Journey to the Past: Touring Columbus, Ohio

On Saturday, my dear aunt drove me to the various houses she knew about in Columbus, Ohio. We drove past the house on Gates Street. I fondly remember this house from the times I visited my Grannie. The house isn't as pink as I remember it being on the outside; however, the home is in good shape. The neighborhood around it, not so much. We drove by what should have been Long's Pharmacy, it is no longer. We drove past what was once Sherman Lewis Brown's auto shop at 1888 Parson's Avenue. It is no longer. We drove past the house on Reeb Avenue. The area of Reeb, is in terrible condition. So sad. When my family lived there in the 1920s, I believe it was a small suburb of Columbus but that people cared about these houses. Since that time, the area has gone into great decline and the houses look awful. My aunt looked up Medill Street, but it no longer exists. 

We drove past the house on Stewart Avenue in German Village. What a nice surprise. The entire neighborhood is so well kept. What I didn't realize was just how close my Grandmother lived to Schiller Park growing up. Now the stories made sense.

My aunt concluded that a man walking to his car lived in the Stewart house and asked him about it. He said he did. My aunt said it was the home of her mother and she was so happy to see it so well cared for. The man was deeply touched and shared that they'd lived there since 1983 and loved the house. Aww... such a touching story.

About this time, I wasn't feeling good and mentioned this to my aunt. She told me I had the motion sickness stomach of my Grannie. Seriously? It's cool to know that we have that connection, but there are so many other things I'd prefer to have in common with someone. Not my car sickness.

In any case, we finished the driving tour by going to Ohio State University. I had hoped to go past the hospital where my mother used to work, but the hospital complex looks like a small city. We opted to go to the Ohio State University stadium. Ohio State football is a huge thing to my father. Apparently, living in Texas he couldn't get the games. So, he'd have my aunt record the games and send copies to him. How funny. Plus, my Great-Grandfather R. Victor Zumstein was a professor at Ohio. He was a professor at Michigan before going to Ohio. The story goes that he had a hard time knowing which side of the football stadium to sit on during the Michigan-Ohio State games. So he concluded that he'd sit on the Michigan side until he taught at Ohio as long as he had at Michigan. He hadn't been at Michigan long, so that was concluded quickly and he was a fan of the school he taught at. It seemed fitting to stand there as my journey had finally come full circle.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.


  1. I recently took a couple of short trips and revisited homes, etc. It is such a sad feeling when they are in such disrepair. I wanted to go up to the door of my husband's gggrandfather's house (which still looked good) - but he wasn't on board. I'm doing it next time! (kathy at

    1. It is said when they look terrible. It's also sad when you can't even find where it stood. But it sure is fun trying to find the places.

      Good luck with going up to the door of the house. I wouldn't do it. But I love to read about people who do.


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