Town With a Future – Dr. Frank C. Wright

(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.)

Dr. Frank C. Wright

Dr. Wright has been practicing his profession in Grove City since his graduation from Starling Medical College, Columbus, in the class of ‘97. He resided in Columbus until he was 17 years old and came to Grove City with his parents. His office is in connection with his residence on Broadway in the south end of town. During the period of the war, Dr. Wright was Medical Director of the Franklin County Draft Board, with headquarters in Columbus. He is surgeon for the Ohio Electric Company, visiting physician to Mt. Carmel Hospital, is a member of the Columbus Academy of Medicine, is a member of the General Practitioners’ Medical Society, the American Medical Association and the American Society for the Advancement of Sciences. He is also one of the founders of the local Masonic Lodge which was instituted recently in Grove City.

Town With a Future – The First National Bank

(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 First National Bank

This bank was organized as The Farmers & Merchants Bank in the spring of 1903. The organizers were a few of the leading citizens, among whom were Joseph M. Briggs, founder of Briggsdale; Daniel Weygandt, and others. The bank was capitalized for $25,000 and on June 11, 1903 the name was changed to the First National Bank with Joseph M. Briggs, President; R.E. Shover, Vice-President; and I. Shaffer, Cashier. Mr. Shaffer still holds a directorship in the bank.

The bank maintains quarters in the building at the corner of Broadway and Columbus Street, on the side of the original plat of the village of Grove City. The building is a handsome two-story brick with residential rooms and the Citizen’s telephone exchange on the second floor. The lower floor, 38 by 70 ft in size, contains the banking quarters in the front and the directors’ room in the rear. In the center is a steel lined vault with a heavy Mosler door. The vault contains a screw safe for the storage of monies and securities. The entire construction affords absolute fire resistance and is burglar-proof. Adjoining, and on the south side of the bank, is a single-story frame building used as the Bell and Citizen’s telephone exchange.

The bank has grown from a meager beginning to its present resources of $275,000 by its policy of meeting all of the requirements of the community. The board of directors consist of: John R. Briggs, of Briggsdale; C.M. Graul, W.C. Grossman, L.C. Riebel, R.E. Shover and Otto Willert, all of Grove City; and I. Shaffer and Dr. G.B. Nessley, of Columbus. The officers are: Otto Willert, President; John R. Briggs & I. Shafer, Vice-Presidents; L. C. Riebel, Cashier, and Agnes Willert, daughter of the president, Assistant Cashier. Last July the bank received a perpetual franchise from the U.S. Government for the transaction of business under the National Bank Act. The bank is also a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, being in the Fourth Federal Reserve District.

Town with a Future – The Grove City Savings Bank Co.

(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 Grove City Savings Bank Co.

This bank was organized April 21, 1903, with a capital of $25,000. At first a small building was occupied on Broadway near the present location. The prime movers in the organization were A.G. Grant, Emil Kiesewetter, E.C. Wagner and a number of prominent farmers in the locality. Business gradually increased until the bank reached a point where more room was needed which led to the construction of the present complete and modern quarters.

The bank building, a credit to the town, was completed and occupied on May 19, 1923. It is located on Broadway in the heart of the business section. The bank is handsomely furnished and equipped with a large vault containing safe deposit boxes for the custody of valuable papers for the people of the community. The vault is of the latest approved design, safe and impregnable, and protected by a burglar proof door, equipped with time lock, all constructed of materials the best that can be procured. On the mezzanine floor is the directors’ room and on this floor is located the ladies’ restroom.

On May 15, 1923, the capital was increased to $50,000, and with surplus and undivided profits of $28,000, makes the total resources of the bank $370,000. The directors are: George B. Borror, E.C. Grant, Emil Kiesewetter, M.R. Miller, Seymour McKinley, Abner Rader, Samuel Taylor, Clark Worthington and E.C. Wagner. The officers are: T.C. Wagner, President; E.C. Grant, Vice-President; Charles G. Patzer, Cashier, and Fred Weishaupt, Bookkeeper. The bank’s personnel is composed of men imbued with the idea of courteous service to the public, a factor which is appreciated as is attested to by the growth of this institution.

Town With a Future – Beulah Park – 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.)

Time will come when the rank and file of Beulah Park patrons will have to be told just what was accomplished during the initial year of present ownership. In brief, the racing property was converted from one for fair weather only to one that will fill all requirements, no matter how boisterous the weather. The final act of 1923 was to sand the track in order to eliminate as far as possible the mud hazard. Rain no mortal can keep away, but Beulah Park’s daily racing programs are conducted without regard to showers, storms or deluges.

