The article on Reynoldsburg Street Names proved popular enough that it's worth a second go at it. First, we'll clear up one known error (and wait for feedback on others). Livingston Avenue was first known as South Public Lane in Columbus. At some point it was renamed for Col. James Livingston, claimant to 1,280 acres in the Refugee Tract (p. 184, History of Reynoldsburg. . . .) John Livingston claimed 640 acres of military lands here, but the street wasn't named for him. Nor, contrary to the Eastside Messenger some time ago, was it named for Edward Livingston. Edward 1764-1836 may or may not have served in the Revolutionary War; no Edward Livingston was one of the 67 claimants to receive refugee lands.
My apologies about Col. James. As the man reflected after he told his wife he'd shave when her mother did, I should've known right then it was the wrong thing to say.
Memory can and will deceive; but in general, these are as I recall or learned them.
Not too often, you may spot a supposition from what I do know.
Noe-Bixby Road was once known as Green Road, for all the Green families living on it. The mother of our much-revered Hannah J. Ashton was Birdie Alice Green, daughter of Sarah Jane Parkinson and John Covert Green.
Baldwin Road was named for Russell Baldwin, sales representative for Quaker Oats, who served on a town board and was an annual participant in the Pony Chorus of the Reynoldsburg Minstrel Show.
Waggoner Road, early on, might have been referred to as Hill Road merely to identify it, for the cemetery just north of Main Street sits on a hill and was listed as "Hill Road Methodist Cemetery" or "Methodist Hill Road Cemetery." Its earliest stone is 1811, being used as a burying ground before John D. French and family came in 1816, for French 's wife Jane gave eight acres for that purpose. Was it originally a Methodist cemetery? John and Jane French were staunch Covenanters.
On the Reynoldsburg 1872 map, Jackson is Street, and its direct continuation north (merely a pathway) is not named. Now, it was discovered, Jackson is Street south of Main, but north of Main the pathway is Epworth Avenue, and Jackson Avenue is farther west. The Franklin County Auditor Parcel identifications for every property on Jackson south of Main are given a Jackson Avenue address, but the crossroad signs say Jackson Street. When Dusenbery and Koontz developed Highland Terrace in 1904 they may have thought Avenue sounded more high-class. Or maybe city workers just messed up the street signs.
This further list of street names is bounded on the west by Noe-Bixby Road, north by Broad Street/SR16, east by Taylor Road, south by Route70.
Subdivision developers can have a hard time thinking up street names that haven't already been used. All these men were US Presidents: Harry S Truman (33rd) Truman Trail; James Knox Polk (11th) Polk Path; Abraham Lincoln (16th) Lincoln Lane; Millard S. Fillmore (13th) Fillmore Lane; James Madison (4th) Madison Avenue; Franklin Pierce (14th) Pierce Path; Herbert Hoover (31st) Hoover Avenue; Ronald Reagan (40th) Reagan Road; John Adams (2nd) and John Quincy Adams (6th) Adams Avenue; George H.W. Bush (41st) or George W. Bush (43rd), Bush Boulevard; John F. Kennedy (35th), Kennedy Park (not a street.) Davidson Drive was named for Jo Ann Davidson, local councilwoman and later Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.
Hanson Street could have been named for Capt. John Hanson who bought land here in 1806. Godfrey Circle was named for John "Jack" Godfrey, Columbus Dispatch writer and later, with Doral Chenoweth, owner of the Reynoldsburg Reporter; also, shy and reluctant 1996-1997 Senior King of the Tomato Festival (with Senior Queen Connie Parkinson, not at all shy, merely astounded.) Slight digression here: Not all are tuned into every aspect of that honor, for when Dairy Queen owners Owen E "Buck" Adams and his wife Cassie were Senior King and Queen he refused to wear the usual crown. So the festival committee provided him a baseball cap embroidered with his title.
Cypress Alley (beside the old Methodist Church) was named for the baldcypress tree, marked by an RTHS plaque, across Main Street from the alley. It was planted 125-150 years ago, by Samuel Chamberlain 1844-1912. Baldcypresses are conifers related to redwoods. They shed their needles in fall and only rarely survive Northern winters.
Taylor Road and Taylor Square could have several derivations: the early 1800s Taylor family who came here from Truro, Nova Scotia, which included Robert who named our township; David, cattle drover, strong man, owner of several thousand acres in Truro and Jefferson Townships, platted “Taylor's Station" and sold lots for a town there, also built "Westcrest," of which RTHS has a model and which had seven outside doors; Abiather Vinton, 1830 surveyor of Waggoner Road, and in 1831 of John French 's land; or the various later Taylor families that included Zella, well-known piano teacher, Frank, real estate mogul, Frank G., Reynoldsburg general practitioner, Drs. Walter Boivin (W.B.) and Kenneth Taylor, general practitioners in Pickerington; dentist Dr. George Taylor; Georgia (m. Headley), a long-time teacher here. Less likely, they are named for President Zachary Taylor (12th).
Redman Lane commemorates Bernard Redman, who served several town posts, and who, with Evan Williams and others, donated the land the old quarry stood on and donated it to the city for Pine Quarry Park. Evan was handsome; so was his wife Evelyn; they founded Williams Trailer Sales soon after WWII, and kept and rode horses. Carrousel Drive is another music-referenced subdivision street. Walnut Hill Boulevard refers to Walnut Hill Farm, a large egg farm once on Livingston Avenue. Highbanks was a swimming hole in Blacklick Creek. Ayers Drive was called after John Samuel Ayers, originator of the Ayers Addition on Truro Road.
Pickering Drive is so called for the numerous Pickering families who, without my trying to identify them all, founded towns, served in county offices, and owned businesses, including a clean and attractively cluttered second-hand store on Columbus's High Street, and the local meat market. King Pickering, Franklin County Sealer of Weights and Measures, was a genial, well-known local character who sat on a chair on the sidewalk right outside his house on Main Street and talked to passersby. Once King got a broken leg. His hat blew off, and when he hurried into the street to retrieve it, he failed to notice an oncoming car. Said King, "And don't you know, that s.o.b. hit me?"
Chances are good that Reynolds Crossing Drive is named for James C. Reynolds (see page 3, September 2016 Courier.) Bartlett Court honored Walter Bartlett.
Penick (Pea-nick) Drive was named for a farming family east of The Burg. Marty Drive was so called for John (?) Marty and/or for his wife Carol, a good-looking soprano with a big beautiful voice. Goss Place got its name from Wayne Goss, a local contractor. Ralph Shively's name was used for Shively Road. Ralph, a Mason, served on the planning/zoning board.
All these people had jobs, in addition to working to improve The Burg.
Street names in The Burg area were not always the same as now. The word alley was often used, designated as 15½ or 16½ feet wide; a street might be 18 feet. Many of the original alleys are still alleys. In the late 1980s the Truro Township Fire Department sought old or made new names for every alley, in order to pinpoint the location of a fire, so that they would have some idea of which direction to take from the firehouse if the fire itself was not visible from there.
Street or Drive is usually in a town or city; an Alley is a narrower street. Boulevard makes us think of a broad, grand city street; Avenue slightly less so. A Court is the same as a Circle. Lane implies a narrow, pleasant pathway; while Road is in the country. Highway may indicate a long wider road that extends for miles through countryside and cities. Pike seems to imply a road between two settlements, rather than a street within a town. A Turnpike or Tollpike is a long-distance road that you must first pay a fee before entering. The same rule applies to a Tollbridge. The terms vary from one application to the next.
On John French's town map (pictued above and identified here by*), it was Ash Alley*. Then in 1908 Ed Rickly established his successful sausage-making plant down beside Blacklick Creek. The alley was not widened, 33 feet wide as at the beginning, but in 1914 was renamed Rickly Street, over to Jackson. The sausage plant -- and the lot where Rickly kept hogs to butcher -- was deep in the hollow, at the intersection of Water Alley*, the designation and location of which were changed. Rickly is so steep a street that no houses face on it, but a barn adorns the crest of the hill. Children used to ride their sleds down it, thence onto frozen Blacklick Creek. A thrilling ride -- especially if the creek turned out to be not yet frozen over.
