From 1982-1990 adult fitness device inventor and aspiring action novelist, Craig Wise sold new cars near GM Delphi's Hilltop factory.
Soon after he began, a retired GM secretary told him this wild story about the factory's history.
Here are her main points, plus verifiable facts, and several obvious conclusions:
• In 1944, President Roosevelt directed General Motors to build this massive factory near the top of Sullivant's Hill (Hilltop) to entomb an underground junkyard of the nation's obsolete secret things below it.
• She said that the underground complex was initially built during the Civil War as a hidden weapons factory, then closed and sealed after the war ended in 1865.
• During the 1870s, electric lighting was coming. This, plus being located in the center of the nation's massive railroad network, made the hidden complex too valuable to continue ignoring.
• It was reopened by the US Secret Service to headquarter its first secret branch and develop secret weapons and technologies.
• From here, Washington could dispatch undercover agents and secret things around the country faster than from anywhere else.
• It remained the country's secret spy headquarters until the mid-1920s when aircraft blew past trains as the government's quickest method of transportation.
• In 1927, the first Port Columbus Airport was built 1000 feet south of it, right across Sullivant Avenue. It was constructed by the US post office to be their primary Air-Mail hub. One year later, Port Columbus was moved to east Columbus, leaving only the Post Office and a trick flying school operating across the street.
• Soon, agents and secrets were dispatched in planes marked US Air Mail instead of trains.
• By the late 1920s, aircraft made it simple for Washington to scatter most of their secret programs around the nation's remote deserts and Wright Field (now Wright Patterson Air Force Base) about 45 miles farther west near Dayton. Today that Air Force base is still keeping many if not most of the country's flying secrets.
• After the secret programs flew away from Columbus, the underground complex ended up storing the nation's antiquated secrets.
• In 1944, instead of clearing it out, President Roosevelt had GM build that 33-acre factory above it to "forever" bury it.
It seems that Roosevelt assumed this GM factory would operate forever. However, in the late 1980s, GM began closing it, as it had also become antiquated. Over the next twenty years, it crumbled into an abandoned eyesore.
Roosevelt also convinced the City of Columbus to annex another site a mile north for a Westinghouse factory. More recently (since 2016), others told Wise that an even larger facility, installed before the US entered WWW2, was buried under the Westinghouse factory.
Wise has no physical evidence of that complex. However, that building is now Big Lot's warehouse, so that complex should still be intact (if it did exist). Contact Build@uppercolumbus.com, with whatever you know or have about either complex.
Since 1982, Wise had casually noticed a mountain of evidence supporting the lady's story.
In 2015 he found satellite imagery showing the underground complex being back-filled just four months before the casino builders would have stumbled into it. Check it out.
He realized that if this hill's amazing secret history could be exposed as numerous forms of the fun, action-packed superspy (fictionalized) entertainment (instead of a short-lived news story), it could replace West Columbus's frightening local reputation by becoming an international tourist attraction.
In 2016, he outlined five novels based inside this compound and began writing them as his retirement hobby.
This legend was far from the only one supporting this hill's secret history. His other customers tacked on many more, for example:
Because Wise kept an album of antique Columbus postcards in his office, he usually sparked historical conversations with his older customers.
He was told that right after the Civil War, mansion homes began popping up along the eastern ridge of Sullivant's Hill for the panoramic view of Columbus and the statehouse. He thinks it was called Lucas Ridge Road.
These homes would have been built during President Andrew Johnson's term (Lincoln's VP). When he ordered Camp Chase closed, a month after the Civil War, Ohio-born Generals Grant, Hayes, and Garfield (also the next 3 US presidents) were upset.
Why would they be upset about closing a prisoner of war camp without a war?
They weren't. That prisoner of war camp sat less than a mile east of the secret compound. Its large security battalion would have protected the underground facility.
By closing Camp Chase, President Johnson also closed the nation's only centrally located secret compound. This explains why all three future presidents were displeased.
