Apparently the PNC bank building at 800 Western Avenue (originally First National Bank’s western office, and later BancOhio) at the foot of University Drive is being demolished; it may be gone by now.
It’s a shame that didn’t happen 54 years ago.
Since the bank building was there first (it shows up between the 1962 and 1964 city directory), it pushed the design of University Drive to the west when that boulevard was built (it shows up between the 1966 and 1968 city directory). That caused a cut into the hillside under the nice stone cottage at 810 Western…with the new road ending almost opposite the “Martin Hess Hotel” at 807 Western.
What Was It?
The vacant Hess Hotel was demolished in 1990, probably to make way for development. If University hadn’t ended there, the building (and its back building, possibly a summer kitchen / root cellar) could have been put to decent use and remained standing.
John Grabb notes the building was built in the 1850s by Martin Hess. I say it could also be 1840s; the “trabeated” doorway with sidelights and transom is typical of the basic Greek Revival style in those decades.
The building was a center-passage I House, meaning the core of the building is one room deep, with a stair hall in the center with one room on either side, and a full second floor of identical plan. It also had an original two-story ell on the back left (west) side, with a two-tier porch on the inside (east side) of that ell which was later enclosed. It probably had at least ten rooms – not counting hallways, additions, and porch enclosures.
The plain white-painted medium-height frieze under the front eaves is typical of our minimal Greek Revivals. The square attic windows are common in the area, especially north of Chillicothe.
The charming banked one-and-a-half story outbuilding was probably one room on each of its three floors with an enclosed corner stairway, and later additions. It looks like it could have been the original ‘cabin’ on the site, but was probably built at the same time as the tavern, as a support structure. Any barn / livery, other sheds, and the requisite privy were long gone by the late 20th century.
The 1990s development that replaced it was “Traditions,” now part of a complex by National Church Residences, whose entrance road is a continuation of University Drive. The site of the Hess Hotel is now shared by the new street and their newest, 2011, fifth building.
As it was, the Hess Hotel served a a bit of a gateway for old Chillicothe – like the Kern Tavern at the north end of High Street (desperately in need of saving) and the Mione Hotel beyond the end of Paint Street at the SR 772 / Cooks Hill Road split (demolished about 1980).
All of them were taverns, which were the the hotel / motel / convention center / restaurant of the early and mid-19th century. You can identify them by the additional front side door to what otherwise looks like a house. (That second door was the direct entrance to the barroom, in case you were really thirsty!)
The Martin Hess Hotel is also documented as a “Den of Iniquity” by John Grabb on pages 39-40 in his “Little Known Tales.” Some humor resulted from an 1874 police raid on its employees…and their customers, who apparently remained anonymous.
The Hess Hotel was also near a toll house on the Milford & Chillicothe Turnpike (Western Avenue in Chillicothe), as discussed in Orval Gattens’ 2019 post in the Facebook page “You know you’re from Chillicothe, OH when…”
On the turnpike running diagonally in a crop of the 1875 Gould’s Atlas of Ross County below, you can see the tavern parcel owned by “Mr. Hess.” The toll house is on the corner of Duncan McArthur’s estate “Fruit Hill Farm,” just west of what is now the Party House of Governor’s Place (on the lot of “S.S. Cooke” (?)). Woodbridge Avenue will later run though the property of…Mr. Woodbridge. And, you can guess what road runs though the farm of Joseph H. Plyey.
Buried, Like its Mother Stream
Additionally, there is a little stream that comes down the hill along University Drive. It tumbles off the hilltop behind Bennett Hall and the Stevenson Center / Quinn Library of OU-C, along the sledding hill and disc golf course, past Our Savior Lutheran Church and Hopeton Terrace.
It was undergrounded on the west side of the BancOhio building, presumably when University Drive was built atop its route there. Its open ravine on the north side of Western Avenue was filled in a few years before Norse remodeled the 1976 convenience store there, probably when ‘North’ University Drive was expanded in the 1990s.
The stream is one of many tributaries of Honey Creek, which flowed out in the open behind the Hess Hotel – now largely encased there in a six-foot-diameter culvert under the entrance to the National Church Residences complex.
I think I have a c1988 photo of the farmlike rolling grassy setting there – just a short stone’s throw from the oblivious bustle of Western Avenue.
I’ve tentatively named the tributary James Run, since Thomas James owned the hill beside it when he met a band of Shawnees there in the 1820s. (“Run” is the Virginian version of “creek” or “stream.”)
