Near 9th Ave and 6th Street

These two little gems were built in 1922 just after the area was platted as  the New Indianola subdivision by Charles Foster Johnson.  The lots were purchased and flipped by Columbus businessmen John Hilsop,  and then by Abel Hildreth, whose family owned a downtown lumberyard.   They are almost certainly made of brick, as is the Johnson development, now known as  the New Indianola Historic District,  because of the extreme cost of lumber in 1922. A residential building boom in the United States combined with rebuilding efforts in Holland, Belgium, and France made brick buildings the almost  the only choice after the war. Edward Robbins, who left his railroad job in 1905 to make his fortune in real estate appears to have built the houses in 1922. The houses taxable value, $5200, began to decline in 1925 as the residential housing bubble collapsed. They would not be appraised above that amount until the 1970s.

One of the houses was owned by Mrs. Viola Lynch, who in 1961, with her NAACP committee, convinced the Wonderbread bakery on 1st Avenue to hire African Americans for positions other than menial labor. By the end of 1961 the Columbus chapter of the NAACP had persuaded Huntington Bank and Kroger’s to hire African American for positions other than menial labor. In late 1961 Big Bear grocery stores hired their first African American cashier. Phase 2 of the chapter’s plan in 1961 was to convince companies to hire more than a token African American workforce as well as advertise the positions to African American youth.

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