Grandview Heights Moment in Time

The 1858 book “History of Franklin County” describes the people and activities of the area, beginning with early settlement after Lucas Sullivant surveyed the land, continuing through the organization of the county in 1803 and until 1858.

Included was the description of the economic activities of the companies. An interesting account describes the wave of land purchases and sales: “The price of real estate, both in town and in the countryside, soared at the speed of the railroad. In fact, a kind of mania for speculation reigned at this time in all parts of the union; and the people of Franklin County participated in their full proportion. The buying and selling of real estate, the laying out of towns and the subdivision of lots and land into smaller parcels, and the selling, renting, etc., were the most common operations of the speculator.

This happened in the part of the county that is now Grandview Heights and Marble Cliff. These “speculator” landowners sold plots of land between the rivers for use as farms.

Soon after, the Ohio Legislature passed a law in 1831 that allowed counties to establish “poor houses” for sick and destitute county residents who could no longer pay their taxes. The following year the Franklin County Commissioners purchased one of these farms “in the fork of the whetstone” on which they constructed a “Poor House building”.

It was completed in early 1833 and is still one of Grandview’s earliest buildings. The director of the poor house cultivated the land around the house and raised animals in order to feed the residents.

In 1839, the county commissioners decided that the location was too far from Columbus and not very accessible, especially during times of high water, due to the lack of a reliable bridge over the river.

So they bought a property further north, near King Avenue on the riverbank and sold the farm. Several farmers owned the farm until 1890 when it and the adjoining farmland was purchased by Edward Denmead. The area was divided into lots for development by Denmead and Fred Croughton.

Columbus socialite Cinderella (also registered as Cindrella) Hull Holman, the widow of Columbus businessman Charles S. Holman, purchased lots 72–80 of the subdivision for $13,800. The lots encompassed the land between Broadview and Grandview avenues, north of the railroad tracks to the top of the hill opposite the municipal building. It included the former poorhouse, which became his home.

In 1915, William Bott of the famed Columbus Company of Bott Brothers, owners of Bott Bros. Billiards on North High Street (later known as the Clock Restaurant), purchased the 6.5 acre estate from Holman.

Bott subdivided part of the property into 15 lots. He built three houses (including one for himself and his wife, Frances) on the three largest lots 1 through 3, which front Broadview Avenue, and also renovated the poor house so that it could be sold.

A 1916 advertisement in the Columbus Expedition described Bott’s subdivision in part this way:

“Grand View Terrace is Columbus’ most upscale, exclusive and smallest addition (there are only a few lots). Situated on a beautiful knoll covered with large forests and fruit trees and a hundred feet higher than Goodale Boulevard. All lots slope on each side towards Broadview and Grandview Avenues and Goodale Boulevard. In the center of which is a large spacious park with a beautiful fountain, electrically lit and powered by an old-fashioned windmill. A large pergola faces the park and on either side of the fountain and throughout the addition are arbors of white roses.

This dish shows the housing estate, with the fountain, the adjacent rose bushes and the pergola in the fountain park reserve which was designed for the housing estate.

The location of the poor house previously owned by Cinderella Holman, which she purchased in 1894 after her husband’s death, is in the shaded rectangle in the center of the design.

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