What Happened to Columbus Landmarks Endangered List Buildings?




As mentioned in the previous post, the Columbus Landmarks Foundation
has been creating a Most Endangered List for historic buildings under threat of demolition. The list has been created every year since 2014. What has happened to those buildings? This post seeks to find out. Not that I did not research every building (though, I did most of them) and tried to stick with those that were inside I-270 and were built prior to 1950.

Original Port Columbus Terminal Tower
Address: 4920 E. 5th Avenue
Built: 1920
List Appearances: 2014, 2015, 2016
Status: Renovated and Saved

Original Port Columbus Terminal.


This terminal building predates Port Columbus by a full 9 years, and is a very rare example of early air architecture. In 2015, Heartland Bank planned to build its HQ inside, but after performing some of the work, abandoned the project due to renovation complications. This caused concern that the building would be unable to find a new buyer. Eventually, though, money was scraped together to renovate the building and turn it into a museum, just in time for the airport’s 90th birthday.

Clinton Avenue School
Address: 10 Clinton Heights Avenue
Built: 1895
List Appearances: 2014
Status: Renovated and Saved

The school building in 2009.


The school after renovation.


This old school sat in a prime location along North High Street, and after sitting disused for several years, there was concern that Columbus City Schools would demolish it or sell the site to developers. Luckily, that didn’t happen and in 2015, the school was renovated and expanded into Clinton Elementary.

Elam Drake Farm
Address: 2738 Ole Country Lane
Built: Around 1850
List Appearances: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Status: Existing, but Deteriorating


Elam Drake was one of Columbus’ earliest masons and many of his buildings are still on the National Register of Historic Places. The farm is owned by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority. While it is unlikely to be demolished by the airport due to being on the opposite side of I-670, it is close enough to the highway (you can see it very easily on the right heading west) to be under constant threat of highway expansion. Because it is abandoned, the structure also continues to deteriorate and may just be demolished eventually due to poor condition.

Indianola Junior High School
Address: 420 E. 19th Avenue
Built: 1929
List Appearances: 2014, 2015, 2016
Status: Existing, but Deteriorating

Indianola in 2015.


Indianola has the honor of being the very first middle school in the United States, and the model was eventually copied nationally. The building was abandoned in 2010, and over the next several years, vandalism and neglect slowly damaged the building. Columbus City Schools tried to sell the building, but wasn’t successful until 2018, when Ohio State purchased it. As of the end of 2019, there have been no formal plans announced by OSU for the future of the building, and it continues to fall into disrepair. Since the university has never been big on saving old buildings, the future could be grim.

Griggs Reservoir Dam Tender House
Address: 2933 Riverside Drive
Built: 1816
List Appearances: 2014
Status: Renovated, Saved

The dam tender house in 2003.


After renovation.


Originally the home of the Richards family on land deeded by John Adams, it became the home of the dam tender for Griggs in 1908. The dam tender manually controlled valves to allow water through the dam. After automation eliminated that job, the home stood abandoned for many years. Eventually, though, the building was renovated in 2015 to be event space for Griggs Reservoir Park.

Engine House #14
Address: 1716 Parsons Avenue
Built: Before 1900
List Appearances: 2014, 2015
Status: Existing, Stable

The firehouse in 2017.


Not much seems to be known about this building other than that it’s an interesting example of an old Columbus firehouse. The building has been empty for many years and has been for sale off and on recently. Currently, the building remains idle with no serious buyers lined up. As the area sees more revitalization, particularly along Parsons, the firehouse could come under threat by redevelopment pressures.

Bellows Avenue Elementary
Address: 725 Bellows Avenue
Built: 1905
List Appearances: 2014, 2015
Status: Existing, Stable


This old elementary school operated until the 1970s and has been abandoned since. It narrowly escaped construction of 315, but a planned rework of the highway intersection threatens its eventual demolition. Despite that, a plan to renovate the school and build apartments or condos on the grounds popped up a few years back, but aside from some stabilization efforts to the school to prevent further building decline, nothing else has occurred.

Columbus Railway Power and Light Company Building
Address: 838 Cleveland Avenue
Built: 1915
List Appearances: 2014, 2015, 2016
Status: Existing, but Deteriorating

The building in 2017.


This building was part of the Columbus Central Street Railway Car Depot and Power House once located at this intersection. It has been abandoned for a long time with no plans to do anything with the building.

Near East Trolley Barn Complex
Address: 1600 Oak Street
Built: 1880-1900
List Appearances: 2014
Status: Existing, Deteriorating but with Redevelopment Plans

The main trolley barn and grounds in 2019.


This complex was used by trolley car lines for decades to store and repair trolley cars, but has been in disuse for more than half a century. The good news is that a long-awaited revitalization plan is now in the works to turn the complex into a mixed-use development complete with a market, retail space and apartments.

O’Shaughnessy Funeral Home
Address: 405 E. Town Street
Built: 1853
List Appearances: 2014
Status: Existing and Stable

The home in 2019.


One of the oldest remaining homes Downtown, this building has been used as a funeral home, offices and other functions over the years, but has been abandoned for decades. The home apparently needs significant interior renovations, so it remains a tough sell.

Kessler’s Corner Grocery
Address: 553-555 W. Town Street
Built: 1884
List Appearances: 2015
Status: Existing, but Deteriorating

Kessler’s in 2019.


One of just 4 masonry buildings that survived the Great Flood of 1913 in this part of Franklinton, the building has been abandoned for a few decades at least. East Franklinton, in which this building sits, is fast becoming one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city, with a large number of new construction projects coming up. This could serve to save the building through renovation, or put pressure towards its eventual demolition. Without stabilization efforts, renovation may come too late, anyway.

Holy Rosary Roman Catholic High School
Address: 498 Berkeley Road
Built: 1928
List Appearances: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Status: Existing, but Deteriorating


The school was used through the 1960s as part of the Holy Rosary Church complex. There are no current plans for the building.

Trott & Bean Architects, Inc. Building
Address: 77 E. Nationwide Boulevard
Built: 1910
List Appearances: 2015
Status: Demolished


This former plating and silvering plant was later renovated by Trott & Bean as offices. It was demolished to build the Canopy Inn Hotel in 2017. The hotel built a similar looking facade to the original building on lower floors, but no part of the building was used.

Salzgaber Farmhouse
Address: 1192 Grandview Avenue
Built: 1904
List Appearances: 2015
Status: Saved

The house in 2019.


One of the original homes in the Grandview Heights area, the Salzgaber family sold produce at North Market for many years. It came under threat in 2014 and early 2015 from a condo proposal. That proposal was later rejected and a new buyer preserved the house.

East Pilgrim Elementary School
Address: 440 Taylor Avenue
Built: 1921
List Appearances: 2015,
Status: Existing and Stable

East Pilgrim Elementary in 2019.


Built as an overflow for the growing East Side student population, this school was abandoned in 2004. Columbus City Schools sold the build to Partners Achieving Community Transformation, or PACT, around 2010. PACT had originally proposed to renovate the building for adult educational purposes, but later determined that renovation would cost more than tearing it down. However, community leaders were divided on the demolition plan, with many being opposed. So far, it seems no firm redevelopment plans have appeared, and the building continues to sit empty.

The Main Bar
Address: 16 W. Main Street
Built: 1880s
List Appearances: 2015
Status: Existing and Stable

The Main Bar building in 2016.


One of only 2 remaining 19th Century buildings on Main Street between 3rd Street and Front Street Downtown, this building has been used as a saloon, offices, bar and residences over the years. The RiverSouth area has been steadily redeveloped in recent years, and though no specific project is planned for the site yet, it’s only a matter of time.



Pavey Block
Address: Between West Northwood and and West Oakland Avenues along North High Street
Built: Between 1900-1905
List Appearances: 2016
Status: Renovated and (Mostly) Saved

The Pavey Block in 2015.


The Pavey Block is named after Charles Pavey, a horse breeder, who built his home here at 2259 N. High Street. The block was one of the last intact original residential blocks on High Street south of Clintonville. In late 2015, a developer proposed a mixed-use development on the whole block called Pavey Square, which would require the demolition of all 6 High Street homes, along with 2 additional homes on Oakland and Northwood, as well as an old commercial building. After local residents and area commission members rejected the demolition, eventually the project was modified to incorporate all 6 main homes in their entirety to preserve the High Street streetscape.

