Our brick streets are some of the neighborhood's hottest commodities, and we do them more justice by knowing just a touch more about them and who or what they are named for. Here comes a history lesson in a few of our "lesser traveled" streetsÉ

Our brick streets are some of the neighborhood's hottest commodities, and we do them more justice by knowing just a touch more about them and who or what they are named for. Here comes a history lesson in a few of our "lesser traveled" streetsÉ

Fieser Street

Fieser appeared on maps of Columbus as early as 1856, although it wasn't labeled. It was originally called Water Alley, though changed to Fieser in honor of Frederick Fieser, well known son of Columbus. In 1843, Fieser joined Jacob Reinhard in producing Der Westbote, a weekly German-language newspaper that stayed in print until the First World War. Fieser stayed active in the newspaper business for 40 years and was the longest-serving editor in the city.

Fourth Street

In 1856, this street stretched from Livingston to Beck in Samuel Parsons' Addition to Columbus; it was appropriately named Parsons in honor of the family. Once the land south of Schiller Park was developed, the section of Parsons that ran from Deshler to Nursery Lane was called Mozart Street in honor ofÉWolfgang Amadeus Mozart. By 1876, the northern section of the street was renamed "Fourth Street" while the portion south of the Park remained Mozart. It was not until 1910 that Mozart was renamed Fourth.

The Parsons family was one of Columbus' most prominent; Dr. Samuel Parsons came to Columbus from Connecticut in 1811. Dr. Parsons served in the state legislature, and his son George became the city's first millionaire. The current Parsons Avenue was named for another family member, C.H. Parsons.

Frank Alley

This one is really tucked awayÉif you are familiar with Fieser, I'm impressed. If you also know of Frank, you really know your neighborhood. Frank Alley is short - it runs east/west between Kossuth and Columbus and is bound by Purdy and Grant. It was originally called Barth Alley, likely in honor of Reverend John Barth, who organized the First German Methodist Episcopal Church in 1843. Charles Frank served on the building committee for said church and the street was renamed for him. There is no doubt a more colorful version of the drama behind that story, but this is all I know.

Lathrop Street

A portion of this street appears on an 1856 map of Columbus and is labeled as Poor House Lane. Sometime between 1876 and 1886, the street was changed to Lathrop, likely to honor M.D. Lathrop, a Columbus real estate agent, notary public and publisher of the 1860 City Directory. He was also contracted in 1858 to renumber each house in Columbus, a job that was surely tedious, but not thankless if he got a street named for him. Other local Lathrops include Dr. Horace Lathrop, a well known Columbus citizen who died during the cholera epidemic of 1849; Uriah Lathrop who was a surveyor and engineer of the Columbus and Harrisburg Turnpike, which was built between 1848-1849; and Miss Emma Lathrop, who was an instrumentalist and vocalist who performed with the Maennerchor in 1869.

Purdy Alley

Though this alley has been on maps of Columbus since 1872, it was never labeled as "Purdy" until 1901 (portions of it were called Park Alley as early as 1886). Purdy Alley may have been named for George H. Purdy of Delaware, Ohio. Purdy was captain of a regiment at Camp Simon Kenton with Alfred Emory Lee (who was a leading historian of Columbus and whose history of the city is still referenced today).

Ridgeway Alley

This last one is a trick-question...today there is no Ridgeway Alley, as it was closed and made private. Joseph Ridgeway was a prominent Columbus entrepreneur. Before the Civil War, he began producing machine parts for specialized foundry work. Ridgeway was elected to Congress in 1836.

Jody Graichen is director of Historical Preservation Programs for the German Village Society and columnist for ThisWeek Community Newspapers.

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