Broadwyn Drive, called by early residents The Backstreet, started out as Broad Street*, 60 feet wide. Just before house delivery of mail came to The Burg in 1958, Seymoure Hickman [RHS 1941] petitioned Village Council to change Broad Street in The Burg to Broadwyn Drive, thus eliminating confusion between it and Broad Street (State Route 16).
Broad Street, SR 16, is just over the township line into Jefferson Township. It was once called Brush's Plank Road, or Broadway. It was also called the Columbus-Newark and the Columbus-Granville Road. SR 16, after a few number changes, is an east-west highway currently running from Civic Center Drive in Columbus to end at SR 36 in Coshocton.
Epworth Avenue, East Bryden Road, and East Rich Street came into being in 1907, when the New Addition (Highland Terrace Addition, 119 lots) was platted. Bryden Road and Rich Street were expected to be extensions of those two streets from Columbus; but there are long breaks from where each street ends in Columbus, then begins again in The Burg.
French Drive was formerly Water Alley, 18 feet wide, and crossed North Lancaster Avenue to end at Blacklick Creek. Henry Johnson 1784-1867 showed 7 lots on his 1834 plat Diagram of the Town of Fran[k]fort. Water Alley went east nearly half a mile from Lancaster Street to the northbound bend, where it became Epworth Avenue, source of name unknown. Johnson's Water Alley was moved and is now Water Street, a narrow north-south alley, scarcely a block long, immediately west of the house at the Main Street-North Lancaster Avenue traffic light. Apple Alley today is southbound from the light, two doors east of Water Street. Henry Johnson was the father of Abram Johnson, The Burg's first mayor.
On French's plat, it's Sugar Alley*. It became Graham Road, because Grahams were influential early settlers, and owned acreage along it. It was a much-used pathway that extended from Five Points** north past Main Street. Then in January 1830 Martin Waggoner and John Waggoner, plus 74 other men in Truro and Jefferson Townships and thereabouts, petitioned Franklin County Commissioners "to view and lay out" [survey and map] a road from the Hebron Road (Palmer) to the Jersey [later Clark State] Road. Waggoner Road came into being the summer of that year. Both Hetty Evans and Grace Carr, history buffs, said the road was called Wagoner because of the wagons that went into and out of the stone quarry on the road. Possibly Truro Township residents resented the Waggoner men, who lived in Jefferson Township and got their name on the road first. Even after the official name, it was called Stone Quarry Road. Now, south of Main Street to Five Points, it is still Graham Road, and Waggoner Road north to Clark State Road, where it ends. The stone quarry, in use for a century, is a hole in Stone Quarry Park.
Maybe Rose Hill Road never had any other name. It was said to be so named because of the wild roses that grew in profusion on the land there. One map calls it Rose Hill Drive.
A portion of Rodebaugh Road, east off Waggoner, used to be named Stewart Road. It ran along the north perimeter of Clark Oldham' s farm. Clark and his father Collins kept up the roadside fence for several years. Then, since the road was hardly used, they drew up a petition, got signatures, and got the road closed. Clark, RHS 1925, was a hard-working founding member of the Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society (RTHS), a Grange member, a good man. He was father of Marilyn Griffin, long-time RTHS president. Clark' s second wife, Jo Mills, served many years as RTHS treasurer.
Livingston Avenue has had several sections, each named differently. Today the street runs with one name from South Third Avenue in Columbus to Five Points**, south of The Burg. There it becomes Slate Ridge Boulevard. The Columbus part was at first South Public Lane. East at about McNaughten Road, it was Sprague Road, with steep Sprague Hill, beloved of boys with sleds, but not by men with a loaded wagon and a team of horses trying to get up it. Sprague Road (named for several pioneer families) ended at State Route 256. Livingston Avenue was said to be named for Edward Chinn Livingston 1783-1843, colonel in the War of 1812, judge, and early Franklinton [Columbus] settler who urged that the growing community be established all on the east side of the Scioto River. Several related Livingston men could qualify for the same honor.
Hebron Road is now Palmer. Palmer Road honored a prosperous local family [or their forefather Thomas Palmer, possibly the first man to settle here in 1803, agent to sell the Refugee Lands earned by his father-in-law, Col. Carpenter Bradford.] Palmer Road, my favorite all country road, goes with some jogs 14.7 miles from Graham Road into Licking County, to end at SR 37 just south of Luray.
