Grove City is looking to turn what is believed to be the community's oldest house into a living museum.
On Monday, March 3, Grove City Council held its first reading of an ordinance that would authorize the purchase of the house at 4126 Haughn Road for $360,000. The city recently had the property appraised at $400,000. The Franklin County Auditor's website lists the property at $123,900.
According to the ordinance, the property is known as the A.G. Grant Homestead, was built around 1840 and has been in the United States National Register of Historic Places since 1998. It is owned by Ruth V. Jividen.
"She wanted to do something for the community," said Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage, adding that discussions with Jividen about purchasing the property go back about six years. "We wanted to preserve it."
A.G. Grant, according to information from the Grove City Visitors and Convention Bureau, was the grandson of Grove City's original resident, Hugh Grant, and was responsible for much of the early development in Jackson Township and the village as a contractor and business owner.
Stage said he envisions the house, along with the grounds, becoming a live-in museum. In addition, the purchase will come with numerous artifacts that are in the house.
"We think it's too unique of a property to pass up," Stage said.
Stage said the house is also believed to have been part of the Underground Railroad, although Councilwoman Laura Lanese, who co-wrote Images of America: Grove City, said that's not verified.
"The house probably has the most unique history in the entire city," she said. "I'm in love with the place."
Lanese said she met with Jividen, who told her the stories she had heard from her grandmother.
"She tells me that Native Americans used to come around and look at it because they had never seen a two-story building," Lanese said.
Stage said he and Chief Building Official Mike Boso have toured the property and that he planned to meet with the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society to talk about the purchase.
Councilman Steve Bennett, who has the property insured through his company, the Bennett-Edgar Insurance Agency, said he had some concerns about the purchase.
"What is it we're getting into?" he asked.
Stage said a best effort will be made to restore the house to its original state. The eventual long-term cost, he said, will probably be around $1 million.
"Nothing has to be done immediately," Stage said.