Title: Book shows photographic history of Clintonville
Author: Jennifer Nesbitt
From wooden farmhouses built in the early 1800s to mom-and-pop stores in the 1940s and '50s, a new book compiled by Clintonville resident Shirley Hyatt chronicles the history of Clintonville and Beechwold through photographs.
The book, part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series, will be released Jan. 12 and available at Walgreens in Clintonville, Colonial Candy Shoppe and through Borders and Amazon.
To create "Images of America: Clintonville and Beechwold," Hyatt spent the last year sifting through more than 1,000 photographs given to her by community members.
The final result features 200 photographs with captions of 75 words or less detailing the pictures' historical significance. The book features chapters on area homes, churches, schools, the communities, green spaces and more.
"It really helps you envision what it used to be like and what your parents and grandparents went through, how they lived," Hyatt said.
The book outlines some of the area's well-known history, such as that of the Olentangy Park amusement park that existed in the first half of the 20th century and of the horse farm that later became Graceland shopping center, Hyatt said.
But the book also includes the history of some of Clintonville's smaller communities, which Hyatt said she really enjoyed exploring.
"Specific little neighborhoods that were bright and vibrant and core to the whole area that I didn't know about and that I think others don't" were some of the most interesting stories to unfold, Hyatt said.
The hardest part of crafting the book was taking the 1,000-plus photographs and stories people shared and narrowing them down to the space constraints set by the publisher, Hyatt said.
"I had to make a lot of sad decisions," she said. "I had all these anecdotes and pieces of information that I couldn't bear to throw away."
That led Hyatt to take the leftover photographs and stories and create a Web site, www.ClintonvilleHistory.com.
Hyatt said she hopes the Web site will help to supplement the work done by the Clintonville Historical Society, which doesn't have a Web site. The current plan, she said, is to keep collecting photographs and stories to weave into the timeline on the site.
Crafting the book helped Hyatt realize how fragile local histories are. Too easily, she said, those oral histories and photographs disappear as residents pass away or move out of the area.
"Don't throw away photographs. If you have family albums, take them to the historical society. Have your parents name people in photographs," she said. "I've come out of this project feeling you cannot put that off."
Now that Hyatt has finished this book, her first, she doesn't know which project she'll tackle next. But she said she doesn't think this book will be her last.
"The book comes out on Jan. 12, and I have not thought past that," Hyatt said. "I'm still in the Clintonville groove."
In the meantime, Hyatt will attend book signings and presentations on Clintonville history, and will continue to write her regular column on Columbus' history for Angie's List magazine. She also has a piece in an upcoming issue of the Ohio Historical Society's magazine on Cleveland's gardens.
Title: History of Clintonville, Beechwold was long labor of love
Author: Kathleen L. Radcliff
Publisher: The Columbus Local News
For Clintonville resident Shirley Hyatt, her book, Clintonville and Beechwold, might be new off the presses.
The work involved in the research, writing and compiling vintage photographs for her book, however, came out of a love for history and a project she had loved for a long time.
"I was writing a column for "Angie's List" magazine called "Ghosts of Columbus, about buildings that don't exist anymore, complete with a vintage photo and caption," Hyatt said.
When someone suggested the idea for a book about the history of Clintonville and Beechwold, "I thought, 'Boy, I can do that -- it's just 200 times the effort,' " she said.
The result is Clintonville and Beechwold, published by Arcadia Press.
Hyatt already has begun book signings and presentations, including one at Maple Grove United Methodist Church Sunday, Jan. 18. She has others planned during the next few weeks.
Hyatt, a native of Cleveland Heights, earned her master's degrees in library science from Case Western Reserve University and philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor's from John Carroll University.
"I'm not a certified historian, but I love history and make it a point to learn a little bit of history everywhere I go," she said.
Hyatt moved to Columbus in 1980 and her husband has lived in Clintonville since 1980.
"I've lived in Clintonville since 1982, mostly one block south of North Broadway," she said. "I see a lot of similarities between Cleveland Heights and Clintonville," she said, noting a strong allegiance by residents in both areas to their high school and neighborhood.
"In Clintonville there is a real sense of community," she said, noting Cleveland Heights is its own city.
In addition, "If you live on the east side, you tend to stay on the east side, and if you live on the west side, you tend to stay on the west side," she said. "Luckily, that isn't true of Columbus."
Hyatt said the project took approximately one year from start to finish, beginning with sending mass mailings to local residents as well as placing fliers in the neighborhood seeking information and photos.
"The calls started coming in and many of them were people who called somebody, who called somebody else, who called me," she said. "I got to meet so many interesting people, and there were lots of little surprises.
"I did not know I was surrounded by so many descendants of Clintonville's first families, and there were lots of little stories that I just loved," she said.
She specifically referenced stories including the Virginia Gay Home for Aged Women, now the site of Wesley Glen Retirement Community; Graceland Shopping Center's beginnings as a horse farm owned by Maurice Patrick Murnan; and an amusement park named Olentangy Park in the area of Kelso Road and High Street, opened in the late 1800s until 1937.
"I'm not sure what I'm going to do next," Hyatt said regarding a future project. "I haven't had a chance to come up for air."
Even though the hard copy of Clintonville and Beechwold is complete, Hyatt's Web site, clintonvillehistory.com, will be an ongoing project.
"The Web site consists of items I couldn't fit into the book," she said. "I would like to invite people to continue to share their memories and photos.
"I'm sure there are more pictures to scan."
In addition to the Colonial Candy Shoppe, Clintonville and Beechwold is also available at Clintonville Outfitters, 2869 N. High St., Lost Weekend Records, 2960 N. High St., Acorn Book Shop, 1464 W. 5th Ave., Walgreens, 4890 N. High St., as well as at Barnes and Noble, area Border's Bookstores, amazon.com and through Arcadia Publishing at arcadiapublishing.com.
Clintonville's Cover to Cover Books, 3560 N. High St., will be selling the book in the near future, she said.
To contribute to Hyatt's Web site, contact her at 614-263-9952 or at ClintonvilleBook @gmail.com.