Columbus: Recreation

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Columbus: Recreation


At the center of Columbus's downtown is the State Capitol Building, an example of Greek Doric architecture. Several blocks south of the Capitol, German Village, one of the city's major attractions, is a restored community in a 230-acre area settled by German immigrants in the mid-1800s. The largest privately funded restoration in the United States, the district features German bakeries, outdoor beer gardens, restaurants, and homes.

The Center of Science and Industry (COSI) maintains hands-on exhibits in health, history, science, and technology for all ages. COSI's 300,000 square foot building consists of a modern style element joined to the existing historic building. The facility features a curved facade, a large atrium, a host of Learning Worlds, and two unique theaters, the Space Theater, and the IWERKS Theater. The Space Theater boasts all new DIGISTAR 3-D technology; the IWERKS Theater, a six-story plus, multimillion-dollar theater, seats 400 people and presents nationally known films.

The Columbus Zoo displays animals in natural habitats and has gained a reputation for successfully breeding endangered species, including gorillas, cheetahs, snow leopards, polar bears, and eagles. The zoo houses the world's largest reptile collection and is the home of four generations of gorillas. The first phase of the zoo specializes in North American wildlife and features the Manatee Coast Exhibit; this is modeled after the 10,000 Island wildlife area in southwestern Florida, one of the few remaining untouched natural places in the United States. The zoo's second phase, the African Forest project, opened in June 2000. The African Forest outdoor gorilla exhibit features two large glass viewing areas and landscaping. Creative exhibits and a holding building reflect simple African forest architecture and offer indoor viewing of colobus monkeys and Congo gray parrots, as well as a mixed species aviary. The next phase, Gateway to Asia, began construction in March 2005 and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2006.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Garden Center cultivates tropical, subtropical, and desert plants. Columbus's Park of Roses, the world's largest municipal rose garden, displays 450 varieties of roses. Located seven minutes from downtown, the Ohio Historical Center and Ohio Village recreate a nineteenth-century Ohio town, where period dishes are served at the Colonel Crawford Inn. Costumed craftspeople add to the authenticity of the exhibits. The Mid-Ohio Historical Museum displays antique dolls and toys. Hanby House, a station on the Underground Railroad, is now a memorial to Ben Hanby, who composed "Darling Nelly Gray."

Arts and Culture

Columbus is a national leader in local government support of the arts. The Greater Columbus Arts Council distributes $2 million annually to support a more than $52 million cultural industry. One focus of cultural activities is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Complex, which showcases African American cultural events, while the Cultural Arts Center, located in a renovated arsenal, hosts visual and performing arts events classes.

Three elegant theaters are also the scene of cultural activity in Columbus. The Palace Theatre, opened in 1926, has been completely renovated and now houses Opera Columbus and presents Broadway touring musicals and plays, concerts, and films. The Ohio Theatre, a restored 1928 movie palace and the official theater for the state of Ohio, is the home of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, BalletMet, the new Broadway series, and presentations sponsored by the Columbus Association for Performing Arts. The 102-year-old Southern Theatre closed between 1979 and 1998 and then reopened after a $10 million restoration project.

The Reality Theatre, Contemporary American Theatre Company, Gallery Players, and the theater department at The Ohio State University stage live theater performances ranging from world premieres to revivals of classic plays.

The Columbus Museum of Art houses a sculpture garden and a permanent collection of European and American art works. The restored Thurber House, the home of James Thurber during his years as a student at Ohio State, is now a writers' center that displays Thurber memorabilia.

Festivals and Holidays

The first weekend of March marks the annual Arnold Fitness Weekend, a health and fitness convention headed by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at which bodybuilders and other athletes come together to socialize and compete. The Open Garden Tour, featuring both parks and private homes, is held in April. Music in the Air, sponsored by the city Recreation and Parks Department, is the country's largest free outdoor concert series; 200 concerts are presented at Columbus parks beginning in late May and concluding on Labor Day weekend. The Columbus Arts Festival, which draws 500,000 people to the city, begins the summer festival season in early June. The city's Red, White & Boom! Parade in early July is followed by one of the largest fireworks displays in the Midwest. The Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest draws participants to downtown locations the last weekend in July. A major event in Columbus is the Ohio State Fair; held in August, the fair features livestock shows, agricultural and arts exhibitions, horse shows, rides, and concessions. Columbus observes First Night Columbus on December 31 to bring family-friendly New Year's celebrations to the area.

