Grove City–The Town with a Future – Part 4

(The following was written by Lewis Garrison, and is reprinted from 1927’s “Grove City – The Town with a Future”,  available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Grove City is now furnishing several hundred mechanics and laborers to Columbus concerns who could well and profitably be employed locally if factories were established. The town is not ridden by conditions that usually exist in a factory town and manufacturers would be received with open arms and given every assistance. Good transportation facilities, good roads, easy access to Columbus, cheap land, plenty of water for fire protection, cheap current for light and power, and plenty of skilled and unskilled labor which may be easily trained, are a few features beckoning proposed factories.

Grove City people, as a rule, are thrifty, and a good percentage own their homes. The wealth of the town is fairly well divided, which goes towards making a substantial community. A congenial atmosphere obtains in Grove City for those living here. Residents can enjoy all of the big things that go on in Columbus and return to their homes from the center of Columbus within 20 to 30 minutes. Less traffic will be encountered and far quicker time can be made in this direction than to any suburb of Columbus of equal distance, because the territory traversed is through the thinnest populated section of Columbus. All railroad crossings are overhead; there are no hills; no streetcar traffic; no objectionable section of the city to pass through, and no unsightly freight yards.

Those who know this section best and have watched developments can see in no distant future that the road between Grove City and Columbus will be solidly built up and the town eventually become a part of the city of Columbus. In the past year no less than 50 houses have been built between Grove City and Greenlawn Cemetery. These new houses cost in the neighborhood of $4,000 to $5,000 each.

The town of Briggsdale in between has practically doubled its population within the last three or four years. There have been four or five additions laid out along this road this year and it is almost impossible to find acreage large enough available for addition purposes. Values have gone up by leaps and bounds. Land between Grove City and Columbus that was valued at $200 to $400 per acre on the Highway four or five years ago, has sold for $800 and $900 per acre the past year. Lots 60 by 150 feet on this road are being quoted at $750 and $1,000. This was formerly acreage that sold at $300 per acre. This land is being picked up and build upon and everything points to the continuance of this growth. If the same advancement and development continues in every direction in the Capital City as in the past, Grove City should be within the city limits of Columbus within the next 10 years. If a circle were drawn from the center of Columbus seven miles out, Grove City would be in equal distance of two well-populated districts of Columbus.

Grove City offers special facilities in agriculture for the reason that Columbus is a high-priced market reached at a minimum of expense. Truck gardening, berry raising and poultry farms will be found most remunerative in this section.

Grove City–The Town with a Future – Part 3

(The following was written by Lewis Garrison, and is reprinted from 1927’s “Grove City – The Town with a Future”,  available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

The population of the village of Grove City is now about 1200. It has wonderful school facilities which compare favorably with much larger places. The high school is modern and is an accredited institution. A feature of education is the establishment of a training department under the supervision of the Agricultural Educational Department of the O.S.U. This course involves the study of animal husbandry and farm management. The grade school is a first-class building, accommodating about 300 scholars. It is a centralized school for the district.

There are three churches, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal, each with its own edifice. The nucleus of a public library was started 3 years ago through the efforts of the ladies of the Civic Club. The American Legion, I.O.O.F. And Masonic bodies have their own halls. The latter was recently instituted with 29 charter members and now has a membership of 35.

The location of Grove City and its altitude of approximately 100 feet above Columbus is worthy of note. Not alone is excellent drainage afforded, but physically and geographically the town is immune from objectionable features emanating from proximity to a large city.

There is a local Chamber of Commerce which is alive due to the interests of the town. This organization is managed to put into effect improvement at a minimum cost so that the town is not over-burdened with taxation. Among the notable improvements within the past two years is the water works system giving an abundance of the purest water, for household use and for fire protection, from wells 180 feet deep.

About 40 residences have been erected. Other improvements are a new bank building, a modern concrete tower elevator, various stables and buildings for the racetrack, totalling about $270,000 for the town, a good showing for a small community.

Current for light, power and for operation of the water pumping plant is furnished at a reasonable rate by the Columbus Railway, Power & Light Company. The streets are fairly well improved and the main street of the town will soon be paved. The State Highway Department and the County Commissioners have agreed to pay about half of this cost and the property owners are now being petition for the balance of the cost. The promise is made that the improvement is assured.

