Over Memorial Day weekend in 2011, my dog Gracie and I explored the National Road all the way across Ohio. That road is now US 40 in most places. I’m bringing the long trip report over from my old Roads site.

By the time I reached greater Columbus, I could see that I had left the rugged terrain of eastern Ohio behind. The road tracked straight, and except for a US 40 bypass of tiny Etna, the old and abandoned alignments had all dried up. But what central Ohio lacks in old alignments, it makes up for in roadside sights.

Reynoldsburg begins inside Licking County, but most of it is in Franklin County.

Reynoldsburg, OH

My favorite sight in Reynoldsburg is Connell Hardware. Sadly, Connell’s closed for good in 2013.

Connell Hardware

My favorite of its two neon signs is the one facing the side street.

Connell Hardware

As I entered Columbus proper, I thought I had stepped back into the 1950s because of all the great old motels still operating. I came upon the Homestead Motel first as I entered Columbus from the east. Its sign is similar to the one for Baker’s Motel on the National Road in Norwich.

Homestead Motel

But this isn’t the Homestead’s first sign; this page shows postcards of two other signs this motel has used, as well as cards of other Columbus motels.

Homestead Motel

The Capital Motel is next.

Capital Motel

It doesn’t look quite as tidy as the Homestead.

Capital Motel

Of all the old motels I saw in Columbus, I liked the sign for the Brookside Motel the best. The top once rotated, and the other side of the top is white letters on black. (See it here; see it lit here.) This motel was originally the Brookside Tour-O-Tel and had a different sign saying so.

Brookside Motel

I love to see these old motels still operating and kept in good nick.

Brookside Motel

The road soon reaches the the town of Bexley, which Columbus surrounds.

Next: Bexley.

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15 responses to “The National Road in Ohio: Entering Columbus”

  1. Russ Ray Avatar

    I’m curious to know what the DD phone means at the Capital hotel…

    1. Andy Umbo Avatar
      Andy Umbo

      Nice spread of vintage hotel signs! I’m guessing DD stands for direct dial, so you don’t have to go through a switchboard….

    2. Jim Grey Avatar

      Andy is right, it’s Direct Dial!

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        Mom was a 35 year AT&T employee!

  2. Peter Miller Avatar
    Peter Miller

    When I lived in Columbus, always lived north and west and southwest and close to downtown (1973-78 and 1980-83). Knew that driving east on US 40 was going through a time warp, especially in the 1970s. Kudos for not printing “Columbus, Ohio”!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      What’s interesting is that west of Bexley to the river, the National Road and US 40 aren’t the same road! 40 follows Broad and the National Road follows Main. More on that next Friday here!

  3. Khürt Williams Avatar

    Nice set of image. Who knew that signs could be that interesting.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Midcentury motel signs are often this interesting!

  4. brandib1977 Avatar

    So many gorgeous signs!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I hope they’re all still there after 12 years!

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Fingers crossed!

  5. John Paul Jones Avatar
    John Paul Jones

    Unfortunately the Homestead Motel was razed a few years ago but Brookside and Capital are still there! Thanks for sharing those photos. Looking forward to the Bexley photos!

  6. John Paul Jones Avatar
    John Paul Jones

    Whoops, my error, I was confusing the Homestead with another hotel!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks for correcting that! I was a little worried for a minute!

  7. John Paul Jones Avatar
    John Paul Jones

    Motel One was razed but I found a link to an old postcard when it was the 40 Winks. I’ve attached a link if you would like to see it.

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