A History of Minerva Park, 1895-1992, by Vernon Pack, historian.


During this decade, the large addition to the Community Building was completed, the swimming pool was built, the Civic Association was organized and two important annexations were made. The latter were The Minerva Park North (Slabaugh) Addition in July 1963 and Minerva Park West Addition in December 1965.

As during previous decades, new residents found themselves spending considerable time and effort clearing their property of brambles, briars and thistles. On the brighter side were the edible wild berries of one variety or another.

Many residents took the Emergency and Rescue Squad course in April 1960. Earning certificates were Bill Bates, Norman Bauermeister, Walt Boyd, John Busellato, James Cerqui, Charles Counts, Richard Grand staff, Herm Groezinger, Jim Greiner, James Korus, J. E. Petrie, Robert Pinar, Wilson Raub, Lee Rupp, Harold Shop, Joe Vargo, John Vorse and Bill Zipperlen.

Paul Fletcher recalls he was among the men who stayed all night at the Community Building during the early years when runs were made with the emergency squad car. Each man volunteered for certain days.

Walter Boyd was the fire chief for a brief period. Herm Groezinger succeeded him in February 1962. Harold Hard sold a siren to the Village. Prior to that time, telephones were used in several of the firemen's homes. The "on call" volunteers had their equipment at home. The system required that the spouse stay fairly close to the phone.

In October 1963, the Village Council appointed John Busellato to be the fire chief. The squad car was exhibited the following month at the Columbus Fire Department Training Academy. The Village in June 1964 paid the City of Columbus $600 for a used pumper truck. In order to keep sharp, the emergency squad had by November 1965 expanded its runs beyond the Park's corporation limits. Herm's Model A fire truck left the Village in 1964 when it was sold to Whitehall to be used in that city's parades.

On December 11, 1967, the Village appointed William Carpenter to be fire chief. The first squad boat, made of wood, was removed from service the following month. In 1968 the Village bought a squad vehicle from International Harvester Company; it had the vehicle sent to Schodorf Truck Body & Equipment Co. to be custom-made. Park firemen donated about $58 toward partial payment for the new vehicle; the Women's Club contributed $1,000. The old emergency squad vehicle a Pontiacwas sold to the Cardington Fire Department for $713.00.




The emergency medical service provided to Minerva Park residents expanded greatly in the 1960s, with new equipment and the addition of women to the volunteer fire department.


Certainly one of the Village's outstanding events occurred during 1969-1970. Ordinance #140, passed on April 14, 1969, made it official for women to become volunteer fire department members. The Squaw Squad was inaugurated a month later on May 19 as the first of its kind in Franklin County. The Women's Cub had endorsed a plan of squads of five women with one serving as baby-sitter for those women operating the squad vehicle.

By March 1969, 18 women were well into the 11 -week intensive training course. Their Red Cross instructors were John Busellato and Victor Segovia, Park residents. By May the women were fully qualified to staff the emergency squad vehicle. They had been taught to administer intravenous medication, to take blood samples and to perform other techniques.

Involving women was more than good public relations; more volunteers were needed during the daytime when so many of the men worked outside the Park. The emergency equipment made 200 runs during 1969; few of the calls were within Minerva Park

A certain degree of modernization came to the police division in 1961 when a special speedometer was purchase for Marshal Charles Counts' car. A siren and beacon light were installed in Raymond Basham's vehicle.

Beginning in 1962, all police personnel were considered to be emergency squad members. The police division by October 1963 could boast several deputy marshals; they included Jacques Petrie, Lee Rupp, Jim Greiner, Herm Groezinger, Carl Romine, Charles Counts, James Korus and John Busellato.

The chief marshal and his two deputies were to patrol in 1964 an average of 30 hours per month. An ordinance passed in May 1965 increased the marshal's pay to $1,050 per year. Deputies' salaries were raised to $840 per month.

Garbage and trash collection in 1961 took place on the second and last Friday of each month. By 1964, Ned Jenkins had the contract at $275 per month. Suburban Hauling was taking care of 430 homes by 1967. Ed Butterfield, its owner, had his fee raised to $499 during the spring of 1969.

In 1962, the Community Building, as it is known today, was added to the 1958 structure of the same name. Rodney McCalla was in charge of the excavation, installing the footers and the laying of blocks. The steel beams had been fabricated by Gid Mussio and Caesar Cacciatore at the business where they were employed.





In 1962, the Community Building, as it is known today, was added to the 1958 structure of the same name at its location on Minerva Lake Road.


Tectum, a special material made from excelsior, lime and cement, was used for the roof; it had to be replaced several years later. Ernie Limes did the plumbing. Harry Hohn, a non-resident of the Park, did the electrical work. Aire-Flo donated the furnace. Larry Hicks and his business partner, Don Wilcox, did most of the finish works which included staining and painting; they had considerable assistance.

Councilman David Cross laid the tile which Councilman Bud Saunders had obtained at a greatly reduced price. Bud also provided the fire-damaged water cooler which Mel Saville repaired. Volunteers cleaned up the facility.

Mayor Wenzel was in charge of the dedication of the new building on September 16, 1962. Municipal Court Judge Horace W. Troop helped to make that a special day in the history of the Park

David Cross deserves the lion's share of credit for the Park's achieving its splendid swimming pool. He called a special organizational meeting for January 23, 1963. The objective of the Minerva Park Swim Club was "to provide clean, healthful swimming and recreation for family and community at a minimum cost." The club was incorporated on March 15. Roy Metz and Gerald Stanley did the legal work gratis. Being a member of the Village Council, Cross had helped a developer, Karl Slabaugh, obtain the land.

Jim Patterson, a nationally known former OSU diver, designed the pool. Fred Wright, a Park resident, designed the cement block building which featured a unique style. Gid Mussio and a friend prepared the steel beams which their boss had donated. The total cost of the pool and the building was about $77,000.




The Minerva Park Swim Club opened its gates in June 1963 and was an immediate success. Its oblective was "to provide clean, healthful swimming and recreation for family and community at a minimum cost." In the background is Hawthorne School, prior to its latest remodeling.

At the May 19 organizational meeting, 55 charter members were in attendance. Membership was limited to 400 families or its equivalent. Elected to 3-year terms as trustees were David Cross, F. A. Wright and Ruth Evans; 2-year trustees were Lee Rupp, Mrs. Beth Erdman and Mrs. Ethel Frohlich. One-year trustees were William Rickley, Harold Black and Emil Malinovsky.

Key people in the Bond solicitation were Mr. Rickley, Mr. Herbert Lakin, Mrs. Ruth Sullivan and Mr. & Mrs. Jack Murray. The Women's Cub made a donation of $100. Myrtle Davis bought $3,000 worth of bonds! By mid-May, there were 131 charter members.

The first officers were elected on May 26. They were David Cross president; Fred Wright vice-president; and Ruth Evans secretary-treasurer. Hired as the pool's first manager and head guard was Bob Jackson who had been employed at the Morningside Pool. Assisting him as guards were Gary Allen, Richard Deemer and Joy Wood. Ernie Limes installed the water line from the pool to the building.

The big day arrived on June 17, 1963 when the facility was formally opened to the public. The two-year dream was now a reality. The $62,000 Z-Shaped pool sat upon a 23 acre tract. Included in the dedication program was the diving show by Jim Patterson and his son.

The first issue bond holders numbered 144 by June 30. The interest of 5% would be paid annually until the bonds were redeemed in 10 years. The bonds were sold by the non-profit corporation. Slabaugh was the big bond holder in as much as he included a bond in many of his home sales.

Ron O'Brien, an OSU and 1960 Olympic alternate diver, conducted his first diving school at the pool in 1964. Harry Moore's son, Tim, earned #1 rank in 1964 at the AAU meet. The Minerva Park native son was a member of the 1976 Olympic diving team.

The turnstile was installed in 1966. It was purchased from Scioto Downs where Lee Rupp was a supervisor. The first Teen Dance was staged on May 28; a live band performed. Operation of the pool showed a net profit of $5,255 that year. The first Dinner-dance was held on July 1, 1967. Due to a poor financial season, the teen dances were temporarily discontinued.

Considerable improvements took place during the spring of 1968. These included the planting of three new trees behind the pool. The Women's Club donated $300 to be spent for trees and shrubs. The Swim Club purchased two folding umbrella tables, five garden umbrellas, one croquet set, one basketball, seven folding lounges, two shuffleboard sets and a new public address system.

Las Vegas Night was held on July 27, 1968 with Jan Emrick being the chairman; that event made a profit of about $400. Co-chairing the first Corn Roast on August 31 were Jim Maher and Jack Wunderle; its profit was $203. By the end of the year, there were 249 Swim Club members.

The May 30, 1969 family dinner featured ham, potato salad, baked beans, ding-dongs, coffee and punch; its profit was about $280. The net income for the Swim Club for 1969 was $8,159 even though memberships were down. Lee Rupp suggested the Village buy the pool.

