CLUB EARLY HISTORY – 1928
The Kiwanis Club of Northern Columbus has a long and storied history of service and friendship in Clintonville, Beechwold and Worthington. Before there was a Park of Roses, the Clintonville Woman’s Club, Whetstone High School or State Route 315, a group of men started meeting at the Florence Restaurant on the corner of Como and High Streets to discuss what they could do to make the community a better place. This led to the club receiving its charter from by Kiwanis International on November 15, 1928.
Prior to 1953, when the Northern Columbus Kiwanis Club celebrated its silver anniversary, particulars are scare. Most of the early history of the club was obtained from conversations with older members.
One early fundraiser started by club member and Ohio State Senator Robert (Buzz) Shaw in the 1940’s was the door-to-door sale of an annual newspaper, the Community Service Paper, sold during December. In the 60’s it was renamed the Northern Kiwanis Servicepaper, and around 1980 the paper was sold in September to take advantage of Daylight Savings Time and warmer weather.
1950’s and 60’s
In the early 1960’s the club purchased property just north of the current Whetstone Park, hoping to one day build a clubhouse for meetings and activities. However, after Kiwanis International amended its bylaws to state that clubs could not own property in 1964, the land was subsequently deeded to the Clintonville Woman’s Club which raised funds to build its current clubhouse.
Also in the 1960’s Kiwanis members assisted in planting trees and adding benches to Whetstone Park and even helped move the gazebo from Fort Hayes to the Park of Roses.
Our Easter Egg Hunt, started over 65 years ago is likely the oldest in the city. The first egg hunt, for the children and grandchildren of the members, was in the front and back yard of one of the Kiwanis members. The eggs were boiled and colored by the wives of the members (at that time Kiwanis was an all-men’s club).
Northern Columbus Kiwanis celebrated its 90th anniversary of serving the community in 2018. Take a moment to listen to a Video which was created for the celebration held at the Clintonville Woman’s Club. The video presents a brief history of the club and is narrated by club members Shirley Palumbo, Randy Ketcham, Cliff Wiltshire, David Kerst and Sam Kiner.
Beginning in the 1960’s, the Northern Columbus Kiwanis Club has been the primary sponsor of the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Whetstone Park. Now members hide over 7000 plastic candy-filled Easter Eggs eggs at the park, where The Columbus Parks and Recreation staff cordon off the area. Thousands of children delight in finding the Easter Eggs and in meeting the Easter bunny, which is typically played by a Whetstone Key Club member.
1970’s and 80’s
For many years in the 70’s and 80’s, the club earned maintained a temporary Registrar Appointment, selling auto license plate renewals in March out of the Beechwold Hardware store. Funds earned in this way allowed the club to undertake its largest community project – the Northern Reservable Shelter at Highbanks Metro Park. A Kiwanis committee headed by Harley Bratton worked with the Metro Parks Board to develop plans for the structure. Kiwanis contributed over $50,000 to the project in 1982. A plaque mounted on the hearth recognizes the Northern Columbus Kiwanis Club for its contribution and the club has its annual picnic at the shelter every August.
Education has been a primary focus of Northern Columbus Kiwanis for many years. In the past the club sponsored Academic Honors programs at Thomas Worthington and Bishop Watterson High Schools, and sent high school delegates to the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership workshop to learn leadership skills.
In 1981 plans were made to create a Foundation as a repository for funds from the sales of the Community Service Paper. Articles of Incorporation were approved by the Internal Revenue Service under classification 501 (c) 3, giving Northern Columbus Kiwanis a “nonprofit” status. The Foundation has received several gifts and bequests, including several thousand dollars donated to create our College Scholarship fund. The fund was named for a fellow Kiwanis member, Myrle H. Dennis, whose family made the contribution in his memory. To date the club has awarded tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to area high school seniors. Currently scholarships are awarded to seniors from Whetstone, Bishop Watterson, Thomas Worthington, Linworth Alternative, and Worthington Christian High Schools.
North Columbus Kiwanis has also contributed funds to The Early Childhood learning Center at the Marburn Academy and the Dahlberg Learning Center.
In the past Northern Columbus Kiwanis served youth by sponsoring and providing guidance to KEY (Kiwanis Educates Youth) Clubs at Columbus Alternative and Bishop Watterson High Schools. Currently the club sponsors the Whetstone High School Key Club, whose student members are very active supporting the community through a multitude of volunteer projects, such as the Clintonville-Beechwold Resources Center Pumpkin Patch, Packaway Hunger, providing meals at the Ronald McDonald House, and volunteering at Northern Columbus Kiwanis events and fundraisers.
In the late 80’s the club purchased a concession trailer for use when selling refreshments at various community events. With money donated by the members and money raised, the bare bones trailer was outfitted with plumbing, wiring, sinks, cupboards, countertops, lighting and flooring. Appliances such as a popcorn popper, snow cone machine, coffee percolator, soda fountain, and grills were added to make it a full-service concession trailer. This project was another example of club members’ hard work and good fellowship.
The purchase of the trailer proved to be an opportunity to promote the Kiwanis name while raising funds for community projects.
For several years in the 90’s Northern Columbus Kiwanis had a concession tent at the Whetstone 4th of July fireworks display.
Since 1998 the Northern Columbus Kiwanis Club has continued to change to meet the needs of the community. The club donated funds to help The Ohio School for the Deaf complete a playground. The club has worked on Habitat for Humanity home building projects, planted trees along State Route 315, and for over 75 years sponsored Boy Scout Troop 80.
As a participant in the Meals-On-Wheels program Northern Columbus Kiwanis delivered meals to seniors as a service project and fundraiser.The club has helped the Salvation Army raise money by ringing the bell during Christmas.
The club received the Kiwanis International Foundation Award in March, 2001, one of only a handful of clubs so honored.
As described elsewhere on the website, Northern Columbus Kiwanis has continued to serve the community in the 2000’s.
In the 90’s our club joined Kiwanis International to partner with UNICEF to fight Iodine Deficiency Disorder and in the 2000’s the club once again joined UNICEF to fight tetanus around the world in the Eliminate Project. Kiwanis clubs around the world have joined together to donate over $100M to each of these critical health programs.
The club has helped many other community organizations such as the Clintonville-Beechwold Resources Center, Leadership Worthington, the Worthington Resources Center, and Special Olympics Ohio. Our members volunteer at NNEMAP Food Pantry and sponsor boys baseball and girls softball teams in the North Columbus Intramural League.
Northern Columbus Kiwanis supports Whetstone High School athletic boosters and the music department; Chadwick Arboretum; and Civitan concerts at the Park of Roses. Club members spend time cleaning up local parks such as the Whetstone Park of Roses.
Popular fundraisers include the Memorial Day and Fall pancake breakfasts and the Fish Fry in April.
As part of our mission of helping children, one of our goals is to support education. To this end Northern Columbus Kiwanis has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to seniors graduating from Whetstone, Thomas Worthington, Worthington Christian, Linworth Alternative and Bishop Watterson High Schools. Every March around the time of Dr. Seuss’s birthday we donate books to students at Como, Colerain, Indian Springs and Clinton Elementary Schools.
Northern Columbus Kiwanis is proud of its 90+ years history. Over the years our dedicated volunteers have continued to support the community with their time, efforts, skills, and dedication. Although today we look back and reflect on the past, we also look toward the future in hopes that we will always live up to our Kiwanis International Motto – SERVING THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD.