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‘People’ Category

Solved: The Mystery of Grace Backenstoe

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017


Thanks to Jeff Berichon, we now have a picture of Gracie! And he has agreed to share it with us. Thanks Jeff!

Bob Meyer’s Standard Oil Station

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

I realize these are low-quality photos, but they are, alas, the only photos that I have of this topic. Bob Meyer’s Standard Oil Station was located on the southeast corner of Morse Road and North High Street. It closed in 1984 after doing business more than 48 years. The photo above was taken in December, 1944, and the one below was taken in 1984 upon Bob’s retirement. Click through that 1984 image for the article about the station’s closing. [Photos courtesy of the Clintonville Historical Society]

sohio
bob meyers

The Leggs

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

This is a reprint of an article by Mary Rodgers, originally appearing in the newsletter of The Clintonville Historical Society.

A brief history of Charles T and Sadie M. Legg–long time Clintonville residents–based on The Booster news article dated February 12, 1937, with additions

Charlie Legg was born on the Legg farm on April 23, 1871.  This farm, a dairy, was located North of Clintonville.  The lane leading to the Legg homestead would have been near where Webster Park Avenue is today.

Charlie’s mother was Orell E. Webster, daughter of Amazon Webster and a direct descendant of Noah Webster of American Dictionary fame.  His father was Lewis Legg, believed to be the son (or grandson) of Elijah Legg, a revolutionary war soldier from Massachusetts who settled in Ohio in 1815.

In 1937, Charlie reported that when his grandfather, Amazon Webster, moved to Clinton Township, Indians lived in the section now known as Indian Springs.  Those Indians raised cranberries.  Amazon told his grandchildren that the Indians would walk to Chillicothe to sell their berries.

Charlie’s grandmother was Mary Pinney of Worthington.  She was the daughter of Levi Pinney and Charlotte Beach.  Levi and Charlotte were the first couple to be married in Worthington, Ohio.  That was 1839.

Sadie Mitchell was born on January 27, 1874 in Circleville.  Her father was a builder.  She became Charlie’s blushing bride on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1892.  When she heard of the upcoming wedding, Sadie’s grandmother exclaimed, “Oh that name!”  Sadie’s response was that it was no worse than the last four letters of her present name!

The Leggs were married by Rev. Louis Postle and their first home was behind Dr. Burbacher’s Offices, which were located on the Southeast corner of Oakland Park and High.  The Mennonite Church stands here today.   It was reported that after a year, in 1894, they moved to into a building that had been a church at the Northeast corner of Walhalla and High street (Clinton Chapel–now Southwick-Good and Fortkamp Funeral Home).  They started a dairy farm.  After a year, they moved to property located west of the Olentangy River near what is now Lane Avenue.  Here they set up a “business” farm including the sale of corn to the Sells Circus.  Today, if you are driving north on Kenny Road from Lane Avenue, you will see a road called Legg.

When Charlie’s father could no longer care for his farm, Sadie and Charlie combined their operation with his and moved to the North Clintonville homestead.  In 1907, the Leggs sold the farm to developers Thompson, Johnson and Thompson.  The neighborhood called the Webster Park Addition was platted.  The Leggs built and sold three homes in this development.  Orell Webster Legg, Charlie’s mother, retain the portion of the farm closest to the river.  In 1909, a portion of her property was set aside for a bird sanctuary.  We call this area the Delta.

According to the 1914 records, 346 families, a population of 1,190, represented Clintonville.  The Clinton League Memory Book reports:

In 1913, a new two story brick building was erected on the corner of Dunedin Road and High Street.  It was haled with delight by residents of the neighborhood for at this place Mr. Legg opened a grocery store and Mrs. Legg had a department for notions-live-savers they were where you lived five miles from town.  There were two business rooms in this building so the post-office was moved to the one adjoining the store.  It remained there until 1917 when rural mail delivery was established.”  Today, this building houses Shim’s tailor and Melissa’s Incredible Edibles.

On July 4, 1916, Sadie’s dry goods business moved to 3339 North High.  That building was built in 1910 by J. C. Loren.  The Booster reported him as a well known contractor at the time.  He may have built some of the early homes on East North Broadway.   In fact, the home that was located at 615 East North Broadway, the carriage house for that home still stands and is know the Fisher home, was referred to as the Loren home in the Clinton Memory Book.  We know that the developer of North Broadway, James M. Loren, never lived on North Broadway, so perhaps 615 was J. C. Loren’s home.  Before Sadie, the 3339 North High building was occupied by Swope’s Grocery and Bilikam’s Grocery.  Bilikam’s later moved to North Columbus.  In 1918, the Leggs bought the building and Sadie operated her dry goods store at the site until February of 1937.  Later in life, Sadie lived in the apartment above the store.

