By April Morrow
If you have ever driven south on College Avenue from 111th Street to 96th Street, you have been to Home Place. For the moment, let’s step back into the past. According to Jack Edward’s book, “A View of Home Place,” published in 1992, the area we now know of as Home Place was originally called Pleasant Grove. It was named for the Pleasant Grove Methodist Church which was originally located on the northwest corner of 106th Street and College Avenue from 1893 to 1964. The church relocated to its present home at 445 E. 111th St. in 1964 to better serve its growing membership, and remains in the Home Place area. The Pleasant Grove Church Cemetery on 106th Street, just west of College Avenue, is the most visible reminder of the church’s role in connecting community members during early settlement of the area.
The name Home Place appears to have been derived by a man named Orin Jessup in 1914. Orin Jessup owned the Orin Jessup Land Co., and in 1914 he purchased the land between 111th and 104th streets and between College Avenue and McPherson Street. Hamilton County records show division of the land in plots for sale in a planned subdivision called Home Place. A small, relatively obscure, bluish-grey painted brick building still sitting on the corner of Jessup Boulevard and College Avenue was the Home Place Branch Office of the Orin Jessup Land Co.
Home Place as it now stands is a neighborhood with a unique history, diverse architecture, creative landscape and originality. In one sense, its original borders and plans are in fact, history. However, its evolution outside of the original plan and less clearly defined present borders created the opportunity for what has become a resilient and fiercely loyal community.
This community is defined more by the ingenuity of its residents than any other quality. For example, several buildings in the business district of Home Place, the heart of which is at the intersection of 106th Street and College Avenue, have been given literal and figurative new leases on life over the years. A red brick building approximately one block from Orin Jessup’s office which once was a ticket station for the interurban railroad has been renovated and has been the home of Mick Widmeyer’s company, Mr. Window, Inc., since 1991. More recently, Mercy Road Church acquired and is renovating an office building on the northeast corner of 105th Street and College Avenue to become the permanent home place of its church.
I invite you to continue with me on this journey to meet new residents and business owners as well as long time residents and business owners that have chosen to make Home Place their home. There is much to discover along this trip. On our journey together I would like you to keep in mind the refrain of a song the Girl Scouts still sing that states, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.” Home Place is rich in its history. Its wealth comes from a people who see the value in preserving it.