Down the Road

Roads and life and how roads are like life

Landmarks and historic architecture in Columbus

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The National Road and US 40 enter Columbus from the east along Main Street and soon reach the town of Bexley, which Columbus surrounds. What many don’t know is that the National Road and US 40 take different paths when they reach Bexley. US 40 turns north on Drexel Avenue and then left on Broad Street. The National Road keeps going on Main Street through downtown until it crosses the Scioto River, where it curves around on Starling Street and then turns left onto Broad Street, rejoining US 40. This map shows the National Road in green and how US 40 differs from it in blue. Click it to see it larger.

The road is nicely tree-lined in Bexley; it is clearly a very nice part of greater Columbus.

Beautiful Downtown Bexley

One of Bexley’s best-known places, at least among those present on the National Road, is Rubino’s Pizza. It’s been in operation since 1954.

Rubino's

I’m told that the Drexel Theater is considered a local landmark. It certainly has a wonderful sign, which along with the building dates to the 1930s.

Drexel Theater

I stayed on Main Street, of course, past where US 40 turned away. As I neared downtown I became impressed by how many older buildings have been well preserved. I wish Indianapolis had the same preservationist spirit.

Downtown Columbus on Main St.

Main Street is one way eastbound downtown, and I was headed west, so I parked my car and walked. This building features the familar script of the Ford Motor Company logo. It’s in the triangle with wings at the top center of the building’s facade. (You can see it best here.) I’m guessing this was once a Ford dealership, but when I took this photo it was home to the Karlsberger Company, an architectural firm. Less than 30 days after I took this photo, Karlsberger ceased operations.

Ford building

I spotted this ghost sign on a building just down the block from the Ford building.

Lutheran Book Concern

As I neared High Street, which is Colubus’s east-west dividing line, I was drawn to this wonderful ornate archway and sign.

Southern Theatre

Check out this detail! I probably spent 20 minutes here enjoying and photographing this great arch. If you click this photo, you’ll go to Flickr where you can navigate to other photos I took of this arch’s details.

Southern Theatre

The Southern Theatre is part of the enormous Great Southern Hotel, which was completed in 1896. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a Westin property today. As massive as the Southern Theatre’s arch is when you stand before it, the building to which it is attached overwhelms it.

Great Southern Hotel

I continued westward toward the Scioto River. This building, which I believe was once an armory, stands on the southwest corner at Second Street. See the ornate eagle and shield on the corner? It once adorned the battleship USS Ohio.

Downtown Columbus on Main St.

From here I could clearly see the brand new bridge that crosses the Scioto River. She’s a real beauty, and I’ll share photos next time.

The National Road features plenty of great historic architecture. Check out New Market, Maryland; Wheeling, West Virginia; and Centerville, Indiana.

4 thoughts on “Landmarks and historic architecture in Columbus

  1. CarolS

    I am so enjoying your pictures and comments about Columbus, my hometown. I lived there all my life until I married late in life in 2003 and moved to TX and really miss being there and enjoying all the beauty. I can remember when downtown had a lot of the old brick buildings throughout the downtown area and it makes me sick to see Columbus destroy so many, buildings built with hard labor and so much character, for the plain things they build today. (the history of the Franklin County Court House being a good example) The Great Southern Hotel is fire proof, something proven when they had a fire back in the 70s or 80s ~ only one room was damaged. Pretty smart for someone in the 1800s, huh? :) The building you show across the street from the old Ford dealership at 3rd and Main was a Zettler Hardware store for many years. I have faint memories of the Ford Dealership from when I was a kid and dad would stop at the light… I always wondered how they got those big cars in that small building ~ lol Bexley is an older, well-to-do community where many Jewish families settled years ago. Thank you so much for your labor of love and for sharing all this with us. Glad you are able to get out and document so much. I have post polio syndrome so most of my travel days are done but surfing the net and seeing things like what you have shared helps me get out in the world again. I have a huge collection of pictures of old buildings and such that I want to get in a book to pass on to my niece who is going to be a history teacher (almost done with her Masters). I hope it’s okay if I use some of your pictures to share with her. Thank you and God bless.

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