(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry).

Grove City–The Town with a Future – Part 2

(The following was written by Lewis Garrison, and is reprinted from 1927’s “Grove City – The Town with a Future”,  available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

The population of Grove City from 1880 to 1891 consisted of about 272 people, a large number of whom were German settlers. There were five saloons, a flour mill and four general stores, two in the north end and two in the south end. Some of the early homes were made of brick from clay found on the premises. Horses were the mode of transportation; spring wagons were a novelty.

The town was isolated except for a pike that extended from Columbus to Harrisburg. A hack line was the means of communication between this place and Columbus, which served the populace until 1884 when the Midland division of the B. and O. was built through the town.

In 1891, with the cooperation of the B. and O. commuter service. A.G. Grant opened up what is now known as the Beulah Edition. Prior to this time all of the land west of the B. and O. tracks was in farms. Within a short time houses began to be build on lots which then commanded from $50 to $200. Most of the original lot buyers were members of an organization in the employ of the old Columbus Buggy Company.

In 1898 A.G. Grant instigated and, with the financial support of the local people, built the Grove City, Greenlawn and Southwestern traction line which operated between this point and Greenlawn Cemetery, there connecting with the Columbus street car system. The fare to Greenlawn was 15 cents for the round trip, and the traction service was hourly, with half hourly service mornings and evenings. The B. and O. commuter service was then discontinued. The operation of the traction line to Columbus was one of the big features which gave impetus to the town. Residential sites afforded working people a pleasant place to live at a minimum of expense.

This traction line was operated for several years and then was absorbed by the Ohio Electric Railway, which subsequently extended the service into Columbus. This line has been in turn succeeded by the Indiana, Columbus and Eastern Traction Company.

When the traction line was opened, Beulah Park, consisting of seven acres, was established. This beautiful tract of primitive woodland was then purchased and land added for a county fair grounds. It was conducted for fair purposes, but after a few years, due to the proximity of the Ohio State Fair, was discontinued. This property is now owned by the Capital City Racing Association, and is a noted racing place. Due to its location on the traction line, B. and O. railroad, and find macadamized roads in every direction, it offers exceptional facilities for those who enjoy horse racing.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry).

Grove City–The Town with a Future – Part 1

(The following was written by Lewis Garrison, and is reprinted from 1927’s “Grove City – The Town with a Future”,  available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

One of the oldest and best-known villages around Columbus is Grove City, situated seven miles in a southwesterly direction from the Capital City on the old Harrisburg Pike, now known as the Three C’s Highway.

The earliest settlers in this section came to Jackson Township in 1803. Most of them came from Pennsylvania in wagons drawn by oxen. It was a veritable wilderness in those days and the land had to be cleared of trees before farming operations were begun. The records of Franklin County show that bounty was paid for panthers shot in the vicinity of what is now Grove City.

On March 5, 1866, 37 of the early settlers in Jackson Township prepared a petition seeking for the incorporation of the village of Grove City, which petition was granted by the Commissioners of Franklin County. The establishment of the name was due to the fact that the section to be incorporated was a magnificent grove.

The original plan was that tract of land comprising the territory from where the Lutheran Church now sends, thence westward to Broadway, opposite to what was then the old Breck saw and grist mill, and thence extending southward to the alley which runs between the Ketterer place and the White homestead. Nothing west of Broadway was included in the early incorporation.

The petition read as follows: “The undersigned citizens and legal voters of the village of Grove City, in the Township of Jackson, County of Franklin, hereby petition your honorable body for this incorporation of the above named village. Said proposed incorporated town is situated in Jackson Township, Franklin County, on the Columbus and Harrisburg Turnpike, seven miles west of the city of Columbus, and being part of the Virginia Military Survey No. 1388 entered originally by Washington and Morgan, an accurate plat of said village being attached to this petition. The incorporated name of said town to be the incorporation of Grove City.