The Shawnees were camping there while on their way to Washington, D.C. James was in the iron industry (including Rapid Forge west of Bainbridge) and saw that their body paint was based on an iron-rich mineral. The Shawnees promised to show him where it came from in Missouri, where James soon developed another ironworks and eventually moved there to live (and die).
James was a major contributor to the large, historic Willis-Spencer-James-Cook-Musser House at 58 West 5th Street…rapidly becoming a B&B again.
His family also has a c1915 fantastic little classical temple vault in Grandview Cemetery that has a stained glass window of Jesus that I like to point out in my cemetery tours.
Read more in Pat Medert’s short bio of James in her Paint Street, or 4th 5th & Caldwell, volumes.
A Sci Fi Memory
My parents banked in the BancOhio building in the 1970s. For some reason, I have one strong memory of the place.
My mom went inside for a while, and I stayed out in the car, parked behind where the drive-through was. In high school I gradually raided my dad’s science fiction shelf (it was about 12 feet long), and was working on Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles.”
While at the bank (banc?) I read the scene where a current-day human colonist meets a long-dead martian in some odd and unexplained time fracture. I think only a year or two later, a television minseries was produced from the sci fi classic:
In Memoriam Historiae
Oh…and since the bank building was built between 1960 and 1962, it would be historical since it was more than 50 years old.
But, not nearly as interesting and historic as the mid-nineteenth century tavern that it in part led to be destroyed..about 30 years after the bank was built, and 32 years before the bank was destroyed.
Or, Walhalla Uncovered – As It Should Be…Unlike in Part 1.
In part one, I showed how I happened across a grilled-over well-like shaft at the edge of High Street to see Walhalla’s stream flowing deep beneath.
That took me downstream in a ravine devoid of the stream (tunnelized under West Tulane) until I reached the stream’s outlet behind Olentangy Village (itself the subject of a sideline blog).
At High Street, I peeked into the ravine proper before backing out and looking briefly at former Clinton Chapel at the street’s mouth (yet another possible sideline blog). So here, I’ll travel deeper into the Paradisiacal Vale of the Great Hall of Dead Warriors.
(However, the street is heavily traveled by pedestrians, dog walkers, joggers, cyclists, and avocational naturalists, who are allowed to go both ways…unlike the infernal combustion prison-cells-on-wheels.)
Here at the last culvert crossing under the road, is the second of the three last houses on the street – recent modernistic-styled residences sitting on the road within the ravine, instead of perching atop the ravine walls. (This culvert is also featured in part one.)
“Recent” meaning 1980s: from High Street, 1981, 1980, 1987, as noted in the Franklin County Auditor’s web data.
Looking west to the far end of the tunnel of trees is a white and red building on the opposite side of where the street ends at High Street – overexposed in its lack of tree cover in contrast to verdant Walhalla.
More soon in part 3! (Hopefully before halloween. ; )
Or, Getting Snarky About Increasingly Unconsciously Overly Pretentious Minimal Traditional Style
(a.k.a Walhalla part 1.5)
Well, it’s more charming than most newer apartment buildings and complexes. Being older it probably has a few cracks in the walls and slightly crooked elements – and those are called patina: they lend character!
But even beyond that – what is the appeal of these timeless ‘old’ buildings built new at the end of the 1930s?
I literally walked into this topic while scouting out the hidden end of Walhalla Ravine (see previous blog) and couldn’t resist taking photos there. So before I got bored with the topic of…yawn…Colonial Revival, I figured I’d do a quick short blog about the Village. Yeah…famous last words.
Where Are We, Again?
What Are We Talking About, Again?
Western architecture is fraught with the “Classical.” Our revered, ennobled, semi-mythical origins in Greece and Rome have been repeated ad infinitim since the Renaissance (literally, “rebirth” of classical culture) in our architecture – with columns and pediments and arches, oh my!
(The wild Medieval, like an undisciplined weed, has fared less well in Western culture.)
Romanesque, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Palladian, Georgian, Adam/Federal, Neoclassical, Renaissance Revival, Greek Revival, Italianate, Romanesque Revival, Beaux Arts, Second Renaissance Revival…the same vocabulary and rules recombined, cycling between restraint and extravagance in Europe and its spawns and mimics.
Our more recent American origins are repeated ad infinitim in the U.S. as various generations of the “Colonial Revival” style. Yes, we celebrate our independence by recycling the style of our overseas masters! – considered to start in our centennial in 1876.
