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

 

It was during this decade that the last important annexation took place, the Minerva Park Civic Association was organized and the Rose and Garden Club ceased to exist.

The Squaw Squad members wasted little time in earning an enviable reputation for their achievements. They won second place in the state meet in 1971 when they competed as the only all-female team against fire department teams throughout Ohio! In February 1971, they won a trophy from the Ohio First Aid and Rescue Association.

The 1971 emergency squad instructor was Louis Sanford. By June 1972, 21 women had been professionally trained for assignments that included heavy lifting. The women bought their own uniforms. To help raise funds for the fire division/ emergency squad, a door-to-door fruitcake and candy campaign was undertaken in December 1973. It proved to be a fine money raiser, as were spaghetti dinners.

Fire Chief William Carpenter resigned in March 1974. One of his best ideas had been the training of women. Their squad won first place in February 1974 at the quarterly meeting in Frazeysburg, Ohio.

Some of the Park's youngsters organized a Youth team. It won top honors on August 30, 1974 in the Youth Division of the International Rescue & First Aid Association competition held in Toronto, Canada! It was an outgrowth of the PTA-sponsored Boy Scout Troop #423 that was formed two years earlier. The boys earned $300 for that momentous event by washing cars and mowing lawns.

 

 

 

Members of Minerva Park's "Squaw Squad" were honored guests during one of the community's annual parades. The squad won a statewide competition in 1974

 

Gordon Taynor succeeded Carpenter as fire chief. He assumed the duties of emergency squad supervisor with Fosselman assisting him. The Village in 1975 renewed its S year fire contract with the City of Columbus. The annual Spaghetti Dinner was staged at Westerville High School, adults paying $2.95 and children $1.75 per ticket. In September the 1968 squad vehicle was sold to the Amanda Township Fire Department.

Various trophies and other awards were displayed in 1976 in a trophy case which Chief Taynor had requested. Paid for by the Women's Club, it had been skillfully built of mahogany by Mel Hicks. Nozzles and other equipment were also displayed inside the case.

The squad room was renovated during 1977 in time for the September open house. Beginning in October, Jo Ann Fosselman was the instructor for an American Red Cross course. Donations totaling $350 were received in May 1978 toward a new resuscitator, bag mask set, two cases, new blankets and other items.

Throughout the 1970s, the Squaw Squad members experienced a number of memorable incidents. Helen Lakin recalls being the "Captain of the day" when she and others were summoned to a home where a Park resident had been murdered. Three members were called to the Little Turtle subdivision to respond to a person who had a cue stick through the side of his neck and face. A peculiar run was the one made to an address where the "emergency" concerned a dead bird.

Jane Busellato delivered a baby which promptly "kerchooed." These and similar incidents helped to make emergency runs anything but dull. During the first 22 years, the emergency squad made 3,900 runs. Covering a 15-square mile area, most runs were in either Minerva Park or Westerville's Huber Ridge subdivision.

Rather than purchasing radar equipment, Village Council opted for VASCAR in August 1970. The Park was attempting to be as modern as possible in its police methods. The village's first full-time policeman, Richard Jenkinson, was hired in September at a starting salary of $550 per month.

Of significance to the Village was the establishment in September 1970 of the Auxiliary Unit. Members received only $1 per year after being trained by Thurman Clark of the Westerville Police Department. Classes were conducted in Sunbury. Among the first students were Tom Behnke, Jim Leeke, Vic Segovia and Marv Speck.

In April 1971, an ordinance was passed that stated the chief did not have to live in the Village. A 1970 Plymouth police cruiser was purchased in the spring of 1971 at a cost of $2,900. Toward the end of 1973, the chief's salary was increased to $750 per month. A new Plymouth cruiser was purchased in 1974.

Dick Jenkinson resigned in November 1974 as chief. His successor a few months later was Robert Andrus. Action was taken in April 1975 for the Park's policemen to sport uniforms similar to those worn by Blendon Township and Franklin County sheriffs personnel.

In May, Minerva Park agreed to relay all county police calls to its own personnel. In 1977, village Council passed an ordinance authorizing the Park to contract with Columbus for the service of its Police Crime Lab.

A 1977 Plymouth patrol car was purchased in 1978. Part of the patrol was assigned evening walk duty; this was an effort for the personnel to become better acquainted with the residents.

