Our History

125 Years of History

(and counting)

On Sunday, September 27, 2020, The Gahanna Sanctuary, as it’s known today, celebrated the 125th anniversary of the historic facility’s construction by Peace Lutherans in 1895. The historic portion of the building, which was listed in 1987 on The National Register of Historic Places for it’s Gothic Revival style bell tower and Tudor style stained glass windows, received an east wing addition in 1938, when restrooms, kitchen facilities, three classrooms and a community room with a stage were built 100 years after Peace Lutherans built their first one-room church 11 years before the official founding of Gahanna in 1849. 

Founded along the Big Walnut Creek by John Clark of Ross County from 800 acres of land that his father, Joseph Clark, had purchased from Governor Worthington in 1814, Gahanna, a Native American word for three creeks joining into one, would vie with its closest rival, Bridgeport, located directly across Granville Street from Gahanna and also along the banks of the Big Walnut Creek. The two small towns eventually settled their differences and merged into one Gahanna because Ohio already had another town named Bridgeport.

Known as PeaceLutheran Church for 70 years, the congregation outgrew it as it did it’s first church and sold land and building as it purchased more land to build a far larger church. A group of volunteers seized upon an opportunity that arose with help from The City of Gahanna and the State of Ohio to form a 501c4 social organization nonprofit to maintain the historic qualities of the building. Since its formation in 1981, a Board of Trustees has managed the Gahanna Sanctuary to ensure the historic qualities are kept in good shape while remodeling and updating the east wing so it’s compatible with contemporary wedding ceremony venues.

The two history videos on this page provide short classes in the history of the community and the facility that has played an important role in it.

The first video was created for the 125th anniversary by Ed Lentz, one of Ohio’s preeminent historians and a founding father of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to historic preservation in central Ohio.

A second video was assembled in the summer of 2020 by Satolli Glassmeyer, founder of “History in Your Own Backyard,” whose focus is bringing smaller and lesser known historic venues to the public’s attention.

Our historic stained glass windows were made by the Von Gerichten Art Glass Company. Click the button to view their history.