Columbus, Ohio

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: North American Geography

Columbus, Ohio
Skyline of Columbus, Ohio
Official flag of Columbus, Ohio
Official seal of Columbus, Ohio

Nickname: "The Arch City" "The Discovery City"
Location in the state of Ohio, USA
Location in the state of Ohio, USA
Coordinates: 39°59′00″N, 82°59′00″W
Country United States
State Ohio
Counties Franklin, Delaware, and Fairfield
Mayor Michael B. Coleman ( D)
 - City 550.5 km²
 - Land 544.6 km²
 - Water 5.9 km²
Elevation 275 m
 - City (2005) 730,657
 - Density 1,306.4/km²
 - Metro 1,708,625
Time zone EST ( UTC-5)
 - Summer ( DST) EDT ( UTC-4)

Columbus is the capital of the U.S. state of Ohio. The city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816.

According to the 2000 census, Columbus has a population of 711,470 residents, making it the largest city in Ohio and the 15th largest in the United States. The population increased to an estimated 730,657 in 2005. The greater Columbus metropolitan area has a population of 1,708,625 as of 2005, ranking it third in Ohio (behind Cleveland and Cincinnati) and 31st in the United States. With regard to the Combined Statistical Area (which includes Chillicothe and Marion), Columbus ranks 24th in the country with approximately 1.84 million residents.

Located near the geographic centre of the state, Columbus is the county seat of Franklin County, though parts of the city also extend into Delaware and Fairfield counties.


Evidence of ancient mound-building societies abounds in the region near the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers. Mound Street, located in downtown Columbus, was so named because of its proximity to a large Native American burial mound. Those ancient civilizations had long since faded into history when European explorers began moving into the region south of Lake Erie. Rather than an empty frontier, however, they encountered people of the Miami, Delaware, Wyandot, Shawnee, and Mingo nations. These tribes resisted expansion by the fledgling United States, resulting in years of bitter conflict. A decisive battle at Fallen Timbers resulted in the Treaty of Greenville, which finally opened the way for new settlements. By 1797, a young surveyor from Virginia named Lucas Sullivant had founded a permanent settlement on the west bank of the forks of the Scioto River. An admirer of Benjamin Franklin, Sullivant chose to name his new frontier village "Franklinton."

19th century

After achieving statehood in 1803, political infighting among Ohio's more prominent leaders resulted in the state capital moving from Chillicothe to Zanesville and back again. The state legislature eventually decided that a new capital city, located in the center of the state, was a necessary compromise. Several of Ohio's small towns and villages petitioned the legislature for the honour of becoming the state capital, but ultimately a coalition of land speculators, with Sullivant's support, made the most attractive offer to the Ohio General Assembly. Named in honour of Christopher Columbus, the capital city was founded in February, 1812, on the "High Banks opposite Franklinton at the Forks of the Scioto known as Wolf's Ridge."

The National Road reached Columbus from Baltimore in 1831, which complemented the city's new link to the Ohio and Erie Canal and facilitated a population boom. A wave of immigrants from Europe resulted in the establishment of two ethnic enclaves on the outskirts of the city. A significant Irish population settled in the north along Naghten Street (presently Nationwide Boulevard), while the Germans took advantage of the cheap land to the south, creating a community that came to be known as Die Alte Sud Ende (The Old South End). Columbus' German population is responsible for constructing numerous breweries, the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Capital University, and for instituting the first kindergarten in the United States.

In 1850 the Columbus and Xenia Railroad became the first railroad to enter the city, followed by the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad in 1851. The two railroads built a joint Union Station on the east side of High Street just north of Naughten (then called North Public Lane). Rail traffic into Columbus increased--by 1875 Columbus was served by eight railroads, and a new, more elaborate station was built.

On January 7, 1857, the Ohio Statehouse finally opened to the public after eighteen years of construction. During the Civil War, Columbus was the home of Camp Chase, a major base for the Union Army that housed 26,000 troops and held up to 9,000 Confederate prisoners of war. Over 2,000 Confederate soldiers remain buried at the site, making it one of the largest Confederate cemeteries in the North. By virtue of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College was founded in 1870 on the former estate of William and Hannah Neil.

