In the March 2015 issue of the magazine, CQ wrote about the late, great Grandview Inn, a popular dining and jazz venue at 1127 Dublin Road, west of Grandview Avenue. Unanswered in that piece was why the inn closed; thanks to a recent email from a grandson of the founders, we now know. The Grandview Inn was started in the late 1930s by Mike and Jane Flesch. During their roughly 40-year ownership it became known for the quality of both its dining and the jazz groups that played there.
Troubles at the inn began after Mike Flesch purchased the grand champion lamb at the Ohio State Fair around 1970. Mike chose to have the lamb butchered and then placed on the menu at the inn (even after his grandsons Thaddeus and Timothy were featured in a photo with the lamb in the Dispatch). It did not sit well with the clientele, and business dropped off significantly. As the 1970s ensued, the inn suffered further from employee theft and several armed robberies, including one in which the Flesches were tied up in the office bathroom. They finally sold the Grandview Inn in 1978 to a local restaurateur, for about half of what Playboy magazine had offered a few years earlier during its search for a Playboy Club location in Columbus.
I recently heard there was a building somewhere near the North Market that had the odd name of the Monypeny Building with an interesting story. Is this so?
This was the Monypeny Hammond Company wholesale grocery building. It stood on the west side of North High Street, about where the Hilton hotel is today.
It was a three-story building with an ornate masonry façade. It once was famous for a huge electric sign advertising Tom Keene 5-cent cigars. A large wall sign advertising those cigars survived until the building was demolished in 1980 by Nationwide Insurance Co., which wanted the land, and Midland Grocery Co., the building owner.
Unbeknownst to Nationwide, a fourth-grade class in Grove City had adopted the building through the Artists in the Schools program. A Columbus architect, Michael Liscano, took the students on a field trip, helped them study the building and worked with them on a model. Needless to say, the demolition devastated them. They picketed. They cried. TV cameras were there. Nationwide's CEO, Dean Jeffers, even visited the school to talk with the students.
In the end, however, the unfortunate incident may have had a silver lining, as there's some evidence that the demolition helped to move Columbus along toward creation of the Historic Resources Commission and inspired a greater sensitivity toward our local landmarks.
Jeff Darbee is a preservationist, historian and author in Columbus. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the answer might appear in a future column.
Sources: Tim Flesch, Jr.; Columbus Metropolitan Library website; Columbus Railroads website; Henry Hunker, “Columbus, Ohio: A Personal Geography.”