Since then, each generation has developed its own version of the Colonial Revival: Creative and recombinant High Victorian that little resembled the originals, about 1876-1900; the “National” era with the boldness and simplicity of the new American empire of 1893-1918; playful jazz-age cartoonish versions 1918-1931; rigid, archaeologically accurate, true revivalism with ingenuity only in hiding modern needs in an old veneer during the cultural repression of 1929-1947; economically liberated but automotively debased Postwar 1947-1963; increasingly tepid “Minimal Traditional” 1963-1980s; a new reductionist minimalism of the 1980s…and so on.
“MinTrad” deserves the most scorn, with its veneer of imitation-clinker brick, poorly-proportioned windows, and de rigueur fake shutters on ranch houses that bear as much similarity to colonial architecture as a Chevette does to a horsecart. Gack.
(At least Olentangy Village features a decent compromise of modernity and calm traditionalism…well, the original part does. See below.)
In my opinion, the first great new version of the Classical – since the Greek Revival in its prime of the 1830s-1840s – arose in the 1970s and ’80s: the Post-Modern.
Fed up with the lies of Modernism (“less is a bore!”) and feeding on the economic rally after the low point of 1973, the new philosophy fed on glitz, snarkiness, honesty, and mannerism. Even the name hints at honest self-effacement: if “Modern” is the eternal Now, how can say we’re from the Future?
So Google some PostMod images, and stick your tongue out at Mies van der Rohe and blow raspberries at Levittown: Turn a skyscraper into a grandfather clock, add some color to a deconstructed pediment, and put neon on an outdoor sculpture!
Back to the Old New Past
The Old New Now
Meanwhile, Back at High Street…
Rather, the original theme was a cozy, semi-set-back, articulated, residential-feeling commercial pavilion – not a tall massive block. (But nice try…unless rentable space was the prime motivator.)
And it doesn’t help that a typical mall-type grocery store and its asphalt desert next up on the south yanks the architectural viewer into yet another and lesser geographical ovré.
There’s some imitation and revivalism here (specifically, from Renaissance Italy – yes, Classicism pervades!), but much more creativity and ingenuity from probably the last truly free architectural generation…before being strangled into conformity by the Great Depression, World War II, and the reflexive postwar conservatism…relieved only by the hyperventilated mania of the Post-Modern.
*Btw, I believe these are the “Lofts on High.” Some sales hype: “our newest community located directly off High Street in historical Clintonville. These homes offer an urban feel in an unbeatable location. Each loft offers an 8′ window that stretches from the living room to the open loft above and is a dramatic focal point. These newly built lofts also feature a modern and industrial kitchen. These kitchens have an open feel and are highlighted by stainless steel appliances. If you are in search of a truly unique home in a trendy neighborhood then The Lofts on High is for you.”
But What About Its Predecessor?
Plenty has been written about that, and I won’t go over all of it. But for the uninitiated, the apartment (and shopping) complex of Olentangy VILLAGE is there because it replaced an amusement park named Olentangy PARK.
The park was begun in 1880, but declined in the 1930s, and its rides were finally sold off and the land redeveloped into what is there now. (The restored carousel is at the Columbus Zoo.) One aspect of the trolley line remains nearby, part of the old powerhouse on Arcadia near High.
Wikipedia has a good entry, complete with old postcard views:
Olentangy Park (1880 to 1939) was an amusement park in Columbus, Ohio. The park was once the largest in the United States…
Near the river, a large theatre was constructed. At the time, it was the largest theatre in the United States…
A significant addition to Olentangy Park in the 1920s was the world’s largest swimming pool which was constructed near the theatre…
Olentangy Park closed in September 1938. In the first part of 1939, much of the area was levelled so that the L.L. LeVeque* company could build the Olentangy Village apartment complex. The complex was designed by Raymond Snow, a Washington, D.C. architect…
The only remaining building is the park’s office and zoo keeper’s quarters. The stone building is located at the curve of North Street.** It has been divided into six apartments.
Some of the Park’s original wrought iron fencing can still be seen along the northern side of North Street from High Street to the curve at the stone office house….
*As in the LeVeque Tower, the best-looking skyscraper in downtown Columbus.
**I have not verified whether it’s still there, after the recent (and somewhat controversial) additions to the Village.
Or, How Grate It Is – and Are There Any Valkyries Down There?
Walhalla Ravine: What happens to this urban micro-canyon…
…when it hits the asphalt and concrete no-man’s-land of the High Street corridor?
But first: HOW did it get that NAME?!
Wikipedia notes that “the streets in the Walhalla Park Place section of Clintonville bear the legacy of Mathias Armbruster, a Bavarian immigrant who was fascinated with Norse mythology and Wagnerian opera…”
More from “Clintonville Street Names” in Clintonville History: “Walhalla was named by Mathias Armbruster, an immigrant from Bavaria and the first owner of the ravine (1859). In Norse mythology, Walhalla means ‘The Great Hall of Dead Warriors.’
“Other streets named for mythological characters include Brynhild (a queen of Iceland), Midgard (god of the earth), Mimring (god of water) and Gudrun (a Nordic princess).”
Wikipedia includes Druid Street in its list; my Celtic heritage feels slighted that Clintonville History has omitted it, if it belongs on the list. I wouldn’t know; I haven’t watched any Wagner…except for Bugs Bunny’s interpretation.
Maybe I can dig up that old animated ‘five-minute’ explanation, but I can’t find it on Youtube…
Meanwhile, Back at the Pavement
A Pearl Between Paradise and Peril
Pray, Live, Die…Wait…
This was Clinton Chapel. An entry in Shirley Hyatt’s Clintonville History reports:
“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 [or did].
“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.”
“Mathias Armbruster was born in Wurtenburg Germany in 1839 and came to the U.S.A. in 1858. He operated Armbruster Scenic Studios in Columbus—he painted scenic theatrical stage sets.
“Armbruster purchased the area around what is now known as Walhalla Ravine, and converted Clinton Chapel at 3100 North High Street into his private residence…[later the] Southwick-Good-Fortkamp funeral home…
“Mathias eventually sold most of the acreage to a real estate developer, and helped name the streets after his beloved Wagner Ring Operas. Mathias died in Columbus in 1920.”
Clintonville History has three photos of and from the house, including unfilled Walhalla Ravine. (Unfortunately, they’re small, but I think the author wants you to buy her book.)
Preservationists are worried about the fate of this site. From an August 2018 Urban Ohio forum:
“A children’s day-care center is being proposed for a shuttered Clintonville funeral home that preservation groups had listed as an endangered historic site. Plans for the former Southwick-Good & Fortkamp Funeral Chapel, 3100 N. High Street, will be discussed at the Clintonville Area Commission meeting…
“Mark Smith of CD Advisors, which represents the day-care operators, said the building would be renovated, but the historic structure would not be altered. … He said there is a lot of demand for a day care in the Clintonville area. Nearby residents were worried that apartments or condominiums would be built on the site near Walhalla Ravine.
“The building contains the Clinton Chapel, which dates to 1838 and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. In October 2017, Preservation Ohio listed the Clinton Chapel as among its most endangered sites in Ohio. The Columbus Landmarks Foundation also put the building on its most endangered list last year.”
The forum also includes a link to a Dispatch article with a nice interior photo over the lobby.
I haven’t found a follow-up article, but the on-site “for sale” sign states the 1.345 acre property has been sold.
(Here’s a historical photo from a similar perspective – though from the chapel house’s rooftop – of the unfilled ravine…one of those small images.)
A Short Walk into Walhalla
I’m betting the road was cut into the ravine’s hillside behind the funeral home (which exposed this shale) to allow the road to climb out of the ravine. The gully veers a little southward, where its stream heads to the fill next to High Street.
(I believe East North Broadway was formerly just Broadway, but when the area was annexed into Columbus, it was overly renamed to avoid confusion with downtown’s Broad Street.)
Again, that historical photo of High Street shows a trolley or interurban line running down the center of a divided High Street with a power line on both sides of the tracks. These manhole covers may show where those wires were (thankfully) buried where they stood. (If only ALL overhead wires were buried…grrr.)
Another manhole cover is closer in my photo, in the concrete pad for a bus stop – yet another utility only hinted at from above. But behind us…
Living in the Dry Ravine
That dark green paint is probably “Hunter Green,” named after Chillicothe’s Dard Hunter I, who popularized that shade during the Arts & Crafts movement of the first part of the 20th century.
Into THE Village
From Ravine into River
Soon, part two: From High to Indianola – Walhalla in the open, a murdering madman’s mansion, a trio of deer and of owlets and of shales, pricey properties, white bluebells, a respite from FLATlumbus, “what’s under THAT manhole?”…and more!
