History Of Brookside Garage
"Keeping Your Family Safe For The Road Ahead Since 1946"

Family Owned & Operated Since 1946


     I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a little background history on the Brookside Garage's current location, as well as its family of owners. In 1776 Daniel Wilson built the first log cabin in the Greene County Ohio area on the land the Brookside Garage now sits. The log cabin was turned into Clancy's Tavern in 1801. By 1803, Clancy's Tavern had become a regular meeting place for many key decision makers in the area. Meeting were held in the Tavern to help form the State of Ohio, Greene County, as well as Sugarcreek Township. In the 1850's a Presbyterian Church was built on the land adjacent to the Tavern, which is now currently Bellbrock Park. While renovating the church into apartments, in 1883, Andrew Bryd discovered a magnetic water well in the basement of the buliding.

     According to historical records the builders were in the basement doing some plaster work for the apartments when they made the amazing discovery that changed the course of the construction project. It is said that the apartment builders had left their tools soaking in a shallow well of water overnight, and when they returned to work the next morning they found that all of their tools were magnetized. Quickly word spread of the "healing powers" of the magnetic spring and soon many people came to the area to see first hand the magnetizing effects of the water. 

     In 1883 the Magnetic Springs Hotel was quickly constructed to accommodate those who wished to bathe in the "healing waters" of the spring. Due to the large amount of visitors to the area a Trolley Stop was constructed that could accommodate the large influx of people. A trolley route was established that would transport people to the Magnetic Springs Hotel from the cities of Dayton and Xenia. It is said that the Magnetic Springs Hotel was a very luxurious hotel & spa and catered to the many visitors that came to the Bellbrook area. 

     Around this time (circa 1890), Glenn Hess and his brother Oral Hess moved to the Bellbrook area. Glenn Hess would later go on to establish the Magnetic Garage. From 1913 to 1949 Glenn Hess owned and operated the Magnetic Garage which was located just down the street from the current Brookside Garage location. Glenn Hess was said to be a very strong and honest man. Because he was such an honest and trustworthy mechanic, Glenn was able to successfully own and operate the Magnetic Garage for nearly 40 years. It is said that he was often seen banging on brakes with a sledge hammer in one hand, and using it with the ease of a ball ping hammer. It is rumored that as a young man Glenn Hess would take his tools down to the spring to make them magnetized. 

     The Magnetic Springs Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1893 and soon after another hotel was built. The new hotel was renamed the, Bellbrook Inn and was relocated to the property the Brookside Garage in now located on. The newly built Bellbrook Inn opened its doors for business in 1896. The Bellbrook Inn was said to be as grand and luxurious as the old Magnetic Springs Hotel, and continued to cater to the many visitors to the area. The Bellbrook Inn unfortunately suffered the same fate as the Magnetic Springs Hotel and was completely destroyed by fire in 1906. By this time the spring had mysteriously lost all of its magnetic powers and a new hotel was never built. In 1918, Glenn Hess had a son named John "Gerald" Hess who like his father became a mechanic, and would later go on to build, own and operate the Brookside Garage.

     The current location of the Brookside Garage is located at 43 N. Main St. in Bellbrook Ohio, and is built in the foundation of the old Bellbrook Inn. Gerald Hess worked at Wright Field from 1941 to 1946 as a hanger foreman and worked on many of the planes that were in action during WWII. While working at Wright Field, Gerald Hess began building the Brookside Garage. In 1946 the building construction was complete and  Brookside Garage was established by Gerald and Wilma Hess. When the Brookside Garage was first built it was home to a body shop, an automotive repair shop, as well as a wrecking company. Gerald Hess was a "jack of all trades" so to speak. He and a partner founded Raynette Water Company, the first water company in Bellbrook. Gerald was the proprietor of the Bellbrook Ready Mix Company, as well as the Brookside Construction Company which built several homes in the Bellbrook area. He eventually sold off his many companies and closed the body shop to focus his attention on the Brookside Garage Automotive repair shop. Gerald and Wilma Hess successfully owned and operated the Brookside Garage for many years to come. In 1944, Gerald had a son, Ron Hess, and as he grew up he too found himself pulled into the family business.

     In 1969, after his service in the United States Air Force, Ron Hess began working full time at the Brookside Garage. Over the next few years Gerald taught Ron the skills of the trade and he too became a skilled mechanic. Gerald eventually retired and Ron took over the day to day operations of Brookside Garage. Ron will be the first to tell you that automobiles have changed a lot since then. With his "tell it like it is disposition" and honest business practices Ron has been able to create a unique niche for the Brookside Garage in the Bellbrook community. Ron Hess is a very honest and trustworthy mechanic and because of this he has many customers that have been coming back to him for many years. Ron never tries to sell you repairs you don't need and because of his many years of experience he tries, and in most cases is able, to fix your car the cheapest and simplest way possible. Ron has taught automotive classes and has also hosted oil change and tire changing demonstrations for the local boy & girl scout troops. Ron Hess had a son Casey Hess who also took an interest in the automotive field and found himself pulled into the family business.

     In 1987, while still attending school, Casey Hess began working at the Brookside Garage. At first it was grunt work like sweeping the floors and taking out the trash but eventually, like his father, he too was taught the skills of the trade. Casey Hess started working full time at the Brookside Garage in 1991, after completing his automotive training at Greene County Career Center. Casey has taken over the day to day operations and is currently the owner/operator of the Brookside Garage. Casey is ASE certified in all eight areas, and is now an ASE certified "Master Automotive Technician"

     Long gone are the days of the sledge hammer, they have now been replaced with high tech gadgets and expensive specialized tools too numerous to name. One can only speculate at what the future might hold for automotive technicians and the automotive industry as a whole. In an ever evolving society where hybrids and alternative fuel cars will be the norm and automotive technicians will be required to be highly trained, highly educated professionals, rest assured the Brookside Garage will evolve right along with it. Casey now has a son of his own who is expressing an interest in automotive's. Although his son, Aidan Hess, is only 11 years old I know that in his heart Casey hopes to pass on to his son the skills of the automotive trade. One can only dream of what this profession will be like for him in the future.

     As the Brookside Garage celebrates its 70th Anniversary we can't help but reflect and be grateful to all our customers that have made this possible. We are very blessed to be one of the oldest businesses in Bellbrook to still be in operation today. I got to talking with a customer the other day and I would like to share with you what he had to say about the Brookside Garage. He told me that he has been a customer of ours for over 25 years. He said that the Brookside Garage is the only automotive repair shop he goes to. He said that over the past 25 years he has moved to different areas in the Miami Valley, but he still continues to make the drive to our shop. He now lives in Centerville but said, near or far, he would continue to come to the Brookside Garage because we're worth the drive. He told me that our mechanics are very honest and he trusts us to take care of not only his cars, but his family depending on those cars as well. He went on to tell me that he feels the Brookside Garage has never tried to sell him repair work he didn't need, and that Ron and Casey try to create fixes that save him money and at the same time are safe for his family's vehicles. He jokingly went on to tell me that he has been with the Brookside Garage longer than he's been with his wife. I can honestly say that it's customers like him that make the whole thing worth while.

     Casey and Ron will be the first to tell you that some days are rough, and nothing goes right. A simple brake job turns into an unsalvageable caliper or a bolt breaks off and the nightmare begins. There are times when they have the regrettable job of having to tell a customer that their car is totaled, and will simply cost more to fix than it's worth. But I can safely say that no matter how many "defective parts" or "easy jobs gone awry" they encounter, Ron and Casey wouldn't want to be doing anything else as a profession. Automotive repair is in their blood, it's what they know and love. 

     Rather we've been working on your family's car for the last 40 years or you've just heard about us from your neighbor, we thank all of you for your business. At the end of the day all of us at the Brookside Garage have a lot to be thankful for. From all of us at Brookside Garage, Thank You! If it wasn't for you, our customers, we wouldn't be here and our family wouldn't have had the opportunity to be the successful 4th generation automotive repair shop that we are today. Thank You All So Very Much!

 Please check out our About Us section for more information on the Brookside Garage.

Created by Amber Hess