Farmers & Merchants Bank

The Farmers & Merchants Bank in the spring of 1903. Among its organizers were Joseph M. Briggs, founder of Briggsdale and Daniel Weygandt.

The bank was capitalized for $25,000 and on June 11, 1903 the name was changed to the First National Bank with Briggs serving as president; R.E. Shover, vice-president; and I. Shaffer, cashier.

The bank was located at the corner of Broadway and Columbus Street, on the side of the original plat of the village of Grove City. The building, which still stands, is a had residential rooms and the Citizen’s telephone exchange on the second floor.

The lower floor housed the bank; the directors’ room was in the rear.  Depositors money was kept in a steel lined vault with a heavy Mosler door. The vault contains a screw safe for the storage of monies and securities. The building was considered fire resistance and was burglar-proof.   Adjoining, and on the south side of the bank, was a single-story frame building used as the Bell and Citizen’s telephone exchange.

Heritage Celebration – 2014

The Encampment, first held in 2000, was replaced with the Heritage Celebration at Century Village in 2014.  The Encampment, started by Louie and Joan Eyerman, had focused for nearly a decade on Civil War and American Revolution reenactors.

When the event originally started it was a two-day activity but was later trimmed to a single day for better planning and management.

A popular part of the event was the hourly afternoon firing of a Civil War cannon.

The Heritage Celebration was first held June 6-7, 2014 from 10 a.m. beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing through 9 p.m.   The event showcased a wide variety of activities including making heritage crafts, music and cooking demonstrations.

 A “Buffalo Bill” reenactor was at the Heritage event to moderate some of the activities throughout the day.  A country music jam session was also held. 

Lutheran Band Performances

Grove City’s three high school bands and their student musicians perform concerts and participation in community events including parades.  But, before high schools had bands, there was another group that entertained the community.

The German Lutheran Band serenaded members at St. John’s Lutheran Church during services and frequently played concerts on the front law n.  They also played concerts at Beulah Park and at Grant’s Grove.  It’s believed that Grant’s Grove was once the area around Windsor Park.  Some of the Lutheran musicians included John Hoelscher, Theodore Jahn, Adam Flach, Ernest Willing, Leonard Noetlich, Henry Feyh, Louis Emde, Fred Willing, Will Graul, William Schaeffing and a Mr. Leuble and Mr. Weber.

Fulton Dresses As Jockey

In 2010, Scott Fulton, a Grove City native who was living in Columbus at the time, dressed in a jockey outfit at Arts in the Alley and began to solicit funds for an Ohio Historical Marker for Beulah Park.   

The Southwest Franklin County Historical Society agreed to work with him allowing funds to be held in a special account in the 501c3 non-profit organization.

Fulton was commended in a letter dated April 13, 2011 for his efforts by Don Walters, the business and community relations officer for the city. 

The historical society obtained permission to place the marker at Beulah Park on property then owned by Penn National.  Jim McKinney, Beulah’s general manager signed an Agreement to place the marker at the thoroughbred racing facility.

When the marker arrived, the Grove City Service Department placed it at a central, highly visible location predetermined location.

After Penn National sold its Beulah Park property, the marker was removed and temporarily located inside the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum.  It will eventually be relocated to Beulah Park area as part of the 2020 redevelopment project.

Grove City’s Water System

Dr. Frank C. Wright was chairman of a committee which investigated water systems in towns of 2,000 population throughout Ohio.   This resulted in a modern and up-to-date water plant for Grove City. 

It was installed at a most opportune time because prices for construction were most favorable priced.  

Two wells 180 feet deep in the lime rock, furnished an abundance of water. The pumping machinery was housed in a concrete building at Windsor Park making it impossible for contamination and with no chance of freezing.

The pumps were electrically driven and automatically controlled.  This kept the 100,000 gallon tank on the elevation of 100 feet full at all times. A 40-horsepower gasoline engine was in place for a back-up in the event of an emergency.

Fire hydrants were throughout the village on practically every street and each had 45 pounds of pressure.  

The plant was financed by a bond issue of $25,000, which carried three-to-one in favor of the system.   The one issue was that the water had heavy iron deposits and didn’t produce the highest quality drinking water.

Willert’s Store Successful

On Aug. 1, 1892, C. Willert was working as a clerk in the grocery store owned by Frank L. Wilson in the south end of Grove City.   Previously, he worked for A. L. Nichols’ grocery at the northern edge of town.  

In 1894, Willert purchased Wilson’s store and continued offering groceries and dry goods.  

Twelve years later, he quit the grocery business but continued to offer dry goods, exceptionally fine line of footwear, gents’ furnishings, dry goods and ladies’ furnishings from the inner to the outer garments, according to Lewis Garrison.

The store was stocked with everything from hats to shoes. The large storeroom, 40 by 50 feet in size, attracted trade comes from miles around.  Fair prices, courteous treatment and good service along with the goods that the trade demanded were features that spelled success for Willert.

Witteman and Miller Coal

In 1920, the Witteman and Miller Coal and Feed opened for business and was operated by Ollie Witteman and Otto Miller, according to Lewis Garrison.  The business was located at West Grant Street at the railroad tracks.  

Their business occupied a 40×8 foot building where they stored feed, and building supplies.  They had 140 feet of frontage on Grant Avenue with a side track that could accommodate eight cars, Garrison said.

The property was established as a partnership and in the yard the two men stored coal, sewer pipe and brick.  Mr. Witteman was born and raised in Grove City; Mr. Miller was raised on a farm in the township. 

Breck’s Market Opened

Ned Breckenridge was the first person to open a grocery store west of Grove City’s railroad tracks in June 1953 on Grove City Pike.  The grocery, operating as Breck’s Market, offered meat and dairy products and a refrigerated section of fresh fruits and vegetables. 

When Breckenridge decided to leave the grocery business, he sold it to the Massenelli family who relocated their business to Grove City from Columbus.  Massenelli’s Market is still remembered for its fine meat department and fresh turkeys during the holiday season.  The Massenelli business sign is located at the museum along with the sign from Haughn Road IGA that today is occupied by South-Western City Schools.

House On Mill Street

It’s interesting to look back into history.  You’ll never know what you might find.  Mill Street, what we know today as the westward extension of Columbus Street by the library, shows up on an 1872 map. 

What’s more interesting is that the home of William Nichols sat directly in its path.  The street went on and became a public road sometime between 1872 and 1895. The original Mill Street crossed a railroad spur that led to the old mill. The spur was part of the Cincinnati, Midland and Columbus Railroad Company.

George M. Haughn

Born on South Broadway, George M. Haughn is retired from Columbus Gas of Ohio, spends time with family and is a big fan of Grove City parades.  Haughn, a former Grove City mayor, grew up on South Broadway. As a youngster, he remembers walking Greyhounds at the old dog track once located where Our Lady of Perpetual Help School sits today. Before the race track, he says, much of the area was a large apple orchard owned by Clay Neiswander.  Haughn walked dogs, primarily ones owned by Peedy Bare, and his usual pay was anywhere from one to five sticks of spearmint chewing gum. Haughn admits he tried several times to sneak and watch a Greyhound race, though always unsuccessfully. Only those 18 and older were allowed inside the track.

By James F. Hale for Discover Magazine