Ohio National Bank
Address: 167-169 S. High Street
Built: Early 1900s
List Appearances: 2016
Status: Existing and Stable

The bank building in 2019.


This bank building has been abandoned since the 1990s. Though no plans have emerged for it, the surrounding part of Downtown has been booming with new development, which could eventually threaten the property.

Macon Hotel Building
Address: 366 N. 20th Street
Built: 1888
List Appearances: 2016, 2018
Status: Existing, but Deteriorating

The Macon in 2019.


Built as a hotel, the site was a popular hotel for jazz musicians visiting the city before WWII, and the building later become a club and lounge. In 2017, there was a proposal to renovate the building into residential units, but so far, nothing has come of that proposal beyond some gut work on lower floors.

124 South Washington House
Address: 124 S. Washington Street
Built: 1869
List Appearances: 2016
Status: Existing and Stable


This old home, one of the few remaining Downtown on Washington Street, is threatened by plans by Motorists Mutual to develop the site and nearby areas with mixed-use projects around Topiary Park. Planning maps have shown the house being demolished in the future.

Grant-Oak Apartments
Address: Intersection of Oak and Grant
Built: 1942
List Appearances: 2016
Status: Partially Saved, Partially Demolished

The apartments in 2016.


These WWII-era apartments were some of the last historic apartment blocks Downtown. Columbus Metropolitan Library bought the apartments in 1992, and in 2017 in partnership with Pizzuti, proposed demolishing all 7 of the buildings to construct a new, mixed-use development on the site. In 2019, after some pushback by community leaders, it was decided that 4 of the 7 buildings would be saved and renovated, while 3 of the remaining would be demolished for the mixed-use project. Those 3 were demolished over the summer of 2019.

Hayden Mausoleum
Address: 1000 Green Lawn Cemetery
Built: 1920
List Appearances: 2019
Status: Existing, but Deteriorating


A recent entrant on these lists, Hayden Mausoleum was design by Frank Packard as the largest single-family mausoleum in Central Ohio. It is threatened due to the poor condition of its roof and increasing water damage, that without renovation, could cause it to collapse.

Kroger Bakery Building
Address: 457 Cleveland Avenue
Built: 1914
List Appearances: 2019
Status: Existing and Stable


Another recent entry on to the endangered, this original Ford Motor Company assembly plant was long used as part of the Kroger Bakery. Kroger closed the factory earlier in 2019 and the building is now for sale. Given that the whole area is steadily improving, the site could either be bought and renovated into other uses, or demolished altogether for new development.

Greater Columbus Antiques Mall
Address: 1049 S. High Street
Year Built: 1889
List Appearances: 2018
Status: Existing and Saved


The George Stanton house came under threat early in 2018 when Schiff Properties wanted to tear it down and put in a fast food outlet. The longtime owner and antiques seller wanted out of the business, and the home existed outside of historic area protections. Fortunately, there was enough public backlash to cause Schiff to pull the proposal. As to what might happen to this property remains to be seen. Some proposals have called for it to be moved to a new location, so it still could end up threatened again.

Overall, the vast majority of these buildings have fared well. While plenty are in dire condition and need desperate renovations to save them, that opportunity remains for most. Still many others did, indeed, receive the attention they needed and were saved from the wrecking ball. Of course, Columbus Landmarks Foundation only highlights perhaps a dozen or so buildings each year, and there are dozens more that never make the list at all and end up lost. It’s an important reminder that the best way to save these historic structures is by drawing as much attention to them as possible.



Historic Buildings in Imminent Danger of Demolition



Columbus, like many cities, has a decidedly mixed history with historic preservation. It has lost so much, and it continues to lose more with every passing year. The Columbus Landmarks Foundation puts out of list every year of Columbus’ most endangered. Her is 2019’s list. Not all of the threatened old buildings in Columbus get attention. Here are a few more that are likely to meet the wrecking ball relatively soon.

