Once the World's Largest Working Farm, Hartman Stock Farm to be Google Computing Center

Project will turn a historic dairy farm into a data farm.

Suzanne Goldsmith
Columbus Monthly
Hartman Stock Farm buildings

A plan to build a $300 million Google computing center on 500 acres in South Columbus will turn a portion of what was once touted as the world’s largest working farm—and, according to one local group of history enthusiasts, the reason for Columbus’ despised nickname, Cowtown—into the site of a state-of-the-art data farm. 

The Hartman Stock Farm was created in 1903 by Samuel B. Hartman, the purveyor of an internationally popular patent medicine, Pe-Ru-Na. Hartman marketed the tonic as a cure for catarrh, a word for phlegm, which he claimed was responsible for half of all human ailments. The remedy was discredited after it was revealed to be 28 percent alcohol, but not before it made Hartman fabulously rich. On his 2,900-acre South Side farm, Hartman grew grapes for the tonic and operated a dairy with a huge herd of Jersey cattle. 

The proposal to build on the High Street site drew opposition from neighbors and the preservation group Columbus Landmarks, which pointed out that the Hartman farm, some of which has already been sold off, was once listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and that farmland is rapidly disappearing in Central Ohio. 

More:Far South Side residents upset over plan to build data center at former Hartman Farm

Despite the opposition, Columbus City Council approved both a zoning change for the property and a $54 million tax abatement, although the data center only promised 20 permanent jobs. The application was brought before the council by Magellan Enterprises, LLC, which was later revealed to be a shell company for Google. Tony Celebrezze, deputy director of the city’s Department of Building and Zoning Services, says site plan review for the project is underway.

This story is from the December 2021 issue of Columbus Monthly.