Tuesday, October 9, 2012

1577 Greenway Avenue - Behmer House

1577 Greenway Avenue in 2010
Lot 69 of Smith's Woodland Park Addition

Lot 69 was purchased by The City Realty Company from the Smiths before 1904. City Realty sold the lot to S. Optimus Holder in 1907.

Samuel Optimus Holder was born October 18, 1882 in Harrison, Tennessee (or October 8, 1882 in Chatanooga), son of John F. and Elizabeth Parham Holder. He married Adelaide "Addie" Behmer on March 13, 1904 in Franklin County. Adelaide was born May 12, 1883 in Shepard, Ohio, daughter of John Frederick and Mary Emily Chandler Behmer.

In the 1906 City Directory, Samuel is listed as a salesman. The Holders are living at 383 Oakland Avenue. In 1907 they are living at 285 Taylor Avenue. In 1908 Samuel is a manager of Columbus Buckeye Tool and Supply Company. The March 11, 1909 issue of The Iron Age (a hardware trade publication) reports, "A new supply company for Columbus, Ohio, is the Holder & Latham Supply Company, which has offices in the McCune Building, that city. A complete line of contractors' and manufacturers' supplies will be handled. The organizers of the company are S.O. Holder and Alva Latham, who were formerly manager and salesman, respectively, for Columbus Buckeye Tool & Supply Company." The McCune Block was located at 51 North High Street, the headquarters of McCune, Lonnis & Griswold, hardware merchants. It was demolished in 1915. Jonas McCune had a very large mansion at 120 Woodland Avenue.

The Holders later lived at 162 and then 42 South Burgess Avenue. Samuel died February 19, 1968 in Upper Arlington. Adelaide died at age 99 on February 15, 1982.

The Holders sold the lot to Adelaide's father, John Behmer in 1908.

John Frederick Behmer was born September 27, 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland, son of Frank and Jessie Thomas(Thompson) Behmer. He married Mary Emily Chandler June 15, 1882. Mary was born July 20, 1860 in Groveport, Ohio, daughter of William and Adelaide Eliza Price/Bruce Chandler. They had six children: Adelaide L. (May 12, 1883), Frederick A. (June 19, 1885-November 1972), William Byron (August 7, 1889-March 16, 1891), Charles C. (1892-March 1, 1982), Helen Louise (November 11, 1893), John Chandler (January 8, 1897-February 27, 1935).

Behmer emigrated to the US about 1864. John is listed in the 1891-2 City Directories as a contractor. In 1891 he is on Gibbard Avenue, east of Cleveland Avenue. 1892 is more specific, on the south side of Gibbard, two houses east of Ninth Avenue. John F. Behmer is listed in the 1900-1913 City Directories as a carpenter. His death certificate lists his occupation as retired contracting carpenter with his specific industry being brick work. He lived near Cumberland and Sylvia Roads, this home does not seem to have been numbered until 1913 when it was listed as 679 Cumberland.

Behmer was more than likely the builder of this brick house  between 1908 and 1912, and while Behmer probably never lived in it, his family ties to the property are indisputable. His daughter Helen did later live in the house for 28 years.

Mary died September 1, 1919. John married three more times after the death of Mary.

On June 19, 1920 he married the widow Nellie Monkhouse. Nellie was born September 6, 1851 in Zanesville, Ohio, daughter of William Lee. Her mother's maiden name was Drumm.

On June 4, 1922 he married the divorced Sarah (nee Grant) Needles. Sarah had been living at 150 S. Princeton Avenue. She was born in Perry County, Ohio on February 11, 1889. He was 62 and she was 33 years old.

On May 29, 1929 he married the widow Permelia Leonhart Hawxhurst. Permelia was born March 2, 1867 in Muskingum County, Ohio, daughter of Frederick and Martha Austin Leonhart. She was living at 199-1/2 Kelton Avenue. On this marriage certificate Permelia's occupation is listed as a nurse.

The 1931 City Directory shows the Behmers living at 395 South Champion Avenue with John working at his own shoe repair business at 366 South Champion.

John's son, John Chandler Behmer was a farmer. He took his own life and hung himself on February 27, 1935 on a hill at the back of his home in Laurelville, Hocking County. It was believed that ill health was the reason.

Frederick A. Behmer was an early Grandview Heights resident and local photographer. The Grandview Heights Marble Cliff Historical Society website says, "Fred A. Behmer started working as a photographer in 1901 when he was 16 years old, working for Baker Art Gallery and later the Columbus Star, a weekly tabloid published by the Wolfe family. His famous work includes photos of Company B of the Ohio National Guard deployed at Camp Willis in what is now Upper Arlington. For over fifty years, Behmer was the staff photographer for Jeffery Manufacturing charged with documenting the company's activities and the service of Jeffrey employees. Behmer was the first photographer to record OSU football away games for publication in the next morning's paper. According to his granddaughter Pat Behmer Preble, he dried the photo plates on a potbelly stove on the return train trip from the game so that they would be ready for the newspaper."

Fred Behmer (left) and an unidentified friend dressed for the annual Grandview Heights Field Day celebration in 1916.

John died at home on April 18, 1938 at his home on South Champion Avenue. He is buried at Greenlawn Cemetery.

