Grandview Heights Moment in Time

Wayne Carlson
Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Historical Society
Bradley Skeele (left) is shown at age 21 in this 1922 photo composite, with his father, Philip, at age 56 in 1924. The Skeele family members were prominent residents of Marble Cliff.

Philip (P.S.) Skeele was born in 1868 in Worthington and attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, graduating in 1890.

He went to work for the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. and advanced rapidly to become the general yardmaster.

In 1894, he married Nancy Bradley of London, Ohio, and the next year built a home at 1492 Roxbury in Grandview Heights, designed by noted Columbus architect Frank Packard.

Skeele was a member of both the Rotary and Masons. He was a trustee for the Community Church (First Community Church) and served on the Grandview Heights school board. The Skeeles had their son, Bradley, in 1901. Bradley graduated from Grandview Heights High School and was one of the early members of the Brotherhood of the Rook “fraternity.” Philip is shown at the right in this photo composite in 1924, and Bradley is at the left in 1922.

Bradley Skeele wrote a series of musings, which became one of the Grandview Reminiscences entries on the historical society’s website. These thoughts documented some of the early life in Marble Cliff and Grandview. Regarding the Brotherhood of the Rook club, Skeele wrote the following excerpt:   

“Joe Bronson's father had purchased and moved to the rear of the Bronson home, an ancient log cabin which had as its principal attraction a huge fireplace. Joe and ‘Musty’ Hendershott got their heads together and invited others to join a club… Because the cabin was located on Bronson property, Joe became the founder of the club which was to be named the Brotherhood of Rook. The charter members were selected by him, the nature of the ‘club’, its rules and policies at the start, even the secret ‘ritual’ were all Joe's. I was invited as the first new member after the original six or seven. They wanted to initiate the new ritual by initiating me and I, of course, wanted to belong. So, I became a Rook. Rapidly, others followed and were initiated, fraternal style and the Brotherhood grew and expanded even after the days of the cabin. It was a community asset then and may still be. The fraternal feeling of the Rooks had a great deal of influence on me and on all the others who eventually belonged, I would suppose. It was an honor to belong but I know I must have felt also an obligation. I had to live up to a sort of vaguely defined code but a code of good principals and behavior nevertheless. An ‘All for One, One for All’ spirit prevailed and, I think, has been good for me and I trust for the others an early lesson in life we Grandview-ites got from our environmental opportunity.”

This historical narrative from the Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Historical Society was provided by Wayne Carlson.