Driving Park

Driving Park

Driving Park is an urban residential area on the Near East Side of Columbus, Ohio just south of I-70. It neighbors many notable areas including Livingston Park, Old Oaks Historic District, Bryden Road Historic District and the King-Lincoln Bronzeville District, all with the common thread of the notable Livingston Avenue Corridor which was part of one of Columbus' first street car suburbs. Mainly a middle class predominantly African American neighborhood, Driving Park and its surrounding neighborhoods consists of an area of 17,730 residents. When the neighborhood is referenced, its boundaries generally consist of Mooberry Street on the north, Alum Creek Drive on the east, E. Whittier Street on the south, and Parsons Avenue to the west. The Driving Park Area Commission recognizes the neighborhood's borders as Interstate 70 on the north, N & W Railroad on the east, E. Whittier Street on the south, and Struder Avenue on the west.[1] Further reference places the community directly in between Bexley and German Village.

Contents

History

Driving Park received its name from its historic past as a large equine racing complex for horses and eventually automobiles during 19th century and early 20th century. Columbus residents would travel to Driving Park to enjoy the exciting horse races held there. When automobiles came into fruition during the 1900s the track was converted to allow for auto racing. Its largely flat stretched oval design allowed turn of the century speedsters to set many records at the racetrack. One major event was the world's first 24-hour race in 1905.

The precursor community of Driving Park was a small community consisting of employees of the racetrack. During the 1930s the racetrack was abandoned yet the community continued to grow.

Recent Decades

During the 1950s the Interstate 670 and Interstate 70 construction projects navigated through and demolished Columbus' predominantly African American neighborhoods to the east. As a result African Americans moved further south. At one point the community was thriving with a theatre and many diverse commercial outlets along Livingston and Whittier avenues.

There are also historic neighborhoods on the south side of Livingston bordered by Frebis Avenue where many middle class families reside. There is also a 19th century mansion on the corner of Livingston and Linwood, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The area has many beautiful small middle class homes built during the 1940s and more than half have been kept up by the residents. Larger older houses called "foursquares" slang for American Foursquare built during the 1900s or 1930s still remain either as a whole or partitioned as a double. Similar to other areas of Columbus such as Victorian Village and the Short North, this area has many beautiful 19th century homes that were owned by many notable residents. In fact the style of the homes vary to include echoes of German Village to the west part of the neighborhood, Olde Towne East to the north, and Bexley to the east.

Notable residents

  • Edward Vernon Rickenbacker - World War I American Fighter Pilot Ace

See also

References


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