Grandview History

A Grand Time in Grandview!

Where else could you poke around in consignment shops, discover the history of Ohio’s oldest single-screen movie theatre, or eat at a diner or on white linen, except in a town where the high school team’s colors were chosen by a colorblind football captain?

Take a stroll through the City of Grandview Heights and its close neighbor the Village of Marble Cliff, located just northwest of downtown Columbus. Bounded to the east and south by Columbus, by Upper Arlington to the north, and by Marble Cliff to the west, Grandview blends together the best of urban and suburban life: quaint tree-lined streets, safety, easy access to all major highways, and a real spirit of maintaining the American dream.

As you drive up Grandview Avenue from Dublin Road (now Route 33, but once known as the Columbus-Dublin Turnpike), much of the area to your right was once the Refugee Tracts of the Congress Lands. In fact, most of present-day Grandview was once part of the Virginia Military District.

The Refugee Lands were established after the Revolutionary War. The refugees in question were Canadians who, having assisted the winning side in the war, couldn’t return to their homeland. Apparently the Canadi¬ans had other ideas, and it would be many decades in the future before Columbus pioneer Lucas Sullivant came to the area.

The Virginia Military District was given by the state of Virginia to grant land to war veterans in case the land it owned in Kentucky for this purpose would prove to be insufficient. By the time Ohio became the 17th state of the Union in 1803, the boundaries of Franklin County extended north to Lake Erie.

At the southern edge of what is now the downtown or business district of Grandview Heights, the house at 1192 Grandview Avenue, today home to Tri-Village Studio, was once known as the Salzga¬ber farm house. [insert before and after photos – will get befores from Historical Socety, afters from Ed Winters]

Heading west along First Avenue, one finds a series of boutiques, shops and wellness businesses, and a small commercial plaza that was once home to the Apex Market, once famous for its homemade Italian sausage. Across the street is one of Grandview’s gems, the Public Library, constructed in 1936 with WPA funds, which was recently recognized as one of the finest libraries in the country. [photo]

Continuing down West First Avenue, you will see First Community Church, a striking church, pre-school, and charity thrift shop, much expanded from its 1909 origins in what is now called the Lincoln Road Chapel.

Heading back to Grandview Avenue, then turning north, visitors are treated to an assortment of boutiques, a newly renovated movie theater said to be the oldest in the state of Ohio, restaurants, and providers of other essential goods and services. The Bank Block’s historical significance is a point of great pride to the community: built in 1927 and renovated in the late 1970s, the Bank Block currently has no banks, but is one of the country’s first shopping centers and the first strip shopping center in America that integrated parking into the design. The Bank Block was built by Don Casto, Sr. and is currently owned by the Wagenbrenner Co. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. [insert before and after photos]

The Bank Block and other business plazas around town are home to salons, a variety of eateries, specialty boutiques, and numerous service providers. For a roster of members of the Grandview/Marble Cliff Area Chamber of Commerce members, by alphabetical listing or industry group, please visit our Members page.

The Chamber of Commerce office [weblink] [insert photo], located at the corner of Grandview and West Second Avenues, serves as a hub for the area’s business community. Together with its business partners, the Chamber offers beneficial discounts and visibility to its members, while also serving as a vital player in the civic dialog with local governments and the Grandview Heights City Schools (link). The Chamber’s core membership is based in Grandview, Marble Cliff, Upper Arlington and a five-mile radius around Grandview Heights.

As we continue our tour, heading north on Grandview Avenue and crossing Third Avenue, visitors have more choices for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Boutiques and restaurants line both sides of the streets, and the Grandview Center on the west side of the street provides additional opportunities to view art, check out new specs, or enjoy some pampering at a spa or salon.

In January 2009, a fire destroyed the Kingswood Building located next door to St. Christopher’s Catholic Church/Trinity Elementary School, changing the landscape of the business community. The Wagenbrenner Company has committed to rebuilding the structure as a mixed-use project, scheduled to reopen in late 2010. [photo of former building before fire]

Grandview’s neighborhoods consist of a mix of single- and multi-family homes, most dating back to the early 1920s to mid 1940s, dotted by more modern structures and recent condominium developments. Grandview’s diverse housing is home to owners, renters and also many businesses that have chosen to take up “residence” in a converted house. In fact, Grandview Avenue’s business district finds businesses, apartments and single-family homes all coexisting on the same block.

Marble Cliff also enjoys an assortment of businesses along West Fifth Avenue side-by-side with its beautiful residential streets. This small village has historical significance in the central Ohio community, having once been the summer getaway of many established Columbus families who wanted to relax along the banks of the Scioto River.

The area’s streetscape is interspersed with a relatively large amount of greenspace for such a small community. Wyman Woods, Pierce Field, McKinley Field, Ray C. Buck Sports Park, Memorial Park, and other mini-parks around town serve as gathering places for family picnics, sporting events, concerts and a multitude of leisure activities.

Finally, Grandview’s newest neighborhood is The Grandview Yard, a mixed-use development being built in a partnership between Nationwide Realty Investors, LLC and the City of Grandview Heights. This development, the eastern gateway to the City, will be home to offices, restaurants, hotels, parks, recreational facilities, and residential living overlooking downtown Columbus.

Photos courtesy of Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Historical Society and Ed Winters, Tri-Village Studio.