Before and After Google Special: 2007-Present Part 1

Columbus has been changing so quickly the past several years and it’s easy to forget just what the city used to look like in the not so distant past. Let’s take a look!

First up…
Brewery District

Location: App. 507 S. Front Street
Date: July 2007

Same location in August 2015.

Location: App. 546 S. High Street
Date: July 2007

Same Location in August 2015.

Location: W. Sycamore and S. High Street, looking southwest.
Date: July 2007

Same location in August 2015.

Location: 570 S. Front Street
Date: July 2007

Same location in August 2015.

Location: The Clarmont Site, App. 687 S. High Street.
Date: July 2007

Same location in August 2015.

Location: Short Street and W. Livingston Avenue, facing southeast.
Date: July 2007

Same location in August 2015.

Location: App. 299 W. Whittier Street, facing north.
Date: July 2007

Same location in August 2014. Now Scioto Audubon Metro Park.

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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Before and After: May 2013 Edition

Downtown, more than any other neighborhood, has seen major changes over the years.

Before

The Central German School, or the Central German English Grammar School in 1916. It was located at 400 S. 4th Street.

After

400 S. 4th Street, present day.

The school was originally opened in December, 1863. In 1920, the school began an expansion and opened as an institution for physically challenged children in March, 1922. The building met its demise in December, 1967 to clear the right of way for I-70/I-71. The highway split the northern sections of German Village off from the rest of the neighborhood. Eventually, almost every historic building left to the north of the highway was demolished. One of the few still remaining is the nearby Trinity Lutheran Church at the corner of S. 3rd and E. Fulton Street, which was dedicated on December 20, 1857.

Before

The Southern Theater building in 1905.

After

The Southern Theater building, present day.

The Southern Theater came about out of the ashes of it’s predecessors. Fires had destroyed 5 separate Columbus theaters between 1889 and 1893, and with the sudden absence of major city theaters, the concept of the Southern Theater was born. The theater opened on September 21, 1896 and has changed very little over the years. Today, it is one of the oldest surviving theaters in Ohio. Very few other buildings can be seen in the old photo, but the 1895 building next door on High and Noble also survives.

Before

The Columbus Auditorium at 570 N. Front Street in 1901.

After

570 N. Front Street in 2010.

Opened on March 17, 1885, the Park Roller Skating Rink was a large, beautiful building across from where Nationwide Arena sits today. Originally for amusement, the rink only lasted a bit over a decade before being bought and remodeled to become the Columbus Auditorium in 1897. It’s large expanse of flat roof doomed the building however. After more than 15″ of snow fell on the city from February 16-18, 1910, the roof simply could not handle the load, and collapsed on the 18th. The building was deemed a total loss and was torn down not long after. While the 2010 photo shows a vacant lot, the site now contains a 5-story Nationwide office building that opened in 2012.

Before #1

Before #2

After

The Christopher Inn opened on July 29, 1963 at 300 E. Broad Street (next to the old COSI building). The iconic 140-room circular building was a popular motor inn for many years, and had a circular pool and convention facilities for up to 350 people. The building lasted just under 25 years before it was demolished on July 1, 1988. I haven’t really read why it was torn down, especially considering the site it occupied wouldn’t be developed until 1999. The 1st before photo is interesting because it shows part of Downtown from the 1960s. You can see many old factories, warehouses, commercial buildings and even a handful of remnant mansions from when the area was mostly residential. The vast majority of it is now long gone. When it was all torn down, a lot of the land ended up as surface parking lots for decades. Only within the last few years are some of those lots being redeveloped, including for the Neighborhood Launch project running along Gay Street.

Before

Ohio State Arsenal building, 1898

After

The Ohio State Arsenal building at 139 W. Main Street, seems to have a bit of disagreement as to when it was actually built (1861 vs. 1863), but regardless, it was a Civil War era arsenal that was used for this purpose for well over 100 years. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, and became a cultural arts center in 1978, which it remains so to this day.

Before and After: April 2013 Edition

German Village dates back to the early 19th century, and surprisingly, by the 1950s, even when the area hit rock bottom, still retained the vast majority of it’s 19th and early 20th century buildings. The city of Columbus had it in mind to bulldoze a large part of the neighborhood in the 1950s for public housing, but preservationists stepped in and saved it. The entire area was put onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and today it is still the largest historic district on the registry.

Before

Looking east on E. Beck Street in German Village, 1950.

After

Looking east on E. Beck Street, German Village, present day.

Not much has changed in this image. German Village was considered a slum by the time the Before photo was taken. All of the 1950 buildings are still there today, however, and is a lasting testament to one of the earliest large-scale neighborhood preservation success stories in the United States.

Before

Louis Hoster house, 31 E. Livingston Avenue, 1892.

After

31 E. Livingston Avenue, present day.

Louis Hoster arrived in Columbus on July 4, 1833, not long after emigrating to the US from Germany. Three years later, he established the L. Hoster Brewing Company on S. Front Street. His business grew through the rest of his life, and at the time of his death at age 85, it was said he was the oldest brewer in the United States, still taking an active role in its management. The house above was built the same year of the brewery’s founding, 1836, and the photo above was taken the year he died, 1892. After 1892, the fate of the house, at least from what I could find, is unknown. Looking at old aerial pictures, the house had been replaced by newer construction prior to 1957, and that newer building itself was torn down when I-70/I-71 came through the neighborhood in the 1960s. Today, the lot is a surface parking lot for an investment company.

Before

The Book Loft building, before 1977.

After

Book Loft building, present day.

The Book Loft is one of German Village’s most popular destinations, with 32 rooms filled with books of every type. It opened in 1977 in a early 19th century building that was once everything from a saloon to a small movie house.

Before

764 Mohawk Street, 1897

After

764 Mohawk Street, present day.

Max Neugebauer was a prominent tailor and conductor of the Columbus Battalion Band. He lived in the city for about 30 years in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His tailor shop pictured was in business for another 20 or so years after the photo was taken. A building like this would’ve probably been one of the first demolished in most neighborhoods, but managed to survive and even eventually thrive to the present day in German Village due to its strict preservation codes.

Before

165 E. Beck Street, 1950

After

165 E. Beck Street, present day.

The corner building at 165 E. Beck has been one restaurant or another for well over 70 years. Starting in 1981, it became the home of Lindey’s, which still occupies the space today.

Before

40 E. Steward Avenue, 1920

After

40 E. Stewart Avenue, present day.

Stewart Avenue Elementary School opened in 1873. Originally it contained 8 grades and German was taught to all levels. During WWI, anti-German sentiment ran so high that teaching of German was banned in area schools. German books were burned on High Street and many of the neighborhood’s street names were changed to be more “American”. Even Schiller Park became Washington Park. Over the years, the school has seen modifications, but the overall look remains the same. Even the fence and concrete posts along the sidewalk remain exactly as they were in the 1920 photograph. Today, the building remains an elementary school, and recently plans were announced to expand the school’s campus. Luckily, the school and neighboring historic buildings will remain fully intact.

Before and After: March 2013 Edition

Before

Photo taken looking north along South Central Avenue in Franklinton during the flood of January 21-24, 1959.


After

Present day South Central Avenue in Franklinton.

The 1959 flood was the 2nd worst in the history of Franklinton, after the 1913 disaster. The Frank Road crest on the Scioto River came on January 22, 1959 and was 27.22 ft, 3.22 ft above flood stage and a few feet below the 1913 crest. This crest would not cause serious flooding in Franklinton today, as the Franklinton Floodwall, completed in 2004, will protect the area to crests of up to 30.9 ft. Few people know that, prior to the wall’s completion, federal guidelines prohibited almost all types of construction in Franklinton, a huge reason for the gradual decline it faced after the 1950s.

Before

Avondale Elementary at 157 Avondale Avenue in 1908.

After

Avondale Elementary, present day. The school was built in 1892.

Avondale Elementary has been a school for its entire 121 year existance. Besides losing it’s rootop finials, the school is largely unchanged and is a beautiful example of late 19th century architecture.

Before

Bellows Avenue school in 1922.

After

The 1905 school in the present day.

Bellows Elementary was opened in 1905 and was used for that purpose through the 1970s. The building was last renovated in 1972, but was closed as a school between that year and 1984, when Columbus Public Schools sold the property. It has changed hands a few times over the years, the last being in 2002, but nothing has come of it and the building deteriorates a bit more each year. Unfortunately, the location of the school probably proved to be its death, as the interchange of 315 and 70/71 was constructed just to the south, and 315 itself cut off Bellows Avenue. The school narrowly escaped the wrecking ball at that time, but without some type of redevelopment, the property may eventually be lost anyway.

Before

The Columbus Heating and Ventilation Company at 433 W. Town Street on March 25, 1913, during the infamous flood.

The same building 3 years later in 1916, looking a bit spruced up as well as the newer roads that were no doubt damaged in 1913.

After

And 433 W. Town Street as it looked in 2010. The building was torn down the following year.

The Columbus Heating and Ventilating Company began in 1903 and still exists in the city, although obviously not at its original location. The old building went into severe disrepair and most of the roof had collapsed by the time it was demolished in 2011 as one of the first steps in the area’s rebirth. The area is going through revitalization, and the nearby 400 W. Rich artist live and work space continues to expand. Plans are also in the works for new loft apartments nearby.