By the end of the 19th century, Columbus saw the rise of several major manufacturing businesses. The city became known as the "Buggy Capital of the World," thanks to the presence of some two dozen buggy factories, notably the Columbus Buggy Company, which was founded in 1875 by C.D. Firestone. The Columbus Consolidated Brewing Company also rose to prominence during this time, and it may have achieved even greater success were it not for the influence of the Anti-Saloon League, based in neighboring Westerville. In the steel industry, a forward-thinking man named Samuel P. Bush presided over the Buckeye Steel Castings Company. Columbus was also a popular location for the organization of labor. In 1886, Samuel Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor in Druid's Hall on S. Fourth Street, and in 1890 the United Mine Workers of America was founded at old City Hall.

20th century to the present

Street arches returned to the Short North in late 2002
Street arches returned to the Short North in late 2002

Columbus earned its nickname "The Arch City" because of the dozens of metal (formerly wooden) arches that spanned High Street at the turn of the twentieth century. The arches illuminated the thoroughfare and eventually became the means by which electric power was provided to the new streetcars. The arches were torn down and replaced with cluster lights in 1914, but were reconstructed in the Short North district for their unique historical interest..

On March 25, 1913, a catastrophic flood devastated the neighbourhood of Franklinton, leaving over ninety people dead and thousands of West Side residents homeless. To prevent future flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers recommended widening the Scioto River through downtown, constructing new bridges, and building a retaining wall along its banks. With the strength of the post-WWI economy, a construction boom occurred in the 1920s, resulting in a new Civic Centre, the Ohio Theatre, the American Insurance Union Citadel, and, to the north, a massive new Ohio Stadium.

The effects of the Great Depression were somewhat less severe in Columbus, as the city's diversified economy helped it fare marginally better than its Rust Belt neighbors. World War II brought a tremendous number of new jobs to the city, and with it another population surge. This time, the majority of new arrivals were migrants from the "extraordinarily depressed rural areas" of Appalachia, who would soon account for more than a third of Columbus' rising population. In 1948, the Town and Country Shopping Centre opened in suburban Whitehall, and it is now regarded as one of the first modern shopping centers in the United States. Along with the construction of the interstate highway, it signaled the arrival of rapid suburban development in central Ohio. In order to protect the city's tax base from this suburbanization, Columbus adopted a policy of linking sewer and water hookups to annexation to the city. By the early 1990s, Columbus had grown to become Ohio's largest city in both land area and in population.

Efforts to revitalize downtown Columbus have met with mixed results in recent decades. In the 1970's old landmarks such as Union Station and the Neil House Hotel were razed to construct high-rise office and retail spaces such as the Huntington Centre. Newer suburban developments at Tuttle Crossing, Easton, and Polaris have inhibited much of the anticipated downtown growth. Still, with the addition of the Arena District as well as hundreds of downtown residential units, significant revitalization efforts are likely to continue in the downtown area.

The Columbus metropolitan area has experienced several strong waves of immigration in the 20th century, including groups from Vietnam, Russia, Somalia, and a slower ongoing immigration from Mexico and other Hispanic countries. Many other countries of origin are represented as well, with much of this related to the international draw of The Ohio State University.


Skyline of Columbus, viewed from North Bank Park
Skyline of Columbus, viewed from North Bank Park

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 550.5 km² (212.6 mi²). 544.6 km² (210.3 mi²) of it is land and 5.9 km² (2.3 mi²) of it (1.07%) is water. Unlike many other major US cities in the Midwest, Columbus continues to expand its reach by way of extensions and annexations, making it one of the fastest growing large cities in the nation, in terms of both geography and population, and probably the fastest in the Midwest. Unlike Cleveland and Cincinnati, the central cities in Ohio's two largest metropolitan areas, Columbus is ringed by relatively few suburbs; since the 1950s it has made annexation a condition for providing water and sewer service, to which it holds regional rights throughout a large portion of Central Ohio. This policy is credited with preserving Columbus' tax base in the face of the U.S.'s suburbanization and has contributed to its continued economic expansion, much like other cities pursuing similar policies such as Charlotte, North Carolina, and San Antonio, Texas, both of which are similarly lacking in surrounding incorporated suburbs.

The confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers occurs just west of downtown Columbus. Several smaller tributaries course through the Columbus metro area, including Alum Creek, Big Walnut Creek, and Darby Creek. Columbus is considered to have relatively flat topography thanks to a large glacier that covered most of Ohio during the Wisconsian Ice Age. However, there are sizeable differences in elevation through the area, with the high point of Franklin County being 1130ft (345m) above Sea level near New Albany, and the low point being 680ft (207m) where the Scioto River leaves the county near Lockbourne. Numerous ravine areas near the rivers and creeks also help give some variety to the landscape. As far as trees, deciduous trees are common, including maple, oak, hickory, walnut, poplar, cottonwood, and of course, buckeye.


Weather averages for Columbus
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high (°F) 36 39 50 62 73 82 85 84 77 65 51 40 62
Avg high (°C) 2 4 10 17 23 28 29 29 25 18 11 4 17
Avg low (°F) 20 22 31 40 50 59 64 62 54 43 34 25 42
Avg low (°C) -7 -6 -1 4 10 15 18 17 12 6 1 -4 6
Rainfall (in) 2.8 2.3 3.1 3.4 3.8 3.9 4.6 3.3 2.7 2.1 3.0 2.7 37.8
Rainfall (cm) 7.1 5.8 7.9 8.6 9.7 9.9 11.7 8.4 6.9 5.4 7.7 6.9 96.0
Snowfall (in) 8.1 6.2 4.5 0.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 2.3 5.5 27.6
Snowfall (cm) 20.6 15.7 11.4 2.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 5.8 14.0 70.1

The region is dominated by a humid continental climate, characterized by hot, muggy summers and cold, dry winters. The highest temperature ever recorded in Columbus was 106°F (41°C), which occurred twice during the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930's - once on July 21, 1934, and again two years later, on July 14, 1936. The coldest was -22°F (-30°C), occurring January 19, 1994.

Columbus is subject to Severe weather typical to the Midwestern United States. Tornadoes are possible from the spring to the fall, the most recent of which occurred on 11 October 2006 and caused F2 damage. Floods, Blizzards, and Severe Thunderstorms can also occur from time to time.


Columbus also has a number of distinctive neighborhoods within the metro area. The Short North, situated just north of downtown, is rich with art galleries, dining, pubs, and specialty shops. A number of large, ornate Victorian homes are located nearby, and together they comprise Victorian Village. To the south, German Village is known for its quaint 19th century brick cottages, and it holds the distinction as the largest privately funded historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. Franklinton, sometimes known as "the Bottoms", is the neighbourhood immediately west of downtown. It gets its colorful nickname due to the fact that much of the land lies below the level of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and a floodwall is required to contain the rivers and protect the area from devastating floods. Just to the west of Franklinton is a group of smaller neighborhoods commonly referred to as " The Hilltop."

The OSU Campus area is populated by a high concentration of students during the school year (approximately 35,000 undergraduate students and 15,000 graduate students for a total of 50,000 students) and features many old homes which have been converted to apartments for student use. The stretch of High Street that runs through the campus area caters to the student body with its abundance of bars, sandwich shops, and music stores and bookstores. Located between OSU and Worthington is Clintonville, where a mix of middle class Levittown-type homes can be found alongside beautiful old stone and brick-faced houses nestled among rolling hills. Clintonville is home to Whetstone Park, and the Park of Roses, a beautiful 13 acre rose garden. Further west of downtown, San Margherita is a community formed by Italian immigrants who arrived at the turn of the 20th century.

Other neighborhoods and crossroads around the area include: Berwick, Bexley, Dublin, Gahanna, Hungarian Village, Merion Village, Milo Grogan, Linden, Flytown, Italian Village, Weinland Park, Driving Park, New Albany, Olde Town East, Grandview -Marble Cliff, Seagrave, University View, Valleyview, New Rome, Urbancrest, Eastmoor, Minerva Park, Mifflinville, Linworth, Riverlea, Northland, Olentangy, Lincoln Village, Upper Arlington, Westerville and Worthington.


