Wildwood Circle-Hillcrest Historic District
The Wildwood Circle-Hillcrest Historic District includes John Francis Flournoy’s 1890 Queen Anne mansion, Hillcrest; a small adjacent suburb of the same name; and the Wildwood Circle subdivision. The Hillcrest subdivision represents a family compound where Flournoy’s children built their homes and later sold inherited properties. The mansion’s former west lawn became lots for Ranch Houses in the early 1950s. South of the family property, Flournoy developed Wildwood Circle. Given its proximity to the trolley line, Flournoy platted it in 1911 as a streetcar suburb with narrow 50-foot lots for bungalows; sales languished until after World War I. The area boomed in the 1920s with many architect-designed houses on larger lots. Ranch Houses filled the area west of Hilton Avenue in the 1940s and 1950s.
Also within this district—at 1519 Stark Avenue—is the childhood home of Carson McCullers (1917-1967), the renowned novelist and playwright. McCullers lived in the house from 1927 to 1934 and returned often to the house from the late 1930s through 1944 to recover from her frequent illnesses. Many of McCullers’ works were conceived, written, or rewritten in the house, including The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Member of the Wedding. The house now serves as Columbus State University’s McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians.