Clinton Township named after vice president George Clinton, was primarily rural in the 1800’s and boasted one major thoroughfare, Plank Road or the Sandusky turnpike, now known as High Street.
In an attempt to draw others to the area and lessen the isolation of their farm, a farming family built businesses in the center of Clinton Township, along the plank toll road. They offered to give these buildings away to any skilled laborers who would stay. Clinton Chapel (now a funeral home) served as a stop on the Underground Railroad from 1838-1840.
In 1847 there was enough development to warrant a Post Office in the center of Clinton Township, near the corner of Oakland Park and Plank Road. The post office was designated the Clintonville branch. In the early 1900’s residents of Columbus and the faculty of the Ohio State University began building summer homes, and permanent homes in the areas around the ravines and the Olentangy River. With the growing popularity of cars, over 80 subdivisions were built, and families moved into thousands of new homes.
The Beechwold Post Office was constructed in the northernmost area of Clintonville, and a small business center developed around it. The area formerly containing the shortlived “Columbus Zoo Amusement Park” became “Old” Beechwold, and residents around the two post offices began to designate their homes as being a part of one or the other community, creating a strong affinity for Clintonville and Beechwold, that although never formalized, remains strong even into the current century. By the 1950’s the accepted boundaries were further blurred by the annexation of both areas by Columbus. Further development of the commercial districts expanded them past the old boundaries, mixing commercial properties into formerly residential neighborhoods, effectively combining the two areas.
In 1974 the city of Columbus created the “Clintonville Area Commission”, designating the governed area to be between Glen Echo Ravine and Worthington, and the Olentangy River to the railroad paralleling I-71. This increased the area of Clintonville to include most, if not all of Beechwold, and also increased the numbers of residents who believed themselves to be a part of a distinct community known as Clintonville. Only a handful of property deeds ever used the term Clintonville in the legal description of the properties. Despite the legalities, anyone from Clintonville, or wishing to live there can happily attest to the distinctive “feel” and the cohesive nature of the neighborhood.
Clintonville is loaded with charm and character, with many of the homes dating back to the teens and 20’s building boom, and the secondary housing boom in the late 40’s and early 50’s. The homes in Clintonville tend to hardwood floors, detailed woodwork, high ceilings and charming details. Mature trees are standard, as are sidewalks. The easy walking distance to shopping, food, and entertainment encourage strolling, which in turn leads to the friendly neighborliness of days gone by.
Many of the businesses on and near High Street are family owned by Clintonville neighbors. Being so close to the University, both the people and the architecture tend to be varied, with lots of individuality to be enjoyed. There are a large number of restaurants and coffee shops, antique shops, and quirky little storefronts selling everything from thimbles to Gaelic lessons.
Of the many parks in Clintonville, the crown jewel is the Whetstone Park of Roses, which includes a recreation facility, library, sports fields, a bandstand, an amazing Rose garden, Pond, and hiking and biking trails, including some nice views of the Olentangy River.
Schools are Columbus schools, and are attended by neighborhood children, many of whom walk to school, giving a small-town feel to this community. The Ohio State University is just to the South of Clintonville, and the Pontifical College Josephinum is to the North.
Clintonville also boasts easy access to I-71 and S.R. 315, which leaves it only minutes from downtown Columbus, and from major shopping areas like Polaris and Tuttle Malls. Clintonville is the best of both worlds: a close-knit community with a village feel, and a sophisticated community in the Capitol of the state with nearly instant access to all the “Big City” entertainments and amenities. Any resident will tell you, Clintonville is more than a community, its an eclectic, funky, cozy, charming, and enjoyable state of mind.