While certainly not Ohio or Columbus specific, the link allows you to zoom to any area on the planet to determine how forests have changed in the last 12-13 years. The map is so detailed, that it shows the loss of trees at the Scioto Riverfront when they were removed to rebuild Bicentennial Park as part of the Scioto Mile.
To an urbanist, the following sets of photos are truly disturbing. I’ve heard it said many times over that Columbus is a new city filled with suburban design, and that it never really had a true urban, historic core. The sad thing is that that is dead wrong, and I say it’s sad because so much of it was lost in the name of progress. 99 years ago, Downtown was truly a beautiful, vibrant place, and the present-day shots only serve to make the transformation all that much more awful. You have to wonder what people were thinking in terms of design and the way that they systematically destroyed the environment that made the city what it was.
In any case, the photo set from 1914 was apparently taken by a photographer that walked the length of High Street starting from the intersection of Town Street all the way up to Goodale Avenue at the beginning of the Short North. They are some of the best historic photographs I’ve ever seen of Downtown Columbus. Let’s begin the tour.
The photo above at Town and High shows Lazarus Department Store on the left. It is one of the few buildings that remains today, as shown below.
The next set is the before and after from Capital Square, just south of the Broad and High intersection. The tall building in the center of the photo is 8 E. Broad and one of the few still standing today.
The next few photographs show the very heart of Downtown, the intersection of Broad and High. A few buildings remain, but most is gone.
Next is High Street just north of Broad and looking north. Notice just how many buildings are gone.
Up next is the intersection of Long and High, just south of the Atlas building (on the right). The Atlas Building still exists and is in the process of renovation. There are also a few buildings across the street that survived. Few others did.
For the 2nd to last set, we have the intersection of Spring and High. The old Chittenden Hotel is the large building on the left with the Lyceum Theater behind it. Most of these buildings were torn down to make room for the Nationwide complex in the 1980s. There is literally not a single building from 1914 still standing in this area.
And finally, we have the intersection of Goodale Avenue and High Street. This before and after shows a drastic transformation. Many of the buildings in the photo, including the building with the beautiful domed rotunda, were demolished to clear the right of way for the construction of I-670. Others succumbed due to the Convention Center’s construction or the Greek Orthodox Church’s expansion in the 1980s. There is only one point of reference to know this is the same place. If you look closely, just past the building with the rotunda and to the right, you can just make out the roofline of the Yukon Building. It is the first line of buildings to survive north of 670 and begins what is now known as the Short North. To me, this is the most tragic photo of all. Like so many cities, Columbus had incredible architecture in abundance, and the leaders in the middle part of the 20th century squandered it all away, leaving the current generation trying to rebuild a divided, empty shell of what once was. Much of it, however, can never be restored. Let it be a visible reminder that development has real consequences if not followed through wisely.
From this map, the urban areas of Columbus seem to have lost the most % of their employees the last decade, along with the far suburban and rural areas. The biggest growth was in the areas along and just outside of 270. This is an interesting map as it implies that the nearest suburban areas are attracting the most jobs, but that these suburbs are are both pulling from the inner core, but also from much further out.
The second map is for average employee income by zip code.
What this map seems to show is that, while jobs may be moving to the I-270 suburbs, pay for those jobs is decidedly mixed across the city. Downtown, for example, averaged some of the highest incomes in the city. Other strong areas include parts of Westerville, New Albany and Dublin. Most of the High Street corridor was fairly strong as well. The lowest incomes were almost entirely in rural and far suburban areas.
Finally, the % change of average income from 2000-2010.
This map is also a mixed bag. Most of the area saw wage growth, but where it occurred the strongest was definitely all over the map. Some suburbs had good and bad, and so did the urban core areas.
So what’s all this mean? Well, certainly it means that the total # of jobs as far as growth shifted to the 270 suburbs the last decade, but at the same time, those jobs that remained in the core areas still grew in income. So it appears that the city is becoming richer about on par with the suburbs, at least the last 10 years. The question becomes, what happens the next decade? If urban trends continue the way they have the past few years (which these maps don’t really take into account), it is entirely possible that some of the job growth will move back inward towards the urban core.