Grove City once had a mushroom factory located on Franklin St. near the end of Sunshine Place on the east side of the railroad tracks. The site is not far from the present day First Presbyterian Church, which was a farm field in the 1940s. Today the site of the mushroom factory holds the remains of the old 3-M building.
According to Grove City resident William Cain, brother of Betty Seese, the factory was co-owned by Charles Donnelly, Sr. and another man whose last name was Ducher. Cain, now 90, worked at the factory while a student at Jackson Township/Grove City High School during World War II. He was a classmate of Donnelly’s son, Charles (Chuck) Donnelly, Jr. The Donnellys, Cain recalled, lived on Demorest Road.
Cain said that a railroad car stacked full of horse manure would pull up behind the factory. The manure would be unloaded and sterilized before being used to grow the mushrooms. He said the work was difficult due to the smell.
Cain recalled that the mushrooms would sprout up overnight and had to be harvested every day. After high school, Cain served in the Air Force and later graduated from Otterbein College. He is retired from the Ohio Bell Telephone Company.
Donnelly graduated from Otterbein College and served his career in the Air Force, rising to the rank of general. He was a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War and in 1981 was named commander of the 5th Air Force and all U.S. Forces in Japan and Korea with headquarters in Yokota Air Base, Japan. In 1984, he became commander in chief of all U.S. and NATO air forces in Europe with headquarters in Ramstein Air Base, West Germany. Among his medals is the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He died in 1994 in Washington, D.C.
By Janet Shailer