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19th-Century Columbus, Ohio

by Nick Taggart

Photographs from a century of old Columbus

Clinton Bank building

This old view of State and High streets shows the Clinton Bank corner on the southwest side. Authorized by the Ohio legislature in 1833, the Clinton Bank was once the only bank of deposit north and west of the Ohio River. It was a United States depository and handled money used for the construction of the National Road.

Railroad car carrying Lincoln's body

The rail car carrying Lincoln's body to Springfield, Illinois, for burial, stopped in Columbus on April 29, 1865.

1884 Columbus Buckeyes baseball team

The city's first professional baseball team was the Columbus Buckeyes. This 1884 club included Edward Dundon (fourth from the right), the first major league baseball player to suffer from deafness.

Centennial Auditorium

The massive Centennial Auditorium was built on the fairgrounds especially for the celebration. It could seat more than 10,000 people and its acoustics were said to be so perfect that a whisper could be heard all around the interior. Despite its $12,000 construction cost, it was intended as a temporary structure and razed shortly after the close of events.

Fires on November 24, 1893, destroyed The Chittenden Hotel, the Chittenden Hall, and the Henrietta and Park theaters

One of the most spectacular fires in the city's history occurred on the evening of November 24, 1893, when a half block bounded by High, Spring, and Front streets, and Hickory Alley, went up in flames. The Chittenden Hotel, the Chittenden Hall, and the Henrietta and Park theaters were completely destroyed. The Chittenden Hotel was later rebuilt with fireproof material.

Mounted Columbus police help in flood of 1898

Mounted Columbus police splashed up and down streets during the flood of 1898, giving aid where they could. Not a single human life was lost in the disaster.

University Hall at The Ohio State University

University Hall served The Ohio State University for nearly a century. Construction of this campus oval landmark was completed in 1873. The building was razed in 1970 to make way for a second University Hall, a near replica of the first.

The Ohio Penitentiary, ca 1900

The Ohio Penitentiary, ca 1900. For better or worse, the Pen was a Columbus landmark for more than 160 years. Facing Spring Street and sprawling back along Neil Avenue, it encompassed 23 acres. It ceased housing prisoners in 1984. The last of its buildings was demolished in 1998, making way for development of the Arena District.

The General, a century-old locomotive

The General, a century-old locomotive, pulled into Union Station on May 2, 1962, as part of the National Civil War Centennial Observance. One hundred years earlier, a group of Union soldiers from Ohio had captured the General from the Confederate Army.

From Historic Photos of Columbus by Nick Taggart. Copyright © 2007 Turner Publishing Company, and reprinted by permission of Turner Publishing Company.

Images courtesy Columbus Metropolitan Library Archive.

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Articles in this Issue

The Diary, by Richard Clewes
The Passion, by Jenny Barton
Gamel Woolsey, by Emma Garman
19th-Century Columbus, Ohio, by Nick Taggart
The Fat Spy, by Susan Doll and David Morrow
Architecture, by Townsend Twainhart
Environmental Science, by Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle
Developmental Psychology, by Shoko Tendo
October 2007


Nick Taggart works in the Biography, History, and Travel Division of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, where he makes professional use of his personal passion for local history and world travel. A Columbus, OH native, Nick has delivered newspapers for the Columbus Dispatch, deejayed part-time for Q-FM-96 radio, and worked for the library in various capacities for 25 years. He is a graduate of Briggs High School and Capital University. Nick lives with his wife, Michele Reinhart, in the Victorian Village neighborhood of Columbus.

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