Thursday, March 1, 2012

Joe's Corners

The corner of Broad Street and Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road, in the Blacklick area, was known as Joe’s Corners. Our rented farmhouse, known as the Milburn Place, for that was the family who originally settled there, set back from the northwest corner.

On the southwest corner there existed a restaurant-gas station structure, named for Joe Grubs, who was one of the early retailers there, selling everything from rolling pins to new-born pups. I am sure that this corner supplied residents and travelers to Columbus from the outlying farmland, for generations.

Blacklick got its name from H.G. Black, who owned the first farm south of what eventually became the little town. As early as 1806, the nearby stream was referred to as Black’s Lick Creek, as Mr. Black kept a salt lick on his farm.

Nowadays, the buzz of Eastpointe Shopping Center (on the site of our farmhouse) and countless suburbanites going to and fro interrupts the sound of Blacklick Creek flowing in its banks. When I was growing up there, the surrounding farmland was owned by the Ramey family, who had a house just north of us, on the opposite side of the road.

Lucy Ramey ran the Joe’s Corners restaurant for a time. She and Dr. Ramey held on to it, and the surrounding property for a long time, before allowing it to become developed as the sea of houses and businesses that it is today.

Here’s a description of the area from Ben Hayes on June 10, 1952: “Just a few months ago these very fields were wastelands of stripped cornstalks – forlorn vistas, the earth frozen hard, tattered here and there with ragged patches of snow as the whistling, biting wind rattled the debris which harvest leaves behind. Now, on every side, as I sit in the deep green shadow of the tree, are fields that have been plowed, harrowed and cultipacked into excellent seedbeds. From this pulverized earth, rain-moistened and warmed, hour after hour by the sun, is springing the tender green corn. This crop will climb skyward – you can see it grow in the shimmer of summer which already has begun. What a phenomenon!”

Now if we could only unpave that field, have back the ancient catalpa tree with my childhood swing and go back to the simple corn-fed life at Joe’s Corners.

Christine Hayes

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