This property offers a unique view of both the pioneer and antebellum periods in Worthington, Ohio. The oldest portion of the house was built in 1811 by Arora Buttles. The 6 room house was on 35 acres and was part of a farm next to the village. The pioneer architecture can be seen in the low-ceilinged keeping room with it's solid walnut wainscoting and steep dogleg staircase to the 2nd story. The kitchen has the original walk-in type fireplace with a large iron crane and bread oven. The house is furnished with period furniture, some of which have a connection to early Worthington families and activities.
The house was purchased by Orange and Achsa Johnson in 1816. Orange Johnson came from Connecticut, as did many of the early settlers in the Worthington area.
Orange Johnson learned the trade of comb making when he was 17 years old. Up till then, he helped his father in the running of the family farm. During the winter months he attended school. In 1807 he left the family farm and started his slow migration west, with numerous interludes along the way where he would set up his comb-making shop, earning enough money to continue his migration.
In August of 1814, Orange Johnson arrived in Worthington with $16.50. With that money he again opened a comb making business. His first customer was Robert Neil, brother of William Neil . The Neil brothers at that time were merchants from Urbana and Robert Neil wanted to purchase some of Orange's combs to sell back in Urbana. The sale amounted to $10.50, a tidy sum for a man whose net worth was only $16. That was the beginning of Orange Johnson's success in Central Ohio. In 1815, he married Achsa Maynard who was from Montgomery, Massachusetts and the following year they purchased the property now called the Orange Johnson House.
In just 13 years he was appointed as a commissioner to open a turnpike to Sandusky, Ohio. He was also engaged in farming and selling real estate. Over time he acquired vast amounts of real estate holdings.
Orange Johnson soon became a landowner, turnpike commissioner, paymaster for the militia, banker, and railroad stockholder.
In 1819 Johnson added on to his little pioneer house with a Federal style addition to the west side of the pioneer house facing High Street. The Johnsons continued living there until 1863. Orange Johnson died in 1876 and is buried in Greenlawn Cemetary.
Orange Johnson House Today
Today the house has been restored and is owned and operated by the Worthington Historical Society.
The Orange Johnson House is the oldest restored house in Franklin County. It has been beautifuly restored and features Federal-style furniture. Guided tours are available on Sundays with a small admission charge.
Orange Johnson House
956 High Street
Worthington, Ohio 43085