A tidbit about Palmer Road involves Alexander W. Livingston's land, today owned by the city. Cora Estelle Barb 1877-1950 was related to Robert 1835-1906 and Mary Ann Harman Barb 1839-1917, who lived in the Livingston house after Livingston moved to Columbus in 1880. I was told that Cora owned or inherited some of the land, so positioned as to make a road useful. She offered to donate enough land to make a road if the township would gravel it. So we got the Hebron Road.
SR 256 north of Five Points was once Strahl Road. South, it was Jacksonville Pike until in January 1928 the state legislature changed the town's name to Pickerington, for its founder (1816) Abraham Pickering 1776-1833.
Lancaster Avenue north of Main Street has been called Blacklick Road and New Albany Road. In New Albany, northbound at the SR 62 traffic light, it becomes SR 605. South of Main Street, South Lancaster Avenue/ SR 256 was called Old Road* or Baltimore Road or Pickerington Road, depending on your destination. The north end of SR 256 is at US Route 40, Main Street, Reynoldsb urg, and it ends 25.99 miles southeast at SR 13 west of Somerset.
Main Street, US Route 40, is often the major east-west way through any American town. It was the first US-funded road, costing an estimated $6,000 per mile, in the end $15,000 per mile, to build. In Columbus it used to be Friend Street. The Burg's Main Street once was called Old Corduroy, likely because at one time it was surfaced with logs, which would give a spine-jarring, harness-rattling ride. As The Cumberland Road it was part of America' s ambitious highway that first ran west across the country from Cumberland, MD, to Vandalia, IL, near St. Louis. It was also the National Road or National Pike or National Turnpike, or the Cumberland-Brownsville Turnpike, or the Old National Pike; and Wheeling Road. For a while it was Ohio's State Route1. When it was improved in 1830 it was only the second road in the US to be surfaced using the macadam process [rocks, broken on the job, layered in specific sizes]. US Route 40, so created in 1926, runs 2,286 miles through 12 states from Atlantic City, NJ, to Interstate 80 in Silver Summit, Utah, just outside Park City. It once ran to San Francisco but because of numerous truncations and renumberings Rt 40 no longer runs without interruption to California.
Part of The Cumberland Road was a great Indian trail known as Nemacolin’s Path. One historical account states that under auspices of the Ohio Company Nemacolin, a trustworthy Delaware living in Fayette Co., PA, blazed the trail from Cumberland to the Ohio River. By 1753 the path was a good pack-horse road, well- marked and cleared. This section was later called Braddock’s Road, for General Braddock, who fought and lost a battle there in which he was fatally wounded, and yet later Dunlap’s Road.
In 1872, Main Street in The Burg was 80 feet wide. Later on, Village Council minutes sed that townspeople were opposed to making it any wider. Council minutes showed that in 1915, Route 40 was "completely rebuilt;" in 1925 "widened;" in 1938 "completed through Reynoldsburg." Today it is four lanes.
The steel tracks of the Interurban Line ran east-west in the center of our Main Street, and employed some of The Burg men, including Garry Wiswell (office; later Red & White grocer); Bruce Henderson and Murray Graham, railway crew. The various Lines ran from 1831 to 1938.
Brown Alley and Oakley Alley, on Samuel Osborn's 1846 plat, now correspond roughly to Davidson Drive and Haft Drive. Joanne Davidson b.1927 lives in The Burg, served several years on Village Council and from 1981-2000 in the Ohio House of Representatives, becoming the first woman Speaker 1995-2000. Al Haft was a wrestling promoter, prominent local businessman, owner of Haft Motel & Restaurant. Sam Osborn was the great-grandfather of Ralph Connell (1925- 2007, RHS 1943, former RTHS president, active community and lodge worker, owner of the famous Connell Hardware); Sam was great-great-grandfather of Charity and Sarah Connell. The platted Osborn Addition held six lots and the two alleys. Osborn owned land west to Brice Road and south to Livingston Avenue; that entire area was known as The Osborn Addition.
Brice Road was earlier called Brice Pike.
Truro Avenue, a short road that runs from South Lancaster Avenue to John Street, may not have been named until 1914, when John Samuel Ayers's 12-lot Addition was approved. "Sam" [d. 1961] was the grandfather of Judi Ayers Lappert, RHS 1962 grad and RTHS member.
John Street, near the south end of town, was first called Old Mill Road or Saw Mill Road, because John McCullough had a saw mill on it.
Noe-Bixby Road [No-ee], crossing Route 40 at the hamlet of Hibernia, was called Hibernia Road, Noe or Green Road, named for influential landowners, or North Creek Road. Part of the road was later called "Shirt Tail Alley" because, on the west side in the hollow below Main Street, the wide bank of Big Walnut Creek offered relatively private parking space. An Ohio Scenic Route, the road runs south 6.3 miles from Broad Street to end at Winchester Pike.
McNaughten/McNaghten Road, west of The Burg, was known as Whetsel Road, for the family who settled there after driving a team all day through a foot of new-falling snow in the winter of 1823. Daniel Whetsel owned a half-section, plus 40 acres, plus the land on which Silent Home Cemetery sits. Daniel was first cousin to Lewis Wetzel, the famed or ill-famed Indian fighter.
Tussing (Tue-sing) Road, a couple of miles south of The Burg, was built by two Tussing brothers, Leroy Whitcomb 1848-1931 and Clinton Wiley 1849-1940, in the summer of 1873.
Each, plus their father George Nelson 1821-1905, owned land in the area. Whit's two-story white house stood on the road, lived in by descendants, for over 100 years. Wiley taught at the one room Allen School, east at a sharp bend in the road nearer SR 256. Now Tussing Road, with houses and housing developments, business malls, and an elementary school, goes 2.2 miles from Brice Road to SR 256. West of Brice Road it becomes commercial Scarborough Boulevard.
* refers to John French's Reynoldsburgh Town Plat (pictured above).
**Five Points is south of The Burg, at the meeting of State Route 256 N-S, Livingston Avenue, Graham Road, and Slate Ridge Boulevard.
Note: After the Civil War, the US Postal Department compiled a list of names which could signify a new postal station in each state, only one such name allowed per state. Also, the US Geographic Board simplified all names. The h was dropped from-burgh (when spelled borough it's pronounced burra , once meaning a fortified group of houses forming a town); the apostrophe was deleted from all possessive names (i.e., Taylor's Station) and names such as Black Lick became Blacklick. Reynoldsburgh became Reynoldsburg. A few (Pittsburgh) stayed the same.
The story begins when I met my future husband, Chuck, at Ohio University in Zoology class. He was my lab partner, but we didn’t pay much attention to each another until I was on a coffee date with someone else. When my date introduced me to his karate instructor, both Chuck and I said, “We’re lab partners,” at the same time. After that we dated regularly and then in May 1967, we decided to get married.
After I returned home from OU, my parents asked, “How do you expect to afford marriage?” I said Chuck was going to graduate school and I was going to get a job. At this point, my father pointed out that I had never even had a job - other than babysitting. So began my journey of learning how to work for a living.
It was hard to find a job with no experience at all. I started out being an usherette at the RKO Grand on State Street in Columbus. Somehow, I found out that they were hiring with a Reynoldsburg connection through the Bender family. The job was simple. Get to the theater, grab a flashlight and show people to available seats, then clean up afterward. The pay was about 50 cents an hour. So, for a six-hour job I would make $3.00 a night. Not a great plan; first I had to get to downtown Columbus every night and then somehow make it all the way back home.
The other problem was there was only one movie playing the whole time I worked there. The movie was Grand Prix,which was made in 1966 in a revolutionary 70mm Cinerama format. The screen was so huge, and it showed every hair and pore on the faces of James Garner, Jessica Walter, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, and Toshiro Mifuna. One of the problems of having this grand movie playing all the time is that after a while I knew every breath, sigh, engine roar, gear change, and action before it happened. Fortunately, there were a lot of us usherettes, so we would get together at the back of the theater and tell ghost stories during the movie. This was not going to be the job that would help me get married! I think I quit within a couple weeks, but I still remember every breath in Grand Prix!
Next, I heard that they needed a breakfast cook at Green Gables in the Burg. I wrote about this adventure in the January, 2019, Courier in an article about Carl Whitmer. I worked at Green Gables the rest of the summer for 75 cents an hour from 6 a.m. to noon. This job allowed me the freedom to hang out at the swimming pool in the afternoons and then find other employment in the evening.
The best job I ever had in my life only happened when there was an event at The Wigwam on Route 204. I did many different tasks for the events and enjoyed every one.
The Wigwam was a 63-acre lodge owned by the Wolfe family as a country retreat. The Wolfe family owned the Columbus Dispatch, WBNS, banks, and other entities in Columbus. The call sign of WBNS (channel 10) represents - Wolfe, Banks, News, and Shoes. Robert Frederick Wolfe came to Columbus in 1888 and found work as a shoemaker. He then started Wolfe Brothers Shoe Company. In 1903, he and his brother, Harry Preston Wolfe, bought the Ohio State Journal and then in 1905 acquired The Columbus Dispatch. The Dispatch was originally start-ed in Columbus in 1871 by a group of printers who had named it The Daily Dispatch. The Dispatch remained in the Wolfe family for 110 years.
WBNS radio originally had a call sign of WCAH, founded in 1922. The Columbus Dispatch purchased the station in 1929 and changed the call sign to WBNS in 1934. One of my favorite WBNS radio teams was Jack and Dick Zipf who referred to their station as “W-BEANS”. They were an entertaining morning drive-time pair who talked endlessly about “beautiful Obetz” and “the Obetz Arms” (imaginary hotel) with their favorite phrase, “Yeah, Boy”.
WBNS TV started in 1949 and is one of the few stations in the country that has had the same owner, call letters, and primary network affiliation throughout its history. Some of the shows on WBNS were: Flippo the Clown, Luci’s Toyshop, Franz the Toymaker, The Judge, Hanna’s Ark (Jack Hanna), and Fritz the Night Owl. Chuck White was on Luci’s Toyshop as puppet master, co-producer, co-writer, the voice of Mr. Tree and many other characters. White was a college roommate of Fritz (the Night Owl) Peerenboom and was one of Ohio’s first African-American TV personalities.
Comedian Jonathan Winters, known as Johnny Winters, promoted Gambrinus Beer in the early 1950s for August Wagner Breweries, Inc. Rod Serling of “The Twilight Zone” started his career on WBNS. Other memorable reporters were Tom Ryan (anchor), Joe Holbrook (weather), Marty DeVictor (sports), and Chet Long (anchorman).
The Wolfe family sold The Columbus Dispatch in 2015. In 2019, the Dispatch sold its broadcasting assets (WBNS) to Tegna, Inc. for $535 million in cash. These sales ended a 90-year Wolfe family involvement in local media. In June, 2018, for $2.7 million, Wolfe Enterprises sold The Wigwam to Violet Township for community use. The sale of The Wigwam brings me back to my “best job ever” story.
In 1927 the Wolfe family bought 20 acres to use as a family retreat and hunting lodge. The property expanded over the years. The original lodge reminded people of the Native American Indians in the area, so it was named The Wigwamand was decorated with Indian themed artifacts. Over the years the Wolfe family invited employees from The Columbus Dispatch and WBNS to attend events along with many notable people such as Bob Hope, Gene Autry, General William C. Westmoreland, Betsy Palmer, Woody Hayes, and many others.
My mom, Maebelle Millar, worked there often as a cook because she was a school cook in the Reynoldsburg schools. My aunt, Evelyn Cashdollar Millar, worked as a waitress and also as a housekeeping person. I was invited to help out whenever I could. Sometimes I would help my aunt clean the lodge, bunkhouse, and property manager’s house. It was amazing that I could clean cobwebs out of those old windows on one day and the next day the spiders had rebuilt everything! The bunkhouse was used for overnight guests and for changing clothes for the various events. I still remember picking up wet bathing suits off the floor in that building. I also helped my aunt hang wallpaper in the manager’s house which was occupied by Jewel and Paul Griffith and their daughter, Sue (Hostenske) at the time.
The buildings were amazing with lots of Native American scenes painted on the walls and old furniture made of unusual objects. It was so much fun to clean everything, because everything had meaning. The bar back was beautiful and was difficult to dust. We would polish the brass footrest in front of the bar. I truly enjoyed working every part of the lodge.