William F. Breck, who founded the saw and grist mill of his name, was a moving spirit in the locality prior to its incorporation. He later removed to Pennsylvania and there founded a town and named it Grove City (Note: further research is determined this is NOT the case).

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry).

The School House

(The following is a poem by Sabrina Evans-Renkar (age 10), and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum.)


Once, long ago, our house was a school where children were taught.
Outside they played on the large, wooded lot.

Across the road was the church,
Where songs of glory rose beyond The mighty birch.

Down the road there was a store where children bought candy,
pencils and more.

When the bell rang they ran back to the school
And seated at their desks recited the rule.

The years passed and the trees grew tall,
The seasons rolled by until one fall

My parents changed the school into a house, you see,
Now we live there under the giant oak trees.

And sometimes when I’m walking down the halls,
I hear children’s laughter echoing through the walls.

Evening on Darby

(The following is a poem by Alan N. Bodle, and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum.)


Alone I stand beneath the willows
When the weary is done,
And the clouds in golden billows
Roll above the sinking sun.

Wind waved branches rustling o’er me,
Deepening shades of night unfold,
And the river spread before me
Trembling sheets of misty gold.

Breezes fold their fragrant pinions
Drifting through the waning day,
From the woodland’s dim dominions
Where the drowsy roses sway.

Now the sunset’s fires grow dimmer,
Softening over hills and dells;
And the fireflies flash and glimmer,
Darting through the hazel dells.

Mystic luster, fragrant shadows,
Sacred silence hovering o’er
Leafing vales and flowery meadows
Eventime on Darby’s shore.

Herding the Cows

(The following was written by Marilyn Gibboney, 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.)

The parents of children who lived on farms looked forward to having the children home from school during the summer in the good old days. It meant having extra hands with the many menial and time-consuming chores that were part of life on the farm in those days. One of those chores was herding the cows. The cows were very important to the economy of the farm family so they required and received much attention. The cows had to be milked twice a day and the children helped with that chore as soon as they were able to sit on a milk stool and hold the bucket in place.

After milking the cows were “put out to pasture” but sometimes the fences were not good and would not hold the herd in or they needed repairing so it was necessary for someone to watch them. Sometimes the pastures would be barren and new grassy areas were needed. Before the automobile area era the farmers would turn the cows on the roadsides to graze. The roads were not paved and there was very little traffic except an occasional horse and wagon going by so there was no danger. It was an agreement with the neighbors that you grazed your cows only on the side of the road where you lived. My mother and her sisters were often given this job during the summer. They would wear their sun bonnets and be barefoot and watch the cows all day.

it was very monotonous and time went very slowly. They would look for four-leaf clovers, make up games and stories and still keep an eye on the cows so they did not wander away. Since their farm bordered two roads they had an especially long area to watch. This was part of their life back in the early twentieth century.

Making Ice on Big Darby

(The following was written by Marilyn Gibboney, 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.)

Before the days of electricity on the farm, ice boxes were the only means of refrigeration for families in the summer. When you lived out in the country, the iceman did not come around each week. If you were fortunate enough to live near a creek, such as Big Darby you cut your own ice in the winter.

My maternal grandfather, Joseph Schlosser and his brother would work together and cut ice. The winters must have been very cold back then because each winter they would watch and wait until the ice was thick and hard enough to cut. They would hitch up a team of horses and pull a sled back to Big Darby where they would spend the day sawing, loading, and hauling ice.

Grandpa wore very heavy clothing for this event. He wore his heaviest coat, boots and had special mittens for his hands. Grandma always had to make sure the mittens were clean, patched and ready for the big day.

The ice house was located on the family farm on Lukens Road. The ice had to be unloaded and restacked inside the ice house. It was a small log building with a heavy door. The men would stack straw very tightly against the outside of the building so the ice would not melt when the weather turned warm. The ice was used by both families, and used sparingly. The ice was not the crystal clear manufactured kind, but rather rough looking with gravel and pebbles in it. When the weather turned warm the ice was used to keep the milk cool and other farm produce that needed refrigeration.

Big Darby was only a mile from their farms, so they would just drive the horses down Haenszel Road to the creek. Now there is no road past Harrisburg-Georgesville Road. It was in this area that they sawed and cut the ice.


