Driving Park

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Driving Park is an urban residential area on the Near East Side of Columbus, Ohio just south of Interstate 70. It neighbors many notable areas including Livingston Park, Old Oaks Historic District, Bryden Road Historic District and the King-Lincoln Bronzeville District, all with the common thread of the notable Livingston Avenue Corridor which was part of one of Columbus' first streetcar suburbs. Mainly a middle-class, predominantly African American neighborhood, Driving Park and its surrounding neighborhoods consists of an area of 17,730 residents. When the neighborhood is referenced, its boundaries generally consist of Mooberry Street on the north, Alum Creek Drive on the east, East Whittier Street on the south, and Kelton to the west. The Driving Park Area Commission recognizes the neighborhood's borders as I-70 on the north, N&W Railway on the east, East Whittier Street on the south, and Struder Avenue on the west.[1] Further reference places the community directly in between Bexley and German Village.

History[edit]

Driving Park received its name from its historic past as a large equine racing complex for horses and eventually automobiles during 19th century and early 20th century. Columbus residents would travel to Driving Park to enjoy the exciting horse races held there. When automobiles came into fruition during the 1900s the track was converted to allow for auto racing. Its largely flat stretched oval design allowed turn-of-the-century speedsters to set many records at the racetrack. One major event was the world's first 24-hour race in 1905.

The precursor community of Driving Park was a small community consisting of employees of the racetrack. During the 1930s, the racetrack was abandoned, yet the community continued to grow.

Recent Decades[edit]

During the 1950s, the Interstate 670 and I-70 construction projects navigated through and demolished Columbus' predominantly African-American neighborhoods to the east. As a result African Americans moved further south. At one point the community was thriving with a theater and many diverse commercial outlets along East Livingston Avenue and East Whittier Street.

There are also historic neighborhoods on the south side of East Livingston Avenue bordered by Frebis Avenue where many middle-class families reside. There is also a 19th-century mansion on the corner of East Livingston and Linwood avenues, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The area has many beautiful small middle-class homes built during the 1940s and more than half have been kept up by the residents. Larger, older houses called "foursquares" (slang for American Foursquare) built during the 1900s or 1930s still remain either as a whole or partitioned as a double. Similar to other areas of Columbus, such as Victorian Village and the Short North, this area has many beautiful 19th-century homes that were owned by many notable residents. In fact, the style of the homes vary to include echoes of German Village to the west part of the neighborhood, Olde Towne East to the north, and Bexley to the east.

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°57′N 82°57′W / 39.950°N 82.950°W / 39.950; -82.950