Walking or driving by the corner of Buttles and Dennison, you may have noticed the continued work on the northwest gates of Goodale Park. This work is part of an ongoing project to preserve and share a key piece of the history of our favorite park. But there is much more to the story than just replacing a few pieces of stone and tile…
The gateway, drive and sidewalk of the Northwest Gateway were originally conceived as a whole. The gateway was built late in 1899 and the walk and drive were finished in 1900. The gateway was designed by Isabel Terrell, Columbus’ first female architect, who lived in a home on the now-vacant lot next door to the Sells’ Circus house. William Fish, owner of the Fish Stone Company, who lived in the stone house diagonally across the street, donated the stone for the gateway. The City paid for the third post and the iron gates.
The carved faces on the columns depict the “Seven Ages of Man” from Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It”. A 1950s newspaper interview with a park official reported the northwest and north gates were stolen during WWII. The iron would have gone to the scrap metal drive for the war, but whether they were “stolen” is another matter. The current ironwork was salvaged from The Topiary Park.
If you compare yesteryear’s photos with the canopy as it exists today, you will see the brackets originally rose to a “roll” that extended beyond the overhang of the roof. The sides of the “roll” had low-relief carving in the form of a volute. It is supposed that the “rolls” were removed at the same time the tile was removed from the roof, sometime between 1951 and 1973.
When the welded steel gates at the Topiary Park became available as salvage, several discussions occurred about the appropriateness of moving them to the NW Gateway. The proposal was brought to the Victorian Village Commission in the summer of 1996. Besides wanting to put ironwork back in place, there was a desire to stop people and bicycles from wearing down the grass through the former driveway opening. The Chair of the Commission was aware that the proper course was to duplicate the original design. However, the Topiary gates came very close to fitting the North Gateway and met or exceeded the details of the original design. Consequently, the Commission approved the installation of the Topiary gates at the Northwest site.
Restoration of the Northwest Gateway has involved several phases. Phase I was completed in 2013 and included removal of a mock cedar shingle roof and replacing it with a historically appropriate salvaged tile roof to match the original along with the restoration and painting of the wooden structure. Phase II began in 2014, to be completed in 2015 and includes cleaning, repointing and restoration of the masonry along with carving new animal heads for the free standing pier. The work is being performed by the Centennial Preservation Group. As funds and the will become available, Phase III will include replacing the wooden “rolls” to the brackets.
The Northwest Gateway Restoration Project is solely the work of the dedicated Board of Trustees of Friends of Goodale Park and is being accomplished through generous grants made available from the following organizations:
Article Credit: Greg Krobot