Columbus Grove, Ohio
Your Subtitle text
                              History of Columbus Grove

           The History of Columbus Grove
                    Originally published in THE GROVE GUIDE                  
                                          Used with  permission , Copyright 2004-2012, Steve Wynn

Columbus Grove: The Early Years


Like many towns, Columbus Grove has a history with connections to the native American population. The area where we are located was the site of a large grove of sugar maple trees. In nearby Ottawa, the Ottawa Indians had a village called Tauwa. From there they made an annual trip to the sugar grove, set up a temporary village and harvested the sap from these sugar maple trees for the production of sugar.


           The Treaty of the Rapids of the Maumee River in 1817 resulted in the removal of the last of the Ottawa Indians from the Tauwa Village in the  early 1830’s  and the beginning of the village of Columbus Grove.


In 1832 William Turner and Elias Featheringill came from Groveport, near Columbus, and settled in what is now Pleasant Township.


In 1833 the land owned by the Ottawa Indians was sold by the United States Land Office in Wapakoneta and signaled the exit of the Native American population from Putnam County.


In 1834 Pleasant Township was organized with J.B. Bogart, William Turner and John Feathringill as the first trustees.


The first established church in the area was established in 1836 when the Truro Church, (First Presbyterian) was established near what is now the Truro Cemetery. Soon the area saw the founding of The Methodist Church, The Pleasant Grove Christian Church, (later known as the United Church of Christ), St. John’s Evangelical United Brethren, and St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.  


In 1842 the village of Columbus Grove was laid out by Captain Frederick Fruchey.


In 1864 the village was incorporated by John J. Baker and others. Since Captain Fruchey and most of the early settlers came from near Columbus, Ohio and because the village was located on ground that had once been a large sugar grove, it was only natural that Columbus Grove was the name chosen for the new village.


The first mayor of Columbus Grove, elected in 1863, was David Jones, who was the owner of a saddle and harness business. For twenty-five years he was either the Mayor or the Justice of the Peace.  In 1874 David Jones built a house on West Sycamore which later became the home of the Sisters of St. Anthony’s Church.


In 1870, Theodore Kunneke constructed the first brick residence on the northeast corner of East Sycamore and North Broadway. In 1973 he constructed the first brick business block on the northeast corner of High and Sycamore.


J.F Jones come to Columbus Grove in 1875 and quickly became associated with the educational interests of the area and became the first school superintendent.  In 1878, the first class graduated. These were C.H. Jones, Reno Sprague, and Mrs. John Kunneke. Along with his sons and twenty-five to thirty employees, and the abundant supply of native hickory, they manufactured 10,000 dozen axe handles a year, and also shipped hickory to several other handle manufacturers in Ohio. Several other ax handle manufacturers were also located in Columbus Grove. Thus Columbus Grove earned the nickname of “Ax-handle Junction.”


In 1883, A.H. Day, who had come to Columbus Grove in 1861, and opened a mercantile business on the northwest corner of High and Sycamore, began building the “Day Block” which was noted for the Day Opera House. He also constructed the “Grove House”, a fashionable hotel, on the northeast corner of Sycamore and Plum. The Day Opera House became the center of all cultural phases of Columbus Grove. It was here that school plays, musicals, and graduations were held.


 In the 1920’s and 1930’s the Parker Sanitarium was an attraction for people from all over the United States who came to Columbus Grove to take mineral baths and have Isaac Fullerton diagnose their ills. It is said that Fullerton was the seventh son of a seventh son and could diagnose any illnesses by looking at your hands or feet.


In the early 1930’s a group of Columbus Grove Residents went door to door collecting nickels, dimes and quarters. There goal was to raise enough money to buy a financially troubled quarry. Once done, they traveled to Columbus, where they obtained the funding for the labor to construct a pool under a WPA project.  Local residents continued to donate money for the material and on July 1, 1937 the Columbus Grove Pool opened. Constructed of flagstone, the pool resembled a castle. It was later placed on Ohio Magazine’s List of Ohio’s Ten Most Beautiful Pools, placed on the Ohio Historical Society’s list of Historical Places and recently placed on the Nation Register of Historic Places.  In 2004 the pool reopened after a major reconstruction project, financed by a levy passed by the residents. The general appearance of the buildings was retained, with the construction emphasis on the pool itself.


In 1859 The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad became the first railroad to run through Columbus Grove. In 1902 the addition of a streetcar service that ran into Lima was established. Besides the B&O Railroad, future years saw names such as Detroit, Toledo and Ironton, and the Akron, Canton and Youngstown, formerly known as the Pittsburg, Akron and Western railroads pass through town.   


          Columbus Grove Today


Columbus Grove is the third largest town in Putman County and is located in the southeastern corner of Pleasant Township on the southern edge of Putnam County. It is centrally located to several major highways. State Routes 65 and 12 pass through Columbus Grove,  Interstate 75 is about 12 minutes east,  U.S. 30 is about 6 minutes to the south and US 224 is ten minutes to the north. Columbus Grove is located about fifteen minutes from Lima, thirty minutes from Findlay and a little more than an hour from Toledo. 


            Occupying approximately one square mile of land, it sits at an average elevation of about 773 feet above sea level.


            Almost everything you need is available in Columbus Grove, sold by a diverse assortment of businesses. You don’t have to leave town for very much. In the Columbus Grove area, there are over one hundred businesses offering their services, with a willingness to work together for the betterment of the community.  There is a branch of the Putnam County Library, a post office, physician, dentists, lawyers, police, fire, and EMS protection.The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are developing tomorrow’s leaders.


            According to the U.S. Census Bureau the The Village of Columbus Grove currently is home to approximately 2,118 residents with women slightly outnumbering men. The workforce in the Columbus Grove area is eager and skilled group of craftsman, a work ethic passed down through the generations. 


Columbus Grove has two industrial parks. Both are located on SR65, one north and one south of town. The Southside Industrial Park located on SR65, is already occupied by several businesses, with room for more.  The Northside Industrial Park also located on SR65 is now  the site of an automotive supplier who in 2004 signed papers and broke ground for the 150,000 square foot parts stamping plant. Just south of the stamping plant is a new drive in branch of The Union Bank and a Subway Restaurant.