Wednesday, January 05, 2005



As I sat for what seemed like the 10th consecutive hour on hold with baggage claim, I came across this rather funny Encyclopedia definition of Kiki’s wonderful hometown, Upper Arlington (notice Tezzy, they in no uncertain terms reaffirm that you and I are better for growing up in Old Arlington, as opposed to those Northerners - - sorry Davey). I can’t believe this is a published definition of how we spent our youth, but how right it is...
Upper Arlington is bordered on the west by the Scioto River (immediately across which is Hilliard), on the north and east by Columbus, and on the south by Marble Cliff and Grandview Heights. The Olentangy River and the main campus of the Ohio State University are a short distance to the east of Upper Arlington. Downtown Columbus lies to the southeast.
Upper Arlington was founded by the real estate developers Ben and King Thompson, who purchased most of the farmland that was to become Upper Arlington from James Miller in 1913—a park and library in Upper Arlington still bear the Miller name (see no. 4 on the map). They originally wanted to call it the "Country Club District" after the Country Club development in Kansas City, but by 1917, the community became known as "Upper Arlington," in reference to its southern neighbor of Arlington (the name at the time of Marble Cliff).

The development proceeded according to the "Pitkin Plan," which called for curving streets copiously lined with trees rather than a gridded street layout. This development style gave the oldest district in Upper Arlington (at its southern-most end) its distinctively pleasant, park-like feel, though the lack of roadway predictability could lead to some frustrating driving experiences even for those familiar with the neighborhood.

In 1916, the development was interrupted (and largely undone) when the
National Guard used the area as a training camp, called Camp Willis, for 8,000 servicemen. Development resumed shortly afterwards, and in 1918, Upper Arlington incorporated as a village, with James Miller, the original landowner, serving as the first mayor. It became a city in 1941, and annexed surrounding land as its population grew.

As was typical in many developing northern communities of the time, the Thompsons included
restrictive covenants in their housing deeds that prevented African-Americans from purchasing homes in Upper Arlington (though the deeds were careful to point out that "colored servants" could still be employed). The effects of this practice have carried through to the present demographics of Upper Arlington, still almost exclusively populated by whites.
The post-
World War II housing boom led to the development of many new housing tracts in the northern half of Upper Arlington. The newer developments took on a much different character from the older core of the city, being mostly organized along normal street grids, and with the usually ranch-style houses being smaller and of cheaper construction than the historic stone and brick mini-mansions to the south. Many Upper Arlington residents sometimes refer to this area of Upper Arlington as "the golden ghetto", a joking reference to the comparatively lower quality yet still high property values. This part of Upper Arlington today is mostly populated by retirees and newly married couples.

(Tezzy, I’ve included some important figures in UA history in the above collage. I’d like an item by item relay of what you see - - Davey et al, feel free)!


Blogger Kiki said...

I don't know what the problem is, but the formatting doesn't seem to want to cooperate...

January 5, 2005 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Micah said...

Interesting read. I considered moving out of Worthington last summer and looked at Upper Arlington - too expensive for this unemployed guy. Plus, all of the "UA for Kerry" signs were a turn-off.

January 8, 2005 at 3:51 PM  

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