Sports for the Spectator

Columbus is home to a Major League Soccer team, the Columbus Crew, who play in Columbus Crew Stadium. The stadium, opened in 1999, is the first specifically built for professional soccer in the United States and combines European soccer atmosphere with traditional American amenities to make it one of the premier soccer venues in the country. The Columbus Blue Jackets, a National Hockey League team, first played in 2000 at Nationwide Arena, a 20,000-seat, 685,000-square-foot, $150 million venue.

The Big Ten conference Ohio State Buckeyes, one of the nation's top college football teams, play a home schedule to sold-out crowds on fall Saturday afternoons in the 90,000-seat Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes also field men's and women's basketball teams that play home games at Jerome Schottenstein Center, a 20,000-seat arena that opened in October 1998. The Columbus Clippers, a Triple-A affiliate of baseball's professional New York Yankees, play a 70-game home schedule at 15,000-seat Cooper Stadium, and the city is finalizing funding to build a larger, newer stadium near the Nationwide Arena to replace the 1932 Cooper Stadium.

The Columbus Marathon, held each October, attracted 4,500 finishers in 2004, and the Capital City Half Marathon, first run in April 2004, is planned to be an annual event. Harness racing is on view at Scioto Downs, where more than a dozen world records have been set in a season that runs from early May to mid-September. The Little Brown Jug, the year's biggest harness race, is held at the Delaware County Fair-grounds. Columbus's most important golf event, Jack Memorial Tournament, is sometimes referred to as the "fifth major"; competitors tee-off in nearby Dublin at the Muirfield Village course that Jack Nicklaus designed.

Sports for the Participant

Columbus city parks number more than 165 on 5,400 acres; 10 metroparks cover an additional 9,400 acres. Water sports can be enjoyed on two major rivers and three lakes in the city; among the area's popular activities are fishing, boating, sailing, water skiing, and paddleboating. The city maintains municipal tennis courts; indoor tennis and racquetball courts are available at private clubs. The city's scenic commuter routes are popular among joggers and cyclists. Year-round recreational programs for all age groups are available at the city parks.

Shopping and Dining

One of the largest shopping showcases in Columbus is the innovative outdoor shopping and entertainment district called Easton, said to be a larger complex than Minnesota's Mall of America. Easton features nearly 120 shops, a luxury Hilton Hotel and Easton Town Center, anchored by the world's first Planet Movies by AMC, a 6,200 seat, and a 30-screen megaplex movie theater. In addition, Easton includes a mall with a Nordstrom's and other national retailers.

Columbus City Center downtown offers 130 upscale stores and restaurants. Among the distinctive shopping districts in Columbus is German Village, where small shops and stores offer specialty items. Short North exhibits and sells the works of Columbus and national artists as well as clothing and home furnishings. High Street, the Main Street of the university district, offers eclectic shopping and dining options.

Diners in Columbus can choose from among a number of restaurants serving contemporary American, European, and ethnic cuisine. In 2005 Food and Wine magazine named Kahiki one of the world's five coolest bars. Several restaurants are housed in architecturally interesting buildings such as churches and firehouses. The renovated North Market features local produce and German, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Italian delicatessens. Columbus is also home base to both Wendy's and Bob Evans national restaurant chains.

Visitor Information: Greater Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, telephone (614)221-6623; toll-free (800)354-2657

Columbus: Economy

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Columbus: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Columbus's diversified economy is balanced among the services, trade, government, and manufacturing sectors. State government, education, banking, research, insurance, and data processing in particular have helped the city to resist recession. Telecommunications, retailing, health care, and the military are other strong employment areas. Home to more than 70 insurance companies, Columbus ranks among the insurance capitals of the United States. The city is the corporate headquarters for nationwide firms such as Nationwide Insurance Enterprise, Banc One Corporation, The Limited, Inc., American Electric Power, Wendy's International, Huntington Bancshares, Inc., Consolidated Stores Corporation, Borden Inc., Ashland Chemical, Battelle Memorial Institute, and Bob Evans Foods Inc. Twenty of Columbus's largest financial institutions operate more than 400 offices throughout the metropolitan region.

The U.S. government is the city's third largest employer; it operates the Defense Supply Center, whose 3,000 employees operate a massive central storehouse that ships up to 10,000 items a day to military posts around the world. Manufacturing comprises about 10 percent of the metropolitan Columbus economic base; the main production categories being machinery, fabricated metal, printing and publishing, and food processing. Local industry profits from proximity to coal and natural gas resources. Limestone and sandstone quarries operate in the area.

