13 Endangered Buildings In Columbus

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Veterans Memorial(Photo: Thomas Bradley / WOSU)
Veterans Memorial(Photo: Thomas Bradley / WOSU)

Columbus Landmarks recently issued its Most Endangered Building List. The list features 13 historic structures in danger of demolition. Landmarks Executive Director Ed Lentz says historic buildings are vital to creating a city’s character.

Lentz is the Executive Director of Columbus Landmarks Foundation. He talked with WOSU’s Marilyn Smith about the importance of maintaining buildings of historic significance.


The list includes:

  • Port Columbus Airport Control Tower — Located at 4920 East Fifth Avenue, built in 1920.
  • Clinton Avenue School Annex — Located at 10 Clinton Heights Avenue, built in 1895.
  • Elam Drake Farm — Located at 2738 Ole Country Lane, built in the 1850s.
  • Gunning House — Located at 7495 East Broad Street, built in 1940.
  • Veterans Memorial — Located at 300 West Broad Street, built in 1955.
  • Indianola Junior (Middle) High School — Located at 420 East 19th Avenue, built in 1909.
  • Dam Tender’s House at Griggs Reservoir — Located at 2933 Riverside Drive, built in 1816.
  • Engine House #14 — Located at 1716 South Parsons Avenue, built in the 19th century.
  • Bellows Avenue Elementary — Located at 725 Bellows, built in 1905.
  • Columbus Railway Power and Light Company Building — Located at 838 Cleveland Avenue, built in 1915.
  • O’Shaughnessy Funeral Home — Located at 405 East Town Street, built in 1853.
  • Municipal Light Plant — Located at 589 Dublin Road, built in 1903.
  • Near East Side Trolley Barns — Located at 1600 Oak Street, built between 1880 and 1920.
  • Matt Sanger

    Marilyn, Being a noobie to Columbus I am always on the lookout for little architectual treasures. Thanks for the info! Looking forward to hitting these on my next bike route.

  • Clintonville lover

    Dear Marilyn,
    I am impressed a local journalist is tackling this topic. I wonder if you would tackle another one important to Clintonville residents.

    We have recently been informed that the heirs to Mr. Zimmerman’s gorgeous contribution to Clintonville, Olympic Swimming Pool, have decided they aren’t making enough money from it, and that they will close it down at the end of the summer. We went to this pool as children, our children went there, and our grandchildren go there now. It is, if anything, an even more historical part of Clintonville than Whetstone Park.

    Decades ago, when we were at Cape Cod, a man at Corn Hill Beach came up and said he recognized some sticker on the car, and he asked whether Olympic was still there. He said he grew up in Clintonville, and remembered them building the streets after Olympic was built, and all roads seemed to lead there. One might say that, for people who grew up here, many memories lead back there, too
    I love Olympic so much I used it in the opening sequence of my book, NO JUSTICE IN PADDOCK (COWTOWN) back in the mid-80s. I used to daydream that a movie could be shot there, and do it justice.
    When Mr. Zimmerman died, to his credit, Mr. Jones stepped in and took over the pool. This was after a tremendous outcry arose when it was announced that maybe the City would buy it. The City had (has?) a bad reputation for the running of its pools, and people were even threatening to have Clintonville secede. (Look how long it took for the City to reopen the pools after 2008, even with their tax increase.)

    I think people in Clintonville have some bitter memories of the City’s neglect. We remember when Glimcher bought most of the property by WN Broadway and High, and there was going to be a Town Center (complete with bell tower). Instead, we watched heartbroken, year after year, as the gorgeous Clintonville Theater fell to pieces, and no one from the City even seemed to mention code violations. We watched $25 million in TARP money go to fix the King Arts Center, and not a dime went to preserve another of our gems. The same situation seems to be going on with Clinton. We agreed to a property tax increase, which was supposed to expire when all the buildings were repaired, and Clinton was the last on the list. And now the City seems more than happy, again, to ignore the requests of Clintonville residents and obliterate yet another piece of history. Why? Does Mayor Coleman hate Clintonville for some reason?

    We were also told, long ago, that the Indianola corridor would be fixed up. This is where Olympic rests. It never happened. I do remember that any improvements were postponed during the summer, because it was stated the pool is an essential part of the community and children needed to be safe as they walked to and from the place.

    At a time when people are concerned about childhood obesity and the lack of exercise for young people, why would you shut down one of the few places they are safe? People were always willing to budget the price of a membership in part because they wanted the safety for their children.

    I realize Mr. Jones and his relatives have families to consider, too. I was surprised in his announcement that he said no offers from buyers would be considered – they want to keep the property, because they “care” about Clintonville. But then I heard that he is considering putting apartments there. I don’t know why anyone would want to rent an apartment so close to the railroad tracks, the highway, and the constant barking of the animals at Knapp’s Vet Hospital. I don’t think there are any other apartments on the east side of Indianola. Is he expecting to get a zoning variance? And why would the city give him one? The homes on the other side of Indianola are on quiet and serene streets. Do they want a massive apartment complex so nearby?

    If I could win the lottery, I would buy the block Glimcher never finished and left behind when he went to build Polaris, and trade it to Mr. Jones and his relatives for Olympic. I realize it will never be the place filled with thousands of children that it was for the baby boom. But Clintonville has the oldest demographic of any part of the city – there are a lot of boomers here – and maybe if someone rethinks this, we could keep boomers active, even watching out for the kids. Maybe we could take that extra money we did not want to pay for a zoo downtown, where they pay no property taxes, and keep a beautiful zoo. Westerville boasts of its pool, and Worthington and Dublin. Arlington has four. Why can’t we keep ours?

    There was a sign outside of Whetstone Library I always loved, which says that Clintonville is not a city, it is a state of mind. We are not pretentious, we are not wild, we are rather laid-back kid-loving, tree-loving, pet-loving people who have loved about our part of the city that it is a place where you can walk anywhere, and enjoy doing so.

    I hope you at least give some CAC members a chance to weigh in on this.

    Thank you for your time and attention.