In my internet researching of the topic, I found a 2010 web entry on Urban Ohio, with informative comments added over the last eight years. “The six brick buildings at Oak Street and Kelton Avenue just south of Franklin Park were built between 1880 and 1920 to serve the city’s streetcar system.”
The 2010 Urban Ohio post began by pointing to a Facebook page for the project. It also mentions the Columbus Compact Corporation wanting to develop the site – “a nonprofit community development corporation working to improve the quality of life in the central city” – but since their entry on it is gone now, they must have given up on being a part of it.
Comments on the Friends of Franklin Park Trolley Barn Facebook page have gotten corrosive about Columbus city council, so scroll past the recent screeds to get to solid information about the property. They have several photos of a community tour and visioning session on September 4th 2010, some of which include Columbus’ Bob Loversedge, a highly reputed preservation planner in Ohio who was a major part of the Ohio Statehouse renovation:
The Facebook page also has computer renderings from 2012. They are fairly basic, as if there was not much budget at the time and they were done on a laptop or in a web app. They also show the buildings to be used as they are, with no attempt at restoration or expansion:
So be it; as a preservationist, I’m ok with saving things as they are, if they’re worth saving. But if there’s an opportunity to restore or better interpret a historical building or site while renovating for a new life, I want to see it.
The almighty dollar dictates terms…but with the upturn in construction activity in the recovery from the Great Recession, more might be possible now. (They way Columbus construction is now, I’m surprised they aren’t replacing some corner gas station stop-and-rob with the Tower of Babel.)
In 2014, Columbus Undergroundreported on the property’s sale; a commentator on Urban Ohio was exuberant: “Great news about the Franklin Park Trolley Barn property! The bad old owner has sold it to a good new owner. No announced plans for the property yet. But this is a BIG step in the right direction toward its redevelopment.”
Brad DeHays, who opened Rehab Tavern in Franklinton and has been working with the city on an affordable housing development Downtown, is the new owner of the property. The purchase of the site from Minnie McGee (who bought it in 2003), follows many years of legal wrangling and neighborhood complaints about the condition of the structures.
“Essentially nothing has been done,” Judge Hale said, adding that her [McGee’s] plans are “farfetched.” “You ain’t fooling me. There’s no way you’re getting the millions to do this. This place is either going to get redeveloped or sold,” Hale said.
She owned it while the community group Friends of Franklin Park Trolley Barn were championing its preservation and community-focused reuse. So if the judge were not overly cynical, I can see that McGee may have been either being unrealistically hopeful to redevelop the site, or was using them to delay punishment for neglecting it. Either way, conditions have changed.
Apartments are also tentatively planned for the empty lot across Oak Street from the trolley barn site [upper right in the rendering], although developer Brad DeHays of Connect Realty stressed that nothing is set in stone, and likely won’t be until the state announces in December if the project is approved for historic tax credits.
I believe getting alcohol sales approval from voters in the fall 2018 ballot was part of the plan to make the site more worth renovating, as listed on the signs posted on the perimeter fence. Issues 23 and 24 were to allow all sales all hours on the site…but it’s ridiculous that my internet search can’t confirm whether they passed or failed. (So much for the internet knowing everything…or maybe it’s just user error.)
It looks like a Sanborn Fire Insurance map, but I’m not sure if it was part of a published volume – the other Columbus Sanborns I’ve been able to find lack some details present in this one. This may have been a special 1909 report expanded by Sanborn for the owners.
…Ok, I’ve rambled on, and have barely covered the existing site and all my photos of it and my interpretation of its history…so, more soon – allowing the best of my 150+ photos and videos of the site to inspire me to compose further.
The first of 17 arches reconstructed to High Street, at the south end of the “Short North” – but what’s happening ‘behind the scenes,’ behind the curtain of increasing commercial tidiness and rising rents? Here’s an abbreviated version of a slide show I might present sometime.
Want to learn more? Maybe I’ll give a presentation on the lessons Chillicothe can learn from Columbus. I’m also available for tours of any kind, even in Columbus. If I don’t know the local history, you’d be surprised how much I can interpret from what’s there – architectural styles, dates of construction, details hidden in plain sight, cultural geography, historic preservation and interpretation…
Continuing my dialogue on my six “towers” seen on the cover of the new Horizon phone book:
The Tower That Would Have Been
Tower number four in my list is still a tower, but would have been more towering if it weren’t for a real estate bubble. This is the current Huntington Bank building on the corner opposite the Courthouse and Carlisle, at the northeast corner of Paint and Main.