Columbus is bisected by two major Interstate Highways, Interstate 70 running east-west, and Interstate 71 running north to roughly southwest. The two Interstates combine downtown for about 1.5 miles in an area locally known as "The Split", which is a major traffic congestion point within Columbus, especially during rush hour. U.S. Highway 40, aka National Road, runs east-west through Columbus, comprising Main Street to the east of downtown and Broad Street to the west. It is also widely recognized as the nation's first highway. U.S. Highway 23 runs roughly north-south, while U.S. Highway 33 runs northwest-to-southeast. The Interstate 270 Outerbelt encircles the vast majority of Columbus and its suburbs, while the newly redesigned Innerbelt consists of the Interstate 670 spur on the north side (which continues to the east past Port Columbus International Airport and to the west where it merges with I-70), State Route 315 on the west side, the I-70/71 split on the south side, and I-71 on the east. Due to its central location within Ohio and abundance of outbound roadways, nearly all of the state's destinations are within a 2-hour drive of Columbus.

The city's street plan originates downtown and in the immediate vicinities, the oldest parts of the city. The plan follows a roughly gridiron model bisected by High Street (running north-south) and Broad Street (running east-west). The city street numbering plan originates at their intersection in mid-downtown, so house numbers increase with distance from downtown. This street grid is not followed as strictly further out from downtown, particularly in the suburbs (mostly old towns with their own street plans still intact) and the newer subdivisions. Besides High and Broad Streets, major thoroughfares in Columbus include Main Street, Morse Road, Dublin-Granville Road (aka SR-161), Cleveland Avenue/Westerville Road (aka SR-3), Olentangy River Road, Riverside Drive, Sunbury Road, and Livingston Avenue.

Columbus maintains a widespread municipal bus service called the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). Columbus used to have a major train station downtown called Union Station, however it was razed in the late 1970s. Columbus is now the second largest metropolitan area in the U.S. (after Phoenix) without passenger rail service. It is served by Port Columbus International Airport, Rickenbacker International Airport, Don Scott Airport (run by OSU), and Bolton Field Airport.

A modern streetcar system has been proposed for the downtown and surrounding areas. The most favored route would run along High Street, from the Brewery District to the Short North. It is not clear where funding for such a system would come from, and no firm construction plans have been promulgated.

Columbus was a stop along the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad that connected Pittsburgh to Chicago and St. Louis.


City of Columbus census results
Year Population % Change Rank
1840 6,048 N/A 70
1850 17,882 195.7 37
1860 18,554 3.8 49
1870 31,274 68.6 42
1880 51,647 65.1 33
1890 88,150 70.7 30
1900 125,560 42.4 28
1910 181,511 44.6 29
1920 237,031 30.6 28
1930 290,564 22.6 28
1940 306,087 5.3 26
1950 375,901 22.8 28
1960 471,316 25.4 28
1970 539,677 14.5 21
1980 564,871 4.7 19
1990 632,910 12.0 16
2000 711,470 12.4 15
2005 730,657 N/A 15

As of the census GR2 of 2000, there were 711,470 people, 301,534 households, and 165,240 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,306.4/km² (3,383.6/mi²). There were 327,175 housing units at an average density of 600.8/km² (1,556.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 67.93% White, 24.47% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 3.44% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.17% from other races, and 2.65% from two or more races. 2.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 301,534 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.1% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.2% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 3.01.

The age distribution is 24.2% under the age of 18, 14.0% from 18 to 24, 35.1% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,897, and the median income for a family was $47,391. Males had a median income of $35,138 versus $28,705 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,450. About 10.8% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.7% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.

Due to its demographics, which include a mix of races and a wide range of incomes, as well as urban, suburban, and nearby rural areas, Columbus has been considered to be a "typical" American city, and has been used as a test market for new products by retail and restaurant chains. However, newer studies suggest that Columbus may no longer accurately mirror the U.S. population as a whole.

The demographics of Central Ohio are changing rapidly with the influx of immigrants from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. As is the case in much of America, there is less assimilation going on than compartmentalization, with large monoethnic neighborhoods developing. This influx is putting pressure on all of the social services institutions, notably the public schools and the public health system.


Columbus has a generally strong and diverse economy, ranking in the top 10 overall in the United States, and the best in Ohio.


As Columbus is the capital of the state of Ohio, there is a large government presence in the city. Including city, county, state, and federal employers, government jobs provide the largest single source of employment within Columbus.


With approximately 100,000 college students in the Metropolitan Area, there are a large number of people employed within higher education institutions. Large organizations include The Ohio State University, and Columbus State Community College, as well as numerous other smaller colleges and schools.

Financial Activities

Columbus is home to no fewer than five insurance companies. Nationwide Insurance makes its home downtown in a large, multi-building complex that dominates the northern end of the downtown area. Other companies based in the city include Motorists Insurance, Grange Insurance, Safe Auto Insurance, and State Auto Insurance.

Huntington Bancshares Inc. has its headquarters in the downtown area. Bank One was formerly headquartered in Columbus prior to the merger with First Chicago-NBD, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. continues to maintain a major presence in Columbus, with a large mortgage servicing unit in the city, after purchasing Bank One in 2004. Serving the business-only niche, Commerce National Bank is headquartered in Columbus.


The area is home to the Online Computer Library Centre (owner of the Dewey Decimal System), as well as Chemical Abstracts Service, making it one of the world's leading centers for scientific information distribution. The Battelle Memorial Institute, a major research and development facility, is located just to the south of the Ohio State University Campus. McGraw-Hill has large offices within Columbus as well.


Many technology companies either call Columbus home or have significant operations in the area. The Internet Service Provider CompuServe still has its roots in Columbus, although it has been owned by AOL since 1998. Sterling Commerce, a B2B software company, has its headquarters in the Northwest suburb of Dublin. Microcenter, a retailer of computers and other electronic equipment, was started and is still based in the city. In addition, Qwest, a major telecom provider, has offices in Dublin. Mettler Toledo, a manufacturer of precision scales and scientific equipment is based in the area known as Polaris. Microsoft also has an office at Polaris, as well as a major warehouse located in Grove City, on the Southwest side of Columbus.

There is a strong push towards gaining more research and technology companies in Columbus. The multi-jursdictional 315 Research + Technology Corridor was set up in 2006 to promote the area nationally and internationally, in hopes of achieving something similar to Research Triangle Park in North Carolina.


Limited Brands (formerly known as The Limited, Inc.) is located on the east side of the city and is the parent company of the retail stores The Limited, Express, Victoria's Secret, and Bath & Body Works, among others. Abercrombie & Fitch headquarters are located in the northeast suburb of New Albany. Under the corporate umbrella of Abercrombie & Fitch are Hollister Co., RUEHL No.925, and CONCEPT 5. Retail Ventures is headquartered in the capital city. They operate stores under the DSW, Filene's Basement, and Value City banners.

Four fast food chains have their home base in the Columbus metro area, including Charley's Grilled Subs, Steak Escape, Wendy's and White Castle, with Wendy's still operating their first store downtown as both a museum and a working restaurant. Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Bob Evans Restaurants, Max & Erma's, and Donatos Pizza are likewise based in Columbus.


Worthington Industries, a large steel-processing company, is primarily located on the north side near the city of Worthington. Honda has two auto plants, in Marysville and East Liberty. The facilities are located to the northwest of Columbus along US-33. The Marysville plant is Honda's first and largest North American auto plant. Together the plants produce Accords, Civics, Elements, some CR-V's (beginning in 2007), motorcycles, as well as the Acura TL, Acura RDX, and formerly, the Acura CL. Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., the maker's of Miracle Gro and various other soil and potting fertilizers and products is also headquartered in the exurb of Marysville.

Historically, Port Columbus International Airport was once home to the North American Aircraft factory (later North American/Rockwell). Aircraft built in Columbus include the North American F-86 Saber, A-5 Vigilante, OV-10 Bronco, T-2 Buckeye (named after the state tree, and Ohio State University's mascot), and components for the B-1 bomber, as well as numerous missiles and guidance systems.

In addition, Budweiser has a major brewery located on the north side of the city. Hexion Specialty Chemicals (formerly part of Borden Milk Products) is located downtown. The Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories, makers of Ensure nutritional drink and Similac infant formula, is headquartered in Columbus, with over 7,000 employees. Cardinal Health has its headquarters along I-270 in Dublin. UPS has a large distribution centre on the west side of the city.

Law and government

City Hall.
City Hall.

The government is administered by a mayor and a unicameral council elected every two years, the mayor appointing the director of safety and the director of public service. The people elect the treasurer, auditor, and solicitor. A charter commission, elected in 1913, submitted, in May, 1914, a new charter offering a modified Federal form, with a number of progressive features, such as nonpartisan ballot, preferential voting, recall of elected officials, the referendum, and a small council elected at large. The charter was adopted, effective January 1, 1916. The current mayor of Columbus is Michael B. Coleman.


According to Morgan Quitno, in 2006 Columbus was the 9th most dangerous out of 32 cities with a population of 500,000 or more , though it has never been ranked among top 25 overall. This ranking is based on crime statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as weighted by Morgan Quitno's methodology . According to FBI statistics for 2005, Columbus had 102 reported murders and 6,111 total reported violent crimes of all types.


Colleges and universities

Columbus is the home of The Ohio State University, which is one of the largest college campuses in the United States. Other institutions located in Columbus and its metro area include Columbus State Community College, Franklin University, Ohio Dominican University, the Columbus College of Art and Design, Pontifical College Josephinum, Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Capital University in Bexley, Denison University in Granville, Otterbein College in Westerville, and DeVry University.

K-12 schools

Columbus Public Schools (CPS) is the majority district. CPS offers many alternative schools, such as Columbus Alternative High School, Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School, and Ecole Kenwood. Each suburb operates a district as well, typically occupying the area of one or more townships, sometimes across overlapping municipal boundaries. Notable private schools within Columbus include The Wellington School, the Columbus Academy, Columbus School for Girls. The catholic schools, run by the Diocese of Columbus are St. Francis DeSales High School, Saint Charles Preparatory School, Bishop Watterson High School, and Bishop Ready High School. The second largest school district is South-Western City Schools, which takes up southwestern Franklin County.

Columbus' first kindergarten was established here by Louisa Frankenberg, a former student of Friedrich Froebel. She immigrated to the city in 1838. In addition, Indianola Junior High School became the nation's first middle school in 1909, helping to bridge the difficult transition from elementary to high school at a time when only forty-eight percent of students continued their education after the 9th grade.


The Columbus Metropolitan Library has been serving residents of Central Ohio since 1873 and has 20 branches throughout the area. This library is one of the most-used library systems in the country and has been ranked as the Best Library system in the Nation by Hennens American Public Library Ratings.



The Ohio Statehouse
The Ohio Statehouse

Columbus is home to several world-class buildings, including the Greek-Revival State Capitol and the Peter Eisenman-designed Wexner Centre and Columbus Convention Centre. Other buildings of interest include the Rhodes State Office Tower, LeVeque Tower, and One Nationwide Plaza.

The Ohio Statehouse construction began in 1839 on a 10-acre (40,000-m²) plot of land donated by four prominent Columbus landowners. This plot formed Capitol Square, which was not part of the original layout of the city. Built of Columbus limestone from the Marble Cliff Quarry Co., the Statehouse stands on foundations 18 feet (5 m) deep, laid by prison labor gangs rumored to have been comprised largely of masons jailed for minor infractions. The Statehouse features a central recessed porch with a colonnade of a forthright and primitive Greek Doric mode. A broad and low central pediment supports the windowed astylar drum under an invisibly low saucer dome that lights the interior rotunda. Unlike many U.S. state capitol buildings, the Ohio State Capitol owes little to the architecture of the national Capitol. During the long course of the Statehouse's 22 years of construction, seven architects were employed. Relations between the legislature and the architects were not always cordial: Nathan B. Kelly, who introduced heating and an ingenious system of natural forced ventilation, was dismissed because the commissioners found his designs too lavish for the original intentions of the committee. The Statehouse was opened to the legislature and the public in 1857 and finally completed in 1861. It is located at the intersection of Broad and High Streets in downtown Columbus.

Founded in 1975, The Jefferson Center for Learning and the Arts is a campus of nonprofit organizations and a center for research, publications, and seminars on nonprofit leadership and governance. Located at the eastern edge of downtown Columbus, Ohio, The Jefferson Centre has restored eleven turn-of-the-century homes, including the childhood residence of James Thurber. These locations are used for nonprofits in human services, education and the arts and the centre recently obtained a twelfth property to renovate.

A to-scale replica of the Santa Maria is found on the Scioto Riverfront. It was installed in 1992 to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus' namesake.

Established in 1848, Greenlawn Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the Midwestern United States.


Columbus Museum of Art
Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art opened in 1931, has a collection focusing on European and American art up to early modernism.

Franklin Park Conservatory, a botanical garden located in Franklin Park, opened in 1895. Renovated in 1992, it was home to AmeriFlora '92. In 2004, it was loaned a large collection of Dale Chihuly glass sculpture, which is now a permanent collection.

COSI, (formerly the Centre of Science and Industry), is a large science museum. The present building was completed in November 1999, opposite downtown on the west bank of the Scioto River.

On the campus of The Ohio State University, one can find The Wexner Centre for the Arts, a contemporary art gallery and research facility located on the OSU campus, and the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame, located in the Jerome Schottenstein Centre (home of the OSU basketball and men's ice hockey teams). The Chadwick Arboretum is nearby.

The Ohio Historical Society is headquartered in Columbus, with its flagship museum, the 250,000-square-foot (23,000-m²) Ohio Historical Centre, located just 4 miles (6 km) north of downtown. Along with the museum is Ohio Village, a replica of a village around the time of the American Civil War.

The Ohio Railway Museum located in Worthington features a large collection of both static and operational railway equipment.

Fairs and festivals

Annual festivities in Columbus include the Ohio State Fair—one of the largest state fairs in the country— as well as the Columbus Arts Festival and the Jazz and Ribs Festival, both of which occur on the downtown riverfront. ComFest (short for "Community Festival") is an immense three-day gathering in Goodale Park (just north of downtown Columbus and adjacent to the Short North) with art vendors and live music on multiple stages, hundreds of local social and political organizations, body painting and beer. Coinciding with the weekend of ComFest is the large Gay Pride Parade, reflective of the sizeable gay population in Columbus. Around the Fourth of July, Columbus hosts Red, White, and Boom, the largest fireworks display in the midwest on the Scioto riverfront downtown to crowds of over 500,000 people, as well as the popular Doo Dah Parade, a nonsensical satire of ordinary parades. Each June, the Park of Roses in Clintonville holds its annual "Rose Festival" featuring 13 acres of blooming roses. The Origins International Game Expo is held around the first week of July. The Short North is host to the monthly "Gallery Hop", which attracts hundreds to the neighbourhood's art galleries (which all open their doors to the public until late at night) and street musicians. At the end of September, German Village throws an annual Oktoberfest celebration that features authentic German food, beer, music, and crafts. The Hilltop Bean Dinner is an annual event held on Columbus' West Side that celebrates the city's Civil War heritage near the historic Camp Chase Cemetery. Festival Latino is held in June and celebrates Latino culture with music, food and activities. This free event is held downtown and draws over 300,000. The Jazz and Rib Fest is a free downtown event held each July featuring jazz artists and rib vendors from around the country. During Memorial Day Weekend, Columbus also holds the popular Asian Festival in Franklin Park. Hundreds of restaurants, vendors, and companies open up booths, traditional music and martial arts are performed, and cultural exhibits are set up. In recent years, attendees have numbered over 100,000.

Columbus also hosts many conventions in the Greater Columbus Convention Centre, a pastel-colored deconstructivist building on the north edge of downtown that resembles jumbled blocks, or a train yard from overhead. The convention centre was designed by famed architect Peter Eisenman, who also designed the aforementioned Wexner Center. Completed in 1993, the convention centre now is 1.7 million square feet.


Columbus is home to the Ohio State Buckeyes college football team. The team is a member of the NCAA's Big Ten Conference, and plays home games at Ohio Stadium. The OSU- Michigan football game is the final game of the regular season and is played in November each year, alternating between Columbus and Ann Arbor, Michigan. ESPN has recognized the OSU-Michigan rivalry as the greatest rivalry in all of sports. Moreover, "Buckeye fever" permeates Columbus culture year-round and forms a major part of Columbus's cultural identity. During the winter months, the Buckeyes basketball team is also a major sporting attraction.