Grandma and her Poultry

(The following was written by Marilyn Gibboney, 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.)

In the early spring it was not unusual to step into Grandma’s kitchen and hear the peeping of baby chickens. And old hen had stolen her nest, laid a “setting of eggs” and started hatching. To protect the baby chicks while the rest of the eggs hatched the tiny ones would be placed in a small basket or box wrapped in old rags and placed behind the kitchen cook stove to keep them warm. As more eggs hatched more chicks were added. When all were out of the shell they would be returned to the mother hen and given a coup of their own in the poultry yard. The mother hen took over. The same story was repeated and repeated. Grandma didn’t buy her chicks from the hatchery, she let nature do it. She also had an egg incubator that she used to hatch larger amounts of chicks.

The same story was true of ducks and geese. The poultry domain belonged to Grandma and she tended them faithfully. The chicken yard was dotted with small tin coops, drinking fountains, and feed troughs. The brooder house was home for the growers or fryers before the pullets were promoted to the hen house and the roosters became fryers.

The ducklings and goslings were good lawn mowers and were moved around from one grassy spot to another to eat the grass. The poultry netting to very good use during the summer. The small pens were scattered throughout the lawn. In the late summer Grandma would get the girls together and announce it was time to “pick the geese”. They would round up the mature geese and put them in the box stall of the barn. One by one they would take a goose put the head down between their legs and pull off the soft downy fluffy feathers. The geese could and would bite hard so they had to hold them tightly. The feathers were put in large paper bags that flour came in. Grandma would hang the bags in the wash house and sell them by the pound to city people who did not raise poultry. They were used for pillows and feather beds.

The ducks were not picked like the geese, but when they were slaughtered they were picked dry and the soft down was saved. Nothing was as soft and comfortable as a goose or duck feather pillow.  Every young girl had a pair of goose feather pillows in a feather bed when she married.

Grandma always kept a flock of geese and ducks for eggs and breeding stock. The excess was slaughtered and sold to customers on market, mostly at holiday season. This provided Grandma with her Christmas money that she used to purchase presents for her family.

She always saved a goose for the family Christmas dinner.


Straw Ticks and Corn Husk Mattresses

(The following was written by Marilyn Gibboney, 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.)

In the good old days before the time of interspring and Beauty Rest mattresses, there were two choices to make the beds more comfortable over the bed slats or ropes. There were straw mattresses and corn husk mattresses. My maternal grandmother used both at her house.

My mother related the story to me that went like this: Grandma would make a large bag-like container of striped ticking she bought at the dry goods store. In the summer as soon as the wheat was threshed and still fresh in the straw sack, Grandma would take the girls, and with empty bags, would head for the straw pile. It was very important that no moisture was on the stalks. It was a job for a very hot day. After filling the bags they would pin them shut and carry them back into the house and place them on the beds. Each day to make up the bed, you had to reach your hand into the tick and fluff up the contents so that straw did not settle in one place. The feather beds were placed over the ticks.

The corn husk mattress took quite a long time to prepare. In September after the children had come home from school, Grandma would assign chores for each daughter. One thing they did not like was going out to the cornfield and pulling ears of corn from the corn stalks for the mattresses. This was done before the farmer or the hired man would cut the corn and put them into a fodder shock.

The girls would pull the ears from the stalks and put them into piles, then Grandpa would haul these into the barn. Next came the task of husking the corn, also a job for the girls. Both the ear of corn and the husks were saved. The ear corn was used as food for the livestock and the husks were put into gunny sacks (burlap bags). The husks were left in the sacks, (inside the barn) to completely dry. The next step was to take the old husk mattresses from the beds, empty them and air the ticks in the sunshine on clothesline. The next step was to take the ticks to the barn and sort out the best husks and fill the ticks. Only the best husks were used. Sometimes there would not be enough good ones to fill part of the ticks, so the straw ticks were especially needed. When these ticks were placed on the beds the same daily procedure had to be followed. They had to be fluffed up each day to keep the husks from bunching in a pile.

That was part of the many chores and duties performed by the housewife and those who lived in our Southwest Franklin County area.