To accommodate the people, there was a start made in February, 1923, on the construction of a modern grandstand. The old one was shunted to a new position and now cares for a portion of the Overflow. In the same dreary month of February, definite steps toward caring for more horses than ever at Beulah Park were taken. Four barns, built on up-to-date plans suggested by General Manager Shepard, came into existence. Some single row stalls were put in on limited space. In July of this year, two more barns, one of 36 stalls like each of the others of early-spring finish, and another of 40 spaces were rushed to permanent completion.

Both grounds and track have been brought out away from the water menace. Cinders, by car loads, have been employed to thrust nature’s mud into other oblivion. Over the concourse where the public gatherings are most dense, tiny stone and gravel has been brought into service. Again, there was no sparing of the use of concrete to make substantial walks at the track side and from it back under the grandstand and around to the principal entrance.

Mid-summer regrading and autumn sanding of the track have combined to bring up the course to the most exacting requirements. Yet one of the most important additions to it was the construction of a chute, from the end of which horses can confront the barrier and be off, at the snap of the barrier, on a race of six furlongs. Races of greater distances are started at various points of advantage on the main course.

Racing men, as they came in for the April inaugural meeting of 1923, found Beulah Park more or less in the rough but they saw construction going on. The spring sport was successful. Many of the same founders came back in August and readily noted vast changes. Dufferin Park, Toronto, is a noted racing plant with a track of less than a mile. Be assured, one and all, that Beulah Park, Grove City, is challenging the Canadian place for international premiership. Nor can there be any recession for the Capital City Racing Association’s one motto is “Clean sport”.

Town With a Future – Beulah Park – 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.)

Personnel of the Capital City Racing Association’s Board of Directors is as follows:  Jonas P. Pletsch, Harry D. Shepard, Charles Hayes, Ralph Hirsch and George C. Tuttle. Mr. Pletsch is President, Mr. Hayes vice-president, and Mr. Shepard general manager and treasurer. All are residents of Columbus. Associated with them in ownership are scores of residents of both Grove City and Columbus, all being rightfully correct in the belief that this general cooperation toward a common end of having royal sport at distinct annual intervals tends for popular enjoyment.

President Pletsch is a man with a business record of 40 years to stand as proof of his worth to the nation as a sterling citizen. No steps backward are to be seen in his life path. As a dealer in meats and as a real estate operator, he ever has gone onward and is at the stage where he can turn aside from daily endeavor and wholeheartedly enjoy mingling with patrons of Beulah Park.

Vice-President Hayes, for a quarter of a century has been a fixture on the staff of the Columbus Driving Park Co., the one that for 31 years has been in Grand Circuit society. As a boy, Mr. Hayes wore the silks of a jockey. That career, comparatively short for all who answer with the bugle calls and ride, let up to his connection with the Driving Park’s restaurant service. He does this important duty still, is responsible for refreshing Beulah Park’s throngs and has an up-to-date form at Lockbourne to supervise generally.

General manager Shepard, a horseman from the pinafore days on his father’s farm, has been an Ohioan ever at heart though some of his early years were spent in Illinois.  He built the mile track at the Columbus Driving Park and for 20 years has been in general charge of that property, being secretary of its owning-operating company. His farm home is in Pickaway County but he spend his few idle hours either in Columbus or in a summer place on Riverside Drive, near Dublin.

Directors Hirsch and Tuttle are active in work for a Columbus daily newspaper. Their exacting duties are such that personal participation in the affairs of the Capital City Racing Association has proven to be a delightful relaxation.

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

Town With a Future – Beulah Park – 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.)

Beulah Park is not the creation of a year, for, in another decade, it will be half a century old.

Nestling off to the northwest of Grove City and partially within the corporate limits of the prosperous Community is the internationally-known Beulah Park, Capital City Racing Association area for the production of the “Sport of Kings”. As the place now stands equipped, it is Ohio’s premier place for enjoyment of races by running horses.

Some 40 years ago, so Grove City history has it, the land now occupied was primitive woodland. Many of the trees have been spared destruction from axemen, urged on elsewhere by the demands of modern civilization, and the present substantial ownership intends that there shall be no more assaults made on the timber that provides a most delightful and protecting screen against the summer sun.  In olden days, when businessmen of the present were youthful or even children in arms, Beulah Park was a recreation place for Grove City. For picnics and similar outing parties, it provided accommodations repeatedly. Finally installation of the traction line provided more rapid communication with Columbus then was obtainable by horse-drawn conveyances. It was then that Mr. A.G. Grant and other forward-looking citizens of Grove City financed the expansion project of a half mile racing course, the one that still exists and which is destined to endure long after present stewardship has made final accounting.

