After Ohio gained statehood in 1803 Chillicothe was designated as its capital, but political infighting resulted in the capital being moved to Zanesville and then back to Chillicothe again. The state legislature decided in 1812 to end the infighting by moving the capital to a greenfield site near the centre of the state. Rivers were the main means of transport at the time so a location on the Scioto River was chosen for the new capital which was named Columbus in honour of explorer Christopher Columbus. It was laid out in 1812 and the prison was completed in 1813 but residents of Columbus had to wait until 1814 for the first church and school.   The first State House was also built in 1814, but it was in 1816 that the state government moved to the purpose built capital. Columbus grew initially as a political centre and a seat of learning but after railroads arrived in the 1840s and 1850s it became a centre for a wide range of industries including shoes, cigars, farm machinery, furniture, carriages, buggies and  foundries. There were also several brewing companies established by German immigrants. During the Civil War Camp Chase was located in the city, serving as a training encampment for Union soldiers and prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. The 20th century saw a decline in industry, which was replaced by new jobs in the insurance and banking sectors.



Historical Marker at site of first Wendy's Restaurant, Broad Street at 5th Street

Even the biggest of Hamburger Chains has to start somewhere, and for Wendy’s that somewhere was Broad Street in Columbus. As a child Dave Thomas loved  the square hamburgers sold at Kewpee Hamburgers in Kalamazoo in Michigan where he stayed with his grandmother. After leaving school he worked in restaurants and as an army cook. During the mid 1950s Thomas worked with Col. Harland Sanders to improve the brand recognition and profitabilty of Kentucky Fried Chicken. His suggestions included Col. Sanders appearing in person in KFC adverts, a tactic that Thomas repeated in the 1990s with Wendy’s. By 1968 he had made enough money out of KFC restaurants to strike out on his own, and what came to mind was the square hamburgers of his childhood. In 1969 the first Wendy’s opened, serving its distinctive square hamburgers. He named the restaurant after his fourth child Melinda Lou Thomas who had picked up the nickname Wenda because of the way she pronounced her name as a young child. Wendy’s had grown into a chain of  thousands of restaurants spread across numerous countries by the time that Dave Thomas died in 2002. Sadly the original Wendy’s in Columbus closed in 2007 due to falling sales. If only we had gone to Columbus before 2007...........

Santa Maria Replica, Battelle Riverfront Park

Christopher Columbus got nowhere near to Ohio, indeed he did not even set foot on mainland USA during his four voyages that explored the West Indies and parts of the coast of central and south America. Although it is almost certain that his 1492 voyage was not the first time that Europeans had set foot in America, his expeditions started European colonisation and created awareness of the Americas that triggered further exploration and colonisation. Since the City of Columbus is named in honour of the explorer, it is appropriate that a replica of his ship Santa Maria should be moored on the Scioto River at downtown Battelle Riverfront Park. Built in 1991 it is claimed to be the most authentic replica of the Santa Maria in the world. The ship was dedicated in 1992 during celebrations held in Columbus to mark the 400th anniversary of  Christopher Columbus’ first voyage. The Santa Maria Replica is open to the public for tours which provide an insight into life on board the Santa Maria during the 1492 expedition.

Houses in 3rd Street at Stimmel Street, German Village

The first German immigrants arrived in Columbus by 1814 and they contributed towards the cost of building the first State House. Come 1830, the trickle of German immigrants had turned into a flood and a third of the population of Columbus were of German heritage.  The German immigrants settled in the South End area of Columbus where they built their homes, schools, churches and businesses. The schools had such high standards that many English speaking residents of Columbus sent their children to them. The immigrants brought with them their love of beer and several breweries were set up to provide supplies for the bier gartens. German continued to be widely spoken until World War I when most residents switched to speaking only in English and adopted American customs to avoid anti-German sentiment. After World War II the South End went into steep decline and parts of it were demolished.  Frank Fetch bought a house in South End in 1949 and he was determined to save the neighbourhood. In 1960 he founded the German Village Society to promote rehabilitation of the area. In 1963 Columbus City Council created the German Village Historic District and set up a commission to preserve its character. German Village is now well preserved and a thriving neighbourhood. 

Ohio Theatre, State Street

On the site of the old Columbus City Hall stands a former movie theatre. Scottish born architect Thomas W. Lamb designed the Ohio Theatre in the Spanish Baroque style. It was originally designed to seat over 3,000 people and it opened on March 17, 1928 with the showing of The Divine Woman, a silent Greta Garbo film. Music was provided by an orchestra and a Robert Morton theatre organ that is still functional today. The Ohio Theatre also initially staged variety shows but these ceased in the 1930s after the disbandment of the orchestra following the introduction of talkies. It flourished as a movie theatre until television and a falling downtown population began to eat into audiences. The Ohio Theatre closed on February 24, 1969 and it was bought by a property developer who had plans to replace it with an office block. The people of Columbus had other ideas. They set up the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) which raised money to buy the theatre and then set about restoring it to its original appearance. The stage was enlarged and equipped to modern standards so that touring productions of Broadway musicals could be staged.  Today the Ohio Theatre is the home of The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, BalletMet, and The Broadway Series, as well as more than 100 CAPA events each year,

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Topiary Park

The Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb was established in 1829, initially  in a small house in Columbus. The Ohio legislature had approved the purchase of 4 hectares (10 acres) of land on East Town Street, but budget constraints meant that construction of the Institution had to be delayed. Construction work started in 1832 and the Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb moved to the East Town Street site in 1834. By 1868 the 1834 building had become dilapidated so a new main building was constructed. In 1904 the name was changed to the Ohio State School for the Deaf. By the 1940s the main building had again fallen into disrepair and a new site was purchased to the north of Columbus. The  buildings were completed after World War II and became a joint site for the Ohio School for the Deaf and the Ohio State School for the Blind. The grounds at the old East Town Street site become known as Old Deaf School Park. Since 1992 the park has specialised in topiary and has now become popularly known as Topiary Park. Click Tab 2 to see some more hedges trimmed into amusing shapes.

Kappa Kappa Gamma House, E Town Street

Kappa Kappa Gamma is a women’s college fraternity founded in 1870. At the time there were college fraternities for men, and Mary Louise Bennett and Hannah Jeannette Boyd felt that there should be a fraternity for women. With four other women, they  founded at Kappa Kappa Gamma at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. In 1951 Kappa Kappa Gamma purchased this house in East Town Street, Columbus as their permanent Headquarters building. The house was built in 1852 by dry goods merchant Philip T. Snowden. In 1860 Snowden went bankrupt and house was acquired as the Columbus residence of Governor-elect David Tod. In 1865 it became the home of David Gray and his family lived there until 1922, when the house was sold to the Columbus Women's Club. During World War II poor finances forced the club to sell the house, and after that it went down hill ending up as a low grade rooming house immediately before Kappa Kappa Gamma purchased it.



- We found the downtown area relaxing to explore, easy to walk round.
- German Village is away from the downtown area but it is well worth a visit.
-  Nope, can’t think of anything.
Our View
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To move forwards or backwards through the Ohio  trail click the arrows above, or select your next destination on the Minimap.

 Santa Maria replica, Battelle Riverfront Park & Downtown Columbus, Columbus, OH, USA
Ohio Theatre, State Street, Columbus, OH, USA
Houses in 3rd Street at Stimmel Street, German Village, Columbus, OH, USA
Topiary Park, Columbus, OH, USA
Site of 1st Wendy's Restaurant Historical Marker, Broad Street at 5th Street, Columbus, OH, USA
Kappa Kappa Gamma House, E Town Street, Columbus, OH, USA
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