You can get lost in Old Beachwold, literally. Its lovely, wooded and
winding roads course through a ravine and small stream, passing
homes that connote a gracious style of living. Just a west turn off High Street, south of Graceland Shopping Center, and you are suddenly in another world.
Old Beechwold, on Columbus’ far north side, was the last remaining
holding of the Rathbone-Wetmore family originating from a 1796 grant of 4,000 acres to John Rathbone, a New York City businessman. Two hundred sixty-two acres were willed to Rathbone’s daughter Eliza and her husband Dr. Charles Wetmore. Their descendents owned the land until 1902, when Prosper Wetmore donated remaining undeveloped property on its northern-most fringe to the Columbus Zoological Society.
“Zooland” was closed just four months after its grand opening in 1905.
Joseph A. Jeffrey, founder of Jeffrey Manufacturing Company, purchased the property in 1906 and named their home “Beechwalde” for “the beech forest.” In 1914, the estate was sold to Charles H. Johnson, a prominent developer who simplified the spelling to “Beechwold.”
Johnson’s 1915 brochure, entitled “Beechwold the Beautiful”, states
that “the majestic old forest trees…are the community’s crowning
glory” and “are being reverently preserved.” Old Beechwold is a listed neighborhood on The National Register of Historic Places and The Columbus Register of Historic Properties.