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Francis C. Sessions wore many hats. He was the cofounder of Ellis and Sessions Dry Goods, the first president of Commercial National Bank and a founder of Columbus Art School. Sessions moved to Columbus from Massachusetts in 1840 and by the 1850s, he was out of the dry goods business and into banking.
He served as the secretary of the Columbus branch of the U.S. Sanitary Commission during the Civil War and even invested in streetcar businesses. But through all of his ventures, his love of art remained consistent.
The mansion belonging to Francis Sessions was built in 1840. The brick mansion sported a flat roof with an impressive cupola on top. The home also had a large adjoining glass conservatory.
When Sessions died in 1892, he left the house and funds to form an art gallery and continue the Columbus Art School he had founded in 1879, which would go on to become the Columbus College of Art & Design. The house served as an art gallery and actee as the home of CCAD until 1928 when the building was demolished.
Thankfully, this beautiful home wasn’t demolished to become a parking lot. Just a few years after its demolition, the site became home to the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts which opened on January 22, 1931. The building continues to house beautiful works of art as the Columbus Museum of Art.
If the historic homes and buildings of Columbus are of interest to you, I highly suggest that you check out A Historical Guidebook to Old Columbus: Finding the Past in the Present in Ohio’s Capital City. This fantastic book takes a look at our city through a historic lens and if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to put it down.
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