During this decade, Richard Karl (R. K) Slabaugh Realtors developed the area known as Minerva Park North. About 23 acres had been deeded to the Village on July 15, 1963. Slabaugh's vice-president was a Park resident, Dale Bean. John and "Pat" Raike sold most of the homes in that section of the Park. The four homes that are in Carlton Court were model homes. Some residents are aware that "Carleton" is the correct spelling of Mayor Berry's given name; the current street is misspelled.

"The Alder Vista"-Cape Cod style-was the first in Minerva Park to use DuPont' s tedlar vinyl siding; this fact was mentioned in an issue of Life Magazine. The one and one-half story structure featured a Greek-style fireplace.

An important event took place on April 8, 1963 as the Exempted Village School District became the Westerville City School District. Richard Spradlin succeeded Helen Slack as principal of the two schools in the spring of 1964.

The $1,450,000 bond issue passed in 1966. The money provided 12 additional rooms at Hawthorne; students and teachers began using the new addition in October 1969.


Fall foliage along the shores of Minerva Park lake is one of the seasonal pleasures enjoyed by Park residents.


4-H activities pretty well ended in the mid-1960s. Hazel Grandstaff recalls how she and Ruth Ford had been leaders for eight years. Youngsters enjoyed exhibiting their projects at both the Franklin County and Ohio State Fair.

The July 4, 1961 celebration had an amusing incident. During the afternoon baseball game, Buddy Stehmeyer was overheard to say to his dad, "If you're going to umpire, then do it right." The July 4 celebration included pony rides.

An event the Women's Cub staged on October 24, 1961 was its Fashion Show. Held at the Hawthorne School, it involved many members who modeled clothing in several categories. Melba Pamonte was the event's commentator.

Carleton Berry, the Village's first mayor, presented a historic overview of Minerva Park to the Women's Club on April 23, 1963; men were encouraged to attend the repeat program the following month.

The first Easter Egg Hunt that the Women's Cub sponsored was in 1965. It was held along the east side of Hawthorne School and on toward the abandoned railroad tracks. Camp Fire and Blue Birds helped to dye the eggs during the 1967 hunt. Firemen joined in the fun by hiding 60 dozen eggs.

The Women's Club in 1963 sponsored its "Night in Las Vegas." The dealers were John Corbett, Paul Fletcher, Jim Greiner, Herm Groezinger, Ernie Limes and John Priestas. The following year, the club sponsored Jeri Wunderle for the "Miss America Contest."

An event that many residents will long remember was the 1966 Variety Show, which Paul Fletcher directed at Hawthorne School. He was also emcee for the 13-act show, while his wife, Marty, was the general chairman. Act VII, "Twinkle Toes," featured eight men dressed as women. The program's $500 profit was turned over to the Swim Club.

Throughout this decade, the Women's Cub made significant donations. These included $1,000 toward the Fire Department's new vehicle. A donation of $300 was made to the Swimming Pool's landscaping and shuffleboard equipment in 1968.

Among the earliest Santas were Joe Seryak and Earl Schleutker. Among their assistants were Bett Kackley and Marilyn Groezinger as well as an occasional Girl Scout.

Fine monthly programs were provided for Rose Club members throughout this decade. Certainly one of the most authoritative speakers was Dr. Edward Thomas, a well-known naturalist-writer. His May 21, 1965 slide program was entitled "Outdoor OhioBirds, Wildflowers and Insects."

The organization changed its name on January 21, 1966 to Minerva Park Rose and Garden Club. The club members accepted an ambitious project in March 1968; landscaping the Park's two islands. One is located at East Shore Drive and Minerva Lake Road; the other is situated at Briar Rose and Lakewood Drive. Sarah Miller recalls the enjoyment her children and others had staging their own programs along the pathway adjacent to the dam.

There is no substantiation for the so-called amphitheater having been constructed as part of the Minerva Amusement Park. There is mention of its being considered as part of the new development in the late 1920s. Lee Rupp conducted various Cub and Boy Scout ceremonies on the stage while the audience sat on logs.

He recalls an amusing incident that took place shortly after the volunteer fire department was organized. Dressed in Indian regalia while with his Cub Scout den, he hurried to the fire truck. Spectators along Cleveland Avenue wondered why a fireman was wearing the special headdress!

The unofficial population of the Village had reached about 1,300 in 1962. The incorporated area totaled 236 acres.

Significant dates from this era

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The historical text and photos reproduced here are used with the permission of the author. The graphics contained in this web site were produced by the copyright holder.

Rick Lakin, rlakin@home.com