History

Schumacher Place takes its name from a prominent local family, the Schumachers, who in the 1800s owned and operated a dairy business in this area. Their main barn, used for milking the cows, was located where the Sycamore Condos are now situated. Most of the grazing grounds were in the southeast quadrant of what is now Schumacher Place. Typically, they were from Sycamore Street down to Whittier Street. In the 1800s, Livingston Avenue was a main arterial to the center of Columbus. Most of the farm produce grown in the area was transported via Livingston Avenue, then known by a different name, to the various farm markets in town. The Brewery District as it is now referred to, was thriving. Many large breweries lined Front Street. Schumacher Place was also home to many businesses and manufacturing companies. There were several tanners making supplies for the buggy industry that was located in Columbus. For a long time, the Buggy Works, located near the former State Penitentiary, now Nationwide Arena, was the largest producer of buggies and carriages in the United States. Some of the small businesses here in this area supplied leather hitches and other items for the buggies and carriages which were being made in Columbus. There were also several cigar shops that took Ohio-grown tobacco and produced cigars and chewing plugs. Several produce merchants were also in the area. They would load up their carriages before dawn and distribute produce items throughout the city. There were also several bakeries supplying bread to the community.

The Schumacher family relied heavily on its dairy business, but a large portion of its trade included beef- and pork-related foods. The corner of Lathrop and Kossuth was home to a major slaughter yard. Cattle, pigs, and even horses were brought there to be slaughtered. The cattle and pigs were slaughtered for their meat and the horses for their hides and for fertilizer. The location is now home to the Schmidthoff Condos. Across the street was a large butcher company. The cutting of meat and making of sausage, to supply the palettes of the German immigrants, was a thriving business. This is now the home of the original Schmidt’s restaurant. The Schmidt’s were a prominent family in Columbus. The area around the slaughterhouse was deemed undesirable, largely because of the smell. Not many houses were built there until early in this century. The field that was across the street, where the Giant Eagle grocery store is now located, was known as the “Recy.” It was home to the first professional baseball team. There were known as the Columbus Generals. During the day, children in the area played baseball in the field. There are stories of their play being halted during a “cattle drive” down Kossuth because of an errant pig or hog getting loose and running around the outfield. Horses that were being used in the drive to the slaughterhouse then would have to come out onto the field in an attempt to corral the loose animals.

Most the of area we now know as the south side of Columbus was pasture land, dotted with an occasional home, with most being built in the late 1800s and beyond. The most active area for business in Columbus at the time was the Brewery District. Not only was the beer-making business thriving, but the area was also home to many other types of business. The Buchsieb family owned and operated a major fertilizer company in the building that is now home to upscale condos. Dead horses and other dead animals were brought there for processing into fertilizer. Many of the men in Schumacher Place worked in the various businesses in the Brewery District. The children of the area would listen for a loud whistle that was located in the Brewery District which was sounded at the beginning and ending of each shift of work. This would let the wives know when the men were coming home for lunch or dinner. The young boys in the community were sometimes sent running to the back door of the various breweries to “Chase the Nickel.” This was the act of running to the brewery back door with a small bucket and standing outside, because they were not allowed inside due to their age, to buy a portion of cold beer. They would then run back to their home, careful not to spill any beer. Large amounts of beer were brewed in this area and shipped off to other areas in the state. The two largest breweries were Hoster Brewery and the Gambrenis Brewery, which has now been revived as a microbrewery, owned by one of the top historians of the area, Brew Master David Foster. The Hoster name has also resurfaced as a microbrewery and restaurant.

Many of the streets in the area have taken their names from prominent families and other factors. Sycamore Street is named after the abundance of Sycamore trees in the area. The first street to unfortunately be paved over was Forest Street. The children in the area flocked to the street to roller skate. It became a novelty. The oldest homes in the area are obviously on the northern streets. Prohibition obviously had a great impact on the vitality of the Brewery District and the economy of the whole area. Some of the brewery buildings were used for other business purposes. In later years, one of the buildings was used for one of the first television broadcasts in central Ohio. Professional wrestling and a variety talent show were some of the events broadcast from the venue. As the times change, some of the Schumacher family property was sold off for new homes to be built. Many of the homes built into the 1900s were still equipped with outdoor toilet facilities. It wasn’t until the early part of last century that many of the streets were paved with the brick pavers. They had remained dirt streets until the pavers were installed. Sidewalks would come much later in 1900s. Beginning in the twenties, much of the farming business was moving further away from the city. More and more people were able to enjoy the use of automobiles and trucks. A wealthy man in town had just returned from a stay in Europe and one day took a then long ride in a carriage to an area located in the “country.” He liked the setting so much that he decided to develop an upscale community for some of the wealthier business people and merchants in the area. He named it Upper Arlington. He gave all the streets names from places he had visited in Europe. After the effects of the depression and prohibition, not much was going on in the Brewery District. Many businesses still remained here in Schumacher Place, but many of the younger generation were moving to new communities further away. Clintonville was becoming a popular place and the city as a whole was changing. The forties into the early sixties were not good for this part of town. Business was gone and many once-proud homes had fallen into disrepair and neglect. In the mid-sixties with the city of Columbus pondering demolition of the entire area for factories and large manufacturing, Frank Fetch and a handful of others began their relentless effort to save the small houses indigenous to the area.