Clinton Heights Avenue Trivia

September 26th, 2008

I recently had the benefit of reading an abstract from one of the north-side-of-Clinton-Heights-Avenue residents.

A couple interesting things from the abstract:

Calumet Street, according to the abstract, used to be called “Oak Hill” before the name was changed to “Beech Hill,” and then changed to “Calumet.”

The alley along the north side of Clinton Heights traversed through the school property and then to North Broadway. I have often wondered about this vacated alley, which runs behind the properties along the north side of Clinton Heights Avenue and the south side of East North Broadway. It’s a recessed, ravine-like greenspace that doubtless has many city services running along its banks. You can see this alley in the 1910 and 1920 maps on my web site. The rumor passed to me by former Clinton Heights neighbors was that the North Broadway residents had petitioned the city to vacate this alley, but when the city approved the request, they gave the alley property to the residents of Clinton Heights Avenue instead of splitting it between the residents of the two streets.

The abstract gave me specifics of the vacating. By ordinance No. 38053 duly passed by the Council of the City of Columbus, Ohio, on May 2, 1927, the first alley north of Clinton Heights Avenue “from Beech Hill Avenue to the west line of lot 68,” 12 feet, wide, was vacated. (No indication in City Council minutes of who actually submitted the petition, and I have not bothered to look.) The City Council minutes are attached <here>.

More about the land that became Clinton Heights Avenue…
Henry Cooke once owned part of the property that was later developed into the Clinton Land Company addition.

I have often read an old anecdote that James Chestnut, who owned the house on Wall Street, had blocked the improvement of North High Street along his property near Brighton and North High Street, because a beloved locust tree would be damaged or removed by the paving. The abstract bore some of this out. In the abstract (relevant pages linked here), the property developers were assessed $5400 for improvements in the Worthington and Columbus Plank Road, but, they said, these improvements were never made, because James Chestnut (and others) “were defendants procuring an injunction perpetually enjoining the making of said improvements along his premises.” The Clinton Land Company owners sued, or perhaps countersued, stating that they had been assessed conditional on improvement of North High Street, which improvements had not been made. Who won: You can read the attached excerpts of the abstract and decide for yourself.

The First Clintonville Library

September 26th, 2008

libraryIn my book, I wrote that the first Clintonville Library was at 3317 North High Street, near the corner of Longview and North High Street. What an intriguing fact! The Columbus Metropolitan Library Biography, History, and Travel Desk had brought this to my attention, and even sent me copies of minutes from old Board meetings where this was discussed. I’ve scanned them and you can read them here:

February 11, 1929 minutes
May 24, 1929 minutes
Tax Assessment List for 14 W. Lakeview, where the “new” library was built.

I’ve subsequently found an article in The Booster that told the same library story.

Patrick Murnan

September 26th, 2008

Patrick Murnan lived from 1866-1937, and owned about 700 acres along North High Street north of Morse Road.  I’m not going to repeat the story of Murnan here; it’s in my book. But, here’s a photo of the man himself.

Clinton Elementary School

September 26th, 2008

I would love to find a photograph of the original school at Clinton Heights and North High Street. According to one or two accounts, a Brevoort family member living in Michigan has one. The school pictured here ca. 1905 was the second Clinton Heights school building. It was yellow brick, contained 4 rooms, and faced High Street. Since students attended from all over Clinton Township in those days, many rode horses to school; the barn at the back was probably used for horses. According to the photo caption, most of the school moved into High Street for the picture. An interurban rail went up the center of High Street at the time, and the photographer probably stood on the tracks to take this picture. (Photo courtesy of Amy Westervelt)

This is a picture of children in the classroom of the Clinton Heights school. (Photo courtesy of Amy Westervelt)

The second Clinton School was built in 1895 at 10 Clinton Heights Avenue. At the time, it housed both a grammar school and a high school. In 1904, the Clinton Township High School Building was built (pictured); it remains today as the Clinton Elementary East Building. A successor to the original building—still used–was built in 1922. (Photo courtesy of Amy Westervelt)

Overcrowding has been a chronic problem for schools. This photograph, looking east up Clinton Heights Avenue, shows some of the portable school buildings that were used as classrooms until newer school buildings could be erected. (Photo courtesy of Amy Westervelt)

High Street

September 26th, 2008

Here is an amazing photograph of High Street, given to me by Stu Koblentz, who found this photocopy in an old student thesis. The photo looks north. On the right (east) side of High Street I believe is the house of Mathias Armbruster, now the Southwick Good Fortkamp Funeral Chapel at 3100 North High Street at Weber and High. Check my book, Clintonville and Beechwold, for a better photo of this house. You can click on the image to see it in more detail.