A popular photo reproduced everywhere shows its predecessor, and the entire streetscape north past the Warner Hotel, along with a “Red Devil Tobacco” sign hanging above 3 North Paint. The best I can figure, that photo dates to sometime between 1896 and 1899.*
This corner lot and that three-story 1836 building was tied up in an estate for almost 50 years until it was bought by the Savings Bank Company in 1893.**
The bank had apparently been created by the Central National Bank, which had been established in 1883 in the current site of “Market No. 9” at 9 West Second. When Central National Bank moved across that street in 1887, Savings Bank moved into 9 West Second. Then after Savings Bank had owned the corner of Paint & Main for 14 years, in 1907 Central National Bank announced plans for their new building on that site.
Confused? Yeah, that’s why I don’t bother to keep my checkbook balanced, either.
Panic Trumps Tower
So, Central National Bank hired nationally renowned architect Frank Packard to give Chillicothe its “first skyscraper” – an eight-story tower. Packard is known for some of Columbus’ earliest skyscrapers, including the extant Wyandotte Hotel and Seneca Hotel.***
He also designed other buildings here, though most have been lost, including the Mount Logan Sanitarium where the OU-C childhood center is, and the Scioto Valley Traction Company station on East Main where the Amvets parking lot is.
However, the Federal Reserve had not yet been created to make predictably recurring financial “panics” into profitable depressions,**** so the one that popped up in 1907 quashed the tower idea – or rather, squashed it. It was compressed to half its height.
But you can imagine what it would have looked like – the towers of that day were modeled after classical columns: a wider, solid-looking base; simpler and repetitive narrower floors comprising the shaft; and a flaring ornamented top being the capital. So, simply repeat the third floor of the building as-built four more times to get the idea. (Hmm, sounds like a Photoshop project.)
If I recall correctly, Martha Gerber Rittinger has told me her family was the building contractor, working across the street from their earlier work in the Carlisle Building.
I’m still not sure what these are. I think there’s a fasces* at the bottom, and maybe two angled cornucopia coming out the sides. If so, those are interesting symbols to put on a bank building!
Instead of a steel skyscraper frame, the Central National Bank building was built in brick, but with modern tera cotta ornament and Beaux Arts styled windows.***** Look closely at the cornice – the paraphrased classical ornament is still very modernistic even a century later.
The bank itself was intended to occupy the basement and first floor, with offices to rent in the second and third floors, and space for a “lodge” or meeting hall on the fourth. (Imagine 100% more real estate there as intended!)
Another Financial Curtailment
In 1934, Great Depression-era laws started restricting banks, and so Central National Bank was liquidated and Savings Bank moved from 9 West Second to Paint & Main.
A two story addition on Main Street was built in 1953, which was probably the time the inappropriate marble cladding, casement windows, and metal sheathing were installed on the first and second floors of the original building. (Hopefully those can be removed sometime in the future to restore one of Chillicothe’s pre-eminent examples of early-20th century architecture.)
I believe Huntington National Bank absorbed Savings Bank and any remnants of Central National Bank when it occupied the building starting in 1968.
And while their neighbor was in the spotlight, Huntington hosted a meeting on renovating the Carlisle in their disused second or third floor. Hopefully, as the economy improves, that and other parts of our stubby skyscraper will become economical and inhabited, like the Carlisle.
* In the photo, the facade on 19 N. Paint is 1896 or later, and the facade on 15-17 N. Paint is pre-1899, per Pat Medert’s information. The electric trolley also appears to be a four-wheel “bobber,” though I forget the date of those. (This photo is also the prototype for one of the popular 1980s series of waercolor prints offered by Citizens’ National Bank.)
** A founding member and stockholder was Frederick Stacey, an English-native ex-Cincinnatian who was clearly financially astute. In a recurring portrait photo, he’s informally sitting in a chair, looking confident and maybe cocky, chewing on a stogie and wearing a bowler hat – which makes me consider him a Donald Trump of late-nineteenth-century Chillicothe (all politics aside). I believe he was also the namesake of a real estate development in Chillicothe’s west side.
**** Yes, that’s conspiracy theory. But I’ve seen enough proof that is far beyond theory. Please don’t debate me unless you’ve looked into it yourself!
