Veteran journalist Carl Hoffman believes he’s solved one of the great mysteries of the 20th century. In 1961 at the age of 23, Michael Rockefeller – son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and a member of one of the richest and most powerful families in America ¬– travelled to remote New Guinea in search of primitive art for his father’s new museum.
Inventory Of Historic Structures Underway In Columbus Area
Last November, bulldozers leveled a nearly 200-year-old cottage in Upper Arlington. The Hutchinson House was demolished to make room for luxury apartments. The incident sparked a move to identify other central Ohio historic structures before they’re torn down.
The leveling of the Hutchinson House was devastating, says the former director of the Upper Arlington Historical Society, Kate Kallmes.
“You would not believe how many people I’ve seen around town who have said to me, ‘Oh we’re so sorry that you couldn’t save the house.’ And of course I’m still devastated by it,” Kallmes says.
Soon after the demolition Kallmes began to inventory other little-known structures with historic value.
“One thing we’re doing is looking for pre-Civil War buildings in and around Upper Arlington. And then we’re also partnering with other community organizations so that if they’re aware of something that hasn’t crossed our radar they’ll let us know. And I think people are more aware now,” Kallmes says.
The historical society wants to keep other valuable buildings from being razed. Historian Ed Lentz says the destruction of certain historic structures is a significant loss.
“We are not only who we have been and how we have acted. We are also a reflection of what we have made and constructed over the years. And what we build is a reflection of us. It’s hard to get a sense of who we are and who we might be if you don’t have a sense of where you’ve been. And that’s why saving the best of the past is important,”’ Lentz says.
The Hutchinson House was built in 1821. Two years later, a larger, more substantial home was built not far from what today is Greenlawn Cemetery.
“We’re standing in front of the Miner House on Eaton Street. I think this house is interesting because it’s the longest inhabited house in Central Ohio … built in 1823.”
Lucy Wolfe is a realtor and photographer. Her photographs appear in the book “A Historical Guide to Old Columbus” published in 2012. As she worked on the book’s illustrations, Wolfe developed an expertise for the city’s historic structures.
Wolfe knows stories of other lesser-known houses. One is the Carolyn Brown House on Livingston Avenue at Linwood in Columbus’ Old Oaks neighborhood.
“She was an indentured servant who was given money when her owner died to build a house in Columbus. It was built in about 1850 and was part of the Underground Railroad.”
The childhood home of World War One flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, at 1334 Livingston Avenue, is a national historic landmark. But, says Wolfe, the birthplace of one of America’s greatest golfers is less well known.
“765 Kimball Place; that’s where Louis and Helen Nicklaus were living in that house when their son, future golfing great Jack Nicklaus was born,” Wolfe says.
There are lots of historic structures in metropolitan Columbus. Ed Lentz, the executive director of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation, says it’s impossible to save every relic of the past. But his organization does keep an eye out for historically significant buildings that might be lost.
“Part of the task of people who are involved in preservation, history and so on, is to try to insure that the best of the past is not lost,” Lentz says.