Atlas Provides Window Into Past – Pleasant Township

Pleasant Township was organized in 1807 and the earliest settlement was Georgesville.  The early township settlers, according to the atlas, included Thomas Roberts, John Bigger, James Garliner, Samuel Dyer, Samuel Kerr and John Turner.

Harrisburg was the largest village in the township followed by New Georgesville and Georgesville.  Darbydale was not yet considered a settlement.  There was also a settlement around the Chenoweth Mills, a large grain and flour business operated by Thomas Chenoweth. 

Harrisburg and Grove City were connected by the Harrisburg Columbus Pike (Rt. 62) which was a toll road at the time.  A toll gate was located at what is today the crossroads of Rt. 665 and Rt. 62.

Most businesses in Pleasant Township were linked to farming but other occupations included a trader, blacksmith, carpenters, broom maker and lumber dealer.  There were also several grocery stores.

Atlas Provides Window Into Past – Franklin Township

Franklin Township, the oldest in the county, was organized in 1803 and some of the early settlers included Samuel White, John Huffman and William Harrison Sr.

While the township in general was mostly farmland, the two biggest employers were the Central Ohio Lunatic Asylum and the Idiotic Asylum, both located off the National Road (Rt. 40). The complex was a point of pride in the area and boasted not only offices but a library, museum, hospital, parlors, sewing and storerooms and classrooms for instruction.

John Brobeck was the proprietor of a large stone quarry off the Scioto River in the northwest quadrant of the township.   James Mitchell was also in the stone business and also advertised he was a lime burner.

Three separate railroad tracks ran through the township including the Cincinnati, Springfield and Columbus Railroad, the Little Miami Railroad and another section that was unnamed.

Franklinton, which was also being called Columbus, was the only village in the township.

Atlas Provides Window Into Past – Jackson Township

Jackson Township was organized in 1815 by taking territory that was once part of Franklin and Pleasant Townships.  According to a historical sketch in the old atlas, the early settlers included William Brown, Nicholas Haun, Jonas Orders, William Badger, Woolry Conrod, William Sinnett, the Brackenridges, the Borers, the Straders and the Goldsmiths.

According to a Jackson Township business directory, most businesses were listed as farmers.  Two of the farmers also said they were stock dealers, one was a stock broker, and two other farmers stated they were also house joiners.  There were two actual businesses that advertised in the directory.  They were:

E. Ed Miller and J. L. Hall, drain tile manufacturers who advertised they always had a good assortment available at reasonable prices.  That business was located just south of Concord Chapel.

 J. W. Woolum was a wagon and plow maker and his business was located in southwest Jackson Township.

There were a few other businesses that could be located including a grocery store and barber shop on property owned by Jacob Borror at Borror’s Corner at what is now Rt. 665 and Rt. 104.  Another grocery store was just a few miles north of Borror’s Corner on what is now Rt. 104 operated by John Haughn.

Goods that required shipment to distant markets was accomplished by canals.  Jackson Township’s closest canal port was at Shadeville which had a feeder canal from Columbus that linked with the major canal system at Lockbourn (Lockbourne).

Atlas Provides Window Into Past

An 1870 Atlas of Columbus and Franklin County provided a window into the past of Grove City and Jackson Township.

At that time, there were only three buildings west of Broadway in the Grove City’s downtown.  According to the map, Broadway was then called Columbus Street.  Two of the structures west of Broadway were the private residences of William Nichols and John Malatt.  The other building was a general store operated by Malatt located where the Grove City municipal building now stands between Park and Grove City Road facing Broadway.

To provide a comparison of land mass, Grove City was half the size of Rome (New Rome) and about a fourth the size of Alton.  It was also smaller than Shadeville, Groveport and Canal Winchester.

The mayor of Grove City at the time was Joseph Pence, the recorder Dr. Joseph Bullen and the village treasurer was A. G. Grant.  Council then had six members including W. R. Mench, S. C. White, S. A. Russel, G. W. Orders, R. D. Grant and Al McGiven.  Gabriel Postle was the town marshal.

