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Former Buckeye Candy & Tobacco Building.

Buckeye Candy and Tobacco Building


In the nineteenth century, this particular site was home to the offices and factory of the Cooper Manufacturing Company, which was established in 1851. An important local company, that produced engines, mill machinery, and other ironworks that were shipped around the world.


Eventually, the Cooper Company’s manufacturing complex was torn down. In 1910, construction began on the building that currently stands on the site. The building was originally home to the Kelser-Dowds Company, a wholesale grocer, which provided residents of Mount Vernon with both staple and luxury goods for almost 60 years. The building was considered something of a technological feat at the time of its construction, as it was “fireproof”—or built out of concrete, brick, and steel.  


In the late-1960s, the building was bought by the Buckeye Candy and Tobacco Company, which primarily sold tobacco products and candy in addition to wholesale grocery products.

In 2015, Kenyon College purchased the building and began a multi-million dollar restoration and update of the building.  Rechristened as the Wright Center, the building reopened in January of 2017 as home to classrooms, offices, and the Science Play-Space Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to exposing children to science and technology. The Buckeye Candy Building thus serves as an important reminder of Mount Vernon’s long industrial history as well as Kenyon’s continued connection to the community.

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