Mr. Legg, after selling his grocery, was a city salesman for the E. E. Shedd Mercantile Company and then worked for the L. E. and C. W. Medick Co., Ford Dealers in the Clintonville community.  In fact, at her retirement in 1939, Sadie said that to get full enjoyment from her upcoming vacation, she would need a new V8 Model Ford.  Charlie commented that he wouldn’t be receiving a commission on the upcoming sale.

The Leggs told The Booster that they recalled when a saloon existed at what would now be the southwest corner of Orchard Lane and High Street (the Kroger parking lot).  The story is that while there were a dozen saloons in North Columbus, there were none in Clintonville.  Then a man was elected mayor of Columbus who closed the saloons on Sunday.  This drove the liquor dealers to move outside the city.  In those days there was a “one-mile limit” law which meant that city police could arrest people within one mile of the city limits.  So the new saloons were set up, including the one here.  The local place did a “land-office business. ” The mayor found out however that the Clintonville saloon was a few feet inside the one mile limit. (The city limit at the time was Mock Rd–now Arcadia Ave.)  So, on a Sunday morning he sent the “Black Maria,” as it was called in those days, to get the drunkards and the proprietor.  A new mayor reopened the City saloons on Sunday and the Clintonville establishment failed.

When interviewed by The Booster in 1937, the Leggs recalled the tollgate that used to block High Street just north of Arcadia.  The gate had a 3 cent per rig fee.  They also recalled when “…there was no such a thing in those days as cross streets coming into High Street, except North Broadway.  So the cars stopped at numbered stops…a pleasant memory when one thinks again of Stop 6 (now Pacemont–once known as Jason Avenue); Stop 7, (now Como); Stop 8 (North Broadway); Stop 9 Clintonville (Oakland Park).  And then the stops were farther apart, and little used until one reached Cooke’s Corners (Cooke Road).”

Charlie and Sadie are buried in Walnut Grove cemetery on the south side of Worthington.  Charlie passed in October of 1946 and Sadie in November of 1957.

Side note:  One of Charlie’s sisters, Emma, married James Harvey Zinn, born 1 October 1871 Ohio, in 1895. J. Harvey Zinn was the President of the J. H. Zinn Lumber Company of Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Zinn was reported to be an ardent fisherman who followed his favorite sport in practically every part of Canada, as well as in Florida waters. His attractive estate “Edgewater,” was located on the Olentangy River just north of West North Broadway. This estate still exists in Clintonville; for more information listen to Robert Ohaver’s oral history.

[Article courtesy of Mary Rodgers and the Clintonville Historical Society]

The Mysterious Grace Backenstoe

Monday, August 1st, 2016

There is a new gastropub at Graceland Shopping Center, cutely named Pat and Gracie’s. The tavern is named after the early 20th century gambler who owned the land upon which Graceland Shopping Center was built: Pat Murnan and his wife Grace Backenstoe. The restaurant owners are on a quest to find an image of Grace Backenstoe. (They already have pictures of Pat.) Does anyone out there have one? Let me know and I’ll post it here as well as forward it to the restaurateurs. And thanks!

[Update: my update on this topic at here.]

The Zimmerman Family & the Olympic Swim Club

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016


Libby Wetherholt recently gave this presentation about the Zimmerman family to the Clintonville Historical Society, and has kindly agreed to share it with us.

And More Markers!

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Ron Irick recently alerted me to the Historic Marker Data Base. In it are photographs of several additional markers covering Clintonville’s notable people, places and events. The database includes the marker for Rand Hollenback, on Hollenback Drive at Whetstone Park, the Nat’l Register of Historic Places marker for East North Broadway Historic District, and the marker (currently in Powell) for the Grand Carousel which was formerly at Olentangy Olentangy Park.

Ron recently posted the Clinton Township/Clintonville Historic Marker.

Though not in this database, there is also a marker for the Old Beechwold Historical District. I believe there is also some sort of marker for the former home of the Republican Glee Club at 57 Weber Road.

A. B. Graham House

Friday, January 15th, 2016

A. B. Graham (Albert Belmont Graham) was one of the key founders of the 4-H Club, and was also a leader in developing the nation’s county extension services that are still so helpful to farmers and gardeners and cooks. In his retirement years Mr. Graham lived at 159 Clinton Heights Avenue in Clintonville. (His son lived in Clintonville as well.) The Clinton Heights house is the last surviving house known to be associated with Mr. Graham, and on this basis the house has recently been put on the Register of Historic Places.

You can find more information elsewhere on this web site

Newspaper Boys

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Bob Henry (North High School Class of 1957) was kind enough to share this photograph of himself in the days when he was a Columbus Dispatch carrier.

