Brick stacks concern Groveport city officials


By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

The Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society has dismantled this 19th century Ohio and Erie Canal era building that once sat at the southeast corner of Pontius and Rohr roads. The society plans to relocate and reconstruct the building at a site on Wirt Road across from the Groveport Cemetery.
The Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society has dismantled this 19th century Ohio and Erie Canal era building that once sat at the southeast corner of Pontius and Rohr roads. The society plans to relocate and reconstruct the building at a site on Wirt Road across from the Groveport Cemetery.

Groveport city officials are concerned about the stacks of bricks from a deconstructed historical structure that are sitting along Rohr Road near its intersection with Pontius Road.

“There are 37 skids of old bricks there,” said Groveport City Councilman Shawn Cleary. “Most of the stacks are shrink wrapped, but several of the stacks have been broken open and it looks like people passing by may be taking the bricks.”

Added Groveport City Councilman Ed Rarey, “Old bricks like that are prized items for people.”

Brick by brick

The bricks are part of a Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society (GHPS) project to dismantle, relocate, and reconstruct an approximately 60 by 20 foot, one story, former 19th century Ohio and Erie Canal era building that is believed to have once served as as smokehouse, bakery and ice house during the canal operation days of the 1800s. The GHPS’ plan is to reconstruct the building on a triangular shaped property at 536 Wirt Road, located across from the Groveport Cemetery and log house, which sits along the former canal route in Groveport. The city of Groveport deeded this land to the society for the project. GHPS President Carla Cramer said the plan is to move the building there and historically restore the structure.

“We think this building has historical significance to the area, because it shows an integral time capsule of life along the canal,” Cramer said last year. “The building could be used as a free-standing museum piece. People would not have access to the interior, but could view displays through the windows.”

Mayor Lance Westcamp said the GHPS has not given the city a time frame for when the bricks will be moved to the new site or when the reconstruction of the building will begin.

Westcamp said the society recently resubmitted plans for the project to the city and that representatives of the historical organization have indicated the bricks may be moved by the contractor when it is time for reconstruction to begin.

“The bricks have been sitting there for a while now,” said Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp, who stressed the historical reconstruction is not a city funded project. “I’m concerned about getting the bricks away from the road and I’m also concerned the bricks are being stolen a few at a time. The Heritage Society may be losing some bricks every day. We can help the Heritage Society find volunteers with equipment to help move the bricks to the reconstruction site. We need to get this resolved.”

Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst said intersection improvements are also planned at Rohr and Pontius roads this year, which include adding left turn lanes east and west bound, and the stacks of bricks could be in the way of that project.

“We’re working with the city on pushing the project ahead,” said Steven Thomson of the GHPS.

The city’s building department recently approved the GHPS’ building plan for the project.

Cleary said the dwindling supply of bricks on the site do not appear to be enough to fully reconstruct the building. In February, city council approved donating a supply of old bricks the city owns and has stored at the water plant site to the society for the project. These bricks were obtained from the Ohio Department of Transportation from the demolished state prison and are left over from repairs the city made to the intersection of Front and Blacklick streets.


NorthPoint Development purchased 106 acres at the southeast corner of Rohr and Pontius roads where the historic canal building was located. NorthPoint is building two warehouses on the site – a 1 million square foot building on the southern section of the land and a 526,500 square foot warehouse on the northern portion.

The GHPS reached an agreement in February 2015 with NorthPoint Development and the land’s previous owner Schottenstein Trustees GP regarding the historic structure on the site. Under the agreement, Schottenstein Trustees GP  donated $80,000 and NorthPoint Development donated $120,000 to the GHPS for the relocation/restoration project. The agreement states the society has 24 months to move the one story brick building. If it is not moved, the developer may take whatever action needs to be done with the property at the time.

According to plans for the 536 Wirt Road site submitted by the GHPS’ architect, Fred Hutchison of ReDesigns Architecture and Planning, to the city, the existing garage on that site will be kept. The concrete driveway will be removed and a new gravel driveway will be put in leading to the garage along the western border of the site. The building will be reconstructed near the center of the site and will have four-foot wide brick paths leading up to it. No on-site parking is planned as there is a parking lot across the street at Heritage Park. Regarding landscaping, the society plans to put in historically appropriate landscaping, but will keep the landscape plants and screening which already exist along the property lines adjacent to neighboring residential properties. The large silver maple tree that stood near the center of the property has already been taken down.

The city is maintaining ownership of the former Ohio and Erie Canal right-of-way land between the society’s site and the north side of Wirt Road because the city  constructed a pedestrian walkway there connecting College Street to Heritage Park.

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