I also tried my hand at being a waitress one night. It was not my cup of tea. The guests were a lot more experienced at eating out than I was at trying to serve them. I also did a few events as a cook – well more of a prep cook and it was fun. The cooks all joked and cooked and laughed and got everything out on time.
At some point, I knew that My ABSOLUTE, BEST JOB EVER was being a dishwasher at The Wigwam. I’ve been a typesetter, a reporter, a programmer, an auditor, a technical writer, a creative writer, a business controls leader, and a manufacturing worker. I’ve been paid a lot more, and I’ve been paid less, but nothing has ever been as wonderful as washing dishes at The Wigwam.
The waitresses scraped the plates into giant trash cans and put them on the stainless-steel counter and then my job would begin. I can’t describe the joy I had grasping the giant spray handle and giving a stack of dishes a healthy rinse while steam rose all around me. I would load the dishes into giant trays, shove them around the corner of the counter, open the big Hobart machine that washed the dishes, pull the clean ones out, push the dirty dishes in while slamming the lid closed, and start the washing process while I prepared myself for the next phase. I would unload the trays of hot, newly washed dishes into stacks and then slip and slide my way into the storage area where waitresses and cooks were frantically pulling out clean dishes they needed at the time. It was always nip and tuck, but we had a great system to have everything ready and where an item was needed.
The glasses were a little tricky because I had to check for lipstick marks before the glasses could go in the dishwasher. The silverware was a blast. The waitresses would throw the dirty silverware into pans I had prepared with hot water, a piece of silver foil, baking soda, and a little salt. Before I would run a tray of silverware, I would check each piece for large food particles. After the silverware was washed, I would sort it into containers, so the spoons, forks, and knives were all separated and carry them to the pantry.
The cooks mostly took care of their own pans, but I did help them out in between the courses while the waitresses brought more dishes. It was so fun to have the freedom to make a mess, even knowing I would clean and dry everything when the evening was finished.
Another wonderful part of that job is that I got to eat what the guests were eating. If they were having lobster and steak, so did I. Or if they had Chicken Cordon Bleu, that was my meal, too! The food was outstanding and of top quality. The cooks knew what they were doing and made sure everything was prepared correctly. I remember one of my favorite desserts at The Wigwam was something extremely simple–pink peppermint ice cream with a homemade, rich chocolate sauce. I’ve never been able to replicate that exact taste. They probably were using Cummins ice cream and a secret family sauce.
The bartender would come in the kitchen to get clean glassware and then return later with my drink order. I didn’t have more than one or two drinks a night because I was too busy flinging my body and water all over the dishwashing area.
Then at the end of the night, after everything was cleaned up and we prepared to go home, Paul Griffith would come in the kitchen and pay us in cash for our jobs. I would get $20 for my evening of happiness along with great food, drinks, and laugh-ter. I never worked anywhere else that was so rewarding.
There were other perks the staff had at The Wigwam in the form of employee parties where we could swim in the tomahawk shaped swimming pool and bask in the sun. The best part of the pool was the fountain where a lion “spit” into the pool.
Chuck and I were married in September 1967 after my father figured I could actually hold down a job. We moved to Cincinnati where I got a job with Mabley & Carew as a seller of neckties. When we moved to Texas years later and had a big swimming pool in our back yard, the first thing Chuck said about the pool is that we need to have a lion statue fountain to spit into the pool. We never found one, but we always imagined the lion was there.
Can you imagine having a better job than washing dishes? I can’t. Funny thing is that I don’t use my dishwasher at home (no fun). I do all my dishes by hand and I enjoy it, probably because my mother conned me into believing that washing dishes by hand keeps your fingernails long and strong. I do have a sprayer with my sink, but I don’t have the stainless-steel counters and walls to spray water everywhere. Sigh.
My thanks to Sue Griffith Hostenske and Mary Turner Stoots for obtaining The Wigwam photos.
The photo above is of Chuck and Suzy Miller on their wedding day in 1967
Suzy & Chuck Miller on their wedding day in 1967
WOSU-TV Interview About Alexander W. Livingston with Brent Davis, Barth Cotner, and Mary Turner Stoots