Ribbon Cutting Officially Opens The Locke House

Gift to Kent State East Liverpool Will Serve Occupational Therapy Students

Kent State University at East Liverpool officially opened the James & Margaret Locke Occupational Therapy Facility during a dedication ceremony on Sept. 25. 

C: Cutting the ribbonLocated at 134 W. Fifth St., the house was the former residence of the late James and Margaret Locke, well-known and beloved community leaders who owned and operated James Locke Jewelers in East Liverpool for more than 45 years. The house was donated to the local university by James and Keith Locke, to perpetuate the memory of their parents.

The Locke House will be used as a learning laboratory for students enrolled in the occupational therapy assistant program at Kent State East Liverpool. Program Director Harriett Bynum explained that OTA students are trained to help individuals regain the ability to complete activities associated with daily living and to manage living in their homes.

“We are very grateful to have this structure that will enhance our students’ learning,” she said. “No longer do we have to simulate home situations in our typical classrooms. We now have an actual house where students can become better OTAs and where they can train in a real-life setting.”

She explained that occupational therapy students are taught how to prepare patients to return to their homes with skills that help with homemaking tasks (cooking, cleaning, etc.), activities for daily living (getting dressed, bathing, walking, etc.) and functional transfers (getting in and out of bed, a tub, the shower, a chair, etc.).

B: Keith and James Locke unveil the sign in front of The Locke House.“It is difficult to fully express how much we appreciate this gift from James and Keith Locke, especially knowing how loved and respected their parents were in this community,” commented Dr. Steve Nameth, dean of the Kent State East Liverpool Campus. “We recognize that the Locke name is revered and highly respected in this town, and we pledge to honor this family for years to come through the highest standards of education possible. We are truly grateful for this wonderful gift. What an honor it is to call the Locke House ours.”

When it was originally built, the Locke House was the first new house to be built in the city in more than 50 years. It features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, dining room, family room and garage. 

It was built as a handicap-accessible home to meet James’ and Margaret’s living needs as they aged. Prior to that, the couple lived in a home on Broadview Circle.

One unique transformation to the home is the creation of a “hospital room” in one of the bedrooms. Bynum explained that the room is set up similar to a typical patient room in a hospital, complete with a hospital bed and medical equipment usually found in such a setting.

D: OTA Program Director Harriett Bynum takes the Locke family on a tour of the home. On the wall in the background are the original blueprints of the house, now framed and displayed.“Our students often work with patients in clinical settings, such as a hospital or extended care facility,” she said. “Through their feedback, we found that they often struggle navigating patients’ rooms in which there are IV poles, wires, oxygen cords and carts. They asked us to teach them how to better work with patients in these settings. This simulated hospital room will provide that opportunity. It’s unique and we are excited about it.”

The Lockes were avid supporters of Kent State University in East Liverpool, contributing to numerous campus fundraisers and donating $5,000 to the Mary Patterson Building campaign. 

James Locke was a certified gemologist and Margaret was a registered jeweler with the American Gem Society. Each was quite active in civic organizations and community events, enthusiastically supporting the East Liverpool area with their time and finances.

They first opened their jewelry store in 1955 and through the years that followed, they weathered economic downturns with the closings of local manufacturing businesses and even a devastating fire. 

James died in 2003 and Margaret died in 2013, shortly after the jewelry store was closed in 2012.

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A: Dean Steve Nameth reads the official proclamation from the Kent State University Board of Trustees accepting the building as a gift from James and Keith Locke and officially naming it The Locke House.

B: Keith and James Locke unveil the sign in front of The Locke House.

C: Cutting the ribbon

D: OTA Program Director Harriett Bynum takes the Locke family on a tour of the home. On the wall in the background are the original blueprints of the house, now framed and displayed.


POSTED: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 10:40 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 02:46 PM