Our 2017 State of the City event theme, Treasuring the Past While Building the Future, fortunately was a principle shared by our community's founding fathers and their descendants.
Our community is privileged to possess the oldest house and historical site in Grove City thanks to Ruth Sawyer Jividen, the last direct descendant of Hugh Grant Sr. and his wife, Catherine.
The site was originally part of the Virginia Military District. Hugh Grant Sr., the first settler in Jackson Township, purchased 450 acres, originally part of the VMD, to locate his homestead in 1803. He died a short time later, but his wife built the first house on the property, a log building.
Their youngest son, Hugh Grant Jr., inherited the land and built the existing house between 1835 and 1840.
Jividen was the last member of the Grant family to occupy the property. Her father operated the Sawyer Dairy on the property, delivering the first pasteurized milk to Grove City residents. Helping with farm chores, Jividen milked cows, drove tractors and operated the hay bailer.
In 2010, we began discussions with her about the city purchasing and restoring her family home. She was clear she wanted her house and property preserved. We assured her the house and grounds, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, would be preserved, cared for and its history shared with the community.
The city purchased the house, with the historical grounds, before Jividen's death in 2014 at the age of 98. Fulfilling our promise, the city hired an architectural firm specializing in historic building restorations, partnered with the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society to preserve the house and grounds and initiated plans to share its history with the community and central Ohio.
On July 1, our community dedicated the restored Grant-Sawyer Home and completed our Sesquicentennial celebration of the village's 1866 incorporation.
The house restoration was the first phase of creating a living museum for the nearly two-acre site. The barn and carriage house will be restored in subsequent phases complemented with period landscaping providing a total historical and, at times, narrated experience.
The city will be pursuing grants and other financial assistance for the final phases. When complete, visitors will be able to tour the entire site and enjoy its rich history.
Please join me in thanking the many volunteers of the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society and the Grove City Historical Commission for their tireless effort to maintain and share the house's history.
Treasuring and sharing our history is but one of many features contributing to our well-recognized, small-town charm and Best Hometown designation. If you didn't make it to the dedication, plan to attend one of the upcoming open houses and share in the pride that a walk-through of our community's oldest restored homesite offers.
Richard L. "Ike" Stage is serving his fifth term as mayor of Grove City.