Hays-Mackey v. The Olentangy Park Co.

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In 1901 Season, Otho L. Hays and Daniel H. Mackey, owners of the ball grounds sued the Olentangy Park Company over relocating fences on the east and south sides to cut through public streets and enclosing a 30-ft. and 50-ft. roadway within the park. The fight was said to be over a disagreement over Hays and Mackey wanting to raise the rent of the ball grounds of $1,400 ($48,886 in 2022) and the park refused.[1][2] Two days later, the old fences were removed. Park Manager Joseph W. Dusenbury said the fences were put in place two years ago and went up the Hays-Mackey property line.[3]

Robert Turner, owner of "The Villa" prior to the park being built, was brought into the suit with Dusenbury claiming the new fences marked where Turner planned to open a saloon next to the park. Judge Badger granted a restraining order on May 13, 1901, against any interference with the fence until the true lot line could be determined.[4]

In January of the following year, it was brought to trial. Dusenbury claimed the "roads" were never dedicated for public use.[5] Judge Evans ruled in August 1902, that the streets were public property and the fences would need to be moved back 15-25 ft. (4.6-7.62 m). This ruling was based on an 1887 deed by a Mrs. Guetner for the property to be public property.[6] Dusenbury appealed this decision.[7]

In June 1903, the Men's Association of North Columbus discussed opening North Street. Councilman Burr said Dusenbury prepared a plat of the street and also a vacating ordinance for part of the street and an alley, claiming North Street had never been a street and the alley never dedicated. The members of the association said there had been a road to the ford there for 80 years. Dusenbury built a fence on the line of an old road and would be willing to change it, if necessary.[8]

The Dusenbury brothers returned to court on October 22, 1903. They were too slow to remove the fences, so Hays and Mackey wanted a punishment. Judge G.H. Stewart ordered them to remove the fences as well as the restaurant and dance pavilion on the east side of the park. Some electric light poles were also ordered to be removed. The Dusenburys said the Edison Company would need to remove the poles and wires due to their high voltage but promised to comply.[9]

The Dusenburys removed the fences and sawed the old dining hall in half as well as part of the Dancing Pavilion by November 2. A row of posts leading from High Street to the park grounds were removed and the holes were filled in.[10]

Mackey later leased a tract of land on the west side of High Street adjoining Olentangy Park to J. W. Dusenbury for 10 years and Hays leased a plot of land 462.37 ft. by 584 ft. on the west side of High Street adjoining the land in the first lease to the Olentangy Park Company, a corporation, also for 10 years. The leases began April 4, 1904, and April 12, 1904, respectively, at $500 ($16,674 in 2023) per year each, payable in four installments of $125 ($4,170 in 2023) each on the 15th day of May, June, July, and August.[11]

Hays went bankrupt in 1907 and the land was sold.[12]


  1. "Beat the Injunction." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 27 April 1901. Pg. 7.
  2. "Olentangy Park Fences." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 11 May 1901. Pg. 6.
  3. "Short Items." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 13 May 1901. Pg. 7.
  4. "Olentangy Park Fence." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 13 May 1901. Pg. 6.
  5. "Olentangy Park Fence." Thursday Columbus Dispatch. 16 January 1902. Pg. 5.
  6. "Public Property." Sunday Columbus Dispatch. 3 August 1902. Pg. 5.
  7. Saturday Columbus Dispatch. 16 August 1902. Pg. 5.
  8. "Gas, Water, and Weeds." Wednesday Columbus Dispatch. 24 June 1903. Pg. 5.
  9. "Ten More Days In Which to Move the Park Fence and Buildings." Thursday Columbus Dispatch. 22 October 1903. Pg. 6.
  10. "Roadways Cleared Up." Monday Columbus Dispatch. 2 November 1903. Pg. 7.
  11. "Olentangy Leases Filed." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 12 June 1904. Pg. 7.
  12. "Notice of Sale." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 22 June 1907. Pg. 9.