The Dispatch sub-station he was posted from was located in the alley behind the Clinton Theater on High Street. This picture was taken circa 1950 and shows a bunch of Dispatch carriers in front of the station. Earl McBlain, shown in the doorway, was the station manager. From Bob:

In those days, the carriers, ages 10 to 15, would ride their bikes to the station after school, where Earl would count out our papers to us. The station had a bench along the walls, which we used to fold and bag our papers. In the center of the room was a pot-belly stove that burned yesterdays papers to keep us warm in the winter. Once we had bagged our papers, we rode to our routes throughout Clintonville. Mine was on West Dunedin, along Olentangy Blvd, Winthrop and Weston Place, about 70 houses. Carrying papers took a couple of hours each day, including Sat and Sun morning; on Thurs, and Fri nights we collected money from each house on the route, which required another couple of hours. I believe the cost was 40 cents per week for a seven-day subscription. The Weds Star cost another 15 cents. When my mom learned I was carrying the Star, which was a risqué paper in those days, she called Earl to complain, but he could not do anything about it.

On Saturdays before noon we had to go to the station to pay our paper bill of about $20 and kept the rest, about $8.

[Photo courtesy of Bob Henry]

Underground Railroad in Clintonville

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Debbie Shaw, retired CML librarian, recently provided some local resources about the Underground Railrooad in Clintonville and surrounding area. Thanks for agreeing to share this information, Debbie!


Here’s Debbie’s summary:

    This link has a short video as well as text below it from WOSU’s Columbus Neighborhood series on Clintonville; both discuss the Underground Railroad.

    and this video from the same series on Downtown/Franklinton shows another area involved in the Underground Railroad here in Columbus.

    This link is from the Clintonville History site by Shirley Hyatt. The October 2008 issue discusses Thomas Bull and his family and includes a brief section about the Underground Railroad. [Shirley adds: see my book Clintonville and Beechwold here (to buy it) or here (to borrow it) for a smidgen more information.]

    Article from the OSU Lantern Feb. 7, 1999.

    Historic Marker on OSU Campus.

    Another historical marker.

    Excerpt from the book The Underground Railroad: An Encyclopedia of People, Places and Operations by Mary Ellen Snodgrass.

    For a broader look at the Underground Railroad in Ohio, you can read the full text draft of The Mysteries of Ohio’s Underground Railroad by Wilbur H. Siebert here.

    And of course, the Columbus Metropolitan Library has a lot of this history. Right now during Main Library’s renovation, Local History & Genealogy services are available at a temporary location in the former Whitehall Branch at 4371 E. Broad Street. CML’s web site says to call (614) 645-2275 to learn more. You can still get to a lot online at the here.

Debbie also notes, “This material was easily Googled. As a former librarian, I know that there is a lot of info that is not online. By the way, if you do an advanced book search on books.google.com and limit to full text only and content = books, there are quite a few. I put underground railroad in the ‘with the exact phrase’ field and Ohio underground railroad in the ‘with all of the words’ field. Laws, history, etc. come up, including Ohio Before 1850 and Ohio History Sketches. Of course, some of it is a very brief part of the book. If you add Ohio into the search’s ‘subject’ field, this narrows it a lot.”

Bower & Co. General Store & Family

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Jim Drake recently contributed these wonderful photos and family histories of the Bower (Weber) family.

Eda Weber Bower and her spouse, Henry G. Bower owned and operated the Bower & Company General Store at 2643 North High St. The photo to the left shows the store’s delivery wagon and, at the right of the image, a section of the Bower family home at 26 East Duncan Street.

This photo is the 1901 wedding portrait of Eda Weber (1869-1951), of the historic Frederick Weber family, and Henry Bower (1856-1935). They were married on January 1, 1901.

This photo was taken of the Bowers in 1934. In addition to his civic activities, Henry Bower was a founder and principal stockholder in the Northern Savings Bank (which eventually became part of the Huntington Bank system).

John J. Bower, one of Henry Bower’s brothers, was initially a partner in the general store, but eventually opened a hardware store on the southeast corner of Duncan and High streets. The Bower brothers are shown in this photo (left to right): Ernest E. Bower, Henry G. Bower, Owen Bower (son of Ernest E.), John J. Bower, his son Everett Bower, and Charles Bower.

Although Henry Bower had hoped to have at least one son to inherit the general store, he fathered five daughters instead. After his first daughter, Anna, was born, he pre-selected a male name for each successive child, but in every instance he had to opt for a female form of the name.

Consequently, “Albert Bower” became “Alice Bower,” “George” became “Georgia” Bower, “Henry” became “Henrietta,” and “Wilbur” became “Wilda” Bower. In this 1960 snapshot, the five daughters are arranged in their birth order from left to right: Anna Bower Mylander, Alice Bower Jesson, Georgia Bower O’Brien, Henrietta Bower Kuntz, and Wilda Bower Drake.

Of the five Bower daughters, Alice (Mrs. Frederick) Jesson had a long and successful career as Director of Restaurants and Cafeterias of the F. & R. Lazarus Company.

(Photos and write-up courtesy of Jim Drake) Note: there is one more image of the Bowers’ cart here.