Saturday, December 3, 2011

1533 Mt. Vernon Avenue - The Corner of Taylor and Mt. Vernon Avenues

1533-1537 Mount Vernon Avenue
Woodland Park, Columbus, Ohio 
What's not to love about this building, except that it's boarded up and neglected? I'm not the only one who wondered about this unique corner, as a 2010 post on explored.

One poster commented that the building was probably built no earlier than 1890 when the subdivision was made. It does look like the early 1890s is when it was constructed, but it was in place by 1893. It was certainly one of the earliest buildings in the area. Broad Street wasn't even platted beyond Alum Creek until 1891. It appears the building was first a saloon, then a pharmacy for the bulk of it's inhabited existence.

Going far back, but not all the way, the owner who subdivided these lots was Maggie J. Jolly. Her lots were originally part of Scott's Subdivision.

Margaret Jane Jolly was born in Zanesville, January 20, 1845, daughter of Samuel and Lydia (Weeser/Uphold) Jolly. In the 1880 Census she is on Reed Avenue in Columbus. Maggie is listed as a divorced dressmaker, born about 1847. She is living with her adopted son, Charles Jacobs, age 15, who is working as a laborer, and a 22 year old boarder, Stephan Joyce.

I guess now might be the time to mention that Taylor Avenue was known as Reed back then.

Maggie married Charles F. Jacobs on May 26, 1866 in Franklin County. The 1870 Census finds Charles and Maggie in Bellaire, Belmont County, Ohio with Charles Mager, age 5.

The 1881 City Directory shows Mrs. Maggie Jolly residing at the corner of Reed and Mt. Vernon Avenue. In 1890-92 directories, she is listed as running a boarding house at the corner of Reed and Atcheson. In Columbus on August 24, 1890, Charles M. Jacobs married Katherine Woodward. Charles' address was Reed and Atcheson at that time. Charles and Katherine had a daughter, Myrtle Lucille Jacobs, born March 26, 1892.

Sometime about 1892, our Maggie got married to Jeremiah C. "Jerry" Donovan. Jerry was born Christmas Day 1844.

1895 Directory
The 1893 Directory is the interesting one...  Jerry C. Donovan is an advance agent for the Sells Brothers Circus. Maggie is running a saloon at Taylor and Mt. Vernon, and they also live in the building. In 1895 the story is much the same except Jerry is now a "contracting agent" which is his title in the 1890 Sells Brothers Circus Route Book.

A circus advance man is the guy who would go ahead of the circus to get the site set and publicity together, including plastering the town with colorful posters. Jerry would have spent a good amount of time on the road. A line in a 1901 New York Clipper newspaper says, "It is the pleasant duty of Jeremiah Donovan to humor the natives for the use of their spacious windows, and the handiwork of the above mentioned indisputable live one, after their departure from the numerous outlying hamlets that are fortunate enough to occupy space on local R. R. schedules, is praiseworthy in the extreme."

1901 Sanborn Fire Insurance map
The 1900 Census lists "Mary" J. Donavin as the head of the household. Her occupation is saloon-keeper. Living in the building are six others: Katherine Romine, Maggie's aunt, born in June 1815 in Maryland; two nieces, Mabel (May 1886) and Jessie (December 1889), both born in Wyoming; Charles Huntsman, bartender, born April 1864 in Ohio; Jonan John Joh, a janitor born March 1860 in Germany; and a black lodger, Howard Gibbs, born in North Carolina in May 1865. He was a teamster for a coal company.

One poster on Columbus Underground saw the notation F.B. on the residential units at the back of the building on the early Sanborn Fire Insurance map. Apparently we can attribute that as meaning female boarding. With the saloon below, and the building's location on what would have been the outskirts of town (as far out as the streetcar would take you at the time), maybe their guess of a possible bordello may not be far off the mark, but it was probably also completely innocent.

Jerry died May 28, 1898. Maggie sold the building around 1909. The 1910 Census finds a widowed Maggie Donovan living with her sister and brother-in-law (Jacob and Mary Swope) at 1613 Atcheson. Jacob is a watchman at the city water works.

Cause of death from Maggie's death certificate.
And even after all that saloon keeping, Maggie literally went out with a bang. She died July 16, 1915, at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus at age 70 from "extensive burns over entire body due to gasoline explosion accident." She is buried at Greenlawn Cemetery.

A 1914 issue of Interstate Druggist, a trade journal, says in the Ohio State College of Pharmacy News column, "O.C. Blum will get his retail experience with A.J. Guthke, Taylor and Mt. Vernon avenues, Columbus."

Arthur Joseph Guthke was born July 4, 1870, son of Frederick Richard Guthke. Arthur is listed in the 1889 City Directory and the 1910 Census as a druggist. He and his wife, Clara P. lived at 1640 Bryden Road in 1910. Clara was Arthur's second wife. His first wife was Elizabeth "Lizzie" Altmaier, born August 5, 1871, daughter of Martin Altmaier. She and Arthur had a child who died at birth on February 16, 1893. Lizzie died on October 6, 1903.

Clara Pauline Kaiser was born December 11, 1872 in Columbus, daughter of Bernhard and Pauline Kaiser. They were married in Columbus on August 5, 1907, and Clara's occupation at that time was schoolteacher.

Arthur and Clara purchased the property about 1909 from Maggie. Guthke is listed in The Era Druggists' Directory in 1913 and 1916 in the building. Arthur and Clara owned the building until August 22, 1956.

In the 1930 Census Arthur and Clara are listed in both Columbus and in Windermere, Orange County, Florida. My guess is that they probably were early snowbirds, or may have moved during 1929-1930. They were certainly residents of Windermere by 1945 when they appear on the 1945 Florida Census. Arthur and Clara both died in Florida, Arthur on March 10, 1957 and Clara on September 7, 1959. Arthur, Lizzie, the child and Clara are all buried at Greenlawn Cemetery.

In the Columbus Underground post, a contributor, Alison did some research in old Columbus City Directories. I'll paraphrase some of her findings and expand on them.

Between 1926 and 1932 the address 1533 Mt. Vernon was for Ben Golden, barber. At 1537, (Hubert) Kanmacher Drugs. In the 1930 Census there are four familes listed living at 1537 and one at 1537-1/2 Mount Vernon Avenue.

Benjamin Golden was born October 24, 1902 in Pennsylvania to Polish immigrants, William and Antonina Golden. In 1910 the Goldens were in Smithfield Township, Jefferson County, Ohio. In 1920 the family lived in Green Township, Harrison County, Ohio.

Ben married Jeanette Marie Evans about 1923. Jeanette was born about 1902 in Ohio. They had at least two children, Louise (1925) and Bennie (1927). In 1930 the Goldens lived at 1521 Mt. Vernon Avenue. Bennie E. Golden married Mary Ann Reed, and they had a daughter Marie K. (Golden) Arnholt. Ben died in Columbus on August 29, 1968.

Hubert Kanmacher was born July 26, 1892 in Columbus, son of Grant and Louise (Born) Kanmacher.

In 1917, Hubert resgistered for the draft. His address was with his parents and siblings at 1634 Greenway Avenue. His occupation is listed as pharmacist for F. A. Ingram in Detroit, Michigan. He was drafted June 2, 1918 and served with the A.E.F. in France. He was honorably discharged April 12, 1919. In 1920 the family lived at 1638 Greenway Avenue. Hubert's occupation was drug store manager.

Hubert married the widowed Glenna M. Lewis Cunningham on October 3, 1923 in Columbus. Glenna was born about 1895 in Athens, Ohio, daughter of Corbin and Minerva (Richardson) Lewis . Hubert and Glenna are listed in the 1941 City Directory at 811 Miller Avenue. Hubert is manager of Cunningham Drugs at 1350 East Livingston Avenue.

Hubert died of heart disease at home, 970 Yearling Road, on March 17, 1946. He is buried at Glen Rest Cemetery.

In 1933, the drugstore became (Clifton E.) Workman Drugs, then changed again in 1938 to (Howard E.) Lemmon Drugs, later Lemmon's Pharmacy, all that time with Ben Golden still cropping mops next door.

Clifton Earl Workman was born December 29, 1879 in Knox County, Ohio, son of George B. and Sarah Agnes (Severn) Workman. Clifton and Agnes were married January 24, 1915. Agnes L. Inskeep was born about 1889 in Columbus, daughter of William A. and Virginia (Hoffman) Inskeep. Before her marriage Agnes was a music teacher. They had a daughter, Carol V. (1923).

In 1930 the Workmans lived at 1156 Jaeger Street. Living with them at that time was a 16 year old housekeeper, Lucille Busenburg. Clifton died in Columbus on September 13, 1941.

Howard Lemmon
Circa 1926
Howard E. Lemmon was born September 15, 1906, son of George W. and Effie L. Lemmon. In 1920 he was living with his parents at 633 East Fifth Avenue. He graduated in pharmacy from OSU.

Lemmon died in Columbus on May 23, 1968.

Skip forward to 1947, Lemmon's persists and Ben Golden (as early as 1945) was now "barber and billiards" through 1951. Golden and his wife Jeanette lived across the street at 332 Taylor Avenue.

In the 1950 directory, Mary Dean is listed as a waitress at "Ben Golden" and she lives at 359 Lexington Avenue.

Things changed by 1958 with barber George L. Jameson (Jameson's Barber Shop), and now James Pharmacy.

Pheoris West
In 1962 Speedy's Laundromat was in until 1969 except in 1964 when when it was billed as Speedy's Janitorial Service. In 1974 and 1975 Gentry's Laundry was at 1533 and Lucy's Restaurant occupied 1537, indeed, Lucy's is listed in the 1973 phone book.

The addresses were vacant 1981-1985, with the Pheoris West Art Service as a tenant in 1537 from 1986 to 1988. Pheoris West is a local artist and OSU professor since 1976. The building has been vacant ever since.


  1. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!

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  2. You have done an amazing piece of research here. Thanks so much. I came across a photo of this building at Taylor and Mt. Vernon at a Columbus site (not this photo) and wondered about the architecture, and eventually found your blog. You've put some flesh on the tired old bones of this building, which looks like it really wanted to be grand at one time.

  3. I've passed this building every day since I moved into the neighborhood two years ago and thought it was beautiful. Thanks for doing this research! Any idea who owns it now?