Items and goods produced: airplanes, auto parts, appliances, telephone components, computer equipment, glass, coated fabrics, shoes, food products

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Several city and state programs are available to assist existing companies and proposed startups in the Columbus metro area.

Local programs

The Columbus Development Department incentive programs focus on small business lending and inner-city revitalization, including the Office of Business Assistance and Office of Financial Assistance to help create and sustain jobs and companies; among their specialties are infrastructure assistance and urban brownfields redevelopment. The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce oversees very successful public and private partnerships and small business programs to ensure the success of the region's businesses. Training programs are available through the Small Business Administration and the Central Ohio Industrial Training Program.

State programs

State of Ohio incentive programs include loans, loan guarantees, and industrial revenue bonds.

Job training programs

Ohio's Adult Vocational Education Full-Service Centers offer customized training programs designed to meet the needs of a specific business, as well as other ongoing skill training for current or new employees.

Development Projects

Columbus is one of the nation's fastest-growing cities. The city's focus is on downtown development; in 2001 the city commenced a Strategic Business Plan to revitalize downtown Columbus and bring jobs and investment to the city center. The city sought input from businesses and from the community with a "Tell Us Your Great Idea" campaign, and the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation was formed to bring the ideas to fruition. Public and private entities invested $1.72 billion in the downtown area between 2001 and 2004.

In 2000 the new $150 million, 800,000 square foot Nationwide Arena opened and is home to the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets. In 2001 the Greater Columbus Convention Center celebrated the completion of an $85 million expansion and renovation, which increased the center's size from 1.4 million to 1.7 million square feet. The renovations include an additional 120,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 15,000 square foot ballroom, and 11 new meeting rooms (for a total of 426,000 square feet of exhibit space, 2 ballrooms, and 61 meeting rooms). An additional 1,100 parking spaces and new shops and restaurants round out the improvements.

Economic Development Information: Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, telephone (614)221-1321

Commercial Shipping

Strategically located between the Northeast and Midwest regions and served by an excellent transportation system, Columbus is a marketing, distribution, and warehouse center. An important link in the import/export shipping network is Rickenbacker Air/Industrial Park, which has been designated a free trade zone. Twenty-one passenger and freight air carriers serve Port Columbus International Airport, two passenger carriers and a number of freight carriers fly out of Rickenbacker, and Bolton Field provides runway space and amenities for charter air services. Three major railroads operate routes through Columbus; all provide piggyback and rail car shipping and two have export-import containerization facilities. Completing the ground transportation system are more than 100 motor freight companies. One of three inland ports in the United States, Columbus receives and ships U.S. Customs-sealed containers to the Pacific Rim.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Among Ohio's 10 largest cities, Columbus is the only one whose population increased in the 1990s, and this trend continues in the 2000s. Eighty-three percent of the population over age 25 are high school graduates and 29 percent have college degrees; 71 percent of the population over the age of 16 is in the labor force. While the region has a more desirable workforce than most of the nation, the increase in average age is causing some concern. The Chamber of Commerce has launched several projects to give businesses the tools to compete in such a market.

Traditional economic mainstays such as government, the Ohio State University, corporate headquarters, and large financial institutions continue to lend stability to the local economy. The Columbus area has lost manufacturing jobs in the last decade but has added positions in services to create a net gain in jobs overall.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Columbus metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 922,616

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 40,900

manufacturing: 82,000

trade, transportation, and utilities: 183,900

information: 19,700

financial activities: 74,500

professional and business services: 132,800

educational and health services: 100,700

leisure, hospitality, and other services: 125,400

government: 153,400

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $18.80

Unemployment rate: 6.3% (February 2005)

Largest employersNumber of employees
State of Ohio28,015
The Ohio State University22,100
The United States Federal Government17,000
Banc One Corporation15,500
Limited Brands15,250
Ohio Health15,000
Nationwide Insurance12,520

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Columbus area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $257,430

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 101.7 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 0.743% to 7.5%

State sales tax rate: 5.0% (food and prescription drugs are exempt)

Local income tax rate: 2%

Local sales tax rate: 6.75% (total)

Property tax rate: Taxes on real property are assessed on 35 percent of the property's total market value. Businesses with personal property valued at $10,001 or more must also pay personal property tax in the state of Ohio.