***** See similar windows on the similarly styled old Post Office two blocks south.
*(caption) Oops, not a caduceus – that’s for medicine. I’m confusing my esoteric ancient/classical western symbols. I’m guessing it might be a fasces – for executive power? Even worse on a bank! <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasces>
Of course, many details derived from Pat Medert’s volumes, especially Paint, Main, and Second streets.
…Catty-corner to the Courthouse is the Carlisle, the downtown news story of 2014-2015. If you haven’t already learned it, the Carlisle was built in 1885 in the glory of High Victorian architecture. I like to call it one of our “Victorian commercial palaces,” like the Warner Hotel.
Ironically, the Carlisles did not build it…but their money did. The two Carlisle brothers died without children, so their brother-in-law Arthur B. Howson managed the estate and replaced their dated mid-nineteenth century building with a larger up-to-date edifice named after them.
However, ten years later, an addition to the Carlisle on Main Street was named after the family who managed the money. But the Howson Building remains dark in the phone book cover photo, awaiting the right economics to renovate its interior.
In the drama and excitement of keeping the building on life support and then revitalizing it, much has been posted about it. Read more of my chatter on it in my earlier blogs and Facebook posts.
Sharing a similar familial paradox is the Foulke Block, across Paint Street from the Carlisle. (I’m bending the rules by calling the penthouse atop it a tower for the purpose of this blog – the effect of that skyline bump is similar.)
Dr. Lewis Foulke invested in real estate, including across from the Carlisle Building. (Curiously, he was born in CARLISLE, Pennsylvania.) For almost a decade, he worked to acquire the mish-mash of commercial buildings on this site. He died without getting the corner 1850 building which still stands there (it was originally a shoe factory).
His son-in-law Dr. Gustavus Franklin became administrator for the estate, and Franklin completed Foulke’s apparent plan to redevelop the half-block streetscape. The result was another building built by one family and named after the previous family whose money paid for it.
The historical society’s Franklin House at 80 South Paint was the residence of Gustavus’ children. I am unsure of a family connection to the two brothers Dr. Franklin, associated with the 1919 medical building at 79-80 East Second Street, and their 1920s Tudor residences at 981 and 991 Western Avenue.
• Hidden fineness accents the roughness of the Foulke – in contrast to the overall fineness of the Carlisle.
While the Carlisle is dressed up to give a picturesque roofline to its simple rectangular form, the styling of the later Foulke Block enhances its squareness, somewhat like a massive steamship. Barely a decade older than the Carlisle, it features the Victorian Romanesque style.
This style is best seen in the 1903 Walnut Street Methodist Church, with its massive, circular “Roman” arches and rough-cut stone as a heavy-handed backslap to the fancifulness of the HighVictorian.
There the style is more precisely “Richardsonian Romanaesque,” named after the prominent architect who popularized that stony monochromatic version. The Foulke Block is a less dramatic version of the style, with its predominant brick and simple silhouette.
If you look closely, you will see that its design was apparently adjusted for lacking the additional frontage of the corner property. The facade is slightly asymmetric! There’s four bays on the left side, and only three on the right; and even the bays are a different width on either side. Fooled ya.
The 1896-97 building was touted as Chillicothe’s first (modern) apartment building, though it appears to have housed more offices than residents through the decades. A two-story cafeteria was designed on the upper floor of the north end. Of course, commercial space filled the first floor.
The most famous concern there was Schachne & Sons, which as I recall had the only escalator in town. They also had a pneumatic tube message system like old drive-through tellers, for sending orders throughout the department store. It had eventually spread into the corner building and a building added on Main Street. All that is gone now, and Milwaukeean Moritz Schachne rests in Grandview Cemetery with a Star of David proudly etched onto his tombstone.
• A view down the “Beehive” in the 2008 first Ghost Walk. Photo by Nelson Coleman – because I was too busy being a guide. (Yes, those are “orbs.” No, they’re just dust!)
Under the front is an underground sidewalk that was reopened in 1999, and remains a favorite location when open for our Ghost Walk. I’d say it was built in mind as possible secondary commercial real estate in the building – but in a town as small and temperate as Chillicothe, it would never make a return for any business that located there. Instead, it has served as storage space, and office space where visibility is unimportant (like for the census bureau).
I’m not sure how this “Beehive” acquired the name of Schachne’s original 1888 store located in previous buildings on this site.
• A view of the Foulke from an unfinished dormer window of the Carlisle.
The Foulke Block was built very well, has been continuously occupied, and has been consistently maintained very well. If you want to preserve a building, proper and continuous maintenance is the best way!
