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Newark’s History and Architecture: Ancient to Modern

Wednesday, July 18

We will visit ancient as well as more recent historical sites in nearby Newark, Ohio. The county seat of government, the city was founded in 1802 and has a population of 49,000+. Featuring a classic court house and preserved midwestern architecture, it is representative of smaller US towns that flourished in the 19th and early 20th centuries and is currently undergoing renewal. Newark was situated on the famous Ohio Canal, which was a major 19th century transportation route, opening up the Midwest. We will visit the prehistoric Newark Earthworks and enjoy a historical tour of downtown Newark, including visits to the Louis Sullivan Building, the Midland Theatre, and The Works Museum of Science and Industry. Following our tour, we’ll return to Denison’s campus for an Ohio farm-to-table dinner featuring produce from area farms and a selection of local beers. Wine, coffee, iced tea, soft drinks, and dessert will also be available.

Sign up by Friday, June 15th! Cost per person is $50. (USD)


Meet at the Burton Morgan Circle at 4pm for van transportation



The Newark Earthworks are the largest set of geometric earthen enclosures in the world. Already a National Historic Landmark, in 2006, the State of Ohio designated the Newark Earthworks as “the official prehistoric monument of the state.” Built by people of the ancient Hopewell Culture between 100 B.C. and 500 A.D., this architectural wonder of ancient America was part cathedral, part cemetery and part astronomical observatory. The entire Newark Earthworks originally encompassed more than four square miles. While we can never know with any certainty the Hopewells’ purpose in designing the earthworks, one theory is that the Hopewell built these earthworks on such a massive scale for astronomical accuracy—long, straight embankments provide longer sight lines that increase the accuracy of astronomical alignments. In 1982, professors Ray Hively and Robert Horn of Earlham College in Indiana discovered that the Hopewell builders aligned these earthworks to the complicated cycle of risings and settings of the moon. They recovered a remarkable wealth of indigenous knowledge relating to geometry and astronomy encoded in the design of these earthworks. The Octagon Earthworks, in particular, are aligned to the four moonrises and four moonsets that mark the limits of a complicated 18.6-year-long cycle.

More information about the Newark Earthworks.


Louis Sullivan (b. September 3, 1856—d. April 14, 1924), American architect, regarded as the spiritual father of modern American architecture and identified with the aesthetics of early skyscraper design. His more than 100 works in collaboration (1879–95) with Dankmar Adler include the Auditorium Building, Chicago (1887–89); the Guaranty Building, Buffalo, New York (1894–95; now Prudential Building); and the Wainwright Building, St. Louis, Missouri (1890–91). Frank Lloyd Wright apprenticed for six years with Sullivan at the firm. In independent practice from 1895, Sullivan designed the Schlesinger & Mayer department store (1898–1904; now the Sullivan Center) in Chicago.

The Louis Sullivan Building of Newark has graced the Courthouse Square for over a century at One North Third Street. It was built in 1914 and opened its doors on August 25, 1915 as The Home Building Association Company, commonly known as “The Old Home”. One of only eight banks designed by noted American architect Louis Sullivan, it is both a national treasure and a treasured piece of Central Ohio’s heritage. Through the years, the Sullivan Building was also home to a butcher shop, a jewelry store and eventually an ice cream parlor. With each new tenant the interior was altered, but the building’s historic and architectural significance never changed. In 1973, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

More information about the Louis Sullivan Building.


Experience central Ohio’s best destination for hands-on discovery with local history, art, science, and glassblowing. During the last 20 years, thousands of families, school groups, teachers, and adults have experienced the opportunity to dream big and have fun with hands-on history, art, science and glass at The Works.

The vision for The Works began in the early 1990s when Howard LeFevre assembled a group of local citizens interested in preserving Licking County’s rich industrial heritage. Local educators, artists, engineers, and community leaders became partners in the creation of an institution where history was the foundation for educational programs linking the past, present, and future. The Scheidler Machine Works, built in 1882, became the footprint of our main museum, and housed the first of what would become our signature hands-on exhibits. After several additions and periods of growth, today The Works Complex fills an entire city block just south of the historic courthouse square in downtown Newark.

The Works is a Smithsonian Affiliate Institution, a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), the North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM), and the Time Travelers network.

More information about The Works.


Downtown Newark’s Midland Theatre opened in December, 1928. In the lobby and foyer, the customers marveled at the marble pillars and atmospheric design of the ceiling. Once seated in plush upholstered chairs, they took in the unique Spanish architecture. Everywhere you looked, there was velvet – red velvet carpeting, walls draped with rose velvet and gold fringe, velvet rails on the stairways and orchestra pit. Even the balcony was trimmed with lace. And suspended from the ceiling, a beautiful art glass chandelier. Over five decades, The Midland Theatre played all the great movies from the golden years of Hollywood. From “Gone With the Wind”, to “Ben Hur”, to “Dr. Zhivago”, audiences counted on The Midland to provide a steady and ever-changing supply of films, and The Midland never disappointed. Over the decades, the theatre also welcomed some of the era’s top performers, such as Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, and the Russian Ballet.

In 1978, The Midland Theatre, showing increasing decay and decreasing attendance, closed. A power outage during the “Blizzard of ’78” caused the boilers to freeze and crack, sealing the theatre’s fate. For 14 years, The Midland stood unused. The splendor of the architecture had faded, and deterioration continued unabated. Talk arose of demolishing the once-proud theatre, now an eyesore and a hazard. Then, in 1992, Dave Longaberger and The Longaberger Company purchased The Midland. The company undertook an 8-year, $8.5 million renovation and restoration. Longaberger had no desire to operate the theatre, instead entrusting the property to The Newark Midland Theatre Association, a local volunteer, non-profit organization.

The Midland has been restored, not to its original glory, but well beyond. The opulent detail of the original structure has been maintained, but all of the technical equipment of the theatre is state of the art. The Midland offers programming for every age level, every musical taste, drama and comedy, film and live presentations. Various community organizations have preserved The Midland, bringing new life to existing programs as well as new entertainment and cultural options for the area.

More information about The Midland Theatre.



We will return to the Welsh Hills Room on campus for an Ohio farm-to-table dinner in Dale T. Knobel Hall featuring produce from area farms and a sampling of local beers. Wine, soft drinks, iced tea, coffee, and dessert will also be available.