With the addition of the track,  Beulah Park develop rapidly as a sports center. In addition to simon-pure race meets, Franklin County fairs have been held within it. Boxing matches have been decided there and, if one should look closely now, outlines of a baseball diamond can be found on the infield.

Colonel James Westwater, veteran horseman of Columbus, and a participant in the initial race meeting of the Spanish War days of 1898, was the last individual to own the Beulah Park property. It was he who added the commodious barn that visitors now see directly after passing through entrance gates and which is only a few steps from the paddock area. Under his Direction, several pretentious meetings for trotters and pacers were conducted on the track which had wide fame for being a fast-drying one.

Desire of Mr. Westwater to part company with his holdings paved the way for the formation of the Capital City Racing Association. Title to the land and all the buildings thereon was passed early and in the fall of 1922 and by December first of that year the present operating company was brought into being with substantial Ohioans as the bulwarks of it. In modernization work, the corporation has builded well.

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

Town With a Future – Lutheran Church – 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.)

Dr. L. H. Schuh, formerly the president of Capital University in Columbus, became the successor of Reverend Schmidt and continued until January, 1915, when he left to assume an urgent call to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, at Toledo. With the coming of Dr. Schuh the regular English services were begun and this language was introduced into the Sunday School and confirmation classes. The handsome brick parsonage on Columbus Street was built under Dr. Schuh’s administration and occupied by him in 1913. He also introduced the number of improvements in organization and finance and organized the Ladies’ Aid Society of the church.

In April, 1915, Reverend Emanuel Poppen came to Grove City from Sidney, Ohio, where he had been pastor of St. John’s Church for ten years. When he came here he found 500 communicants and the church has now grown to a membership of 700. The Sunday School has doubled in membership, now having an enrollment of 540. He also organized the Men’s League, which now has 80 members, and the Lutheran Helpers, a young people’s society, which has about 40 members. During his pastorate, and in 1920, the parish house was built as an addition to the church. This building cost $33,000. This gives the seating capacity of 1,000 in the auditorium with the parish house opened.

Reverend and Mrs. Poppen and their daughter, Marion, deserve credit for developing the musical resources of the church. The church has a vested choir, a Men’s League choir, a ladies’ choir, a junior choir and a girls quartette. The church is noted for its musical entertainment and much of its popularity is due to the musical features of its various services.

 

Town With a Future – Lutheran Church – 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.)

The work of the Evangelical Lutheran St. John’s Church was begun in 1849 with the idea of gathering the Lutheran people together for services. In all probability a circuit rider of this denomination held meetings in the early days at various homes and later a log cabin church was used for services in the south end of town.

In 1850 the services of Pastor Johnson, of Columbus, were secured. He served until 1852. At this time the small gathering of part German and part English people were formed into an organization under the title it is now known. The German speaking part was then served by Professor William Lehman, and the English part by the Reverend Greenwalt. Services were held on alternate Sundays, one for the German part of the congregation, and the next Sunday for the English.

In 1852 arrangements were made for erecting a small frame church, which was financed jointly by the two sections. The structure was located on Columbus Street, a little west of the present location of the church, and directly opposite the present parsonage.

A few years later the English section sold out their rights in the church to the German speaking part and the English section disbanded. Reverend C. Reichert was the first Pastor installed, coming to Grove City in 1863 and remaining until 1885. Under his charge the work became well established and the congregation grew. Rev. Philip Schmidt followed. He came from Trenton, Ohio, to assume the pastorate here and remained until 1912. The present large brick church edifice is a monument to this pasture zeal and enterprise. At the time of his resignation the membership had grown to 400 confirmed members.

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

 

Town with a Future – Water System

(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 biggest improvements for Grove City was the establishment of the water system. Dr. Frank C. Wright was chairman of the committee and various systems were investigated throughout Ohio in towns of 2,000 population, with the result that the town has a modern and up-to-date plant. It was installed at a most opportune time when material prices were at the bottom and a most favorable time to buy.

There are two wells 180 feet in the lime rock, Furnishing in abundance of water for all purposes. The pumping machinery is housed in a concrete building impossible of contamination and with no possible chance of freezing. The pumps are electrically driven and automatically controlled, thus keeping the 100,000 gallon tank on its elevation of 100 feet full at all times. A 40 h.p. gasoline engine is also in the equipment for use in emergency. Fire hydrants are in practically every street and the pressure is 45 lbs. The plant was financed by a bond issue of $25,000, which carried three-to-one in favor of the system.

A motor fire apparatus with hose equipment is also maintained and in charge of a permanent fire protection committee. This system is used chiefly for fires throughout the district.

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.