To celebrate the remarkable architectural heritage of Athens Ohio, the Athens County Historical Society and Preservation Athens are sponsoring two walking tours on Saturday, March 19.
One tour will focus on Frank Packard buildings and the other on the former Athens Asylum.
Both tours will be led by historians who are experts on the heritage of the building collections. Specific details about each tour are provided below.
Space is limited on each tour. Advance tickets are $10 for each tour or $15 for both. Advance tickets can be purchased by calling the Athens County Historical Society and Museum at 740-592-2280 during business hours (Tuesday – Saturday from 12:00 PM -4:00 PM). Pending availability, tickets may be purchased on the day of the tour. Day of tour tickets are $15 for each tour or $25 for both. Only cash will be accepted for day of tour tickets.
In case of inclement weather, call 740-592-2280 for information regarding cancellation.
Walking Tour of Frank Packard Buildings in Athens from 10:00 AM – 12:00 NOON
Led by Barbara Powers, Department Head, Inventory and Registration, State Historic Preservation Office. Ms. Powers is an architectural historian who is the leading expert on Frank Packard, one of the Midwest’s most important architects of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The tour will focus on the largest concentration of Packard buildings in the Midwest. Nine existing structures will be included on the tour with additional information provided about several Packard structures lost to demolition. Ms. Powers will discuss Packard’s life and practice as well the elements that defined his work–Georgian Revival, Second Renaissance Revival, and the aesthetics of the Arts & Crafts movement.
Meet in the vestibule of the Presbyterian Church, 2 South Court St, Athens, Ohio. Metered parking is available in the Athens City Garage, 7 E. Washington Street.
The tour will take place on city sidewalks. All stops on the tour are accessible. The terrain is largely flat although some surfaces may be uneven.
Walking Tour of the Ridges Grounds (former Athens Asylum) 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Led by George Eberts, historian and former staff member of Athens Asylum. Mr. Eberts’s acclaimed tours of the grounds of the former state mental hospital provide insights into the history of mental health, the development of psychiatry, and the experiences of those who lived and worked at the asylum. The tour will include three buildings designed by Frank Packard.
The tour will focus on building exteriors. Participants who wish to go inside one of the asylum buildings are encouraged to visit the Kennedy Museum of Art before or after the tour. The Kennedy Museum is housed in the main Kirkbride building (museum hours are 1:00 – 5:00 PM).* No other spaces or buildings are currently open to the public.
Meet at main steps of Kennedy Art Museum, 100 Ridges Circle, Athens, Ohio. Free parking is available in lots next to museum.
The tour will take place largely on paved or bricked roadways. All stops on the tour are accessible although some surfaces are uneven and the terrain is hilly in places.
*One of the Kennedy Museum’s current exhibitions “Hidden Mother” may be of interest to tour participants. It provides a fascinating look at 19th-century photographic practices. Admission to the museum is free and details about the exhibition can be found at https://www.ohio.edu/museum/.