Plenty of Clintonville history is buried in Union Cemetery.

Plenty of Clintonville history is buried in Union Cemetery.

A walking tour being sponsored by the Clintonville Historical Society on Sunday, Oct. 30, will enable participants to — if not unearth that history — at least get a glimpse of it.

When the organization’s board of directors met earlier this year to plan activities for 2011, a walking tour of the cemetery was decided upon, society president Mary Rodgers said last week.

The Oct. 30 event, to be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m.,will be canceled in the event of rain. It will be a relatively short walk, no more than a two-block area, in the oldest of three sections of the historic cemetery, Rodgers said.

Participants should use the cemetery entrance at the northeast corner of Dodridge Street and Olentangy River Road.

“We’re going to focus on pioneers,” Rodgers said.

In fact, Union Cemetery’s connection to Clintonville pioneers stretches back to its very first inhabitant, in 1806, 41 years before the cemetery was officially established.

“What is known today as Union Cemetery, just west of the Olentangy River in Columbus, Ohio, first became a burial site in 1806 when Northwest Territory pioneer and Revolutionary War veteran Balser Hess was buried there on the site of his family farm,” according to the cemetery’s website. Additional members of the Hess family and other families were buried at the site over the next 40 years.”

Balser Hess was one of the original founders of Clinton Township, from which the name Clintonville is derived, Rodgers said.

“In 1847, Union Cemetery was established on land purchased from the Hess family. During the next several years, the number of gravesites grew and family burial sites began to be replaced by organized cemeteries,” the website states. “The Union Cemetery Association was created in 1878 to manage the cemetery. The association’s trustees purchased other small parcels of land in the years that followed, including 75 acres on the west side of Olentangy River Road in 1946. This addition is located about one-half mile north of the old cemetery’s north border and accepted its first interment in 1954. The first of three mausoleum buildings was completed there in 1985.”

Other proposed stops along the Clintonville Historical Society walking tour will be the graves of Mathias Armbruster and his heirs.

Armbruster, who came to the United States from his native Germany in 1858, operated the first scenic design company in this country. According to a bookmark distributed by the historical society, he purchased the area around what is now known as Walhalla Ravine and converted Clinton Chapel, now the Southwick-Good and Fortkamp Funeral Chapel, into his private residence.

As Armbruster sold some of his acreage for real estate development, he named the resulting streets after German composer Richard Wagner’s “Ring of the Nibelung” cycle of four operas.

Rodgers said that she is also hoping to locate the graves of Polly and Hiram Hunt, early Clintonville settlers who owned land along West and East North Broadway and who participated in the Underground Railroad movement.

“They sound like very interesting people,” she said.

The last stop on the tour will be the Amaranth Abbey.

“Constructed in 1925, the granite exterior and ornate yet serene interior is one of the best examples of Italianate architecture in central Ohio,” the cemetery’s website states. “Amaranth Abbey also features beautiful stained glass depicting biblical scenes, angels and garden vistas that cast a respectful aura worthy of dignity and a peaceful and pleasant surrounding for family visits.”

“It is a very beautiful abbey,” Rodgers said. “I’m really kind of looking forward to visiting there.

“I think it will be fun,” she said. “As much fun as you can have visiting a cemetery.”

kparks@thisweeknews.com

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