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The Park

Around 1880, Robert Turner founded the Olentangy Villa Tavern. It was a small picnic grounds and offered boating and swimming, perhaps a couple rides. By 1895 the park came to be owned by the Columbus Railway, Power and Light Company; enabling the electric company to earn money from both its electric streetcars and from electricity at the park, and ensuring streetcar traffic (with its use of electricity) not only during weekdays when commuters traveled to their jobs in the city, but also on weekends when residents traveled by streetcar to the park. In 1899, brothers Joe and Will Dusenbury purchased about 100 acres of the park and built it up into a state-of-the-art amusement park with nationally renowned entertainment in a lovely, picturesque setting. They offered rides, a pool, bowling alley, canoeing, an amphitheatre, even a Japanese Village purchased from the St. Louis Exposition. Many long-time residents recall happy and exciting days spent at the park.

Eventually the park began to decline, and was eventually sold, and then sold a couple more times. In 1937 L.L. Leveque purchased the park and in 1939, built the Olentangy Village Apartment Community in the park’s place. (Photo courtesy of the Clintonville Historical Society)

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6 Responses to “The Park”

  1. Jason Says:

    The purchase may have been in the works in 1937, but according to the Franklin County recorder, Olentangy Park was actually purchased in late May 1938 by Leslie L. Leveque.

    What’s odd is the park was quit-claimed to the Olentangy Village Housing Corp a couple of weeks before it was purchased from the Olentangy Park Amusement Co.

  2. Josh Says:

    I am obsessed with the history of Olentangy Park and have been so for some time. One of the things I would love to see would be a map of the park where it stood superimposed or next to the current map of the area today. I am wondering if any such documentation exists?

  3. Dave Says:

    Josh, I have such a map.


    This came from a blue print that I inverted and cleaned up. Check with the Clintonville Historical society for a print that I have made.

  4. Josh Says:

    Wow! Thanks, Dave!

  5. LL Lower Says:

    Dave, Thanks for your work on the map. That is a really clean version.
    Can you read the date or do you have a larger version?

  6. Sherrill Says:

    There’s a map on the wall across at the restroom hallway at the Half-Price Bookstore across from Graceland Shopping Center at 5070 N. High St. Photographs and map courtesy of the Clintonville Historical Society.

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