Economic Information: Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, telephone (614)221-1321


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COLUMBUS , capital of Ohio, U.S. The Jewish population of Columbus and the rest of Franklin County was estimated at 22,000 out of a total of 1,080,000 (roughly 2% of the total population) in 2001. Chosen for its central location, Columbus was founded in 1812 to serve as the state capital and was incorporated as a city in 1834. By 1840, the first Jewish families, the Nusbaums and the Gundersheimers, settled in the city. They had emigrated from the village of Mittelsinn in the northwest corner of Bavaria (Lower Franconia), and they earned their living in Columbus as peddlers and merchants. They were soon joined by a few other families from Mittelsinn and elsewhere in Germany. In 1851 the first congregation, B'nai Jeshurun, was organized. Orthodox services were held in a variety of locations and were led by educated laymen such as Simon Lazarus, who volunteered to serve as the new congregation's first religious leader. The following year, the city's first Jewish cemetery was established. By 1868, religious tensions led to a split in the small community, and 19 families organized a Reform congregation, B'nai Israel (now Temple Israel). Those supporting Reform included all of the surviving founders of B'nai Jeshurun, men who were now prosperous and well-established Columbus merchants. Within two years, B'nai Israel hired the city's first full-time ordained rabbi and dedicated the city's first synagogue building. Soon thereafter, B'nai Jeshurun folded and its members joined B'nai Israel. The growth of the congregation to over 100 families required a larger synagogue, which was completed in 1904 among the grand homes of the city's Olde Towne East neighborhood.

The arrival of Jews from Eastern Europe beginning in the 1880s brought greater diversity to religious life. In 1889, Agudas Achim was incorporated as an Orthodox congregation, formalizing a minyan that had been meeting for several years. Other Orthodox congregations developed to represent a particular ethnic group or style of worship. Those familiar with the Polish-Sephardi ritual (instead of the Ashkenazi ritual in place at Agudas Achim) organized Beth Jacob congregation in 1897. Hungarian immigrants formed Tifereth Israel in 1901. In 1913, another group desiring to use the Polish-Sephardi ritual created Ahavas Sholom. These congregations initially lacked the wealth and resources of Temple Israel. Their services took place in locations in the impoverished neighborhood where most East European Jews lived, immediately south and east of downtown. Agudas Achim dedicated its first synagogue building in 1896, moving to a larger structure in 1907. In 1908, the congregation hired its first ordained rabbi. Beth Jacob laid the cornerstone for its first synagogue in 1909. Tifereth Israel established its first permanent house of worship in 1915, while a converted stable next door to Agudas Achim served as home to Ahavas Sholom. Tifereth Israel joined the Conservative movement in 1922 and built a synagogue in 1927 in Olde Towne East. The structure, with additions and renovations in subsequent years, remains Tifereth Israel's home. It is the oldest synagogue building in continuous use in Columbus.

After World War ii, most Jews moved farther east into the prosperous suburban enclave of Bexley and the surrounding Columbus neighborhoods of Berwick and Eastmoor. This area is still home to the greatest concentration of Jewish institutions: the Leo Yassenoff Jewish Center, Wexner Heritage Village (a care and housing facility for the elderly), Jewish Family Services, the Columbus Community Kollel, as well as synagogues Agudas Achim, Ahavas Sholom, and Beth Jacob. The Orthodox congregation Torat Emet was established in Bexley in 2001. Agudas Achim joined the Conservative movement in 2004. Although the East Side remained the heart of the Columbus Jewish community, in the early 21st century a majority of Jewish households lived in the suburban and fast-growing northern section of Franklin County. Temple Israel moved to the Far East Side of Columbus in 1959, and two more recent Reform congregations are located in northern Franklin County suburbs. Beth Tikvah, founded in 1961, is in Worthington. Temple Beth Shalom, founded in 1977, is in New Albany. Most of the Jews living in the northern suburbs, however, were unaffiliated and did not actively participate in Jewish communal organizations.

In the early 21st century, Columbus natives represented only a minority of the Jewish community. Most Jews had moved to the area, with steady population growth accelerating in the decades after World War ii. Between 1975 and 2001, the Jewish population of Franklin County grew by an estimated 60 percent and included the resettlement of more than 1,400 Jews from the former Soviet Union. This rapid influx made the dynamics of the Columbus Jewish community more akin to those of quickly growing Southern and Western U.S. cities than to other Ohio communities. In fact, at the beginning of the 21st century, the Columbus Jewish community was on the verge of overtaking Cincinnati as the second-largest in the state after Cleveland. New Jewish institutions were emerging. A second Jewish newspaper, The New Standard, began publication in 2003, in competition with The Ohio Jewish Chronicle, which started in 1922. The Columbus Jewish Day School, an egalitarian elementary school modeled on the Heschel School in New York, opened in 1998 as an alternative to Columbus Torah Academy, an Orthodox K-12 day school in operation since 1958.

In the early years of the community, many Jews in Columbus earned their living in retail activities. Simon Lazarus' descendants developed his clothing store into a major department-store chain in the Midwest which continued to bear the Lazarus name until 2005, when the stores were merged into Macy's. In the early 21st century, retail and real-estate development continued as important businesses for Columbus Jews, though many members of the community were involved in professions such as law and medicine. As a center of government, insurance, and education, Columbus provided employment opportunities for the highly educated Jewish community. In particular, Ohio State University has attracted many Jewish faculty and students (it was estimated that more than 3,500 Jewish students were attending Ohio State in 2005), and the university has a well-respected Jewish studies program, employing distinguished Jewish scholars such as Marvin Fox. The campus area is host to student centers from both the Hillel and Chabad organizations.

The Jewish community has enjoyed friendly relations with its non-Jewish neighbors. Antisemitism was restricted primarily to social organizations and was far more prevalent at the beginning of the 20th century than at the beginning of the 21st. Jews have taken prominent roles in local government in both the Republican and Democratic parties, most notably U.S. Congressman Robert N. Shamansky (Democrat, 1981–83), Columbus City Council members Melville D. Frank (Republican, 1930–37) and Maurice D. Portman (Democrat, 1966–96), Franklin County Treasurer Philip Goldslager (Democrat, 1967–73), and state representative and senator David Goodman (Republican, from 1998). For decades, Jews have regularly served as judges in elected and administrative courts in Franklin County. The community has gained international prominence through the Jewish philanthropy of Samuel M. *Melton (1900–1993), Leslie H. Wexner (1937– ), and members of the Schottenstein family. Notable achievers who grew up in Columbus include cancer researcher Dr. Judah Folk-man (1933– ), author and columnist Bob Greene (1947– ), and cabaret performer Michael Feinstein (1956– ).


M.L. Raphael, Jews and Judaism in a Midwestern Community: Columbus, Ohio, 1840–1975 (1979).

[Michael Meckler (2nd ed.)]

Columbus: Education and Research

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Columbus: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Columbus Public Schools (CPS) are administered by a seven-member board of education that supports a superintendent. The system's Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School for the hearing impaired is considered one of the nation's finest. Alternative/magnet schools; a high school for the performing arts; a virtual high school; and the International Baccalaureate diploma program, giving qualified graduates access to the world's leading universities, are also among the system's offerings.

According to the 2004 report by the superintendent of schools, in 20032004 the CPS graduation rate rose to 59.9 percent, a 0.6 percent increase over the previous year and a 3.9 percent increase over the year 2000. In 20022003 CPS met 5 of 18 state standards on proficiency tests and graduation and attendance rates; by 20032004 the rate remained at 5 of 18 standards, and the district maintained or improved performance in 16 of 18 standards. In 2004, CPS had more teachers achieve National Board Certified Status than any other school district in Ohio.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Columbus public schools as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 62,201

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 90

middle schools: 26

senior high schools: 18, plus 4 career centers and 4 special schools

Student/teacher ratio: 18.6:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $35,089

maximum: $76,302

Funding per pupil: $10,757

Columbus is also served by more than 13 charter schools and 12 private and parochial schools that offer a range of curricula, including special education programs.

Colleges and Universities

The Ohio State University, a major institution of higher learning at both the state and national levels, with an enrollment of more 58,000 students as of April 2005, awards undergraduate through doctorate degrees. In addition to its Columbus campus, the university maintains four regional campuses and a two-year branch facility. The Ohio State system includes eight schools and 18 colleges that administer 12,000 courses, 174 undergraduate majors, and 204 graduate programs.

