Anti-Saloon League's "An American Issue Poster."

Eight Anything-But-Dry Facts About Westerville’s Prohibition Story

Chances are the guests at the next party you attend won’t know the huge role Westerville, Ohio played in the passage of the 18th Amendment which made Prohibition the law of the land. Here are few facts that you can have in your back pocket to make you sound smart!

  1. The Anti-Saloon League moved it headquarters and printing company to Anti-Saloon League MuseumWesterville in 1909. The Anti-Saloon League Museum is now part of the Westerville Public Library’s History Center and Museum and is open daily for visitors. 
  2. You can experience what life was like when it was illegal to buy or sell alcohol in the U.S. (1920-1933) with an interactive exhibit called Prohibition! Expectation vs. Reality at the Westerville History Center and Museum.
  3. The 18th Amendment, prohibiting the manufacture transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors became law nationwide in January 1920, making this the 100th Anniversary.Corbin's Saloon
  4. The Anti-Saloon League moved to Westerville because its citizens already supported Temperance. A series of incidences known as the “Westerville Whiskey Wars” saw entrepreneur Henry Corbin’s saloons dynamited by unknown persons in the late 1870’s.
  5. The Temperance Row Historic District is a group of 20 homes built between 1910 and 1935 by the leaders of the Anti-Saloon league along Park and Grove streets. These homes are on the National Register of Historic Places not just because of their local and national historical significance, but because of their craftsman-style architecture.The unravelled barrel at the top of The American Issue sculpture by Matthew Gray Palmer in front of Westerville City Hall.
  6. The sculpture, “The American Issue” in the City Hall courtyard, 21 S. State St., commemorates the complicated issue of Prohibition and the role Westerville played in the struggle. Sculptor Matthew Gray Palmer researched the history to create the piece that is as relevant today as it would have been 100 years ago. 
  7. In 2011, documentary film maker Ken Burns told Westerville’s story as part of his three-part, five-and-a-half-hour public television documentary “Prohibition”. He and producer Lynn Novic visited Westerville as part of the research process.
  8. You can own the entire story of how Westerville changed the U.S. Constitution! Westerville: The War Machine of Prohibition is a new book commissioned by Uptown Westerville, Inc. and was written and curated by local journalist Joe Meyer. It traces Westerville’s dry roots through its role in the Prohibition movement to today’s reinvigorated Uptown shopping and dining district. You can order your copy at

For more information about Westerville’s history as “The Dry Capital of the World”, visit




Big News for Otterbein and for Us!

By now you’ve heard that Otterbein University, right here in Westerville, Ohio, will host the Democratic Presidential debate on October 15.

When the news broke Friday afternoon, there was certainly mixed reactions from the community: “Traffic is going to be terrible!”, “Great job Otterbein!”, “How do I get tickets!” as well as more politically charged messages. However, the reaction from our office was an overwhelming, “Yes! More people get to hear about how great Westerville, Ohio is!”

The truth is, just an hour before we got the call, we sent out an announcement of our own. Our new Executive Director, Marie VanDervoort, was exactly 17 days into the job and, although she had already met with many folks inside and outside our community, we had just pushed out the press release to announce her as our leader to the media and other key contacts.

Those two announcements have more in common than you might think. The press release highlights Marie’s background and extensive experience and shows what an asset she’ll be in not only promoting Westerville every day, but connecting every group who will be coming to Westerville for this debate to local hotel rooms. Anyone in need of these services should not hesitate to contact Marie directly at 614-259-3570.

This debate is, obviously, designed to showcase the candidates, but Otterbein University and Westerville, Ohio will be center stage as well. Millions of people who have never heard of Westerville, Ohio will do Google searches to find out where we are and why we are special and that is a very good thing.


Not Exactly Westerville

Beauty has no borders. But as you drive, or walk or bike the Westerville area, you will notice signage that means a great deal to some and not very much to others. For the resident, the difference between Westerville and Genoa Township takes some explaining. For the visitor, all it means is that you have a wide variety of park space, shoreline, leisure trails and history to explore.

To learn about the history, parks and leisure trails within the city limits of Westerville, go clicking around this site and Come explore our Uptown, relax and stay in one of our beautiful hotels.

Then, visit our neighbor to the north. The peaceful, green community of Genoa (pronounced gen-OH-a) Township has its own interesting story to tell and its own welcoming charm.

According to its, President John Adams granted deeds for land in Genoa Township to former Revolutionary War soldiers as compensation for their service. An early resident named the town after the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Genoa, (pronounced GEN-oh-a), Italy.

Not only does Genoa Township encompass part of Hoover Reservoir and its associated wildlife areas, Mudhen Marsh and Hoover Meadows, it also features beautiful neighborhood parks and one of Delaware County’s Preservation Parks, Char-Mar Ridge.

Our two communities are connected by people, by leisure trails, by history and by a shared desire to keep the streets quiet and the parks full. Sounds like a place you’d like to be, doesn’t it?



Full Day of Events on July 4th!

For too many years to count, the Westerville’s Noon Rotary members have awakened early and gone to bed late on the 4th of July. That’s because runners must be checked in for the 5K and the grand finale of the fireworks cannot be missed.

That’s why Westerville loves its Independence Day Celebration so much: From dawn until after nightfall there are activities for every age group to celebrate the birth of our country. From the youngest of ball players, cheerleaders and marching band rookies to the oldest of business owners, office holders, candidates and proud veterans, each has a place wearing red, white and blue or waving Old Glory in the parade.

In addition to the Run and the Parade, the Rotary is putting on a Birthday Party like no other for our beloved country, including music, food and bounce houses at Westerville South High School. The day will end with the fireworks and the feeling that, even though this special celebration is over, our country, our state and our city are special places where a day of safe, family fun is not a rare occurrence, but a frequent blessing made possible by the sacrifice of many brave souls before us.

Happy Independence Day to you and your family!

For the full list of events, click here!

Learn Something New About Westerville

Do you want a behind-the-scenes look at what we do to put on Mount Carmel St. Ann’s 4th Fridays? Well, we know you only have a minute and so do we, but we’ll show you a little piece of how we organize and plan the awesome vendors you see each month. May 4th Friday Vendor Location Map

If you click the link, you will see what 4th Friday vendors and food trucks see so they know where their spaces are. Here’s what one vendor wrote back after receiving it via email last week:

To the person that created that wonderful map, thank you!  It is easy to use and so helpful.  I saw things on there that I didn’t even know existed in Westerville!  I know that had to take some time, but I plan on printing it and keeping it for reference.

I didn’t know anything about the Police Museum until I saw it on the map, and plan on checking it out this Friday.  I googled it and went to   and learned some interesting things about Westerville. 

Thank you!!   I love Westerville and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

Did you know that we have a Police Museum? Did you know that Uptown Westerville is about to be named to the National Register of Historic Places and some of the buildings are having plaques installed this week containing information about the history of that building?

Did you know you can explore a wetland at Highlands Park and participate in a series of scavenger hunts in several Westerville parks this summer?

Have you heard that the guy who wrote “Up on the Housetop” lived in Westerville and graduated from Otterbein University? You can tour his house! It was one of several Westerville stops on the Underground Railroad. You can learn where they were as well as why the Anti-Saloon League came to town in the early 1900s at the Local History Center located at the Westerville Public Library.

Westerville may have been the Dry Capital of the World, but not anymore! You can spend your summer exploring what makes us anything but dry!

(Thanks to Cathy Shankland with Westin Air for her kind words!)

Be Inspired by Art in Westerville

The WVCB was honored to have local artist Kathryn Smithson working her watercolor magic in front of our office during the Westerville Art Hop on Saturday, April 6th.

Whether it’s dogs or birds or other wildlife, Kathryn’s images bring smiles to the faces of the people who purchase her works.

“Art is the Queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.” – Leonardo da Vinci

By supporting local artists, whatever their medium, you are encouraging the talent that goes into creating it and allowing those artists to bring more beauty, more knowledge and more grace to our community and our world.

Here in Westerville, art is all around us. It is spoken and sung at Java Central; available for purchase at the Westerville Music and Arts Festival in July and in many Uptown Westerville shops; on display in public spaces and in places you might never expect with a backstory you might never have imagined.

April is Art Month. Our Mount Carmel St. Ann’s 4th Friday kickoff is called “Spring into the Arts” because, just like the spring, art is refreshing. It can brighten a room, bring back a memory. It can also make you cry. It can inspire you to be more. Art can change you. Explore the art in Westerville and prepare to be changed.

If you missed Kathryn during the Westerville Art Hop, you can find her work at, or

You can also support these arts organizations:




Bright, New Community Guide Anything But Dry

Nothing about Westerville is boring or dull. The same can also be said for our new 2019 Community and Events Guide! The annual magazine is packed with new features and great information, whether you are a first-time visitor or a long-time resident.

Pay special attention to the photo by Gary Gardiner on page 4. Although a number of Gary’s photos are featured in this year’s guide, this one deserves a second look because when you come to Uptown Westerville you must stop to take in the though-provoking sculpture called “The American Issue” by Matthew Gray Palmer, captured so beautifully in Gardiner’s photo. The sculpture tells the story of Westerville’s role in the passage of the 18th Amendment which made Prohibition the law of the land.

Cover of the 2019 Westerville Community and Events GuideMuch as changed in our country and in Westerville since the repeal of Prohibition. Westerville is no longer “The Dry Capital of the World.” In fact, we are a vibrant, culturally rich, economically competitive and technologically innovative community, chosen as a 2019 Top 7 Intelligent Community by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). We were one of only three U.S. cities to receive this distinction!

We haven’t forgotten our history. We embrace it! Plus we mix in a great night life, fun shopping opportunities in locally-owned stores where you get personal attention and great dining experiences in one-of-a-kind restaurants where you’ll love to bring your family again and again.

You’ll find so many reasons to enjoy Westerville, it will take you into the next day. Enjoy the accommodations of our beautiful hotels and consider hosting your next event or businesses meeting in one several great venues to fit your exact needs.

Find out more about everything Westerville has to offer, either by requesting a printed copy of the 2019 Community and Events Guide or reading the digital version. See you soon!



So Many Restaurants! Plenty of Time!

C’mon! You know you want to! What could be better than eating good food in a bunch of great restaurants and then being rewarded with one of the comfy-est t-shirts you’ll ever own?

Tour de Ville Passports from the Westerville Area Chamber of CommerceThanks to the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce, it is easy! Just pick up a passport,  visit 10 of the 15 locations listed between now and March 15th and get a restaurant manager or designee to initial the restaurant’s logo on the passport. Exchange the completed card for a super-soft, custom-designed t-shirt printed by local artist Megan Lee Designs. For all the details, you can visit the Chamber’s website.

You can get the passports at the Chamber office, 99 Commerce Park Drive, and a few other places, including our office, 20 W. Main St.

What are you waiting for? Grab some friends and earn some matching t-shirts! Won’t that be cute! It will also be a fun way to explore the Westerville area. Keep checking our calendar of events. There are new things to do being added every week. You can pick from a wide variety of activities to round out your day or night out.

If you need a place to stay, check out one of our fantastic Westerville hotels: Red Roof Inn, Aloft or the Renaissance. Enjoy your Tour de Ville!

Getting the Word Out

You have a family to entertain. What do you do? Depending on your personality and comfort level with the Internet and (sometimes) age, there are a variety of sources to check for things to see and do, places to go and events to attend. Some of you may just call out, “Hey Google!” Others may sit down with your tablet, desktop computer, newspaper or a magazine while others keep an ear out for interesting happenings on the radio or TV. The point is, there is no shortage of information or how to get it.

Whether you’re visiting Westerville or you are a life-long resident, we want to make sure you know what’s going on and can attend events and happenings that most interest you. That’s why we will continue to media road signput our promotional eggs in all kinds of baskets so you can find them no matter where you look. And it’s not just the WVCB! Most Westerville groups recognize the importance of meeting YOU where you are so you come where WE are. There are some great examples below. Make sure you check them out, SHARE them with your friends and family and if you have any suggestions let us know. We want your Westerville experience to be the best it can be. Happy Holidays! See you ’round the ‘Ville!






Word of Mouth

Westerville Community & Events Guide

Ohio Find It Here!

Experience Columbus Interactive Map

Using Our Hands to Reach Outside

Let’s talk about hands. The ones you eat with. The ones you clap with. The ones you work with.What you do with your hands is what you do with your life. What you do with your hands has a lasting impact on yourself and those around you. The recent work of many hands in this community has made a huge difference.

Hands Across Westerville, September 28, 2018Last Friday, a couple hundred pairs of them joined together in the center of State Street to symbolize unity and kick off a weekend of Community Culture activities. While that was going on a dozen  pairs of hands were helping WVCB staff execute the Mount Carmel St. Ann’s 4th Friday after the sudden loss of our Executive Director a month before. There was also a small army of City of Westerville employees, police, fire, service and electric, whose hands made sure streets were blocked, safe, lit and clean for the thousands of people who came to enjoy a night in this beautiful community.

In the weeks leading up to that night there were hands that sent Remembering the late Jeff Hartnellflowers, sent cards and dialed calls with words of encouragement to a small staff shaken and broken-hearted by the death of our leader and our friend. Hands that hugged and were ready with tissues when  the days was just too hard.

Now that it is time to move, “Onward and Upward”, (one of Jeff’s favorite sayings) the WVCB is counting on all of those hands to reach out, not only within this community, but outside of it. You love this community, right? Why? Why is #WestervilleAwesome ?

Jeff Hartnell worked for 11 years to reintroduce Westerville to itself. His vision was to expand our message outside of Ohio and bring people here from Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and beyond. You know people! You can help!

We’ve got two beautiful new hotels now. The Aloft and The Renaissance. If you are planning a wedding, use them. If your employer is holding a conference or meeting, talk to them first. If you know out-of-towners looking for a place to stay for an OSU game or other event being held in Columbus, point them to Westerville. The WVCB will do our best using our resources to do our job, but you are our best spokespeople! Tell your friends and family why YOU like Westerville and why they should come here for work and for fun.

If you need our help, we are here. We will supply you with Community Guides, maps and other information and can put you in contact with all the right people. There are so many fun things to do right in Westerville and not too far away. Just call or email. We will be glad to lend a hand.