The Behmers sold the property October 16, 1912 to John M. Marshall.

John Mitchell Marshall was born April 10, 1868 in Darby Township, Pickaway County, Ohio, son of Edwin M. and Catherine Burchnell Marshall. Marshall had also been a carpenter, and probably was an associate of Behmer at one time. both had worked as car builders. Marshall lived at 223 North 20th Street in 1909 and 362 Wilson Avenue in 1914 and 1915. During this time he was a partner at Marshall Brothers, a real estate and rental firm. Marshall died January 31, 1935 at his home in Bexley.

Marshall sold the property to the Levans in 1913.

Harry Joseph Levans was born May 22, 1880 in Cincinnati, Ohio, son of Joseph and Jennie Bryant Levans. He married Carrie M. Kroninger on April 6, 1904 in Franklin County. Carrie was born March 14, 1882 in Shepard, Ohio, daughter of George and Elizabeth Boanmiller Kroninger.

In the 1920 Census the Levans are living at 1577 and Harry is a steam railroad conductor. The 1921 report of the Interstate Commerce Commission shows that Harry was paid $3,000 for 9 months and 16 days of work as an inspector.

Before 1930 the Levans moved to Dayton, Ohio where they stayed at least through the 1940s. In 1942 Harry was working for the Interstate Commerce Commission. At the time of his death in 1966, Harry and Carrie were living in Logan, Ohio.

Harry died September 9, 1966 in Columbus. Carrie died in Gahanna on January 15, 1971.

On January 3, 1921 the Levans sold the property to Helen Louise Anderson, daughter of the builder, John F. Behmer.

Dr. Carl A. Anderson was born in Columbus on October 11, 1892, son of Swedish parents, August and Mary Anna Boyer Anderson. He married Helen Louise Behmer in Franklin County on September 21, 1916. Helen was born November 11, 1893 in Columbus, daughter of John Franklin and Mary Emily Chandler Behmer.

In the 1920 Census, the Andersons are living at 1413 Hildreth Avenue and the widowed John Behmer is living with them. Anderson is a dentist.

Helen died in Hamilton, Ohio on April 6, 1987.

Anderson sold the house to the Kings on April 30, 1949. The Kings were the first African-American owners of the house.

Roy B. King was born in Kentucky in 1924, son of James and Octavia King. He married Lillian before 1953.

The 1940 Census shows Roy living with his parents in Berea, Kentucky.

The Kings are listed in the 1953 City Directory at 1577. Roy's occupation is listed as USA, which means he was probably in the military.

The Kings have been hard to trace, but they might be the Roy and Lillian Price King who died in Los Angeles, both in 2009. The 1963 sale deed lists their residence as California. This Roy did three stints in the Army (1945-46, 1947-48, and 1949-1953). Perhaps Roy was stationed at Fort Hayes, as their purchase of the house coincides with his enlistment. This Roy was born June 18, 1923 and he died in Los Angeles on December 9, 2009. Lillian was born January 28, 1922 and died in Los Angeles on April 26, 2009.

The Kings sold the house on October 22, 1963 to Bennett Dickerson.

Dickerson was a real estate agent and furniture dealer. Dickerson sold the house a month later, on November 27, 1963 to the Hardens.

Fred Harden was born about February 28, 1897 in Georgia. He married Essie Mae who was born about 1899 in Georgia.

F.E. Avery's Packard Service Station
at 1199 Franklin Avenue.
In 1945 the Hardens were boarders at 1446 Mt. Vernon Avenue. Fred was working as a driver. In 1953 the Hardens lived at 523 Trevitt. Fred was working for the F. E Avery Co. In 1953 Fred was a lot attendant and in 1954 he was a porter.

Frank Elmer Avery owned an automobile dealership and service station located on Franklin Avenue. His shop was the first commercial auto repair garage in the United States - opened in 1899. It later became Avery Pontiac and was purchased by Dave Gill in 1982.

The Model A was the first car manufactured by Ford after the establishment of the company in 1903. The 31st car to drive out of Henry Ford's new factory in 1903 was a 2-cylinder, 2-seater car simply called The Ford, and later to be called the Model A. It was delivered on August 4, 1903 to Mr F. E. Avery of Columbus, Ohio just 160 miles from Detroit, Michigan.

Fred died July 17, 1973. Essie died May 26, 1975 in Columbus.

Essie sold the house on July 19, 1974 to Julia Mae Garrett and Emma L. Lucas who lived at 2101 Woodward Avenue.

Julia Mae Garrett was born about 1927. She married Hayman Jamal Garrett on December 29, 1991 in Franklin County. Hayman was born June 6, 1930. He served in the Air Force from 1946 to 1971. Hayman died on December 3, 2000 in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Emma L. Lucas was born May 27, 1921 in Wilmington, Ohio, daughter of William Henry and Rowena Frisco Lucas. She died on April 15, 1992 and left her half interest in this and several other properties to Julia.

The property was transferred to Julia's name solely on April 28, 1992 and her address at that time was  1113 Lilley Avenue. Julia sold the house to Elizabeth Freeman on May 10, 1993 and on that deed the signatures of Julia and Hayman were notarized in Louisiana.

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