Before and After- July 2014 Edition

The Hippodrome Theater
Operated from October 26th, 1914 to December 31st, 1933.
Address: 77 N. High Street, Downtown
Seats: 300+
First movie shown: “The Nightingale” with Ethel Barrymore
Last movie shown: Unknown
Opening Admission: 10 cents

Photo of the entrance to the Hippodrome Theater, 1915.

The silent-era Hippodrome Theater was developed by G.E. Overton, who took over the Bonnett Jewelry store that occupied the building previously. News articles at the time of its opening described the d├ęcor in this way:

The little theater, which seats over 300, is neatly decorated in yellow. The lobby is attractive in white marble and the foyer is in yellow and gold. There is no stage; the picture being projected against a large screen as in most picture theaters.

The Hipp, as it was referred by, had a 6-piece orchestra under the direction of W.H. Claspill. It was the first movie theater in Columbus to have an orchestra.

There seems to be a bit of confusion on just when this theater opened. The official first movie shown there was in 1914, but by some accounts, the theater actually opened in April, 1910. Also, there is some mystery on the lone photograph above. Some list it as having been originally taken in 1915, but others have it listed from 1934, after the theater had closed.

The current view of the site.

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The Park Theater
Operated until November 24, 1893. The date it opened is unknown.
Address: 217 N. High Street, Downtown
Seats: Unknown

The Park Theater began operations sometime in the 1880s or very early 1890s, and may have operated long after 1893 if not for a disaster from the building just to its south, the Chittenden Hotel. In 1889, Henry Chittenden purchased the office building of the B&O Railroad, added 2 floors and spent $400,000 (an enormous sum at the time) converting and renovating the building into a luxury hotel. In 1890, a fire broke out and gutted the entire building, but spared neighboring businesses like the Park Theater.

The second Chittenden Hotel. The Park Theater building can be seen on the very right. The photo is from 1892.

Chittenden decided to rebuild, and the 2nd Chittenden Hotel was completed in 1892. This second hotel had its own theater, the Henrietta, which was still partially under construction on November 24th, 1893. That evening at around 8pm, a fire started during a performance there. The fire originated in the auditorium, in an area that was still under construction and spread into the seating area itself. Once the flames breached the theater, strong winds quickly spread the fire and began to burn the hotel as well as surrounding buildings, including the one that housed the Park Theater. By the time the fire burned itself out just the next morning, both theaters, the hotel, a drug store, saloon, shoe house and clothing shop were all completely destroyed.

The second Chittenden and Park Theater, November 1893.

The Park Theater, November 25th, 1893.

Improbably, despite 2 hotels in the same locating burning down, Chittenden rebuilt for yet a 3rd time, with the largest and grandest version of all- not to mention with far better fire-resistant construction. The third time, it seems, was the charm, and the hotel survived from its completion in 1895 to its final demolition in 1973.

The unlucky Park Theater itself never rebuilt, though the lot had a new commercial building in its spot by 1895. That building also faced the wrecking ball in 1973.

The current location of where the Chittenden and Park Theater once stood.

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Columbus Tornado History

**Originally posted 5/8/2013. Updated 6/18/2017.

Now that spring is in full swing, I thought it would be a good time to highlight Columbus’ history with tornadoes. The city has been very lucky over the years and has yet to see a truly significant event. While western and southwestern parts of the state seem to get hit nearly every year, tornadic storms have either tended to miss Columbus or weaken before reaching there.

Before 1950, good records were not kept, but I’ve found at least one example.
On May 2, 1929, a tornado hit parts of Franklinton. The strength of this tornado is unknown, but 2 men were reported killed in a Franklinton jail, pictured below.

515 Sullivant Avenue, Franklinton. May 2, 1929


515 Sullivant Avenue, Franklinton. May 2, 1929


515 Sullivant Avenue, Franklinton. May 2, 1929

Since 1950, there have been 32 tornados that touched down in the Columbus area, the majority of them small and weak.

