450,000,000 Years of South Central Ohio Heritage in Word, Image, and Action
A Well into Walhalla – Seeking the Rest of Clintonville’s Ravine (Walhalla part 1)
Or, How Grate It Is – and Are There Any Valkyries Down There?
Walhalla Ravine: What happens to this urban micro-canyon…
…when it hits the asphalt and concrete no-man’s-land of the High Street corridor?
But first: HOW did it get that NAME?!
Wikipedia notes that “the streets in the Walhalla Park Place section of Clintonville bear the legacy of Mathias Armbruster, a Bavarian immigrant who was fascinated with Norse mythology and Wagnerian opera…”
More from “Clintonville Street Names” in Clintonville History: “Walhalla was named by Mathias Armbruster, an immigrant from Bavaria and the first owner of the ravine (1859). In Norse mythology, Walhalla means ‘The Great Hall of Dead Warriors.’
“Other streets named for mythological characters include Brynhild (a queen of Iceland), Midgard (god of the earth), Mimring (god of water) and Gudrun (a Nordic princess).”
Wikipedia includes Druid Street in its list; my Celtic heritage feels slighted that Clintonville History has omitted it, if it belongs on the list. I wouldn’t know; I haven’t watched any Wagner…except for Bugs Bunny’s interpretation.
Maybe I can dig up that old animated ‘five-minute’ explanation, but I can’t find it on Youtube…
Meanwhile, Back at the Pavement
A Pearl Between Paradise and Peril
Pray, Live, Die…Wait…
This was Clinton Chapel. An entry in Shirley Hyatt’s Clintonville History reports:
“When Thomas Bull, one of Clintonville’s early settlers, died in 1823, he left land in his will to build a church for the members, and that church was erected 15 years later at 3100 North High Street near Walhalla Road & High Street. Southwick Good Fortkamp Funeral Chapel occupies that building today [or did].
“The church membership decided in 1881 to sell the chapel and move the church to the thriving community of North Columbus, and they built a new church on East Tompkins.”
“Mathias Armbruster was born in Wurtenburg Germany in 1839 and came to the U.S.A. in 1858. He operated Armbruster Scenic Studios in Columbus—he painted scenic theatrical stage sets.
“Armbruster purchased the area around what is now known as Walhalla Ravine, and converted Clinton Chapel at 3100 North High Street into his private residence…[later the] Southwick-Good-Fortkamp funeral home…
“Mathias eventually sold most of the acreage to a real estate developer, and helped name the streets after his beloved Wagner Ring Operas. Mathias died in Columbus in 1920.”
Clintonville History has three photos of and from the house, including unfilled Walhalla Ravine. (Unfortunately, they’re small, but I think the author wants you to buy her book.)
Preservationists are worried about the fate of this site. From an August 2018 Urban Ohio forum:
“A children’s day-care center is being proposed for a shuttered Clintonville funeral home that preservation groups had listed as an endangered historic site. Plans for the former Southwick-Good & Fortkamp Funeral Chapel, 3100 N. High Street, will be discussed at the Clintonville Area Commission meeting…
“Mark Smith of CD Advisors, which represents the day-care operators, said the building would be renovated, but the historic structure would not be altered. … He said there is a lot of demand for a day care in the Clintonville area. Nearby residents were worried that apartments or condominiums would be built on the site near Walhalla Ravine.
“The building contains the Clinton Chapel, which dates to 1838 and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. In October 2017, Preservation Ohio listed the Clinton Chapel as among its most endangered sites in Ohio. The Columbus Landmarks Foundation also put the building on its most endangered list last year.”
The forum also includes a link to a Dispatch article with a nice interior photo over the lobby.
I haven’t found a follow-up article, but the on-site “for sale” sign states the 1.345 acre property has been sold.
(Here’s a historical photo from a similar perspective – though from the chapel house’s rooftop – of the unfilled ravine…one of those small images.)
A Short Walk into Walhalla
I’m betting the road was cut into the ravine’s hillside behind the funeral home (which exposed this shale) to allow the road to climb out of the ravine. The gully veers a little southward, where its stream heads to the fill next to High Street.
(I believe East North Broadway was formerly just Broadway, but when the area was annexed into Columbus, it was overly renamed to avoid confusion with downtown’s Broad Street.)
Again, that historical photo of High Street shows a trolley or interurban line running down the center of a divided High Street with a power line on both sides of the tracks. These manhole covers may show where those wires were (thankfully) buried where they stood. (If only ALL overhead wires were buried…grrr.)
Another manhole cover is closer in my photo, in the concrete pad for a bus stop – yet another utility only hinted at from above. But behind us…
Living in the Dry Ravine
That dark green paint is probably “Hunter Green,” named after Chillicothe’s Dard Hunter I, who popularized that shade during the Arts & Crafts movement of the first part of the 20th century.
Into THE Village
From Ravine into River
Soon, part two: From High to Indianola – Walhalla in the open, a murdering madman’s mansion, a trio of deer and of owlets and of shales, pricey properties, white bluebells, a respite from FLATlumbus, “what’s under THAT manhole?”…and more!