The town had three merchants operating general stores, a hotel, seven mechanics, a teacher, farmer and a seamstress.

Grove City and Jackson Township had been isolated from the rest of Franklin County since the township was formed in 1815 because it lacked good roads to markets and neighboring communities.  The Harrisburg Turnpike, the Franklin Turnpike and the Cottage Mill Turnpike changed that perception. 

At the time, Grove City had a total population of only 143 people and 20 of those were counted as white foreigners.  The census said there were no colored residents. Jackson Township’s census recorded 1,923 residents with 175 of those counted as white foreigners and 23 colored residents.

The only other settlement in Jackson Township at the time was Borror’s Corners The Pleasant Corners Post Office was just south of Grove City but it was in Pleasant Township.

The map also pinpoints the German Lutheran Church (now St. John’s) on Columbus Street.  That building still stands and is now home for Tristano Pizza.  The map also shows a second Lutheran Church on Park Street just one block east of the old Park Street School.

The atlas also provided information about Jackson, Pleasant, Prairie and Franklin Townships.  It also stated Ohio was the third most populated of the 37 states, following the larger New York and Pennsylvania.

More entries on the Townships coming up!

Old Hardware: Garage, Dance Hall

Southwest Pioneer, January 2012

The former Grove City Hardware building, now better known as Cultivate, an organization that promotes entrepreneurs, was built in 1915.

            Built by Henry J. Meyer for Carl Johnson, it was first used as a garage.  An elevator at the front of the building would lift vehicles to the second floor for mechanical repairs.  It’s believed the first floor was a local dance hall.

Meyer later sold the building to Leslie G. Mulzer who opened a Ford and Lincoln automotive agency on the first floor and continued to operate a garage upstairs.  Mulzer’s dealership was once considered to be the largest Ford agency in Franklin County, according to the writings of Earl R. Nicholson, local historian and member of the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society.

            Ray Henry and Carl Goldhart took over the dealership after Mulzer’s interest changed and he became interested in aviation.   Harley Motor Sales also operated a Ford dealership in the building before moving to a new building on the east side of Broadway beside Grove City Lanes.

            The building was remodeled in 1923 by Charles Eesley making the upper floor an auditorium.  He also created four modern storerooms at street level that included the Galle and Good Bakery, Hensel’s Restaurant and the J. J. Davis Store.  It was purchased by the Luebben family for a hardware store in the late 1940s.

Grove City Banks Organize In 1903

  1903 was a big year for banking in the Village of Grove City. 

On April 21, 1903, the Grove City Savings Bank Co. was capitalized with $25,000.  The prime movers included A. G. Grant, Emil Kiesewetter and E. C. Wagner. 

The bank originally occupied a small building on Broadway before construction a large bank at the southeast corner of Broadway and Park Street opened May 19, 1923.  The sign for the bank is on display at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum.

            The second bank was The Farmers and Merchants Bank opening in the spring of 1903 but it was not fully capitalized with $25,000 until June 11, 1903.   At that time, the name was changed to The First National Bank.  The prime movers for the second bank included Joseph M. Briggs and Daniel Weygandt.  That bank was located at the southeast corner of Broadway and Columbus Street.

Bloodworms Invade Grove City Water

Last August 2014, the Colcord, Oklahoma made national news in a not so positive way.  Town officials advised residents not to drink water from the tap.  Why?  Bloodworms had invaded the water system and were flowing through the water lines into homes and businesses.

            Something like that can only happen out west, right?

            Well, it seems that Grove City once experienced a problem with blood worms. 

            The information comes from an undated clipping from a Columbus newspaper saved by Marilyn Gibboney.  It took village officials about a week to rid Grove City’s water of the pest that would make its unwelcome presence known when residents filled a glass with water.

            Restaurants in the downtown used a mesh cloth to catch the worms that would freely flow from the faucet preventing them from being served to customers.

            Denny Brake, assistant water superintendent at the time, discovered the village booster pump was the problem.  Once the pump was removed and cleaned the blood worm problem was resolved. 

