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Ceremony Marks Rededication of South Gate in Goodale Park
Paul Hammock portrays Lincoln Goodale to the delight of audience members
By Psyche North Torok
July/August 2014 Issue

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Photos © Gus Brunsman III

Paul Hammock as Lincoln Goodale
Paul Hammock, Hearcel Craig, Marshall McPeak and Stan Sells

A rededication of Goodale Park’s South Gate was held on Sunday, May 18. The highlight of the event may well have been an “appearance” by Lincoln Goodale himself, portrayed by retired schoolteacher and amateur actor Paul Hammock. Hammock performs at the Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society) and used his experience with “process drama” – acting without a script – to play the role of Goodale. Hammock, who dressed in period attire for the occasion, said that he researched the benefactor’s life to integrate himself into the part.

The Friends of Goodale Park – an all-volunteer, non-profit community organization – was instrumental in renovating the gate. For several years, the Friends had been aware that the columns of the South Gate – originally erected in 1870 – were “in serious jeopardy of disintegrating,” said the group’s former president Stan Sells. The group wanted to repair the gate before further damage was incurred and sought out grants to have the gate’s condition assessed and ultimately restored. A new internal structure was fabricated out of stainless steel to support the iron gates, the stone columns were dismantled and repaired, and new light fixtures resembling the original gas lights were installed. The work to restore the gate began in 2012 and was completed in 2013.

Goodale Park’s South Gate may be the oldest remaining architectural structure in all of Columbus.

“The Friends of Goodale Park wanted to commemorate the restoration of this historic element in the park and decided that a rededication ceremony would be fitting,” said Sells. Columbus City Council also passed a resolution recognizing the Friends’ work in achieving the restoration.

Marshall McPeek of ABC6 and Fox28 News emceed with a welcome speech and introduced additional speakers. Besides McPeek and Sells, Columbus City Council member Hearsel Craig, Columbus Landmarks representative Ed Lentz, and Eric Brandon from Columbus Recreation and Parks spoke.

Because Lincoln Goodale was a Mason, members of the eponymously named Goodale Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio were invited to conduct a ceremony as part of the rededication. Members of the Goodale Lodge brought with them the three Masonic “Jewels” originally donated by Lincoln Goodale: the square, the level and the plumb. They also brought with them a commemorative granite stone which was consecrated with corn, wine, and oil as a part of the ceremony. The stone will be engraved to acknowledge the re-dedication and will be placed in the park.

The day’s ceremony was capped off with ice cream for all participants.

Lincoln Goodale was born in Massachusetts in 1782, the son of a well-respected and innovative Revolutionary War veteran, farmer and community leader. The family moved to Ohio in 1788 and eventually settled in the area of Columbus now known as Franklinton. By that time Lincoln Goodale had begun practicing medicine, a profession open to anyone who deemed themselves fit to take on the role. He was just 23.

In addition to his work as a physician, Goodale eventually invested in real estate and founded a mercantile business. Through his successes, he became one of the wealthiest people in the Franklin County. He possessed a keen concern for his community. In addition to serving on a number of boards and committees, Goodale also committed many acts of philanthropy.

One of Goodale’s most memorable gifts to the city of Columbus was the 40-acre tract of land that came to be known as Goodale Park. Lincoln Goodale wanted the people of Columbus – especially the disadvantaged – to have a natural place of beauty to enjoy. He offered the land to the city in 1851 with the condition that it always be used as a public park.

What would Lincoln Goodale think of Goodale Park if he saw it today? “I think he’d be very proud of it,” said Hammock. “So many gifts have been given to so many cities over time. This gift, this dream that Goodale had back in 1851, is still in existence. Isn’t it gratifying to have it still realized today?”

Steve Cokonougher, Deputy Grand Master of the Masonic fraternity in Ohio, flanked by Trip Eagleson (left), Worshipful Master of Goodale Masonic Lodge, and Stan Sells (right).

© 2014 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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