Remarkable Ohio

Serpent Mound Marker

Home / Franklin County / 131-25 The Big Walnut Country Club / The Founding Members [1]

Marker awaiting installation and dedication

Title, side A
The Big Walnut Country Club
Title, side B
The Founding Members
Text, side A
Established during the Great Migration and intense segregation in Columbus, The Big Walnut Country Club (BWCC) was one of the first Black country clubs in the United States. Conceived in 1925 and incorporated two years later, the club encouraged and promoted aquatic and athletic sports by providing the means and facilities otherwise not available to the Black community. Members enjoyed golf, swimming, archery, tennis, badminton, boating, dining, and dancing on the nearly 20 acres of land between the Big Walnut and Rocky Fork creeks. The club was a social, professional, and political hub for Central Ohio’s growing Black population in the decades leading to the Civil Rights Movement. The BWCC closed in 1963. Gahanna purchased the land in 1970 and opened its first public park, Friendship Park, the following year.
Text, side B
The founding members of The Big Walnut Country Club — Nimrod B. Allen, John P. Bowles, Dr. Elijah A. Calloway, Leroy H. Godman, Charles E. Jones, Dr. William A. Method, Dr. R. Milton Tribbitt, and Dr. William J. Woodlin — were prominent attorneys, dentists, doctors, executives, and social workers in 1920s Columbus. In addition to their work with the club, Method and Tribbitt established Alpha Hospital (1920) in the Columbus neighborhood of Bronzeville where Black doctors could practice medicine. Allen, Calloway, Method, and Tribbitt were active in forming the Business Men’s Club at the Spring Street YMCA. Allen founded the Columbus Urban League (1917) and the community leadership and service organization Frontiers of America (1936). In 2015, a State Commission posthumously inducted Nimrod Booker Allen (1886-1977) into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
Address
150 Oklahoma Avenue
Gahanna, OH 43230
Location
Friendship Park