Chestnut House

September 26th, 2008

And another amazing old photo of North High Street from Stu Koblentz. This photo also looks north, and was taken just south of the intersection of High and North Broadway. The house on the west (left) behind the little shack (marked “ice”) is the Chestnut house, described in this web site’s “Water for Cookies” entry and also found in my book. The school on the east (right) side of High Street is the old Clinton Township school building, a picture of which is also in my book. You can click on the image to see it in more detail.

Stu’s theory about the Chestnut house is as follows:

The image shows the Chestnut house, facing North High Street, about where it currently stands. The facade that faces Wall Street today is the facade facing High Street. This is verifiable in the chimney placements.

So I went through Joe Testa’s web site and I think I know what happened to the house.

As far as I can tell the house stood approximately at 3327-29 North High Street. In the 1910s, when the house (which appears to have been built in the 1860s or 70s) is pictured, the house had been moved on a pivot to its current location, with its northeast corner remaining close to its original placement. This would account for the front lot build out, the twist in the alley and the sudden reemergence of Wall Street as well as the placement of the house in the picture, and the current location of the house.

What is interesting to me is why did they go to all that trouble, when its fairly common in urban settings to build a street facade onto a house and call it a commercial building. I think that part of the reason is that the house sat further back from High Street, making it too far away to convert to a commercial space commonly found in that era.

Water for cookies

September 26th, 2008

The township school located at Clinton Heights Avenue and North High Street did not, originally, have running water. Every day a child was designated to carry one bucket and dipper across High Street to the Chestnut house (see page 12 in my book, Clintonville and Beechwold) to fetch water that would be shared by the students. Legend has it that there were no lack of volunteers for water duty, as Mrs. Chestnut always had cookies for the volunteer. This is a bad, yet significantly older, image of the Chestnut house.

Clinton El West

September 26th, 2008

Overcrowded schools were a chronic problem, and the schools supplemented their brick-and-mortar ediifices with portable buildings. In response to the overcrowding of the east building, Clinton Elementary School’s west building was constructed in 1922. Both the east and west buildings have been in use for elementary and kindergarten grades since that time. (Photo courtesy of Columbus City Schools)

Sears houses

September 26th, 2008

Elmwood House

From 1908–1940, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold “kit” homes through their mail order catalog. Customers chose a house from the catalog, and all the materials–precut lumber, carved staircase, nails, varnish, and instructions–would be shipped by railroad for homeowners to build themselves. The craftsman-style house at 149 Kelso was offered between 1911-1921 as “The Elmwood” in Sears’ catalog. (Photo courtesy of Lynn McNish)

Almost another Calvary Church…

September 26th, 2008

As early as 1819, Methodists in Clintonville worshipped in people’s homes—the home of Eber Wilson has been mentioned– with circuit riders as preachers. Methodism was, in those days, a young and evangelical sect. When Thomas Bull, one of Clintonville’s early settlers, died in 1823, he left land in his will to build a church for the members, and that church was erected 15 years later at 3100 North High Street near Walhalla Road & High Street. Southwick Good Fortkamp Funeral Chapel occupies that building today.

The church membership decided in 1881 to sell the chapel and move the church to the thriving community of North Columbus, and they built a new church on East Tompkins. Several members dissented from this decision and, under the leadership of Eli Batterson, met at homes and at the Clinton School. In 1905 Howard Westervelt—great-grandson of Thomas Bull—reorganized a Methodist Sunday School, and church members worshipped in the home of Frank Dankworth at 70 West Lakeview. They founded Como Avenue Methodist Church in 1910. By 1924 they had outgrown that church and decided to build a new church edifice at North Broadway Avenue and Broadway Court. There were three candidates for the new church’s name: St. Paul, Calvary, and North Broadway; North Broadway was chosen.