Kelton House Museum & Garden

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Thomas Kelton [1652]
   Fernando Cortez Kelton
   Kelton Family Items
   See the Kelton House

James Kelton

Robert Kelton [1724]
   William Kelton
   Dr. Leslie Kelton
   Robert Kelton
   David Kelton

Robert Kelton [1786]
   O.P. Kelton
   Mark A. Kelton
   Benjamin F. Kelton


See also Heritage page


Kelton House Garden & Museum
A Service of the Junior League of Columbus
586 East Town Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

    A sense of place kept the Kelton family in their grand Victorian townhouse for nearly 125 years. That attachment laid the foundation for a museum that features an extraordinary continuity of documents and furnishings associated with one Columbus family and their graceful, engaging way of life.
Kelton House is a treasure trove of Victoriana, containing everything from lavishly embellished Victorian silverware to more obscure items such as the woven-hair brooch worn by Sophia Kelton. A scrapbook kept by Anna Kelton from 1860 to 1870 gives a glimpse of what one young woman thought worth saving: pressed flowers from summer vacations, society-page articles, news clippings and letters describing the Civil War and her brother's death in the Battle of Brice's Crossroads, Mississippi. The massive drapery cornices in the front parlor look suspiciously like a Victorian bed; in fact, Sophia Kelton had Thomas Lawrence, a family employee, dismantle a walnut bedstead and install the pieces above the windows. Beneath those same windows, Lawrence married one of the runaway slaves who took shelter in the house while it was a station on the Underground Railroad.

Perhaps this exceptional pairing of family house and family treasures could have been expected, given the far-seeing nature of Kelton family members. Fernando Kelton, who built the house in 1852, must have anticipated Columbus' mid-century commercial boom -- he became the first businessman to supply drygoods and pharmaceuticals on a wholesale basis. At a time when ladies were expected to quietly retire to their domestic duties, Kelton family members were among the first women to attend The Ohio State University. Laura Kelton played an instrumental role in establishing the first kindergarten program in the Columbus schools. Her daughter, Grace, born in 1881, attended the Pratt Institute and Parsons art schools before returning to Columbus, where she became one of the most respected interior designers in the city.

When Grace Kelton died in 1975, her will entrusted the property to the Columbus Foundation with the stipulation that her family home be persevered and used for educational purposes. In 1976 the Junior League of Columbus took on the task of renovating and restoring the house and garden to create a museum of 19th-century life. Today the Kelton House offers an ongoing program of house tours, special events and educational opportunities. An active volunteer program provides a training ground for individuals interested in historic preservation, the decorative arts, American history and museum management.

The Kelton House Museum & Garden
email to
586 East Town Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215

Museum Hours: Sundays, 1-4 p.m.
Tours can be arranged at other times by scheduling in advance. Rooms also may be rented for meetings, parties and weddings.
Admission: $1.50 per person, with discounts for children and senior citizens. Special event prices vary.

The Museum Shop offers items in keeping with Victorian sensibilities and provides a source of income to the Kelton House.
Wheelchair Access The first floor of Kelton House, which includes the parlors, dining room, meeting room and bathroom, is wheelchair accessible.
Parking Parking is available in the brickwalled Junior League parking lot on Franklin Avenue, between Washington and Lester.

Funded through the Ohio Arts Council


Join the legacy of Grace Kelton and the spirit of generosity that restored the Kelton House Museum and Garden.

Friends of the Kelton House provide critical funding to continue the restoration of the Museum's interior. Friends' dollars help preserve and, in some cases, purchase the Museum's beautiful brocades, colorful carpets, and distinctive accessories, all carefully researched to recreated an authentic Victorian milieu

Benefits of Membership
Friends of the Kelton House receive free admission during regular Museum hours, four tickets to the annual Victorian Christmas Open Houses, an invitation to the annual Friends' Tea, discounts on special event tickets, and 10 percent off all Museum Shop purchases.

Membership categories
$25 Friend
$50 Educator
$100 Preservationist
$250 The Kelton Society

    Name ______________________________________________
    Address ___________________________________________
    City ______________________________________________
    State ___________________
    Zip _____________________
    Telephone _______ - _______ - _______

Please complete the information and return to the Kelton House with your check, payable to:

    Junior League of Columbus/Kelton House
    Kelton House Musem and Garden
    586 East Town Street
    Columbus, Ohio 43215


    ©2002 by Edward F. Kelton.
    New Page on April 18, 1998