ABC Cleaning Service began hauling trash and garbage the first month of 1975. That firm was succeeded two years later by King Trucking at $1,000 plus the usual extra considerations. Poor service led to the hiring of the Peterson Refuse Co. in January 1978 at $2.30 per hour; that amounted to $1,265 per month.

It was in February 1973 that the Jordan Road areas were annexed, this constituting the last major addition to the Park

The Village gained its sixth mayor, Marv Speck, on January 1, 1976. Desiring a cabinet for his office, he asked Mel Hicks to perform the professional job; sliding doors and mahogany wood were used. On January 1, 1977, the positions of vice-treasurer and secretary were merged.

This decade began in a rough manner for the schools. The November 1970 levy was rejected by only sixty votes. The voters did pass the $3,370,000 levy the following year. The old Minerva Park School closed during the 1973-1974 year, but it reopened for the 1975-1976 year. The school board, at its April 1, 1976 meeting, took action to close Minerva Park as well as two other schools effective September 1, 1976.

In May 1978 the old school was sold to Columbus Children's College for $70,000.

In July 1971, Council discussed problems that might arise if the 234-unit Ivywood Apartments were to become a reality. Located west of Cleveland Avenue, the apartments were developed by the Deffet Companies. The federally-funded moderate income complex had its groundbreaking ceremony on May 1, 1972. Roy Wilkins, executive director of the NAACP, was the chief speaker. Although projected as a two phase undertaking, Ivywood never proceeded with the second phase. It continues to have 124 apartments.

 


Marv Speck shown here riding in a 4th of July parade, became the village's sixth mayor on January 1,1976.

A major concern some Minerva Park residents had with the proposed project was possible flooding onto Park land. Residents had every reason to be concerned! From the north, water had gone over Minerva Lake Road between the two lakes in 1967. For several years, the Park had received considerable run-off from Forest Park East's storm water. Minerva Park took the case to court but lost its appeal.

The Ivywood situation was one of the chief reasons that a group of residents founded the Minerva Park Civic Association. It was founded in July 1971. The organization wasted little time demonstrating that it would become an important part of the community. Among its purposes was "to protect the Park lands and waters from adverse activities and pollution." Its first president was Richard Paugh, a champion of ecology matters.

Some residents felt there were far too many local garage sales, and that those activities should be consolidated into one big annual event conducted by the newly-created organization. Its 1974 Garage Sale grossed in excess of $2,300. More than $600 was donated to the Emergency Squad.

With 25 residences participating and an estimated 3,000 visitors, it proved to be a huge success. Its chairman was Tom Dlusky. The 1975 Garage Sale made $4,000 with $400 being donated to the Emergency Squad.

The organization's monthly newsletter, The Villager, published its first issue in December 1973. It was to be printed monthly on an experimental basis. Its logo included a tree and wooden fence. The founding editor was Donna Bond; she was succeeded by Pete Hutton in April 1975. The newsletter's first ads appeared in the October 1974 edition.

The May 1976 issue inaugurated a feature called "Letters to the Editor." Bob Bebber accepted the editorship in February 1979. He was succeeded by Dorthie Baltzer in November. The artist as of April 1979 was young Mark Carr.

The Minerva Park Civic Association Outstanding Citizen Award was inaugurated in 1977 with Jim Fischer its first recipient. Richard Busick was so honored the following year and Jo Ann Fosselman in 1979. During this decade, the Park had its first representative serving on the Northland Community Council. Al Renzetti and several other businessmen in 1973 reproduced Charles Johnson's historic map of Minerva Park.

The Swim Club in 1970 inaugurated a special pass privilege under certain conditions. The opening day family dinner showed a profit of about $250. A volleyball court was added. The July 24 Las Vegas night was limited to adults, who enjoyed free beer and soft drinks after making a $1.50 donation per person.

There were 158 bondholders for 1971; the 81 non-bondholders brought the total to 239. The July 22, 1972 wine tasting party was quite a success. In addition to the wine, there was a choice of cheeses, meat and bread sticks. A one and one-half hour lecture was given on wines. O'Brien's U.S. Olympic Diving Team was scheduled to give an exhibition. Dancing was to the music of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

The Swim Club board voted in February 1973 to lower pool rates. This meant $55 per family, $35 for married couples and $25 for single memberships. In March, the proposed contract with the Village to buy the pool and lease it back to the Swim Club was rejected by Council. The fence at the northeast corner was moved in by 10 feet. The February 10, 1974 board minutes reveal the Village now owned the pool land. All members must own at least one $100 bond to be eligible for membership. The usual spring pool preparation came off well; three Boy Scouts gave some assistance to hard-working Bob Jackson.

