Columbus OH For Travel, Business and Jobs

Columbus Skyline

Downtown Columbus along the Scioto River.
Downtown Columbus along the Scioto River.

A National and State Leader

Columbus is the capital of Ohio and its largest city. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the fork of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers, becoming state capital in 1816.

Columbus economy is built on food and hospitality (allowing it to become a national test market and a hub for mystery shopping), education, insurance, healthcare, and technologies. Aerospace endeavors began to expand and thrive in the 1990s as well and Columbus is on the northwest point of the Ohio Space Corridor that extends from Cincinnati through the Dayton area and long I-70 East.

In the last two decades, Columbus has become a cosmopolitan city, with a high influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Asia, and most recently, Somalia and other African countries.

Columbus is one of America's largest cities and a national Top City for Technologies for the 2010s. In fact, our local Flippo the Clown brought Cable TV to the city in the 1970s ni the form of QUBE.

The Greater Columbus Area includes Franklin County and parts of Delaware and Fairfield counties for a total of well over 1 million people. The larger metro area includes 7 counties.

Ohio Space Corridor; SW Quadrant of Ohio

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HQ for Wendy's Hamburgers. Wendy's built a new flagship restaurant right across the street in 2013, to replace the old site in Downtown Columbus.
HQ for Wendy's Hamburgers. Wendy's built a new flagship restaurant right across the street in 2013, to replace the old site in Downtown Columbus.
Shrum Mound, an early Native American burial mound in a small park on the West Side of Columbus.
Shrum Mound, an early Native American burial mound in a small park on the West Side of Columbus. | Source
The Santa Maria living history museum on the Scioto River.
The Santa Maria living history museum on the Scioto River. | Source

Early Settlers

Ancient mound-building societies lived in and around what is now Columbus circa 10,000 - 12,000 BC near the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers. Interestingly, there is a park on the Scioto River near the fork with the Olentangy and that park is home to a replica of the Santa Maria. This ship is a part of the city recreation and parks program and visited by many people. There has been much controversy over the Santa Maria and the explorer's treatment of Indigenous peoples, with several protests against the ship when it was first set in place and against a large statue of Columbus at a nearby community college. We have our Native American Indian Center on the near south side of the city that serves not only Native but all people. Mound Street, just west of downtown was named for its location next to a large Native American burial mound nearby. Many other Native earthworks were located in Columbus, the most notable being one still located on a city bus line on McKinley Avenue on the near west side of the city.

Native Americans indigenous to Ohio and those that migrated in from the American Northeast are the Miami, Delaware, Wyandot, Shawnee, Mingo, Algonquian, and some members of the Iroquois nations. There were harsh battles over the land. with treaties finally made between the white man and the Indian.

 In the late 1700's, a surveyor named Lucas Sullivant founded a village on the west bank of the Scioto River and Sullivant Avenue, named after him, runs westward form downtown. In honor of Benjamin Franklin, Sullivant named his village Franklinton. This area has always been subject to flooding and remains so today. It is also the target for revitalization projects in the inner city.

Downtown at night.
Downtown at night.

Landmarks and History

My paternal great-grandfather was a contractor on the National Road west of Columbus in Madison County after the Civil War and my grandfather worked on the eastern portion of it later, near Cambridge and Zanesville. The National Road reached Columbus from the East in 1831, enabling more European immigrants to come into two settlements east of the city. The Irish settled in the north along Naughten Street and Germans settled in the south, creating German Village, where the small bungalows now cost over $1 million each. These German settlers instituted Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Capital University, and the first Kindergarten in the United States.

In the Civil War, Columbus had Camp Chase, a Union Army base for 26,000 troops and up to 9,000 Confederate POWs. Prisoners were unloaded at what is now the State Capital Bulind gat Broad and High Streets and were marched westward a few miles to the camp. Over 2,000 Confederate soldiers are buried there today.

Ohio State University

 East Atrium at the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library
East Atrium at the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library | Source

The Ohio State University was founded when Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act funded the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1870 on the former estate of William and Hannah Neil.

There was a military armory on site as well, and a reconstruction of it stands near the Wexner Center for the Arts at 15th Ave, and High Street, just across from Sullivant Hall, which used to the Ohio Historical Society. It is now one of the major University libraries and houses a performance theater.

Ohio Stadium is to the northwest corner of the campus and home to Buckeyes Football. The American Professional Football Association was founded in Canton in 1920, but moved to Columbus 1921-1941. In 1922, it name was changed to the National Football League (NFL).

Short North
Short North

World War II to 2020

World War II started many new jobs in Columbus, including those with Jeffrey Manufacturing Company, which produced mining machinery and served the war efforts. Appalachians then moved north and west into Columbus or work to account for 1/3 of the population.

In 1948, the Town and Country Shopping Center opened and was the first or one of the first such centers in America. City Center Mall downtown has had economics problems and lost many merchants, but is set to open a Sam's Club on site. Northland Mall in North Columbus has been razed for a charter school and low-cost apartments. Westland Mall is about hall empty. However, Tuttle Mall on the northwest side and Polaris north of the city are booming and look like cities unto themselves. So does Easton Town Center in north Columbus.

In the 1970s landmarks were torn down, including Union Station and the Neil House Hotel.

Today we have new businesses and the Center of Science and Industry downtown, but not much goes on after 5:00 pm. However, a system of upscale parks and eateries along North High Street and the Scioto River in the downtown area are bringing people in the evenings to enjoy concerts and festivals. Food trucks are increasing in numbers and a Food Truck Festival is held at least quarterly in the downtown district.

New condominiums on the river are changing activities even more. People are moving back Downtown from the suburbs. The Arena District just north of Broad Street sees quite a bit of activity with Nationwide Arena and other venues for sporting and musical events. Evangelistic crusades, boxing weekends,and other events have been held there, as well as the Arnold Fitness Weekend for many years.

The Scioto Mile

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Scioto Mile, Columbus, OH 43215, USA
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Palace Theater
Palace Theater | Source

International Businesses

A large number of people are employed in education at The Ohio State University, Franklin University, Columbus State Community College, and branch campuses of other schools. There are also number technology schools for certification in tech occupations. Nationwide Insurance HQ is downtown, near Motorists, Grange, Safe Auto, State Auto and independent companies. Motorists Insurance erects life sized nativity scene for Christmas each year, and has a living presentation during the week of Christmas. Seasonal music plays nightly for passing motorists. Banking is also big. Chemical Abstracts Service and The Battelle Memorial Institute are responsible for scientific research and military development.

Limited Brands (The Limited, Inc.) originated with Les Wexner in Columbus and expanded to The Limited, Express, Limited Too, Structure, Victoria's Secret, and Bath & Body Works. These are being sold off at this time. Two famous fast food chains are based here: Wendy's and White Castle.

Port Columbus International Airport once housed North American Aviation (North American/Rockwell) and experimental aircraft were tested there in the 1060s-1980s). Some people reported UFO sightings near the factory site.

Budweiser brewery is located on the north side. I know the family that owned the farms and other land all around the brewery and they became very rich when Budweiser bought it. There used to be a herd of bison and gazelles on the property, but not currently.

Nationwide Insurance is one of the largest insurance companies in the country. It came out of the old Ohio Farm Bureau locally.

The Nationwide Area and Downtown Skyline.
The Nationwide Area and Downtown Skyline. | Source
Colo, the first gorilla born in captivity anywhere in the world, pictured  in 2009.
Colo, the first gorilla born in captivity anywhere in the world, pictured in 2009. | Source

The Captain & Flippo

Columbus Celebrities

Jungle Jack Hanna, based in Tampa Bay Busch Gardens, is Director Emeritus of The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. When he first came to the zoo, it consisted of a lot of undeveloped land, muddy, smelly exhibit venues, and really just a few animals. In the 1950s, there were 2 elephants, an outdoor cage of friendly raccoons, a lion or two, some interesting apes, and a pretty good reptile house and bird house. Many exhibits were empty. The spotlight shined, however, when Colo the gorilla was born there in 1956. As of the end of 2013, she was still living and appeared to be smiling at the cameras for her 57th birthday.

Later, Jack came and taxes and fund raising bright new life to the zoo. It is now recognized for lowland gorillas, manatees, Siberian tigers, and a lot more. Jack appears often on The Late Show with David Letterman and hosts Animal Adventures with Julie Scardina and animal experts form around the world. Director Jerry Borden does a fine job of operating the zoo and leading it in research and breeding activities of the best in the world. Jack and Jerry saved the zoo and it is world class!

Performing arts have come a long way here, with the landmark Palace Theater and Ohio Theaters still operating. There are many theater companies in town, one of which gives free Shakespearean plays in German Village's Schiller Park each summer. There are also ballet, a symphony, and many vocal groups. The King Arts Complex is a fantastic performance venue and African American art and history museum combined.

Sports have taken on a life of there own in this city. Besides OSU teams of every kind, there are pro teams in soccer, arena football, hockey, and minor league baseball (Clippers, the farm team for the Washington Nationals). Auto racing is also big, especially with the Bobby Rahal/David Letterman team to the west of the city. The Arnold Classic, Arnold Fitness Weekend, and Arnold Martial arts festival come to town every March. The All American Quarter Horse Congress happens every October.

Besides the State Fair, we have many festivals. A favorite of mine is the Doo Dah Parade, a satire of ordinary parades. It is huge and growing every year. Marcon, one of the oldest and largest Science Fiction conventions in the country, is held over the Memorial Day weekend downtown in the Convention Center. Dr. Demento often hosts the con.

WBNS TV Channel 10 was home to Flippo the Clown for many years. He was instrumental in bringing Cable TV to Columbus with his introduction of QUBE to us. His clown costume is displayed in an exhibit dedicated to him at the Ohio Historical Society on the Ohio State Fairgrounds. I met him several times. Flippo used to come to my elementary school every year to perform and he was great. The kids and adults loved him. I was 16 and a contestant with my high school on the very first In The Know game show telecast when he was host. Next, as a restaurant manager, I had the pleasure of serving him. I attended his funeral several months ago and beside his closed coffin was a large portrait of him in the trademark clown attire and makeup. One of the mourners wore a clown costume in his honor.

We have many good things in this city, but some bad as well, just like all big cities. We have over 150 active street gangs, but the Mayor is working on that with a special task force and residential involvement. We have one of the largest police forces in the nation, Mayor Michael Coleman has also been instrumental in gaining title to and razing abandoned buildings, making the atmosphere much fresher and more uplifting with each one he tackles and replaces with a new business complex and residences.

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Comments 21 comments

Stacie Naczelnik profile image

Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

What great info! I definitely didn't know this much about Columbus when I visited.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

Hi Stacie; Thanks for the comment! Columbus has definitely gone from Cow Town to Comospolitan Metropolis. There is so much more to tell that I couldn't do it all. lol Lots of restuarants,and Columbus has been a test market for new food products and other items for decades. The central city parts that are in disrepair and high crime are a detraction, but our Mayor is doing some good things. OH! -- an additional 40 cars are added to the streets every day here by people moving in, so traffic is heavy!


grantsforwomen profile image

grantsforwomen 8 years ago from Chicago

Great Hubs! I just recently ran across it… thanks for the info!


burn-fat-quick 8 years ago

Didn't know Columbus was so interesting.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for the great comments!

Did you know Columbus used to have an amusement park just about a mile or so north of OSU until the late 1940s - early 1950s? There was also an underground, or basement level, bowling alley there. Not it is a Giant Eagle Store and a Giant Eagle Get n'Go. The small lake is still there and is surrounding by apartments.

IUn the early 1970s, Disney wanted to purchase the property from OSU all the way to Delaware and Powell and all the way over to the Scioto river for another Disney park, but it didn't happen.

