Milo-Grogan is a neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. The neighborhood was settled as the separate communities of Milo and Grogan in the late 1870s. Large-scale Industrial Development fueled the neighborhood's growth until the 1980s, when the last factories closed. The community has received urban revitalization efforts in recent years fueled by the Columbus Department of Development and Milo-Grogan Area Commission.
Prior to 1900
Separate communities of Milo and Grogan were established by Jonathon Fallis Linton, one of Columbus's largest land brokers, just before the turn of the twentieth century. “Milo” originates from a man named Milo Streets who owned a brickyard at the corner of St. Clair and Third Avenue. “Grogan” derives from John Patrick Grogan who opened a grocery store and post office on Cleveland Avenue. Milo stretched from First Avenue along Cleveland Avenue and west to the railroad tracks. Grogan was east of Milo and extended to eleventh Avenue on both sides of Cleveland Avenue. The boundaries of Milo and Grogan were never clear, so identifying the area as “Milo-Grogan” became popular. The unification of Milo-Grogan was further promoted by Cleveland Avenue which was shared by the communities and used as a business strip.
Milo-Grogan developed in response to factories that settled in the late nineteenth century. Kilbourne and Jacobs Manufacturing Co., a wheelbarrow company, was the first to move into the area. The factory opened a plant half a mile northeast from Union Station on the west side of the railroad tracks. In 1880, the Berry Brothers Bolt Works established a factory just north of Kilbourne and Jacobs and later built a second, smaller factory next to the original. The Jeffrey Manufacturing Company also moved into the area around the same time and built a massive industrial factory along the northbound rail line. Jeffery Manufacturing eventually took over most of the area from First Avenue to Lincoln towards Second Avenue and Fourth Street. Timken Company, Columbus Dye, and the Columbus Transit Company were other companies that were located in the Milo-Grogan area.
The Jeffery Manufacturing Company flourished in Milo-Grogan and provided many services for its employees. J.A. Jeffery, owner of Jeffery Manufacturing, established one of the earliest industrial infirmaries in 1889 and a cooperative store in 1904 in the factory block. In 1912, Jeffery also set up an employee cafeteria and a Building and Loan Association that helped financially assist its employees in building their homes. The employee population was quickly growing in Milo- Grogan and Columbus could not keep up with its police force, water, electricity, and fire services, causing an annexation from the city.
The Jeffery Manufacturing Company steadily grew until 1940. In 1904, Jeffery purchased the Ohio Malleable Iron Company to ensure a reliable supply of iron for the production of their barrows and hand trucks. Ohio Malleable was located along the same railroad track as Jeffery a few blocks north of First Avenue. In 1926, Jeffery purchased a British company called the Diamond Coal Cutter Company, which was renamed the British Jeffery Diamond Limited. A couple years later, J.A. Jeffery retired and president of the company, Robert Gillespie stepped up. His first action as the figurehead was to invest two million dollars into the purchase of Galion Iron Works, a manufacturer of road rollers and graders for sale to local and state governments. Jeffery Manufacturing survived the Great Depression and company prosperity continued into the immediate post war years. However, a new company called Jay Manufacturing moved into central Ohio and began challenging Jeffery Manufacturing. Jeffery began to fail when the company neglected to replace its underground coal hauler with the new rubber tired hauler, an innovation that would save the company time and money because the rubber tires did not require built tracks as mine shafts were extended. As the Jeffery main branch began to fail, its subsidiaries excelled and kept the company afloat. In 1961, Jeffery Manufacturing completely merged with the British Galion Company, creating the new corporate name of Jeffery Galion, Inc.
The factories of Milo-Grogan were very successful and its employee-based neighborhoods were large, but the introduction of the Interstate 71 corridor caused a strain on the neighborhood. The interstate split the area nearly in half and several homes and businesses were demolished in the process. Layoffs were frequent after the demolition of many Milo-Grogan factories. Decreased housing availability due to I-71 construction caused the population to fall from 3850 to 3000 from 1970-1980. Many of the remaining families moved out of the Milo-Grogan area and into the nicer homes of the suburbs. Over 400 homes and businesses were lost to the completion of the freeway by 1964.
The Milo-Grogan community area is defined by the rail corridor to the north, east, and west, and Interstate 670 to the south. For some purposes, Milo-Grogan's community area is often expanded to include a small community just northwest bounded by Eleventh Avenue to the north, Interstate 71 to the east, and a rail corridor to the south and west. Historically, Milo-Grogan was the separate communities of Milo and Grogan. Milo was located on the west side of present-day Milo-Grogan, while Grogan was located on its east side. Milo-Grogan is directly north of Downtown Columbus. It is bordered by Italian Village and Weinland Park to the west, The Fairgrounds and South Linden to the north, and Amercrest and The Devon Triangle to the east.
Milo-Grogan Area Commission
The Milo-Grogan Area Commission serves the area as the community link to the city of Columbus. It holds monthly meetings that present information about topics that directly affect the Milo-Grogan Neighborhood, including information related to neighborhood redevelopment. The Milo-Grogan Area Commission, in partnership with the city of Columbus, also published the Milo-Grogan 2007 Neighborhood Plan, which established goals for the community for the next 10 years.
Structures and Landmarks
Haus of Countess
Haus of Countess opened in March 2017, hosting regular events for improvisational actors in addition to community gatherings focused on LGBTQI+ persons. The Haus is located in a turn-of-the-century home that stands adjacent to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in addition to a historic church. Having stood in this location since the beginning of the 20th century, the aim of the Haus is to provide a positive space for creatives in the community to gather in solidarity.
Milo Arts is a community arts center that has hosted creative events in the visual and performing arts since 1988. Housing in the old Milo Public Elementary School, the center saw considerable change in 2000 and 2001 when city officials requested closure due to fire risk and building maintenance issues. Today, the center's studio space hosts 29 local artists who live and work in the building and offer educational opportunities to area youth.
Milo-Grogan Recreation Center
The Milo-Grogan Recreation Center is the primary public recreation facility in Milo-Grogan. Closed from 2011-2013, the center now operates a renovated neighborhood facility with a large number of public programs. The current facility includes an art room, ceramics room, craft room, gymnasium, kitchen, and weight room.
Third Hand Bicycle Cooperative
The Third Hand Bicycle Cooperative seeks to “promote cycling as safe and environmentally responsible transportation” by providing low-cost bicycles, bicycle parts, and bicycle tools to the Milo-Grogan and Columbus community. It has been located at 979 East 5th Avenue since September 2012.
- Dunham, Tom (2010). Columbus's Industrial Communities: Olentangy, Milo-Grogan, Steelton. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-4520-5970-9.
- Department of Development. "Milo-Grogan Neighborhood Plan" (PDF). City of Columbus. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
- Dunham, Tom (2010). Columbus's Industrial Communities: Olentangy, Milo-Grogan, Steelton. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-4520-5970-9.
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- Grogan, Milo. "Haus of Countess". Facebook. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
- "Milo Arts". Heritage Properties. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
- Williams, Sherri. "Milo-Grogan: Counting on a rebirth". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- "Milo Grogan Community Recreation Center". The City of Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "About". Third Hand Bicycle Co-op. Retrieved 20 April 2014.