If you’re interested in the historic neighborhoods of Columbus, you’ve probably seen or heard of Brenda Dutton. She is a fountain of historical information.
Raised in Appalachia, Brenda credits her passion for history to her teachers who made history come alive. She soaked up history in neighboring states before heading off to college where she concentrated on history while attaining her library science degree. Brenda later became the branch manager of the Franklinton Branch Library. And a library is a perfect place for Brenda. She loves to scout information about the Abbey “residents.” Brenda says the first time she saw the Abbey was in 1989. She was so impressed by her beauty – a stark contrast to her surroundings. Later in 1997, Brenda and fellow Franklinton Historical Society members Bruce & Jan Warner found the Abbey unexpectedly open. It was then that Bruce & Jan took pictures of all the stained-glass windows in the Abbey that are the best documentation we have of how the windows looked before the vandalism took place. These have become invaluable records for their restoration.
Brenda joined the Abbey Board of Trustees in 2012. Having attained her status as a “Franklin Co. Master Gardener Volunteer”, Brenda often organizes teams to work on the gardens. Very analytical, she is great at ferreting out new opportunities for the Abbey in the community. Besides being very active at the Abbey, you will find Brenda dabbling in neighborhood associations, archiving or volunteering at CAPA.
George William Bobb
George William Bobb (better known as “Will” to distinguish him from his father) was born in Columbus, Ohio, on August 18, 1871. He was the son of George and Mary (Kaetzel) Bobb. He attended Columbus public schools until he was15 before attending Columbus Business College to prepare for a future in the business world.
George Bobb Sr. was a very successful wholesale grocer and owner of George Bobb & Sons. Both of Will’s older brothers were already in partnership with their father when he was taken into the family business. Upon Will’s joining the firm, the elder two brothers withdrew and started their own firm. This left the management of the older establishment upon Will’s shoulders.
Miss Nellie Pryce, daughter of pioneer railroad man Edward Pryce, and Will were wed in 1895. In 1903, Will left his position as general manager and buyer at George Bobb & Sons to start his own business, the G. W. Bobb Company. The business enjoyed immediate success and grew steadily. The Centennial History of Columbus cited Will to be “one of the strong and influential men whose lives have become an essential part of the history of Columbus” and that he had the “genius for devising and executing the right thing at the right time.” He made a fortune.
The G.W. Bobb Company occupied a four-story building located at Naghten and Neilston Sts. With two elevators, steam heat and their own private spur track for the railroad, it was the most modern building of its kind in the Midwest.
If you have any personal information or picture of Mr. Bobb, we would like to hear from you.
To prepare for the day in the not-too-distant future for the re-opening of Green Lawn Abbey as an operating mausoleum, a new improved website was just launched. The website incorporates our new branding and provides information for those seeking information about interment at the Abbey. Information about Abbey history and her renaissance will continue to be included as well as major improvements in ticket purchasing and donation capability. Bear with us as all the bugs are worked out! Visit it at: www.GreenLawnAbbey.org
You are cordially invited to our Annual Open House. Memorial Day has always been a special day at the Abbey as it gives us a chance to reflect on the people we loved and to appreciate those who lead, built or protected our city and our country. On Memorial Day we will have just that opportunity in several ways. Celebrate the completion of the stained-glass window in Mayor George Karb’s room and learn a little about his leadership following the devastating 1913 flood.
Monday, May 27, 2019
10:00am – 1:00pm
In honor of our veterans, an array of military uniforms will also be on display, from Civil War through WWII.
As always, there will be tour guides available to answer questions and point out some of our “special residents”.
This past summer another of the incredibly beautiful stained-glass windows was restored and returned to grace Green Lawn Abbey. Now back in its original opening, light streams through the stained glass and enlivens the space with dappled color.
Restoration of the window was done at Belmont College in St. Clairsville, Ohio, as a special summer project of the faculty and students enrolled in the historic preservation program.
The window graces the room of Mayor George Karb. Karb figures prominently in the history of Columbus. First elected in 1890 and serving Columbus for five non-consecutive terms, Karb served Columbus as mayor during World War I and the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918. He skillfully led the enormous public effort to rebuild Columbus’ river front after the devastating flood of 1913, a redevelopment effort which shaped how our city relates to the Scioto River.
The window restoration project was funded by the Columbus Foundation Historic Preservation Fund. We are deeply grateful for the support given by the Foundation, without which this project simply would not have happened.
With each window restoration, we take one step further in bringing this amazing building back for all to appreciate and to become a cultural asset as well as a viable business.
Late last year a very generous, yet anonymous, donor bequeathed $20,000 to the Abbey for the sole purposes of improving the Abbey’s streetscape. Along with a $10,500 grant from the Columbus Foundation’s Jeffrey Fund fund and a $2,900 award from the Little Garden Club of Columbus for the same purpose, the front yard is going to change dramatically!
To make the best use of resources and to ensure a landscaping plan that will carry us into the future, landscape architect, Mark A. Schieber, has developed an initial plan. This plan will include new street signage, the addition of new trees, the reutilization of existing trees, grasses and perennials. Since the original design of the Abbey was strongly influenced by famous 16th century architect, Andrea Palladio, the new design will have an Italian or Tuscan influence. Five columnar hornbeams included in the landscape plan were already planted late last fall.
Creation of street signage is an important part of the new streetscape. As the Abbey sits off the road, many visitors drive past the Abbey to Green Lawn Cemetery! Creating signage that fits the size and majesty of the Abbey is no small task. We were fortunate to find our neighbor Columbus Art Memorial has some large granite slabs, very similar to the stone used on the Abbey façade. The new sign is an investment that should last as long as the Abbey itself – forever!
The Green Lawn Abbey Preservation Association is thrilled to announce that the first-floor bronze doors are slated to be refurbished in 2019. Restoration of the doors has been a high priority since the effort to save the Abbey began in 2008. Damage by vandals over the decades and inadequate ill-advised “repairs” have resulted in their current deplorable condition.
The work will be done following the Preservation Plan compiled when the second-floor bronze doors were refurbished in 2012. The doors will be removed and restored off site. They will be disassembled and deteriorated materials inside will be replaced. New glass will be installed, missing pieces will be re-fabricated, and a patina applied to match that of other bronze pieces at the Abbey.
This extensive restoration was finally made feasible with a grant and private support. In March, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio History Connection announced a $10,000 grant for the door restoration. Additionally, Patricia Lewis, a much beloved historic preservation activist, who passed away in 2017 named Green Lawn Abbey in her will. Monies from her estate, coupled with a generous donation from her family and some additional funds earmarked by GLAPA make the project possible.
The project is estimated to cost $35,000. It’s still possible for you to support this project. Donations are greatly appreciated and would free up monies to be used for other restoration needs.