Monday, December 19, 2011

1616 Hawthorn Park

1616 Hawthorne Avenue
Woodland Park, Columbus, Ohio
Lot 9 and 10 Woodland(s)

Edward Mithoff Nicholas was born August 19, 1879, son of Walter D. and Fannie (Mithoff) Nicholas. He married Charlotte J. O'Brien in Detroit, Michigan on February 24, 1905. Charlotte was born about 1880 in Ohio, daughter of Lester M. and Helen (Falconer) O'Brien. They had   three children: Edward, Jr. (November 26, 1906 - 1996), Helen (1909) and Charlotte (1910).

Edward M. Nicholas, Jr.
circa 1924

In 1900, Edward was living with his grandfather, Edward Mithoff at 237 East Broad Street. He was a law student and his grandfather's occupation was listed in the census as "retired capitalist".

In 1910 the Nicholas family lived at 1616 Hawthorne Park. Edward was firmly established in his field of real estate. They had four servants including a coachman, maid and nurse.

In 1910, Edward owned 19 North Pearl Alley and commissioned architect Carl E. Howell to design a small building. It features Belgian stained glass windows, and ornate carved stone entrance and a hand carved bar, with oak back bar and paneling. Originally it was called the Chamber of Commerce Cafe. Lowry Slater, the Chamber president complained and Nicholas called back his stonecutter who artfully obscured the lettering and left the words Cafe & Rathskeller. The place wssa known as the Ratskellar for some time. It became the Jolly Gargoyle Art Shop and Tea Room during Prohibition - a bookstore and stationer, a place frequented by students and artists. A 1922 advertisement in a King Avenue U.M. Church Ladies Aid Society cookbook says, "The Jolly Gargoyle, a little shop of old-world beauty - filled with gifts from may lands. Delicious food always. Convenient to stores and theatres. - Special Teas - Evening Dinners (Down the alley by the Chamber of Commerce)" Some have suggested it may have been a speakeasy, but I doubt that was the case. The manager of the Jolly Gargoyle was Mildred L. Dickey. She married William C. Gage sometime about 1927. After the repeal of Prohibition the business was sold to Albert C. "Al" Haft, a wrestler/promoter who renamed it the Ringside Cafe, which it still is today. Clement "Clem" Amorose was a later owner. He was stabbed outside the Ringside on September 14, 1972, but refused to name his assailant. Amorose died in 1993. The Nicholas family owned the building until 1981.

I'll mention here too the Tabard Restaurant, also known as the Jolly Gargoyle Country House which opened August 9, 1926 in an old farmhouse at 4040 Riverside Drive. It would have been just a bit north of the Fishinger Road bridge. Surely the names are not a coincidence, but I do not know any more about the Jolly Gargoyle Country House other than it is long gone, replaced by the River Lawn Subdivision.

Nicholas' Rathskeller, circa 1927, Jolly Gargoyle sign is to the right of the entrance.
The basement room of  the Jolly Gargoyle, circa 1929
In 1940, Edward had a letter/nomination for Life magazine's Man-of-the-Year published, "Sirs: I nominate for Man of the Year, not the heretofore irresistible force, but today's immovable object, Winston Churchill—sustaining, and sustained by, the morale of a free people in its darkest hour.
Columbus, Ohio"

Edward died April 9, 1949 and is buried at Greenlawn Cemetery.

On April 3, 1929, the Hanfords purchased the house. It was in Margaret Hanford's name and there is a note on the record that her address is 30 N. Washington Avenue.

Robert Gilmore Hanford, IV was born May 1, 1885 in Newark, New Jersey, son of Robert Gilmore (III) and Sarah (Field) Hanford.. He married Margaret Delia Brown June 5, 1915 in Franklin County. Margaret was born November 19, 1889 in Chester, Illinois, daughter of Walter Wood and Katharine (McDelLoring) Brown. They had three children, Helen Elizabeth Hanford (1919-2006), Margaret B. (1921) and Robert Gilmore Hanford, Jr. (December 31, 1923 - February 4, 1942). Robert, Jr. died at 1616 of lymphosarcoma.

The Broad-Brunson Place Apartments were designed by Robert Gilmore Hanford in 1923. Hanford was a Columbus architect who also designed the current Ohio Governor's mansion in Bexley, which was originally the home of Malcolm Jeffrey, son of the founder of the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company, completed in 1925.  Hanford's family came to Columbus in 1886. Hanford received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell and practiced with Frank L. Packard in Columbus until 1911 when he moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where he resided at least through 1915.

The May 24, 1922 issue of American Architect and Architecture announced that, "R. G. Hanford, formerly of the architectural firm of Esselstyn, Murphy and Hanford, of Detroit, has joined in partnership with Harold M. Bush, mechanical engineer, for practice at 681 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio."

Margaret died in Columbus August 16, 1955. Robert died in Columbus on December 9, 1964.

Foster O. Newlin was a real estate broker and the first African-American owner of the house. He purchased it on September 30, 1964, selling it ten days later.

Foster was born in Ohio on July 10, 1903. In 1930, Newlin lived at 268 North 17th Street with his mother, Anna Merchant and three brothers, William D. (1912), Fred S. (1914) and David (1918). Foster was a cafe proprietor; William was a presser at a tailor shop; Fred worked as a washroom attendant at a hotel; and Mother Anna was an attendant for the "State Highway". Foster died in Columbus on April 7, 2005 at the age of 101.

Foster O. Newlin ran a real estate company located at 1046 East Long Street and sold the house to Naamon and Rachel Person through a land contract on October 9, 1964. The property transferred to the Persons in August 1971 when they satisfied the contract.

Naamon R. Person was born in North Carolina on September 24, 1917, son of Eben and Sallie M. Person. He married Rachel Elizabeth Morgan. Rachel was born August 24, 1924. I believe they had at least two sons, Joseph E. and Naamon, Jr. Joseph died in a motorcycle accident on I-71 in late August 1984.

A Columbus Dispatch article of September 17, 1971 says, "Howard L. Walker, 23, of 1411 E. Livingston Ave., charged with burglarizing the Joseph Person home at 1616 Hawthorne Ave.; His bond is set at $2,000 and he remains in custody" (p. 2A)

Naamon and Rachel died in Columbus; Naamon on November 8, 1988, Rachel on February 19, 1996.

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