            Bloodworms are a half inch in length and thrive in low-oxygen or polluted water. The health risks associated with ingesting blood worms were unknown, though they weren’t believed to cause adverse effects.

            The worm’s pale skin allows their red body fluid to show through, hence, the name “bloodworm.”

Dies At Virginia Civil War Prison

William Breckenridge of Jackson Township was 16 years old when he answered President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 Union troops to quell the secession in the Southern states.

            Young Breckenridge didn’t survive long.  He was captured and became a prisoner of war.  He died June 10 the same year at one of 23 prisoner of war prison sites in the Richmond, Virginia area.   The actual prison is unknown.  His death was caused by an outbreak of measles.

            His mother had died and his father, John Breckenridge, planned to re-marry.  This angered the youth who then ventured from home and joined Company A, 60th Regiment Ohio Volunteers Infantry on Feb. 27, 1864.

            William was mustered into the United States military on March 14 after training at Camp Chase, in Columbus.  He had told the enlisting officer, 1st Lt. Rufus King, Jr., that he was 18 years old.

            Knowing his true age, William’s father came after him twice and brought him home but after the third time the youth left home to return to his unit, John allowed him to remain in the military.

This information shared by Elaine (Moeckel) Sherer, daughter of Martha (Breckenridge) Moeckel, who was a great niece of William Breckenridge.  Martha’s siblings were Carrie Schock, Nell Bowman, Francis Mack, Florence Steppert.  He was also a great uncle to Judge Don Breckenridge.

1895 Balloon Ascension At Beulah Park

Aug. 29, 1930, Grove City Record publishing an article from the Sept. 19, 1895, issue of The Grove City Blade.  Researched by Darcy S. Dooley

No, No, Folks, Ye’re Na’ Seein’ Thins!

It’s just some items that were news, one time just a trip to the long ago, a ride that you will enjoy.

The Record takes pleasure, this week, in presenting some news that will cause some of its readers great pleasure, and perhaps to some there will be some items that may cause some sorrow.

These items are taken from an issue of The Grove City Blade of Sept. 19, 1895. The editor is indebted to Mr. Chas. White for finding the copy of that date for us. The paper belongs to Mr. W. H. Heinline, who graciously allowed us the privilege of having it in our possession to copy the items which you will read. Mr. Heinline cherishes this issue, for in it there is an account of the death of his brother.

The paper was published by L.E. Parsons. Many of the older readers of the Record will undoubtedly remember him.

If any of our readers have copies of some of the early papers printed in Grove City, we would be glad to see them and print some of the articles that would call to mind pleasant memories of auld lang syne.

The paper was known to the trade as a patent sheet, that is, the inside was printed in an office that furnished half of the paper printed, as it did to hundreds of other papers, making it easier for the country editor to keep goin’. One of the features of this ready print was the sermon by Rev. T. DeWitt Talmadge, one of the great preachers of the last century. The balance of the patent was given over to general news and patent medicine ads.

All Ready! Let ‘er Go!

Under the above caption, the Blade of Sept. 19, 1895, tells of the first fair held in Grove City. Among other things the Blade says: “Extension preparations have been made by our Fair Association for the Grove City Fair, which opens next Tuesday, September the 24, and continuing four days.

“The grounds are located within a three-minute walk from the B. & O. depot, adjoining Grant’s Beulah Park Addition. The grove is one of the most beautiful in the whole community, containing several acres, and has abundance of beautiful shade. Around the large trees comfortable seats have been built and numerous other improvements have been made in the grove that adds greatly to its appearance. The Association has also leased from E. A. White 23 acres adjoining the grove on the north, on which one of the best one-half mile regulation tracks in the state has been constructed at a cost of two thousand dollars.

The track is sixty-five feet wide and is undoubtedly a fast one. Prospects are exceedingly good for large exhibits in all departments, as entries commenced coming in as soon as the catalogue was out and have rapidly continued ever since. There will be large numbers of guests from all over the state and one of the best fairs ever held in Franklin county is anticipated.