Columbus has professional sports teams in hockey, soccer, arena football, and minor league baseball. The Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League and Columbus Destroyers of the Arena Football League both play at Nationwide Arena, while the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer play at their own stadium, Columbus Crew Stadium, which is known for being the first stadium designed expressly for soccer built in the United States. The Columbus Clippers, Triple A affiliate of the Washington Nationals (formerly a long-time affiliate of the New York Yankees through 2006), currently host their games at Cooper Stadium but are beginning construction on a new ballpark in the Arena District named Huntington Park. Two semi-professional football teams also compete locally: the Columbus Comets of the Women's Professional Football League and the Ohio Swarm of the Mid Continental Football League. Columbus is also the home of the Columbus Lady Shooting Stars soccer team.

Since 1976, the Columbus suburb of Dublin has been the site of the PGA Tour's Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus. In 1987, the course hosted the Ryder Cup and in 1998 it hosted the Solheim Cup.

From 1985 to 1988, Columbus hosted major league auto racing, with the IMSA Columbus Ford Dealers 500. Rahal Letterman Racing has a home in the west suburb of Hilliard and races in the Indy Racing League. Intersport Racing has a home in the northwest suburb of Dublin and races in the American Le Mans Series. Kilisport has a home in the north suburb of Powell and competes in the Champ Car Atlantic Series. TruSports, owners of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, has a home in the northwest suburb of Dublin.

Columbus hosts the annual Arnold Sports Festival fitness expo and competition in late February. Named after Arnold Schwarzenegger (who won his first Mr. Olympia title in Columbus), the event has grown to eight Olympic sports and 12,000 athletes competing in 20 world-class events. The annual All American Quarter Horse Congress, the largest single breed horse show in the world, is held at the Ohio Expo Centre each October.

Palace Theatre
Palace Theatre

Performing arts

Columbus is the home of many renowned performing arts institutions, including Opera Columbus, BalletMet, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Contemporary American Theatre Company (CATCo), Shadowbox Cabaret and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. Throughout the summer, the Actors' Theatre offers free performances of Shakespearean plays in an open-air amphitheatre located in German Village.

There are several major concert venues in Columbus, including arenas such as Nationwide Arena, Value City Arena and Germain Amphitheatre. Columbus also has a number of medium-sized venues downtown, including the historic Palace Theatre, the Ohio Theatre, the Southern Theatre, the Riffe Centre which houses The Capitol Theatre as well as two studio theatres, Veterans Memorial auditorium and the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion (the LC for short) (formerly the PromoWest Pavilion). The Newport Music Hall, located in the OSU campus neighbourhood, is a smaller venue, but highly respected by the alternative music scene.

Much of the growth in entertainment capacity in Columbus has been recent. The construction of the Crew Stadium, Nationwide Arena, Value City Arena, the Greater Columbus Convention Centre, and the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion are all projects completed since 1990.

Parks and outdoor attractions

The Columbus and Franklin County Metropolitan Park District includes Inniswood Metro Gardens, a collection of public gardens; Highbanks Metro Park; Battelle-Darby Creek Metro Park; as well as many others. The Big Darby Creek in the southwestern part of town is considered to be especially significant for its beauty and ecological diversity .

Columbus is located near many hiking areas and state parks, including Clifton Gorge, Alum Creek, Black Hand Gorge, and the Hocking Hills area of Ohio. Columbus is home to Franklin Park Conservatory, a botanical garden surrounded by 95 acres of park, over 60 community gardens, and many farmers markets featuring local foods. It was named a "Great Garden City" by Organic Gardening magazine (June/July 2006 issue).

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is world renowned for its collections that include lowland gorillas, manatees, Siberian tigers, cheetahs, and kangaroos. Its director emeritus, Jack Hanna, frequently appears on national television, including on The Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman.

The famous painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is represented in topiary at Columbus's Old Deaf School Park in downtown.

Sister cities

Columbus has seven sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International. Columbus established its first Sister City relationship in 1955 with Genoa, Italy. To commemorate this relationship, Columbus received as a gift from the people of Genoa a large statue of Christopher Columbus. The statue overlooks Broad Street in front of Columbus City Hall.

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