Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest noozer

Columbus: Historic Photos

Recommended Posts

Took these over the weekend at the Depot Conference Center off of Old Henderson Road in Columbus.  The owner has (among other railroad relics) the rebuilt and restored railroad depot from Brice, Ohio, as well as a former Great Northern railroad dining car (under restoration) and a newly acquired heavyweight private observation car from the Georgia & Florida Railroad.  I've included interior shots of both.

 

All of these cars and the depot will comprise a railroad-themed conference center that will soon included yet another old depot, the former Erie Railroad Depot from Prospect, Ohio.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GOD, can we bring those days back (but faster on the tracks and electrified)!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally was rummaging through old photos, trying to get things in order around my house, and came up with an old photo of Columbus in 1972.  The hideous Rhodes Tower was under construction then.  This was taken from the 8th floor of Mt Carmel Hospital, where my mom worked as a nurse. 

Of course, most of you weren't even born then, but I was already at OSU.  We really had a sucky skyline then, but I thought it was fantastic.  The Lincoln-Leveque (as it as then called) stuck out like a sore thumb) and really looked like a cigar standing on end, rather than a piece of Art Deco architecture admired today. It was lambasted from coast to coast as hideous and dreadful, and there was even talk of tearing it down.  None serious, but talk anyway.  As bad as the Rhodes is, it helped balance the skyline and made the Leveque stand out on its merits and look less phallic and more majestic. 

The building which really suffered after the building boom was the Ohio Supreme Court, then known as the Ohio Department of State Building.  It sat in its glory on the river front and there was nothing really to compete with it. 

Well, enough rambling and here is the picture. 

 

Columbus1973.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, the skyline certainly has changed dramatically since then. I was born in Mt. Carmel hospital and lived in that neighborhood. It looks like that pic was taken 5 miles away from LeVeque but I think it's actually less than a mile away. Columbus has really grown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is that the old Ohio Bell building to the left of LeVeque?  It looks like some serious shadow hitting that building.  Otherwise, great shot!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure that is the Ohio Bell building.  My sister was working there back then, when it was brand new.  We thought it was the cat's ass.  I still like that building.

Just look at the area around Nationwide.....nothing!  The old train station was still standing and it was a total mess.  No matter what anyone says, the area between Chestnut and Goodale was a wreck.  The bridge over High Street was in such disrepair that you could see the rails through the cracks and missing cement int he sidewalk and railings, the once glorious face of the train station was crumbling and completely neglected by everyone, especially the city.  Inside the train station was worse--the plaster was falling everywhere and there were plastic sheets stretched over holes in the ceiling etc. But the floors had the highest gloss I've ever seen!  Go figure. The saving grace of the whole area was the Moneypenny Hammond building on the west side of the viaduct, which was torn down when they rebuilt High Street.  C'est la vie. 

The are south of Broad Street had not a single high rise. SoMa (my version of South of Main) was a disaster as well.  The area around the once unbelievable courthouse had become something of an urban blight on the way to an ever improving German Village.  The Southern Hotel was a fleabag, and really run down. The courthouse itself had so many modifications and "modernizations" that it was barely recognizable from earlier photographs.  The tower had been removed decades before and the mansard roofs had been modified, with stucco boxes on top.  Inside the courthouse was amazing though. Totally untouched! Plus, where the current courthouse now is,  was a row of wooden, completely dilapidated, rotting, battleship gray painted buildings which were largely abandoned throughout the 60s and early 70s. 

Other than that the downtown was faboo.  Actually, downtown was terrific.  Nothing much in the skyscraper department, but street level was really pretty busy.  There were lots of great stores, lots of great restaurants (especially if you like greasy spoons, like I do), and surprisingly good architecture, much of which has been torn down in the name of progress--aka City Center.

Back to sorting old pictures and I'll see what I can come up with.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I enjoyed that!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anyone find a pic from the same location present day for comparison? Come on, I know there's a lot of flickr nerds out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This must be from that hill west of downtown?  The hospital was up there?  Whats also interesting is how built-up the foreground is, too.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's the mt. carmel on State St. then it's not up on the hill. It's about a mile closer to downtown from the Hilltop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When Western and Southern finishes the new Queen City Square in Cincy we'll be saying the same thing about them, but until them . . . it is pretty amazing. Even though Ohio hasn't had the greatest 35 years since 1972, nearly all the large cities have had revolutionary changes to their skyline, even Toledo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 3Cs have had the greatest changes, and Toledo. The smaller cities, like Youngstown and Canton unfortunately, have extremely stagnant skylines, but with their declining populations and the exodus of the industry to cheaper labor markets for almost 40 years now, one can expect little else.

Columbus does have Nationwide, which began in the 70s to revitalize the entire north end of downtown.  Their old headquarters was cramped and ugly, and is now an Ohio government building. And Cbus also has the advantage of being the capital, and having lots of state offices requirements downtown. 

Some of the plans the state had for downtown would curl your hair!  They were so ugly that they even laughed in Albany.  Soulless commie blocks facing soulless squares of treeless concrete (tres modern) without so much as a bench to sit on, all surrounding an ugly fountain, completely devoid of pedestrian activity and attachment to the rest of downtown.  There was some kind of budget crunch and it didn't get built. I'm sure common sense had very little to do with scrapping the plans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Skyline from same angle, not too long ago:

 

Skyline23.jpg


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Top notch photo ColDayMan! 