“Exquisite preparations have also been made to provide for all stock that will be entered. About one hundred and thirty-five first-class shingle roof stalls have been erected which will be used for the shelter of the race horses and others placed on exhibition. All stalls have the best of them and are built of good material.”

The blade then tells of the four halls, the fruit and vegetable hall, fine art and domestic hall, general exhibit hall and poultry building; also, the judge and band stands, and the grand stand. Of the grandstand it says: “It has a seating capacity of three thousand. This is an unusually fine building to be found on a county fair ground. Two ticket offices, secretary’s office and other necessary buildings grace the beautiful fair grounds.”

Plenty of good water was piped all over the grounds. The pipes were laid from the center of the grove in all directions. A baseball diamond was laid out in the center of the ring in front of the grand stand. Ball games by different competitive teams were scheduled for each day and prizes were, given to the winners.

Tuesday, the first day of the fair, was devoted to running, amateur pacing and trotting races, a lively goat race and a half mile special bicycle race.

Besides a good trotting race for Wednesday, several bicycle races were run, cyclists from all over Ohio were competitors. Guy Stoltz, the “Boy Wonder,” was billed for some fancy and trick riding. Maybe some of our readers will remember him.

Trotting and pacing races, the best of the fair, were billed for Thursday and Friday. A ladies’ driving contest was on the Friday’s contest. Wonder if any of the ladies from here were participants?

And, oh you balloon ascension and parachute leap! What county fair of that date could pass ’em up? Prof. J. W. Bailie, listed as the “World’s Greatest Aeronaut,” was scheduled to make ascensions Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Did he do it? Did you help hold the huge bag until became inflated with the hot gas?

Members of the Association

A. G. Grant, president; Emanuel White, vice president; Daniel Weygandt, treasurer; G. B. Darnell, secretary; Michael Keller, W. L. Seeds, T.P. Barbee, J.R. Brown, J. M. Briggs, Elias White, G. W. Demorest, A.L. Nichols. John Fippen, Scott Neff, Samuel Taylor and G. W Haughn, board of directors.

Do these names mean anything to you? The reporter has been informed that three of the above-named men still live. George B. Darnell lives with a daughter somewhere in Indiana. T.P. Barbee lives here, and, A.L. Nichols lives in Springfield.

Grove City, Township Battle 1954 Flames

What was described as “wild storms” caused havoc and near panic in Jackson Township the night of July 23, 1954.  Fire Chief Olin Rumfield was out of town leaving Assistant Chief Ed Story in charge.

            This was a time when the township and the village had their own firefighting trucks housed in a building on Park Street.  The township truck was red and the village truck was white.

            The storm that hit the community was described as strong wind, hail, lightning and rain.  Storms had hit the area several times in recent weeks.  The local fire department had responded to numerous grass fires the week before.   High winds from this most recent storm blew down power lines on Park Street, damaged businesses on Broadway and blew down trees in the Orders Road area. 

During the storm, lightning caused a fire at the Otto Leithart farm on Stringtown Road.  Township equipment was dispatched to the fire but the Leithart barn turned out to be a total loss.  Volunteer Fireman Jack Peitsmeyer remained at the Park Street station with the Grove City fire truck ready to respond to any other fires. 

            Little time had passed until Peitsmeyer was responding to another barn fire on the Seeley property on London-Groveport Road.  Lightning started another barn fire and threatened several other buildings.  By the time he arrived, Franklin Township and Harrisburg fire departments were already on the scene.

            This turned out to be a significant fire causing $10,000 in damage and destroying 770 bales of hay, double corn crib, a large chicken house and 100 chickens, 450 bushels of corn, 400 bushels of oats and other pieces of farm equipment.

            Later, another large fire in Derby was visible in the night sky resulting in several false alarm calls. Because of the storm, electric power was out in many areas and many telephones were out of service.  People with telephone service saw the glow of Derby fire in the sky and were making fire reports to areas where there was no fire. 

            Assistant Fire Chief Story told the Grove City Record the following day that people reporting fires must know the exact location of the fire before making a report.  “If you must turn in an alarm, know the exact location even if you have to get in your car and find it,” Story said.