Every other year, Marietta Main Street teams up with the Hidden Marietta Tour Company to host a very unique downtown tour. “Hidden Places, Secret Spaces” takes guests through typically off-limits sections of Marietta’s historic buildings, such as basements or upper floors, offering a glimpse into the rich history of the city’s architecture.
“Hidden Places, Secret Spaces is a chance to see the off-limits and behind-the-scenes areas of historic buildings of downtown Marietta,” said Jessica Wielitzka, Co-Owner of Hidden Marietta Tour Company. “How many of us have wandered the streets admiring the storefronts and wondered what was upstairs or in the basement? What remnants of history might we still see if we could only venture inside? This tour satisfies that curiosity! Learn the stories of the buildings from historic clothing-clad presenters and for one day only, see the sights that only a select few ever get to see.”
This year’s tour takes place on Saturday, May 18th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Stops include six historic buildings on the 100 and 200 blocks of Front Street, including the Ohio National Guard Armory (241 Front St.), the Ketter Block Building (204 Front St.), the Buckeye Building (200 Front St.), the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Building (201 Front St.), the Seyler Building (156 Front St.), and the Stanley Grass Building (166 Front St.)
The best thing about Hidden Places, Secret Spaces is that you get to see first hand the local investment that has been placed back into these buildings.”Sam Tuten
“As your imagination runs wild and you’re getting the history of these buildings from our friends at the Hidden Marietta Company, you’ll be able to indulge yourself with the pure amazement of some of the renovations done at buildings like the Armory and Ketter Block,” said Sam Tuten, Executive Director of Marietta Main Street. “The best thing about Hidden Places, Secret Spaces is that you get to see first hand the local investment that has been placed back into these buildings.”
The Ohio National Guard Amory, initially constructed in 1913-1914, has recently undergone several phases of recent renovations, with the gymnasium on the main floor reaching completion this spring. The tour includes the gymnasium as well as rooms on the second and third floor that served a variety of functions in their former lives. In the early 1900s, the Armory building housed everything from a mess hall, firing range, meeting rooms, to social and recreational areas.
“During the 1920s, many groups claimed the Ohio National Guard Armory as home for meetings and events that included Veterans of Foreign Wars, Buell Post 178 GAR, Patterson True Post 218, United Spanish War Veterans Post 102, Sons of Union Veterans Auxiliary No. 78, Sons of Veterans Major E. C. Dawes Camp No. 509, and others,” according to Hidden Marietta’s Research Team. “The newly formed Muskingum District Council of Boy Scouts of America also met there.”
“You’ll also see places and spaces that are currently being cared for by new local investors in our Downtown, like the Buckeye Building where McKenna’s Market will be opening and the Stanley & Grass building, which was purchased by new owners last year,” said Sam.
The Buckeye Building, built in the late 1880’s, was originally built by the Masons, with the Masonic Hall on the Third Floor. Towards the beginning of the 20th century, the building was owned by Jules Josephy and housed The Buckeye Clothing Company. Purchased last year by the McKenna family, the building is undergoing renovations on all three floors.
Recently purchased by Luke and Katy Sulfridge, the Stanley Grass Building is an expansive piece of Front Street property with a history that stretches all the way back to the 1860s. While many residents may remember visiting the first floor from when it last housed an Antique Store, ticket holders will also have a chance to tour upper floors that tell the story of the building’s former lives.
Also on the tour are the second and third floors of the old Seyler Building, now owned by Mahone’s Tires at 156 Front Street. Started in 1864, the Seyler business was one of the largest hardware businesses in town, according to Hidden Marietta’s research. Ticket holders will have a chance to hear how this incredible building has been used over the past century and a half.
Ticket holders are encouraged to travel at their own pace and visit the stops in whatever order they like. Hosts at each location will provide details about the structure’s history and reveal what clues it holds to Marietta’s past. Comfortable clothes and shoes (that can get a little dirty!) are recommended – and don’t forget your camera!
Tickets are available for $16.00 in advance, or $20.00 at the door, with all proceeds benefiting Marietta Main Street and Hidden Marietta Tour Company. Don’t wait too long to pick up your tickets, this event has been known to sell out in the past!