History of Bryn Du Mansion
(Bryn Du Mansion is Welsh for Dark Hills Mansion)
Please note that some of the following brief history was compiled from information provided by the Granville Ohio Historical Society archives.
Local businessman Henry D. Wright originally constructed a mansion on this site as an Italianate Villa type structure in 1865. It was constructed of sandstone quarried from the property. Jonas McCune became the owner within a year after construction and the property became known as McCune’s Villa.
Several others owned the property prior to John Sutphin Jones, who made his fortune in the railroad and coal businesses, purchased the property in 1905. It was Jones who named the estate “Bryn Du”, Welsh for Dark Hills, and lived there with his wife and children.
Jones soon hired architect Frank Packard of Columbus who orchestrated the mansion renovation and construction of the outbuildings in 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.
During the Jones’ occupancy, dinner was served to 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 1979 and renovated the mansion into a restaurant for a brief time. Quest International purchased the property in 1989 for their company headquarters.
Dave Longaberger purchased it in 1995. Longaberger constructed the game courts and field house facilities and began a major renovation project of the existing buildings, which halted at the time of his death in 1999.
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.
The property is now managed by the Bryn Du Commission, which was established by the Village of Granville, with a mission of historic preservation and to provide program and event facilities for the benefit of the community.
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