1439 sixth st

Sometimes houses can be well known for a couple historical events. This weeks serendipitous candidate is 1439 North Sixth Street. It’s involved with the 1920s real estate boom and developer Charles Johnson, Columbus civil rights and the recent COTA shooting.  The 1922 house, and its sister house at 1435 N. 6th were built by Abel Hildreth  in the Indianola Subdivision. The plat is the same plat and building period  as the New Indianola Historic District. Hildreth purchased the empty lots, originally platted by Johnson, and most likely built the houses as a speculative investment. Both were sold immediately sold and their appraised value nearly doubled by 1924. The lot that was valued at $470 in 1920 was worth $5200 with the addition of a $3000 house in 1924 – the top of 1920s market in central Ohio.

In 1947, Richard and Viola Lynch purchased the property. Richard Lynch was a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch and Viola Lynch was trained as a teacher. Although college educated, the segregative nature of Columbus housing in 1947 severely limited where they could live and in Weinland Park that meant east of North Fourth.  Viola Lynch was active in the local NAACP chapter and in 1961 was part of a committee that urged local businesses such as Big Bear, Wonder Bread, and Kroger to hire African American employees. Lynch’s committee went to each business and thanked them for hiring blacks. In 1961, this would have served two purposes. Firstly, to actually thank them but secondly to continue to pressure the employers to continue to hire blacks as the businesses often practiced tokenism. The businesses would point out that their lone black employee proved they were not prejudiced. The trick for the local NAACP was to get the employer to hire more than one or two African Americans at jobs that were not completely menial in nature. The local NAACP did accomplish this and by 1961 the Big Bear chain, the final grocery store holdout,  hired an African American women cashier where previously the only jobs available were as janitors. Huntington Bank hired their first African American tellers in the same year becoming the second bank in Columbus to do so.

Unfortunately, now the house is famous for being the home of Anthony Saunders, the suspected COTA bus shooter. So, if you see him call the police as he is still at large. And hopefully the house will become famous again for something more uplifting.


Update: He’s turned himself in to the police.

Did you know? Forty percent of teenagers arrested in Weinland Park are not from Weinland Park.