Olney Boarding School, Friends Meetinghouse on National Register of Historic Places
The National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, gave final approval on March 25, 2009 for listing the Olney Friends Boarding School and Ohio Yearly Meetinghouse Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination was made in connection with a state plan to identify and document historic places in Ohio that would qualify for National Register status under provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
Olney Friends School, as it is now known, is located in Belmont County, just outside Barnesville, Ohio. The school was founded in 1837, at Mt. Pleasant, Ohio and moved to the Barnesville area in 1876. Ohio Yearly Meeting (Quakers) operated the school until 1999 when new governance was created to continue the college-preparatory high school for both boarding and day students. The school attracts students from across the United States and around the world. This year 17 states and 12 countries are represented in the student body. Graduates from Olney go on to attend colleges and universities across the globe.
The campus has a number of historic buildings, including the 22,000 square foot Main building, in continuous use since 1876. Bricks for the Main were made of clay dug from a nearby hillside. The Stillwater Yearly Meetinghouse was built in 1877 and was included in the historic district along with surrounding farm acreage, long used by the school. The Plummer Farm, east of Barnesville, along Route 147, is also included for listing on the National Register. The Plummer farm house, dating to the early 1800s, was once a stop on the Old Clay Pike used primarily by stock dealers, or "drovers" who literally drove herds of cattle, sheep and hogs on foot to eastern markets before the arrival of the railroad.
Head of School, Rich Sidwell, remarked "students and teachers at Olney are proud of the honor bestowed on the school by the National Park Service. We will do all we can to preserve the historic character of the campus, while maintaining an atmosphere where students develop and learn."