Celebrating 170 years

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Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
The city of Grove City hosted a variety of history-focused programs from Sept. 9 through Sept. 17 to celebrate the 170th anniversary of its founding. The festivities kicked off at the Grant-Sawyer Home on Haughn Road, which is listed on the national registrar of historic places by the U.S. Department of the Interior. In attendance at the event was local actor Glen Garcia (pictured above), who was portraying the city’s founder, William Foster Breck. Breck and his wife, Elizabeth Smith, moved to the township in 1845 to fulfill his life-long dream of creating a prosperous new town on the outskirts of Columbus. Over the course of seven years, Breck cleared most of the vast forest land and helped create new businesses and establish and expand roads and thoroughfares – all of which are still being driven on to this day. Present-day Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said the city owes William Foster Breck and contemporaries such as A.G. Grant a “debt of gratitude” for planting the seeds of what is the city of Grove City today. In addition to the kick-off celebration held on Sept. 9 at the Grant-Sawyer Home, history-focused events were held at the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society and Welcome Center Museum and the Gardens at Gantz Park. The 10-day festivities also included speaking engagements from state representative Laura Lanese, local author Janet Shailer, and a bike tour of the city with Heritage Bikes.
Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage (left) and Steve Jackson, the president of the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society, ring the bell to signal the start of the celebratory programming. Jackson said he was thankful the city took the initiative to host activities to celebrate its founding and appreciative of the community for participating in all of the events. “I am a great believer that a town that has no pride in its past is doomed to fail,” he said. He added that he does not believe this city is doomed to fail because of the investment families have made throughout the decades to remember and honor the past while also showing progress to help the generations to come.
A commemorative plaque was unveiled at the kick off celebration. This piece will be placed near the Grove City Library and the Mill Street Market. It will be one of six markers that will go up throughout the city to recognize historic places.
Members of the Jackson Middle School’s Spark of Class show choir performed at the event.

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