The Foulke ‘tower,’ the penthouse, has variously served as an art studio, residence, VIP suite for visitors to the Mead Company, and a haunted radio station (ask Dan Ramey).
*Much history adapted from Pat Medert’s research
More soon in the next installment!
(And can you predict my three other towers in the photo?)
I guess the Homeland Security cameras at the courthouse corners didn’t alert to a “drone” flying about the county government center at night. Then again, the term “drone” is misused for the kind of payload these RC micro-helicopters carry.
That’s the term used to describe the importance of the intersection of Paint and Main when the effort to get the Carlisle reborn was a focus of the 2007 Hyett-Palma study. (Remember that?!)
But after 12 years total, the naysayers were proven wrong last year with the patient* building’s reopening.
I’m not sure if it’s the “Carlisle-Howson Building,” “New Carlisle,” or “Adena-Carlisle” – call it what you want, just don’t call it too late for saving.
Anyhow, Tim Anderson’s aerial photo shows what I’ll count as six of the city’s ‘towers.’ I’ll cover them here in a few installments.
First and foremost is the courthouse tower, glowing in its Christmas colors. This version of the Ross County Courthouse replaced the previous famous building used as the first Ohio Statehouse.
I had too much time on my hands when I created this 3-D rendering of the Chillicothe Statehouse. Yeah, that’s me standing by the doorway! And I do like candles in windows…but lacked the capacity to create window sashes.
That one was demolished soon after the Great Fire of April 1st, 1852, and its stone was sold and used in anxious rebuilding of the quarter of town hollowed out by the worst disaster to befall Chillicothe.
So, the building lives – but mainly as invisible foundation walls…and as a few stones saved away and then added to other walls in commemoration of the original 1801 building.**
It was a “Foursquare Courthouse,”*** a form popular for public buildings in this region in that era. I have observations, comparisons, and collections of them elsewhere.
There may have been an even earlier temporary log courthouse, but even historian Pat Medert**** told me she can’t confirm that. If there were, it probably became the log jail when the stone courthouse was built. (No comments on imprisoning politicians!)
The 1855-1859 courthouse is actually a brick building sheathed in Greenfield Dolomite quarried near Bainbridge.*****
Dolomite is a chemically hardened limestone – but not too hard. Part of that vein was hollowed out by aeons of trickling water to create what was known as the “Seven Caves” west of Bainbridge.
The use of that stone is unusual in Chillicothe, with the Waverly Sandstone (or Berea Sandstone) readily available under the hilltops and used for its more famous buildings, like the Statehouse and Adena Mansion – but I guess there was a desire for something a little more exotic. So, larger monochrome blue-grey slabs were chosen over variously-variegated rusty warm blocks.
That finial atop the center gable? It’s more than six feet of saw-cut solid stone. I was privileged to get personal with it in an inspection for contractors planning to bid on the renovations in 2006.
The brick side walls of the center part were simply painted to match the stone, with molded bricks to match the stone moulding.
So was the tower – it is timber frame, with the original metal sheathing colored to match the rest of the building.
Atop the tower’s railing, the belfry was actually an afterthought.
(Usually referred to as a cupola, the BELfry is a place for the bell, instead of a cup-shaped ventilating CUPola.)
Though clock faces with yard-long hands were originally installed on the tower, there were no clock works! The belfry was added in 1867 to house a 3,000-pound bell for the latecomer mechanism – which featured a 110-pound steel-cable-hung mercury-filled glass pendulum that lost less than 30 seconds in its first year.
A favorite perch of a peregrine falcon who chose the tower of the Ross County Courthouse in 2010 is at the upper right of the clock face.
Recently, the tower and trim around the clock face have been the roost of peregrine falcons, feasting on pigeons. (Look – who’s there at 2:30?)
More soon in the next installment!
(And can you predict my five other towers from the photo?)
*Hah! Unintentional double entendré, since the building now houses those who have patients of their own…
**Namely, the current courthouse, the Gazette building…and one fireplace of which I’ve been told.
***Not to be confused with the c1890-1930 “Foursquare” house type. Same concept: a two-story cubic building with hipped roof – but a different purpose and time. Btw, “foursquare” doesn’t necessarily mean four rooms in a square – it just means solid-looking.
**** Personal communication about summer 2014. Much of this section draws from her entry in her Paint Street and Main Street volumes on the courthouse.
***** Recent repairs to the wall of the south side hyphen involved locating and reopening the original quarry!