(The following was written by Harold Windsor and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
Breck’s first thought on location here was to farm the land he had purchased, but with the building of the Harrisburg turnpike from Columbus to Harrisburg in 1848, realized the importance of its construction and began to materialize plans for a town, believing it would make an ideal stopping-off place for travelers soon to use the newly-built turnpike.
The land purchased by Breck in 1846, and later to be Grove City, was part of the farm of Hugh Grant, Jr., son of the first settler in Jackson Township (Hugh Grant, Sr.) who in turn had sold 15 1/4 Acres of the northwest part of the farm to George and Jane Perrington. Hugh Grant, Sr., had acquired the land from Joseph Tagart of Pennsylvania. Perrington paid $86 for the 15 1/4 acres in 1843 and Breck purchased the same land in 1846 for $120.
Acquiring several more parcels of land, comprising all of Beulah and land west of Grove City, Breck no doubt had visions of a great estate with fertile areas covered with growing crops, a small army of men busy with horses and plows, scythe and sickle, and a village nearby. after some 6 years devoted to his farm work, the first part of which was spent in clearing the land, then a “forest of oak, beech, maple, walnut and other trees common to the uplands of Ohio,” about the great trunks of which “huge grape vines were here and there entwined,” while the dogwood, wild plum and hawberry also added to the underbrush of the wilderness, Breck came to the conclusion that” the strong man taketh a city, but the wise man buildeth his own.”
With a much traversed road now running through the township and a few scattered log cabins forming a settlement, Breck saw the need of a school, church and store, and a blacksmith shop and carpenter shop were necessities in connection with the founding of a new town. Then with the precedent that other towns were thriving, a small army of busy men set about to build the wilderness.
In 1852, William Breck with a commission of men of whom were George Weygandt, William Sibray and Jeremiah Smith, surveyed the 15 1/4 acres Breck had purchased when first locating in Jackson Township, and the land was forthwith plotted into town lots.
The plotting of the streets and alleys constituted the greater part of the work required of the commission, and many changes were made in order to obtain the necessary boundaries of the village.
The Grove City Road, commonly known as ”Dutch Pike,” crossed Grove City at right angles through the land between Park and Columbus Street, running directly through the present school grounds. To plot the streets due east and west it was necessary to abandon the old road from Broadway to the Lutheran Church site, Columbus Street was plotted to extend west to Broadway from the east end of the old road.
(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)