Highland and 11th Block
1619 Highland Street
Built: 1905
Ohio State recently purchased this building after reportedly trying to buy it for decades. The university now owns the entire block that this building sits on, and the plans are for eventual redevelopment within a few years. What might replace it is not yet known.

1619 Highland in 2019.

141 W. 11th Avenue
Built: 1890s
If OSU decides to redevelop the entire block, and that seems to be the plan, another historic building near 1619 Highland could also be lost. The German House is the last remaining original home this far west on 11th Avenue in what was once a historic neighborhood. OSU has systematically demolished almost all of the other homes along 11th Avenue, beginning in the 1950s. While there are no announced plans for its demolition, news of the block’s redevelopment seem to predict this old home’s doom.

The German House in 2015.

King and High Block
1343-1347 N. High Street
Built: Around 1920

1343-1347 North High in 2017.

1355-1359 N. High Street
Built: Around 1890

1355-1359 N. High Street in 2015.

Both of these High Street properties, directly across the street from the Weinland Park Kroger, are under threat from a proposed redevelopment plan. Originally, the developer had proposed an 11-story, mixed-use building for this block with the intention of incorporating both of the old buildings into the plan. However, it seems that they became frustrated with the approvals process, and so, in seemingly a total spite move, greatly reduced the size of the project as well as any intention of saving the old buildings. The out-of-state developer’s new design doesn’t require any variances, and so it seems like the final product is out of the hands of the local neighborhood commission and city, unfortunately. What could’ve been a great project is now essentially a middle finger from the developer and arguably one of the worst-designed proposals in recent years.



Before and After April 2017



**Note: Some photos have been updated for 2018.

I haven’t done a Before and After installment for a while. This time around, I chose to not focus on any single neighborhood.

First up is a photo of the construction of the Columbus Interurban Terminal, looking northwest from 3rd. The photo was taken on October 5, 1911, about 3 months before the building opened. The interurban system was relatively short-lived in the city, and the terminal closed after only 26 years in 1938. The building survived as a grocery store through the mid-1960s before the building was demolished in 1967 as part of the construction of the Greyhound Bus Terminal across the street. The actual location of the building was not on the Greyhound site, but was used as an overflow parking lot. It remained a parking lot until the mid-1980s, when it became part of the City Centre Mall site. Today, plans are for the site to become the location for the 12-story, 80 on the Commons mixed-use project.

October, 1911.


Here is the same place in October, 2018.

The second historic photo is of the #57 streetcar on Kelton Avenue just south of the Oak Street intersection. The photo, which looks north, was taken on June 30, 1915 and includes 3 separate visible buildings as well. The house on the left actually survived until 1977, when it and the rest of the east half of the block was demolished. The building visible on the right is the surviving streetcar barn. Today, it is in bad shape, and while many would like to see it renovated and saved, time seems to be running out. The other surviving building, barely visible in the 1915 photo, is the tenement building on the northwest corner of Oak and Kelton.

And in 2015:

Third in this list is a photo of the demolition of the old Franklin County Jail, once located at 36 E. Fulton Street in Downtown. Built in 1889, the structure survived until the fall of 1971, when the building, which by then had become outdated for its intended purpose, was torn down to make way for- what else- a parking garage. The parking garage remains to the present day. Columbus leaders at the time should’ve been flogged for such short-sighted thinking, something that was repeated over and over and over again during that era. Today, such a very cool, unique building would’ve made an excellent candidate for mixed-use conversion.

And in August, 2016:

Finally, this next photo isn’t really historic. It was taken a mere 15 years ago in February, 2002, looking northwest from the corner of N. High Street and 10th Avenue. At the time, this area had been made up of low-rise historic buildings that had long held bars for OSU students. All these buildings in the photo, and many more, were demolished not long after the photo was taken in order to make room for the South Campus Gateway, now more or less just called the Gateway. Similar large-scale demolitions are taking place to the north and south as the entirety of the High Street corridor around Campus is transformed. Whether that is good or bad depends on who you ask. What can be agreed upon, however, is that the corridor will be almost unrecognizable in the end.

And in October, 2016: