This title is a bit of a teaser because, while the names have been forgotten (or never used!), the open spaces are very much in existence.
Platted and constructed in the early 1890’s, the Bullitt Park Addition (owned by the Columbus Land Association) – both north and south of East Broad – was designed to be a grand, exclusive community, complete with brick curbing, carriage lanes and special, featured park areas.
One such formal lawn space was created north of East Broad Street – a grand rectangle formed by Commonwealth South, Park View Avenue, Commonwealth North and North Drexel called the “Columbus Common”.
This label, “Columbus Common”, had not been used before and represented an opportunity to make a significant civic statement within the newly developing area of Bullitt Park.
However, in the 1890’s, the owners of the Bullitt Park Addition could not have foreseen that future major property owners – who then became civic leaders – would strongly oppose becoming part of the City of Columbus. By joining with the growing community to the south (called the Village of Pleasant Ridge at East Main Street and College Avenue) the Bullitt Park Addition owners could both control and create their own community – achieving this goal in 1908 with the creation of the Village of Bexley.
The City of Columbus sued this upstart Bexley to overturn its formation as a village, but lost the suit. How awkward it would have been to retain the name “Columbus Common”, hence its revised name “Commonwealth Park” – one of Bexley’s most beloved parks.
The Village of Pleasant Ridge to the south (not a legal village, but an improvement association) began platting streets and lots around the 1870’s, while the Bullitt Park Addition (to the north) was platted approximately fifteen years later.
The only problem was that the Bullitt Park plat being built southward from East Broad Street and the Pleasant Ridge plat being built northward from Main Street had different names for the same streets.
Park View Avenue (more on that spelling later) in the Bullitt Park Addition (north) was Wells Street in the Village of Pleasant Ridge (south). Columbia Avenue to the north was Lehman Street to the south.
And Drexel Avenue (north) was Jones Street and Magnolia Street to the south.
The winning name for the street and the circle where it crossed East Broad Street was, of course, Drexel, named after the most prominent investor in the Bullitt Park Addition – the Anthony Drexel family of Philadelphia. (Through successive mergers the Drexel investment house became J. P. Morgan Chase.)
In the 1920’s, South Bexley was experiencing tremendous development, with several subdivisions located and constructed adjacent to and north of East Livingston Avenue. One such plat between Euclaire and Cassingham (then named Bexley Road), and north of Charles was called Bexley Plaza.
The plat contained a small elliptical park between Euclaire and Bexley Road (now Cassingham). Also called Bexley Plaza, this small open space provided frontage for fourteen lots, seven to the north and seven to the south.
One can imagine that those early City Fathers felt that this open space was hardly a plaza and certainly not sufficiently large nor central to bear the name “Bexley“. However, its design and enclosure by fronts of houses created a bit of a haven, and it was partially wooded, hence its revised name, Havenwood Park.
Written by Lawrence Helman, Bexley Historical Society Trustee
Edited by Martina Campoamor, Bexley Historical Society Trustee
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