EF0 Tornadoes Since 1950
Total: 15

Most Significant EF0 Events
Widest: 500 yards on July 28, 1961. This tornado touched down near the intersection of Scioto Darby/Alton Darby Creek Roads on the Far West Side. It travelled about 1 mile and caused less than $50,000 in damage.
Longest Track: 1.76 miles on May 11, 2008. This 20 yard wide tornado touched down near I-70 and 142 and lifted at County Highway 12, causing less than $10,000 in damage.

EF0 Tornado Count By Decade
1950s: 1 on 6/26/1954
1960s: 2 on 7/28/1961 and 9/12/1963
1970s: 0
1980s: 1 on 6/13/1981
1990s: 4 on 6/2/1991, 8/27/1992, 7/1/1993 and 7/2/1997
2000s: 3, with 2 on 8/28/2006 and 1 on 5/11/2008
2010s*: 3 on 9/22/2010, 10/26/2010, 4/20/2011 and 6/4/2016.
*Through 7/18/2017.

There have been no injuries or deaths from EF0 tornadoes in Columbus.

EF1 Tornadoes Since 1950
Total: 10

Most Significant EF1 Events
Widest: 100 yards on 4/20/2011. This tornado touched down at Township Highway 12 and travelled 2.54 miles to Richardson Road, moving west to east.
Longest Track: 15 miles on 6/10/1986. This 73 yard wide tornado travelled from just east of Rt. 38 to just west of Galloway Road moving west to east.

EF1 Tornado Count by Decade
1950s: 3 on 10/11/1954, 4/28/1958 and 7/5/1959
1960s: 0
1970s: 3 on 7/26/1973, 6/17/1975 and 9/11/1975
1980s: 2 on 8/7/1984 and 6/10/1986
1990s: 0
2000s: 0
2010s*: 1 on 4/20/2011, 4/3/2018
*2010s through 6/18/2017.

Damage from the 6/17/1975 tornado.

There have been no injuries or deaths from EF1 tornadoes in Columbus.

EF2 Tornadoes Since 1950
Total: 6

Most Significant EF2 Events
Widest: 440 yards on 4/2/1970. This tornado touched down at the southeast corner of Walnut Street and S. Otterbein Avenue and travelled about 2 miles. It caused less than $500,000 in damage.
Longest Track: 17 Miles on 5/8/1973. This 67 yard wide tornado travelled from just north of W. Bridge Street at N. Fork Indian Run to Greenbriar Road just south of Rt. 36 in Sunbury.

EF2 Tornado Count by Decade
1950s: 0
1960s: 0
1970s: 4 on 5/8/1973, 5/25/1973, 5/30/1973 and 4/3/1974
1980s: 0
1990s: 0
2000s: 1 on 10/11/2006
2010s*: 0
*2010s through 6/18/2017.

1 injury was caused by an EF2 tornado in Columbus on 5/30/1973. No deaths have been caused.

EF3 Tornadoes Since 1950
Total: 2

Most Significant EF3 Events
Widest: 300 yards on 5/10/1973. The tract length and location of this tornado are not listed.
Longest Tract: 6 miles on 2/22/1971. This 100 yard wide tornado travelled from E. Broad at Cassingham Road to the corner of Mann Road and Howard Street in Howard Estates.

EF3 Tornado Count by Decade
1950s: 0
1960s: 0
1970s: 2 on 2/22/1971 and 5/10/1973
1980s: 0
1990s: 0
2000s: 0
2010s*: 0
*2010s through 6/18/2017.

Columbus Tornado of May 10, 1973

7 injuries occurred with the 2/22/1971 tornado. No deaths have occurred from an EF3 in Columbus.

No EF4s or EF5s have occurred in or near Columbus since 1950.

Most Tornadoes in 1 Day: 2 on 8/28/2006.
Most Tornadoes in 1 Month: 4 in May, 1973.
Most Tornadoes in 1 Year: 5 in 1973.

And a related article:

And see other Ohio severe weather reports here: