Monday, March 9, 2009

Uptown Westerville is a Place To Put a New Shine on Old Traditions

There's a lot of change in Uptown Westerville lately -- the city is planting new trees (ginkgo, coral crabapple, and lilac) and adding benches as the Uptown Streetscape project continues. And next time you are sitting at the light at W. Main and N. State, you may notice that Uptown Westerville looks much shinier lately thanks to owner Dan Aumiller's Holmes Hotel Building replica restoration of the hotel's original cupola.

In The News...

Uptown Westerville's small-town architecture spans decades of progress, so uptown business locations find their homes in buildings that tell an uncommon history.

Westerville Uptown Merchants Association
member, Uptown Pharmacy at 23 N. State (614.882.2392) is in a space in the Holmes Hotel Building that's been host to a pharmacy since the mid-1800s.

Spanning three centuries, as a place for people, Uptown Westerville remains a great place to shop, work, live, eat, meet, and play.

Here's the Dispatch content:

Construction Zone
Update brings back the past

Former hotel in Westerville adds cupola like it had 119 years ago
Monday, March 9, 2009 2:56 AM
By Mike Pramik

It's funny what a new hat can do for your image.

Consider the former Hotel Holmes in the heart of Westerville. Owner Dan Aumiller's renovation includes a new cupola to restore the 119-year-old building to its former grandeur. The building is drawing stares from passers-by and commendations from the local business community, which has been on the rise.

The old hotel, at 25 N. State St., is one of several commercial buildings selected as part of a planned walking tour of the historic downtown area known as Uptown. Information plaques will be installed on the buildings this year, as the owners permit.

"These buildings are a part of the real history of Westerville," said Beth Weinhardt, local-history coordinator for the Westerville Public Library. "We want people to realize what they were used for."

The headliner is the former hotel. Aumiller said replacing the cupola is about a $30,000 project. That's twice what it cost to build it. Durable Restoration Co. is doing the work on the three-story Queen Anne-style building at Main and State streets. In addition to Aumiller's Gun Shop, it houses a pharmacy, an art gallery, a coffee shop and a gift shop.

"That's always been a unique building, and this will give it a lot more character," said Tim Bullock, president of the Uptown Merchants Association.

The hotel site was the first lot on paper when the initial platting of the city was done in 1839, and James Westervelt, a relative of the city's founders, later built a log cabin there.

Weinhardt said a drugstore opened on the site in 1850. Four decades later, Thomas Holmes bought the property and had the hotel built. It had 30 rooms, space for two retail stores in the front, and a livery stable and blacksmith shop in the back.

"Because of where it is, it's still the pre-eminent corner in Uptown," Weinhardt said. "It's very impressive that the building will look like it would have when it opened."

Mike Pramik covers development for The Dispatch. Contact him at or by fax at 614-461-5107.

• Construction Zone is a weekly look at construction, development and real-estate news in central Ohio.

Photos courtesy of Linda Foor of WUMA Member Brickstreet Communications ©2009 Brickstreet Communications. All rights reserved. Historic photo courtesy of WUMA Member Westerville Public Library on flickr.

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