Griggs Dam-Tender House

The OES visited the Griggs Reservoir Dam-Tender House on June 29, 2003. The house, also known as the Richards House, sits in the middle of a large park/beach area at Griggs Reservoir. The house was built in 1816 by the Richards family on land deeded by President John Adams and was one of the first homes in Perry Township. The house was sold to the City of Columbus in 1904 to be used during the construction of the Scioto Storage Dam, later renamed Julian Griggs Dam. Griggs Dam was completed in 1908 after 195 people, including Ohio Senator Mark Hanna, died in 1904 as a result of typhoid due to bad drinking water. Since the dam required someone to be on-call 24/7 in order to open valves for water to flow into the treatment plant, the old Richards House became the dam tender’s home. The house was vacated after technology took over the work of the dam tender.

In the years since, some people believed the home had become an eyesore and needed to be demolished. Others thought it should be preserved. Vandals, of course, had taken their toll on the place, along with weather and other circumstances. In 2003, the City of Columbus stepped in and contributed $250,000 for a new roof, stabilization, security system, and a new furnace with the hopes of attracting a tenant to the old dam-tender’s home. The renovations were completed in September 2004. A study conducted in 2007 suggested the site could be used as a meeting facility, restaurant, nature center, or retail store. In September 2014, the City of Columbus announced the old home would be renovated into an event center named in honor of former Columbus Mayor Gregory S. Lashutka. The additions and renovations were completed in May 2017, and the facility is now available to the public to be rented for events. It is great to see this historic home, once on the verge of being razed, renovated and preserved for future generations.

Location Information: Public Park

The Griggs Dam-Tender House is on Riverside Drive (part of Griggs Reservoir Park) in Columbus; Franklin County.