There is a community of small homes about 3 miles north of OSU that was once a resort area and the homes were vacation cabins. The Columbsu Zoo started right there as well, right between Columbus and Worthington.


me 8 years ago

:)


Ben 8 years ago

I'm afraid the pretty theater pictured is the Ohio Theater, Initially Loew's Ohio, built in 1928. Saved from demolition in 1978 (one of a very few things saved 'round here.) It has excellent acoustics since there were no loudspeakers then. There are inexpensive movies held there throughout the summer, and the Columbus Symphony plays there (If it still exists next year...)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

You're right! I compared the two pictures I have and you are right. I'll add the other one. Thank you for alerting us to this.

The theater is host to Summer Movies of old classics every year and some stage shows perform there as well.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

There. that's much better. Thanks! :)


lscott3 profile image

lscott3 8 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

I live in Columbus and did not know that much about my own city! Thanks Patty for this information.


rockgirl42 8 years ago

hi patty! i stumbled upon your site while looking for interesting spots around columbus to take wedding pics and discovered so much more i am born and raised here and still learned alot from you! my wedding dress is my mothers from 1957 and i wanted to take pics in a place with that 1950's feel the pics of the RKO staircase looks like the closest thing to that period, any tips? thanks in advance.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

I have known others that took wedding pictures on that staircase, so call the RKO and see what they can do for you. Hopefully, they have a time slot available at no charge. Those are going to be beautiful pictures. Another good choice is inside the large glass building at Franklin Park Conservatory. It's a giant green house of which parts look ageless and could pass for the 1950s and high schools have their proms there now. Inside the Capital Building there are some appropriate spots as well, but RKO is better. I also saw that one wedding party added one shot of themselves outside of the large White Castle on South High Street (one of the oldest). That would be fuin if you had time to add that one. Also look at teh Ohio Historical Website for ideas - they usually have some sort of display from the 1950s, but can direct you to others as well.

Best wishes!


rockgirl42 8 years ago

thank you sooooo much patty for the tips they are much appreciated and i will be keeping an eye on your site for more fun stuff to know about my city!! have a great day and thanks again!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

You are going to have such a GREAT time! -- Happy Wedding to You!


srpatterson profile image

srpatterson 7 years ago from Dublin, Ohio

Easton is the place to go if you are visiting with the Zoo, Short North, and Polaris coming in next in line.


Demosthenes2010 7 years ago

Short North is a great place and should be added to the hub. Gallery Hop, all of the great specialty stores, and the restaurants and bars make it the best place to hang out at night downtown. Easton and Polaris are nice but don't have the city feel. They are their own little suburb mall like areas.


Mary90210x 6 years ago

Two other great places where everybody who comes to Columbus should go and visit is East Livingston Street between Carpenter Street and Rhoads Avenue and on East Long Street between Hamilton Park and Rhoads Avenue. These areas have nice quaint streets with beautiful homes and plenty of shopping along the street. The stretch of Cleveland Avenue north of Fifth Avenue is also a must see area filled full of beautiful homes and shops of local entrepreneur.

Also while you are in Columbus, you should travel down South High Street around the Frank Road area and enjoy the aroma of the fresh bakery.


Disha 6 years ago

Hi

It seems as if you have portrayed entire Columbus in your post. Everything right from its history to wonderful attractions, even the changes that this beautiful city has gone through is quite interesting. Thanks for such detailed information.


i2sports profile image

i2sports 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

Thanks, I enjoyed reading a little history of Ohio. I live in the southwestern part of the state now for my job. Columbus is a nice town - I just wish the Columbus Blue Jackets were doing better!


norman latorre@att.net 3 years ago

i've heard and read that that the original staircase of lucas sullivant house (convent) is in the old ford showroom on broad st. is there a picture of this in a publication or can it be seen through the windows.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

I'll look for that, Norman. It may be in Ohio Magazine, linked with the historical society.

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