A "Summerfest" party was held at the pool on July 13. The Swim Club once again sponsored several evening adult swims at fifty cents per person. Old-time movies and cartoons were shown on August 9 & 23 at no charge.

The 1974 income exceeded expenses by more than $3,000. Ron O'Brien's last year to conduct his classes at the Minerva Park Swimming Pool was 1974; he moved his school to Alabama. His diving boards were purchased for use at the pool by Stan Randall's Diving School. 1975 membership fees were again changed. Single membership cost $40; married couples paid $45 and an entire family $70.

The July 30, 1976 TGIF Party was a huge success. Swimming, a picnic and dancing were enjoyed by many persons. Bob Jackson has said the 1776 U. S. flag was painted on the bottom of the shallow pool, but few people recognized it. The first annual Corn Roast was staged in 1976.

The following year saw a dramatic change in membership requirements. An initiation fee was required but owning a bond was no longer a requirement. Outsiders could now join, although their membership was carefully evaluated.

By early summer, there were 849 pool members. During the autumn season, Jack Neary was sponsored by the Civic Association to paint the fence. The Civic Association held its "Bob Jackson Day" during the summer of 1978. The Corn Roast, always a success, was held in August. Besides delicious ears of corn, there was roast beef and/or brats; card playing added to the festivities.

Park residents enthusiastically participated in the Fourth of July celebration during the 1976 Bicentennial year. The general chairmen for the festivities were Tom and Pat Davis. That year's theme was "You've Come a Long Way, Uncle Sam."

The community gave strong support to the various Bicentennial activities. Chairman Richard Paugh and his committee pulled out all of the stops to make certain that residents and their guests would join the nation in celebrating its 200th anniversary.

Of lasting importance was the 1976 souvenir booklet, A History of Minerva Park, USA Under the extremely capable chairmanship of Jeri Wunderle, the information was researched by Cheryl Kight. Karen P. Schumer wrote the text, an overview of the Park. The colorful cover was the work of Paul Fletcher, one of the Park's premier artists. Jack Wunderle provided the map. Jeff White and Cheryl Kight corralled excellent photographs and illustrations to enrich its pages. Scores of residents cherish their copy of the booklet.

Dee Young coordinated the mail box decoration contest, which had many entrants. A mail carrier did the judging. First place was won by John and Barbara Cxokmay of 2761 Wildwood. Second place went to Mathew and Thelma Murtha of 2872 North Lake Court. Russell and Thelma Rankin of 2331 Minerva Lake Road came in third. Many of the Park's fireplugs were painted as one more reminder of the nation's celebration.

 

 

 

 

This parade float's "Statue of Liberty" theme is a good example of thepatriotic fervor that Park residents exhibited during the 1976 Bicentennial celebration

 

The Committee had wanted to restore the landmark amphitheater next to the dam and use its stage for a variety of programs. This project was not pursued when it became apparent golfers would be distracted by the noise.

Another idea blossomed. The Little Theatre was constructed beside the big lake and directly behind the Community Building. Weekly programs were staged there. Al Franco was praised by Village Council members for his splendid efforts in constructing it. Jack Neary painted both the stage and the bleachers.

Entertainment adjacent to the Lake included the Worthington Civic Ballet, the North American Rockwell "German Band," and Minerva Park's own Western Square Dancers. Part of the profit from the sale of the 1976 booklet helped to finance the Little Theatre shows; entertainment throughout the summer was free to everyone. The nearby ducks added to the festive atmosphere.

The flag pole in front of the Community Building had its foundation rebuilt before the time capsule was deposited in its base on July 3,1977.

An important part of the celebration was the Minerva Park Arts & Crafts Colonial Days Festival on May 16, 1976. Sponsored by the Women's Club, residents were encouraged to wear 1776-style clothing. Crafts included chair weaving, spinning, quilting and hand-dipped candlemaking. Girl Scout Troop #903 and its leader, Glenda Dailey, demonstrated how to make butter.

The festival's Boston Tea Party was held inside the Community Building. Boy Scout Troop #423, under its leader, John Green, helped with traffic duties as did the Horizon Girls under the supervision of Peg Dlusky. The General Chained of the highly successful festival was Jeanie McKenzie; she was assisted by Jeri Wunderle, Peg Dlusky, Glenda Dailey, Al Franco, Madge Stehmeyer, Ross Cornell and Peg Yoakam.

Of lasting value to the Village was the construction by Civic Association members of the entrance pillars at both Jordan Road and Ponderosa Drive.

During this decade, the Women's Club made numerous contributions toward worthy causes. It bought the trophy case for the Community Building as well as providing a screen for the audio-visual productions held inside the building. The club in 1975 donated $800 toward the purchase of the emergency squad vehicle. Its Style Show that year was a success.

It donated wooden drapery rings for the meeting room. Hemming the draperies were Peg Dlusky, Ina Maher, Sylvia Moore, Ann Morris and Patty Yoakam.

The Women's Club published a 94-page cookbook during 1973-1974. Mary Beth Haugen, Dee Miller, Lee Friedel and Jean Jones played important roles in its production. The club celebrated on May 5, 1974 its 15th annual Tea and Tour of Homes & Gardens. A flower was placed on the door of each participating home; a ribbon was attached to the mailbox.

Club members in 1975 signed a petition concerning the fact there was no traffic control device at the Cleveland Avenue entrance to the Park. Members rebuilt a bench and placed it at the end of Alder-Vista. It cost the club $850 to provide the sign-bulletin board located on the north edge of the Community Building site. Installing it were Bill Carpenter, Bill Lang, Jim Haher and Ted Parke.

In the autumn, Madge Stehmeyer organized a mixed doubles bowling team. There were 12 teams with four couples on each team. The league had been started before during the previous decade. Bowling took place at the Westerville Lanes. Later, the entertainment shifted to the Amos Lanes and even later to the Columbus Square Bowling Palace.

Donated in January 1977 to the meeting room of the Community Building were United States and Ohio flags, plus the necessary standards. Members of Boy Scout Troop #847 formally accepted the gifts on behalf of the Village Council. The Club sponsored the 1977 Sunrise Service at the Little Theatre on Memorial Day; a continental breakfast followed the service. In late 1977, the club sponsored a new residents' "Welcome and Information Guide."

Throughout this decade, the Women's Club took an active part in Beggars' Night, Christmas Caroling, Christmas Bazaar, Easter Egg Hunt,

Halloween, Scavenger Hunt and Earth Day activities. The club published a splendid community directory each year.

Gid Mussio did a great job as Santa Claus each year of this decade. The 1975 event involved 13 stops with Santa sitting inside the Community Building where he listened to requests. Westerville North High School provided a fine singing group.

A reception was held on November 16, 1975 for Hugo Wenzel in appreciation of his two years as a councilman and 16 consecutive years as mayor.

A new neighbor arrived in the Village in 1977 when the nursing homeMinerva Park Placeacquired the rental structure at 5460 Cleveland Avenue. It would soon offer both skilled and intermediate care services.

The Women's Club and the Civic Association Jointly sponsored "A Night With Marv" on September 12, 1979. The 5-act travesty of Village problems was staged at Hawthorne School. It was a clever way to have Mayor Speck explain actions taken by he and the Council. It gave residents a fine opportunity, during act 1V, to ask questions.

During the latter years of this decade and on into the 1980s, several residents took an active part in scouting. Vic Ricks was a scoutmaster. Ned Eller, Audrienne Brown, Chuck Stenger, Dave Thompson and Mark Taylor for several years were assistant scoutmasters.

Mary Yost drew up the plans in 1975 for landscaping around the Community Building. Several volunteers from the Rose & Garden Club also performed well in May as they helped clean up the park lands and areas around both lakes.

Monthly meetings continued to "provide helpful hints for landscaping and gardening." The annual Earth Day event was one of the significant activities undertaken by the volunteer group.

The Rose & Garden Club came to its end with the March 16, 1979 meeting. It had performed well for not only its own members but for the Village during its 25 years of service. Its ending balance of nearly $110 was donated to the Emergency Squad.

During this decade, a playground was developed along the east side of Maplewood Drive and partially on golf course land. Dick Busick helped Dick Rano, Westerville's Director of Parks & Recreation, in the designing of the facility; its sponsor was the Civic Association.


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