Columbus Throughout the Years

Columbus Throughout the Years


Many of us don’t remember what Columbus was like before the Nationwide Arena was built. Columbus has done a great job of building and growing through the years, and although much of downtown looks modern, there are so many pockets of historical culture tucked away in Columbus’ oldest neighborhoods. So what was Columbus like back in the 70s, 60s or even before then? Let’s go back in time and see how Columbus has changed throughout the years!

Columbus 1872

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This is one of the first maps of Columbus, dating back to 1872. You can see the Scioto River winding along the future downtown area. The large building in the center is the Ohio Statehouse, which has stood at the corner of High Street and Broad Street since 1839!

First Football Team, 1890

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Even the Buckeyes have changed drastically. The Scarlet and Gray’s first football team was fielded in 1890 (pictured above) and it went 1-3 that season. Ohio State defeated Ohio Wesleyan in its first game, but then lost against Wooster, Denison and Kenyon. Let’s just say, the Buckeyes have come a long way since their first season!

1914 was a big year for all Americans. The United States joined World War I, Charlie Chaplin was entertaining audiences on the big screen and Honus Wagner became the second baseball player to hit 3,000 hits in his career.

Columbus 1914 North looking toward Broad and High

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Here is what Downtown Columbus looked like in 1914. This picture shows the intersection of High Street and Broad Street going north. You will recognize the brown building on the right side because the facade of the building is still used today. However, in 1914 it did not have all of the flashing news signs or a Tim Horton’s!

Ohio State 1926

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Downtown isn’t the only part of Columbus that looks drastically different today. This is what Ohio Stadium looked like in 1926! Can you believe how much the area has grown in nearly 90 years? In 1926, there were recreational fields all around the stadium, where today they are parking spaces and parking garages for the thousands of Buckeye fans. But one thing is certain, even in 1926, Ohio Stadium is absolutely gigantic!


Columbus 50s

Courtesy of Gina Kokinda via Pinterest

Let’s fast forward to the 1950s. Columbus is really starting to take shape at this point. You can see the State House and LeVeque Tower in all their glory! In the top right corner of the picture, you can see the old Ohio Penitentiary, which is where the Arena District is now.

The 1970s were a good time to be in Columbus. Woody Hayes was leading the Buckeyes from 1970-78. He took Ohio State to five Rose Bowls, an undefeated season in 1973, eight Big Ten Conference championships and a National Championship in 1970. Archie Griffin became the only person in history to win the Heisman Trophy twice in 1974 and 1975.

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1978 Columbus Blizzard

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One of the craziest events to happen in the 1970s was the Great Blizzard of 1978. The whole state (and the rest of the Midwest) was hit by a huge blizzard in January of 1978. Some parts of Ohio saw snow drifts up to 25 feet and wind speeds reached 69 mph at Port Columbus. This was the first time weather forced Ohio State to cancel classes in its 108 year history. The storm also caused the Ohio Turnpike to close for the first time in its history.

In the 1990s, The New York Times dubbed Columbus the “New big city on the block.” Let’s just say, the 90s was an interesting decade!


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