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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I spotted this ghost sign on a building just down the block from the Ford building.
As I neared High Street, which is Colubus’s east-west dividing line, I was drawn to this wonderful ornate archway and sign.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.
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