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Our History

The following brief history was compiled from information provided by the Granville Ohio Historical Society archives and other sources.

Local businessman Henry D. Wright originally constructed a mansion on this site as an Italianate Villa type structure in the 1860's. It was constructed of sandstone quarried from the property. Jonas McCune became the owner within a year after construction was finally finished and the property became known as McCune’s Villa.

Several others owned or lived on the property prior to John Sutphin Jones, who purchased the property in 1905 after making his fortune in the railroad and coal businesses.

Jones soon hired architect Frank Packard of Columbus who orchestrated the mansion renovation and construction of the outbuildings during the first decade of the 20th Century. This renovation took nearly five years and transformed the mansion into its Georgian-Federal style design.

Jones and Packard teamed up again in 1922 to design and build the Granville Inn. Three years later, Jones hired famed golf course designer Donald Ross to design and build the Granville Golf Course. Historians note that the Granville Golf Course is the only course which Donald Ross personally oversaw the construction of.

During the Jones' occupancy, dinner was served to Presidents Calvin Coolidge, William Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding. Here also, Lillian Gish and Katherine Cornell sipped coffee, and Paderewski and Rachmaninoff played the Steinway.

Jones died in 1927 and his daughter, Sallie Jones Sexton, inherited the property, living on the estate while managing the farm and the Granville Inn. Sallie became a local legend, famous for breeding and training show horses, and for her vivid personality and colorful language. It was Sallie’s storied management style that led the estate into bankruptcy.

William M. and Ortha A. Wright (no relation to the original Wright owners) purchased the property in 1976 at auction, to use the farmland and barn for their horses.  They eventually renovated the mansion into a restaurant that was open for a brief time in 1985 and into 1986.

Quest International, a non-profit children's education company then purchased the property in February 1987 to be used as their company headquarters. In1994 they would move their offices to Newark, putting the mansion back on the market.

Dave Longaberger, founder of the Longaberger Basket Company, purchased the Mansion and grounds in 1995. Longaberger constructed the game courts and field house facilities and began a major renovation project of the other existing buildings, which then halted at the time of his death in 1999.  Once again, the Mansion would be empty.

An advisory election was held in November 2002 to determine public opinion regarding the purchase of the property. 62% of the voters in the Village of Granville supported the property purchase. The Village purchased the property on December 16, 2002 from the Longaberger Company. The Village conveyed ownership of half of the front field (16.12 acres) to the Granville Township for green space preservation.

A Bryn Du Commission was then appointed in March 2004, and charged with the responsibility of managing the everyday operations of the Bryn Du property, implementing a development plan, and future planning of the estate ensuring that the public purpose remained a priority.

Today, the Commission retains the essential elements of control over the property, providing facilities for the cultural, recreational, and educational benefit of the community.  The Commission works to restore, renovate, rehabilitate, protect, and maintain this historic property with rental fees, allocations by the village of Granville, Ohio, and gifts, grants, contributions and bequests.

The Bryn Du Commission is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is qualified to receive contributions which are deductible for givers and contributors from Federal Income Tax under IRS Code Section 170. The Commission usually meets on the fourth Thursday of each month, at 7 p.m. at the Bryn Du Mansion property.

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Yours is a long lasting tribute, part of the Bryn Du landscape for many years to come. 

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