It started as a natural spring, bubbling up just outside town near the dusty old post road. Travelers came for its water as it was thought to have medicinal properties. George Stoner was born in Maryland in 1798 he moved to Finley Ohio in 1820 and then made Westerville his home.
The Stoner House was built in 1852. George Stoner was an enterprising man who used this building as a tavern, an inn and a spa. To insure business Mr. Stoner created a stage coach line connecting Columbus and Westerville insuring he had plenty of customers for his business with the delivery of passengers, patrons and goods.
George Stoner also carried runaway slaves from Columbus to Westerville on their flight to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Sometimes Stoner hid the runaways in his coach’s luggage compartment. Other times, he disguised them as regular passengers. Mr. Stoner would bring the fleeing slaves to his Inn where he fed them and kept them safe in the basement. When they were ready, they would set off for the next leg of their journey, on the Underground Railroad.
The Stoner Residence
Located on a small hill just across the street was the home of the Stoner family. Today it has been incorporated into the Westerville Library Complex. George Stoner was also a developer in the area and the land between West State Street and Plum Street is still known today as the Stoner District of the city. The family moved on and the residence became the headquarters of the National Anti-Saloon League. The American Temperance movement also headquartered here. Both organization worked tirelessly for the adoption of the 18th Amendment to the American Constitution. This is why Westerville was known as “The dry capital of the world”.