All posts for the month November, 2013

Escape from Grandview’s skull island*

Published November 21, 2013 by justicewg

*Not really an escape story, more of an exploration. Not Grandview’s island, this small isolated piece of Columbus is a peninsula at best. No skulls were found, but no other name has been proposed for this part of town.

My buddy Eddie Urbex recently posted this story on his private blog, with his permission I’m re-posting it here.

Escape from Grandview’s skull island

I’ve been keeping my eyes on a prime new area for exploration. I spent months of watching for patterns in the workers day jobs and the patrols by the cops. I figured out the best time to start my next adventure. It worked pretty well, no one caught me.

first bridge

This is the approach to the new bike bridge on the Scioto trail. Traffic coming off 670 west on the Grandview exit will have a full view of you on the way up and crossing the bridge. I did some crouching and made it up and over OK.

view first bridge

Really big bridge. I think it is this size so that emergency vehicles can drive over it.


The riverside is so choked with trees and bushes that there is no good way down to the water. This is what stopped me in previous attempts to paddle a boat over to explore. Might be another opening around the bend but I just saw lots of trees.


View of island with downtown is background. It has a mixture of stony areas, some grass, scrub brush and trees. Not a full on bushwhack but not easy to explore.

view bridgetop

Looks like they scraped back the area near the path and seeded it. I bet those poles will hold up a high fence. No big problem for urbexers but I hate to get hung up on them.

second bridge

The second bridge crosses the scioto near the city water plant. As bike bridges go it is long.

water plant dam

The view from the bridge, above the water plant dam. I’m betting the fences will be high around this area to keep the swimmers away. Every year somebody gets sucked into the washing machine at the base of these low head dams and dies.

Plenty of land up for exploration on this island. Dead men’s chests (and other body parts) are waiting for you if you have the skills.

DO NOT BREAK THE LAW like my buddy Eddie. The bike bridge will be open to the public sometime in December, according to the Columbus Recreation and Parks, Greenways office. There are places to fall and get hurt on the path now – you can wait a few weeks.

(later) It is open! Just in time for the snow to hit.

The new bike path is great, and it will be better if the planned extension along the Scioto up to Griggs Dam is completed (no word on that project). There is a fundamental problem for the residents of Grandview Heights using this bike path though, getting onto the trail is not easy. Geographic constraints mean you are limited to using Grandview Ave. to cross SR33 and there is no bike path on the east side of that street through a high traffic area. I wouldn’t want my kids to use that route when they were young. Even if you can avoid the steep Grandview hill by taking a bypass (like the road down to the pool), you still have to go though the section from Goodale to Watermark. Not fun.


What is Giant Eagle building in Grandview Yard?

Published November 14, 2013 by justicewg
Giant Eagle construction

Giant Eagle construction

Back in April of 2012 the question of what Giant Eagle will build in the section of Grandview Yard that is north of 3rd avenue seemed to be a settled question. NRI told us it would not be a Market District store, similar to the one Upper Arlington. Maybe it would have a Get-Go gas station, but not a Market District.

Brian Ball, a staff reporter for Business First is now saying that the building permits show 90,000 square feet on the main floor and 9,000 square feet on a mezzanine. That is the same size that was reported last year for the main floor, but the large mezzanine suggests something new, maybe a Mini Market District?

Here is some rank speculation based on no inside knowledge. The rapid construction of the Millers Ale House (may be open by this time next week) and the Pizza Cucinova next door on Olentangy has caused a shift in strategy. The old plans for the property around the new Giant Eagle included some restaurants, which may be on hold to avoid a restaurant war. The Giant Eagle will now have the cafeteria style food of the Market District, figuring the fast-casual market segment is filled but aiming lower will have some success.

Giant Eagle is not commenting until the store is ready to open.

(Jan. 23rd, confirmed it’s a Market District store)


The TVN says that a restaurant and German-style beer hall called Hofbrauhaus will be built in the southeast corner of the yard. This is now an empty field in front of the office building and Hyatt Place.

Yea, more development, more tax income for us Grandview residents, but – another restaurant? How many can the area support, after the Millers and the Pizza Cucinova are both completed? The story talks about another office building to be built in the future, we need more of those (plus the retail sales stores that have been so slow to appear).

Indian Mounds on Grandview Avenue

Published November 10, 2013 by justicewg

I’m working on a story about a forgotten piece of land on the edge of Grandview that will soon have a lot of visitors and will become more important. As often happens in the process of digging through the info dump I came up with a different story that is quite interesting.

Franklin co Indian Mounds

In searching old maps of the city I found this 1914 Atlas that showed the reported Indian mounds and other ancient structures in Franklin County. Our county once had dozens of sites, possibly because of the density of Adena habitation, maybe because large number of amateur archeologists who had scoured the county for every possible lump in the land that might be an Indian mound.

Grandview Indian Mounds

This closeup of the area around Grandview shows three mounds. The Shrum Mound on McKinley Ave is the red triangle on the left side of the map. This matches the present location fairly well, maybe the triangle should be a little further south and west. This mound is one of the best preserved in the state, at 20 feet tall with a diameter of 100 feet it is an impressive artifact.


Toepfner mound

The second red triangle is the Toepfner mound on Dublin Road just east of Grandview Avenue. The story of how this mound was threatened with destruction then finally allowed a professional archeological excavation in 1953 has been told in many stories.

That third triangle is the really interesting one. It doesn’t match any commonly known sites. If we were to go by the apparent location on the old map, it would be somewhere in the center of the city to the east of Grandview Avenue.

In 2005 Tom DeMaria wrote a story for the Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Historical Society in which he researched the history of this third mound. He found a Grandview resident who remembered the mound, which had been located where the city fire department now stands. Unlike the Toepfner mound this one had only been excavated by a local amateur.

“The mound on the municipal building site was described by Rodgers as being smaller than the Toepfner mound and about ten feet in height and possibly sixty-five feet in diameter at the base. Mr. Pope exhumed from the upper levels of the mound five skeletons that “were placed in a sitting position.”Our current understanding suggests that the use of this presumed Adena mound as a mortuary was highly unusual.”

The municipal building was subsequently built on the site in 1924. Nothing was mentioned about how the mound was treated in the construction, at that time it would have been considered acceptable to bulldoze the remainder of the mound and place the building on top. Given the lack of Poltergeist stories from the city buildings I presume these Native Americans were able to rest in peace.

Low turnout voting day

Published November 5, 2013 by justicewg
  by rob nguyen

by rob nguyen

I voted a little before noon and was alone (except for some very bored poll workers) at my precinct. I have never seen that before.

Not sure how that will effect voting. The motivated will win, but who is motivated?

One last comment about Jesse Truett, then hopefully he can go back into obscurity and I’ll never have to write about him again. Truett argued when I talked to him at the candidate night that “The voters will decide if I should have ran for the board”. That is true now, but when he signed the paperwork to be on the ballot, he was the ONLY person who wanted his seat on the board. He thought he would be placed on the board without campaigning at all. He didn’t want any confirmation from the voters, he just wanted to be on the board because of the opportunity to get something for nothing. He didn’t want to have the voters decide if a person who has to turn in his teaching license and leave the school in shame should be on the school board.

It is only the most unusual circumstance of Clifford flubbing the paperwork that gives us some other candidates. Please don’t miss this opportunity – you almost didn’t get one!

Wednesday – According to the Dispatch Douglass, Truett, and Evans will be on the board.