlin Heritage Center

Oberlin is located in Lorain County, in northern Ohio. The Oberlin Heritage Center’s mission is “to preserve and share Oberlin’s unique heritage and to make our community a better place to live, learn, work, and visit.” It has made a number of resources available on its website. Click on the Research and Learn tab to open a new page with links to resource selections.


City Directories
The Oberlin city directories database includes directories from 1873 through 1916. According to the website, the 1916 directory is only partially entered. The directories contain listings of residents, businesses, and home addresses. They provide a description of the types of information included in the directories year by year to assist the database user. Click on the Online City Directory Database link to open the log in page. Choose the ‘citydirectory’ link. First click on the “Guest Account” button and then on the “Login” button to access the database; do not log in with a user name and password. There is also a link to Tips for Using the Databases, which you should read before beginning your search. The data fields include year, current address, address before 1894, address after 1894, head of household, head of household’s occupation and workplace, other resident listings, business name, business location and notes.


Historic Photographs
The Oberlin Heritage Center has an online database of over 500 images dating from the 1860s to 2001. This represents only part of the collection of more than 1000 records, including daguerreotypes, cartes de visite, tin types, glass slides, original prints, copies and digital images. Their focus is primarily on Oberlin’s people, buildings, businesses, schools, events and celebrations from 1833 to the present. Click on the “Our Common Center” Online Collection link to open the database log in page. First click on the “Guest Account” button and then on the “Login” button to access the database; do not log in with a user name and password. The Tips for Using the Databases are the same for all of the databases. You can browse or search the collection. Click on the question mark for online help with using the collection.


Westwood Cemetery
Westwood Cemetery is Oberlin’s only cemetery. It was dedicated on July 16, 1864. The cemetery is owned and operated by the City of Oberlin and contains nearly 9,000 burials. The Oberlin Heritage Center has made the following resources related to Westwood Cemetery available:

Click on the Westwood Gravestone Inventory Database link and then the “Westwood Test Version” link to access the database, which contains marker images and genealogical information for over 5,000 individuals. The database is a work in progress. It contains records for individuals interred prior to 2005. First click on the “Guest Account” button and then on the “Login” button to access the database. (It Is not necessary to have a user name and password to search the database and view results.) On the database main page you will find help and instructions on how to use the database, quick search, advanced search, and browse options. There are also links to a section map for the cemetery; a one-page cemetery guide, which points out “highlights” of the cemetery, including the markers for twenty-four of Oberlin’s notable historic residents; and a 64-page Guide to Westwood Cemetery.

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