By Andrea Cordle
Ruth Sawyer Jividen wanted her family home preserved and she took steps before her death to make that happen.
Jividen’s home was the Grant Homestead. The property is located on Haughn Road and is the single oldest home in Grove City.
According to Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage, the city started talking to Jividen in 2010 about purchasing her property.
“Ruth was very kind to the city,” said Stage. “She did not want her home turned into a public park. She wanted it preserved.”
Stage said he spoke to Jividen just a few days before her death in April 2014. He assured her the historical house would be taken care of.
The city purchased the site with the intention of turning it into a museum. That museum will open to the public on July 1.
The city has been working with the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society to turn the Grant Homestead into a tourist destination where visitors can glimpse Ohio life from another era.
“This is a key part of our heritage,” said Stage. “This allows us to share the city’s roots with the community.”
There are conflicting reports of when the Grant Homestead was constructed, but most historians believe it was between 1830 and 1840.
According to Janet Shailer, with the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society, Jividen was the only child of Clarence and Relieffe Grant Sawyer and died as the last direct descendent of Hugh Grant Sr. and his wife, Catherine. The Grants were Jackson Township’s first settlers in 1803 and their legacy is scattered around Grove City today.
The most notable member of the Grant family was Adam G. Grant, who owned the Grant Homestead and was a prominent businessman, who owned a general store, an ashery and a brick and tile factory.
The Grant Homestead not only includes the historic house, but also a barn and carriage house.
According to neighbors of the property, people used to gather in the barn for square dancing. Jividen also had many farm animals on the property, including a pig named Miss Piggy, goats and even a peacock. Children would get out of the school and walk down the street to visit the animals.
It is that kind of history the city wants to share.
According to Stage, the city has spent $762,000 on the property which includes the purchase price and the cost to restore the property to make it safe for public use.
“We wanted to improve the longevity of the property without spoiling its historical significance,” said William Vedra, the city’s safety director.
Visitors to the Grant Homestead will see local furnishings and artifacts from the 1800s. Many of the artifacts on display will be from descendents of the Grant family.
Stage said this will be one of a kind in the state of Ohio. He believes this historical property will attract visitors from outside the area, even outside the state.
The city’s parks and recreation department will oversee the property and a subcommittee from the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society will run the home.
The public opening of the Grant Homestead museum will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 1 at 4121 Haughn Road. The event will feature a tour of the property, games for children, a bluegrass band and performances by actors from The Little Theatre Off Broadway.
After the grand opening, public tours of the Grant Homestead will be by appointment.
For additional information on the museum or the grand opening event, visit www.grovecityohio.gov.