Three years later (1868), Grant was elected to replace Johnson. Immediately after his inauguration in March of 1869, Franklin County apparently used eminent domain to overpay these wealthy homeowners for their homes, which were rapidly demolished.
Private residences on Sullivan's Hill would have encroached on the underground facility, so they had to go.
Weeks later, Columbus annexed the Franklinton Floodplain and every inch of that 650-acre ridge that overlooked the city. Then virtually days later, future president, General Rutherford B. Hayes (now Ohio's governor), broke ground on two enormous asylums, with lawns (and their doctor's homes) taking up all 650 acres overlooking the city.
This left only flood-land available in Columbus' just annexed Westside, which naturally kept upscale developments on dry land, east of the Scioto River.
It was well-known that lunatic asylums kept everything nonrelated to them, scared away.
The Ohio State Lunatic Asylum was by far the largest asylum of any kind ever built. When it opened in 1877, it was arguably the world's largest building in square footage. According to the Columbus Dispatch, it remained America's largest building for 65 years until the Pentagon opened in 1942.
It stared down at Columbus from the top of Sullivant's Hill's (100 foot) eastern ridge, dominating the sunset horizon from the city (see image above).
One year after the lunatic asylum opened (Saturday, February 1, 1879, at 1 AM), arsonists entered the closed Franklin County Courthouse and its vault. Then they drenched all land records and maps of Sullivant's Hill in coal oil and incinerated them.
This erased the records of those mansions, Lucas Ridge Road, and just about everything else known about Sullivant's Hill (other than it held a Civil War prison camp) from before these asylums were completed.
Interestingly the arsonist(s) made sure to relock that vault and courthouse building as they departed. Apparently, they had keys and combinations. Here is a link to the Columbus Dispatch's article "Burning The Records" from that afternoon.
This arson was not the only move to erase Sullivant Hill from history. All detailed maps showing Sullivant's Hill from 1853-1913 are missing. Do a thorough search of Central Ohio's history, and you will find big empty holes or total lies surrounding Sullivant's Hill.
For example, if you search Franklinton on Wikipedia, they say it was annexed into Columbus in 1859. Still, if you also search Columbus on Wikipedia, they claim that it annexed Franklinton in 1837. Until recently (we have screengrabs for all), if you asked Google, "when did Columbus annex Franklinton?" they answered 1871. Google has recently changed to the correct year, 1870.
They are all lying or misinformed; Columbus records expose that every square inch of Franklinton was annexed in early 1870 by Mayor George W. Meeker, virtually days before Governor Hayes broke ground for the enormous Lunatic Asylum.
Columbus records and, more dramatically, this monument in front of Franklinton's oldest building verify reality, Columbus annexed Franklinton in 1870.
Meeker fired Columbus's entire police department while maintaining that the obvious arson that destroyed the city's first Lunatic Asylum on the city's eastside, which killed seven, was an accident. It appears the police department had a different opinion.
But the local newspaper, the local politician owned Daily Statesman, never mentioned this "accident" again after ruins stopped smoldering. The Columbus Dispatch did not yet exist.
Meeker was a very wealthy land baron, who reportedly owned large plots east of that old asylum, and near Westerville, the two other record books that went missing after the courthouse vault fire.
Meeker also renamed Sullivant's Hill to the second most generic name possible (after Hill), The Hilltop. By the way, Meeker also dumped his mayor gig in 1870, after less than 2 years in office, to reopen his private Real Estate law practice.
If you study West Columbus's 19th-century history, you will get totally conflicting stories from virtually every different source.
If you have a map or anything detailing Sullivant's Hill after 1854, please notify us at email@example.com. We already have photos and three maps of just Camp Chase's walled prison camp, which are also quite different from each other.
How do you supercharge the economy of a politically ignored, high crime district?
Make it seriously famous for something amazingly cool.