 

The building which really suffered after the building boom was the Ohio Supreme Court, then known as the Ohio Department of State Building.  It sat in its glory on the river front and there was nothing really to compete with it. 

 

Sounds like you are referring to the 12-story white marble Ohio Departments Building on Civic Center Drive facing the river.  The one flanked by two smaller white cube buildings also owned by the state.  If so, then it's interesting how things go full circle.  This building was recently completely renovated for the Ohio Supreme Court.  The supreme's moved out of the Rhodes Tower about two years ago and back into this building.  The building was originally built in 1934.  It's probably never looked better after the recent restoration work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The building does look fantastic after its restoration and didn't look that bad before.  My meaning wasn't that the building itself had suffered, but that it no longer was the "show stopper" of the skyline when driving into downtown from West Broad St.

It is probably my favorite building in Columbus, followed by the crazy Toledo & Central train station on West Broad. When it comes to doing art deco, Ohio really had it going on. It is filled with gems--too many to list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got to love Google! Here's some amazing pictures of our state capital from the year 1914.

 

1914photo1l7.jpg

 

1914photo2l.jpg

 

1914photo3l7.jpg

 

1914photo4l7.jpg

 

1914photo5l7.jpg

 

1914photo6l7.jpg

 

1914photo7l7.jpg

 

Bonus aerial photo of North Columbus in 1932

north%20columbus%20aerial-2c-700.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love the different grids of the University District.


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[sarcasm]Look at all those jaywalkers, impeding the righteous flow of the god given automobile traffic.  Also, clearly doctored photos as we damn well know our ancestors had more respect for themselves and their surroundings than to let there be rubbish in the street gutters.[/sarcasm]

 

Great stuff, thank you for bringing it to us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful photos! Street-level everyday urban photography from that era is pretty scarce; most of what we see are a few shots with professional large-format cameras, or somebody's family snapshot of Aunt Tillie with a glimpse of a department store entrance in the background.

 

What's old is new again. I see electric cars in some of those photos:

 

- Second photo, parked on the left in the immediate foreground; the open door would have been the passenger side, because the car would have been right-hand drive (with a tiller, not a wheel, for steering). The car could have been a Columbia, built by the same company that made Columbia bicycles.

- Fourth photo, approaching to the left of the more distant streetcar;

- Sixth photo, parked on the left near the corner, below the streetlight.

 

By 1914 horse-drawn carriages have almost entirely given way to automobiles downtown, although three appear in the photos.

- Sixth photo, at the curb in the right foreground;

- Seventh photo, two in motion, one on either side of the streetcar.

 

Technical note:  Charles Kettering's electric self-starter first appeared on Cadillacs in 1912, but wasn't offered on Fords until 1919. By 1920, most manufacturers offered it. Probabbly almost all the cars in these photos started with a hand crank.

 

Because bearing materials that would stand up to high rpm hadn't yet been invented, many cars of that era used large-displacement, long-stroke, low-rpm four-cylinder engines. Atlhough compression ratios were low, often within a range between 3.5 and 5-to-1, the cylinders were big and it took some heft to start them. In winter, when the photos were taken, the cold-thickened lubricating oils and large bearing surfaces could more than double the effort required. On the left in the first photo, some clever motorist has put a blanket or tarpaulin over the hood and radiator of his parked car to conserve engine heat and make starting easier.

 

The inconvenience and crude nature of gasoline autos were what made the electrics popular with genteel folk, and in particular with ladies. The electrics were expensive, but generally crafted to higher standards with touches of elegance on the interior, like flower sconces on the door pillars. They required no cranking and no storage of smelly, dangerous fuels, and didn't pose the risk of catching fire when starting. Their limited range made them well-suited for driving downtown, but precluded driving to the next city. Even for gasoline autos, the bad roads and poor tires made that a dicey proposition. That's what trains and interurbans were for.

 

Mom related that even in the early twenties when they'd take a 20-mile drive in a Ford Model T to visit relatives, her dad took along two spares and a tire-repair kit. Often by the time the got back home, he had used both spares and the repair kit.

 

Some of the fine homes of that era that still stand have drive-out basement garages. Those were built for electric autos, and had charging equipment installed for the cars' heavy lead-acid batteries. One wouldn't have parked a gasoline auto of the era in a space beneath living quarters because of the stink and fire risk when starting it.

 

That's enough, Robert. STFU. </ :speech: >

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[sarcasm]Look at all those jaywalkers, impeding the righteous flow of the god given automobile traffic. Also, clearly doctored photos as we damn well know our ancestors had more respect for themselves and their surroundings than to let there be rubbish in the street gutters.[/sarcasm]

 

Great stuff, thank you for bringing it to us.

 

I was gonna say the same thing.  All those pedestrians are in the way of cars being able to park RIGHT in front of the business they want to go to!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool!  Not enough surface parking for my tastes, but I guess it's OK. Ha.

 

The frosted globe streetlights lights are really interesting- I thought those were "festival market" inventions from the 1970s.

 

And I love the "Ohio State Poultry Show" banner over the street in #3.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An UrbanOhio ancestor's photos!  I agree with Rob... don't see much street level urban photography from that era.  Really fascinating stuff!

 

On a side note, the amount of quality historic architecture that's been torn down in Columbus is downright criminal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aren't these great?

 

I was going to downsize all of these pictures so they fit the screen but I decided not to. It's kind of rare to see good quality historical photos of this size.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...