Among the hoards of off-campus houses, a few homes rise above the rest. Here’s a look at some of the coolest cribs in the Ohio State off-campus area.
Walking down West Lane Avenue on Saturdays in the fall, it is hard to miss the countless tailgates and game-day parties — namely the ones hosted at The Barn.
Named for its gambrel-shaped roof, The Barn is the name of street-facing townhouse in a four-townhouse building, and has become known among students for its rowdy atmosphere on gameday, said Jason Biltz, a fourth-year in civil engineering.
“We have a tailgate for every Saturday home game,” Biltz said. “We also throw a party in April because we have a lot of people in the building with April birthdays, a welcome-back party and a party over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.”
Only a 10-minute walk from Ohio Stadium, The Barn has had a reputation as a game day hot spot since the house was built in the 1980s, Biltz said.
“We have older guys that come back and comment, ‘Oh, The Barn is still going strong!’” he said. “I’ve had guys come up here before and say they used to live here, so they come in and check it out. They say a lot has changed, but it’s still pretty sweet.”
The three-story building also has two balconies in addition to a spacious front porch, a feature that Biltz said is his favorite.
“It’s the best. You just set a grill out there, grill up some burgers and just people-watch,” he said.
Stepping inside The Barn is like taking a step back in time. Complete with wall-to-wall wood paneling and posters of President Ronald Reagan, the interior holds true to its old-school roots.
Biltz, who moved in in 2014, said his sister, who lived in The Barn for three years, passed down the house to him and his roommates after she graduated. Biltz said that after he and his three roommates graduate in the next couple of years, they hope to keep The Barn “in the family.”
“We’re trying to get one of our roommate’s younger sisters to move in after she moves out of the dorms because, by then, we’ll all be graduated,” Biltz said. “I’m trying to get my younger brother to come here to take it, but we’ll see.”
The Pig Pen
“One big, happy family” is how Michelle Shumaker, a fourth-year in business operations, described the residents living in The Pig Pen, a half-double on West 10th Avenue. Her side of the house, which she shares with five girls, is connected by a door to the house’s other half.
Shumaker said that had the other half’s tenants not been some of her best guy friends, her feelings toward the connection might be different.
“If we didn’t know the people next door, it would probably be really weird,” Shumaker said. “It’s fun because you’ll come downstairs to eat and no girls are home, so you just walk over to the boys side and hang out, and then come back over.”
Shumaker, along with a majority of the residents of The Pig Pen, is involved with Young Life, a campus-based Christian ministry. Shumaker said that the connection, both literally and spiritually, between the two sides really helps make the sides feel as one unified house.
“It honestly doesn’t feel like two separate houses,” Shumaker said. “It feels like it’s just one, and I think that’s what makes our house so different than any other house on campus. I feel like we live with guys, but we don’t actually live with guys.”
Drew Mitchell, a third-year in civil engineering who has lived in The Pig Pen for three years, said the house’s name was inspired by a character named Pig Pen from the movie “Out Cold.”
“(The character Pig Pen) is just generally reckless and does rowdy things,” Mitchell said. “So when the guys who first lived here five years ago were trying to decide on a name, they were like, ‘Pig Pen is a really hype, fun dude,’ so that’s why it’s The Pig Pen. The name just stuck.”
Mitchell said that The Pig Pen holds firmly to its name in all it does, from pig-themed home decor to the group’s annual party, the Big Pig, which is held every spring.
“We have a taxidermy boar’s head on our side that my friend shot,” Mitchell said. “It’s pretty great.”
For all the perks and traditions of The Pig Pen, Shumaker said she considers the group of residents to be one her favorite parts of the house.
“It’s honestly the people that make this house so great,” Shumaker said. “They’re like my brothers. I love it.”
Perched on the corner of Iuka Avenue and East Woodruff Avenue sits a brick Colonial-style house. With it’s nearly 4-foot stone wall lining the property and wrought-iron staircase leading up to the front door, the house easily resembles a fortress atop a hill.
The house’s castle-like aesthetic is one of the reasons that Patrick Gill, a fourth-year in political science and finance, and his roommates call their house Camelot.
“It’s surrounded by rock and it kind of looks like a castle, but when you get inside it’s a lot less regal,” Gill said.
The eight roommates, friends since their freshman year, have lived in Camelot for the past year and a half. When choosing which house to call home, one of the main selling points, Gill said, was the view from the house’s wraparound porch.
“In the winter, when all of the leaves are gone, you can see (the Fisher College of Business) straight down Woodruff, and even clear down to the Union from Iuka,” he said. “In the morning, for breakfast sometimes, you’ll see three or four roommates just sitting out there — it’s really nice.”
Another favorite spot in the house is the kitchen, Gill said, with it’s three and a half fridges and a breakfast nook big enough for up to eight people.
“There have been a number of times over the last year and a half that we’ve all done a house dinner together of some sort, so we get full use out of the kitchen,” he said.
The home’s open-floor plan and large amount of outdoor space also lend themselves to making Camelot a go-to meeting spot for get-togethers, said Barret Bender, a fourth-year in finance.
“It’s kind of a house where we don’t say ‘no’ a lot,” Bender said. “Hosting class meetings, chapter meetings, spring break trip-planning meetings — it’s kind of a common ground.”
After the majority of the roommates graduate in May, a group of younger friends will move into Camelot as its new tenants, which Gill is excited about.
“For some of them, the first party they ever went to at college was here, and chances are the last party they ever go to in college will also be here as well, which is cool how it comes full circle,” he said.
Gill said that if all else changes, the one thing he hopes will remain is the name — Camelot.
“I hope they keep the tradition and the name, but you never know with kids these days,” he said.