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Stanton-Bonham House earns state recognition

Home of two Miami presidents receives historical status in the state of Ohio

By Abbey Gingras, News Editor

Yesterday, old and new Miamians gathered outside the Stanton-Bonham House on the corner of Spring and Oak streets to unveil and celebrate the house's new historical standing.

This weekend, the house was granted historical status in Ohio after officials applied for the designation in April, said curator of the McGuffey Museum, Steve Gordon.

Gordon said the house is significant for a number of reasons.

"Two Miami presidents owned and lived in the house," Gordon said. "And also the fact that on November 9th, 1870, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who at the time was the foremost advocate for women's suffrage came to Oxford to lecture and stayed in this house. It's been well known for years as a very historic house."

The two Miami presidents who resided in the Stanton-Bonham house were Robert Stanton, who built it, and Robert McFarland. Additionally, Elizabeth Cady Stanton stayed at the house when she visited campus to present a lecture in 1870.

Elizabeth's brother-in-law was university president Robert Stanton.

Although other houses in Oxford have been home to university presidents - including the Phi Gamma Delta house, the Beta Theta Pi house and current presidential residence Lewis Place - the Stanton-Bonham House is the only one that was built by and for the president of Miami.

President David Hodge said during the dedication program that the house holds a particularly interesting history in relation to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her visit to the school 145 years earlier.

"She was coming to a school that was all boys, that was declining in enrollment, where things were looking very bleak," Hodge said. "And she delivered a very important message."

Today, the house holds the Myaamia Center and the Purchasing Department. Despite its change in purpose over the years, the home has not undergone any major renovations since its construction in 1868.

The Stanton-Bonham house earned the eighth historical marker in Oxford, joining the ranks of other sites such as the McGuffey House and Patterson Place.

George Ironstrack, Assistant Director of the Myaamia Center, said the marker was the 35th in Butler County and the 1527th in the state of Ohio.

The historical marker sitting on the north lawn of the Stanton-Bonham House was made in Ohio by Sewah Studios and cost over $2,000, which was covered in part by the League of Women Voters in Oxford and the W. E. Smith Family Charitable Trust.

Hodge concluded his portion of the presentation by reminding the audience about the importance of history, not only on Miami's campus but to human existence.

"Why do we study history?" Hodge asked. "The first is just the natural human fascination that we all have with it, and if there was no other reason that would be more than sufficient for us to devote a substantial amount of time to understanding our past. But, of course, we also know that understanding our past gives perspective to the present and, we hope, the future."