Capital University schedules courses leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees in such fields as arts and sciences, music, nursing, business administration, and law; the university also operates an adult education division. Other four-year institutions located in the Columbus area include the Columbus College of Art and Design and Franklin University. Columbus State Community College, enrolling more than 11,000 students, grants two-year associate degrees in business, health, public service, and engineering technologies.

Libraries and Research Centers

Columbus is home to more than 60 libraries that are maintained by a range of institutions, corporations, government agencies, and organizations. The Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) operates 21 branches in Columbus and throughout Franklin County in addition to the Main Library. CML also jointly operates the Northwest Library with the Worthington Public Library. The collections of several Central Ohio library systems, including CML, are linked electronically in the Discovery Place Libraries consortium, offering customers access to a total of over 3 million items. CML's collection contains more than 2.4 million items, including books, periodicals, videotapes, DVDs, CD-ROMs, films, audiocassettes, compact discs, circulating visuals, maps, charts, microfilm/microfiche, sheet music, and photos. In addition, the Library maintains special collections on local and state history and federal and state documents. CML is also part of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OHIOLINK), a statewide on-line resource. OHIOLINK was created to help guarantee that all Ohio citizens continue to have access to information regardless of location or format.

The Ohio State University Libraries hold about 5.7 million book volumes and operate numerous department libraries and five campus facilities. Included in the more than 25 special collections are the American Association of Editorial Cartoonist Archives, including a long term loan of more than 3,000 original "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoons by Bill Watterson; American playwrights' theater records; film scripts; Ohio News Photographers Association Archives; and various author collections featuring the works of such writers as Miguel de Cervantes, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edith Wharton, James Thurber, and Samuel Beckett. The library is a depository for federal, state, and European Economic Community documents.

As the state capital, Columbus is the site of libraries associated with state governmental divisions, including the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch, all local colleges and universities, most major hospitals, several churches and synagogues, and cultural organizations maintain libraries in the city. Private corporations and law firms provide library facilities for both employee and public use. Among the research institutions that house libraries are Battelle Columbus Laboratories, Chemical Abstracts Service, National Center for Research in Vocational Education, and the Institute of Polar Studies at Ohio State University, housing the Byrd Polar Collection.

Columbus is home to the headquarters of Battelle Memorial Institute, considered the world's largest independent research organization, which conducts research, analysis, testing, design, and consultation in fields that include energy, environmental quality, health sciences, engineering and manufacturing technology, and national security. The American Ceramic Society performs educational, technical, scientific, and information services for the international ceramic community. The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) maintains an automated information and cataloging system for more than 6,000 libraries in the United States.

More than 60 research centers at The Ohio State University provide research, testing, analysis, design, and consultation services. Other research facilities located in Columbus are Chemical Abstracts Service of the American Chemical Society, The Applied Information Technologies Research Center, Edison Welding Institute, Honda of America Transportation Research Center, and several engineering, pharmaceutical, and chemical firms.

Public Library Information: Columbus Metropolitan Library, 96 South Grant Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215; telephone (614)645-2800; fax (614)645-2050

Columbus: History

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Columbus: History

Central Location Makes Columbus Ohio's Capital

After Ohio gained statehood in 1803, the General Assembly set out to find a geographically centralized location for the capital. Congress had enacted the Ordinance for the Northwest Territory in 1787 to settle claims from the American Revolution and a grant was given to Virginia for lands west of the Scioto River. Lucas Sullivant, a Virginia surveyor, established in 1797 the village of Franklinton, which quickly turned into a profitable trading center. In 1812 plans for a state Capitol building and a penitentiary at Franklinton were drawn up and approved by the legislature, which also agreed to rename the settlement Columbus. Construction of the state buildings was delayed for four years by the War of 1812.

During its early history the major threat to Columbus was a series of fever and cholera epidemics that did not subside until swamps close to the center of town were drained. With the opening in 1831 of the Ohio & Erie Canal, which was connected to Columbus by a smaller canal, and then the National Highway in 1833, Columbus was in a position to emerge as a trade and transportation center. Then, on February 22, 1850, a steam engine pulling flat cars made its maiden run from Columbus to Xenia, 54 miles away, and Columbus entered the railroad age. Five locally financed railroads were in operation by 1872.

Columbus, with a population of 20,000 people in 1860, became a military center during the Civil War. Camp Jackson was an assembly center for recruits and Columbus Barracksrenamed Fort Hayes in 1922served as an arsenal. Camp Chase, also in the area, was the Union's largest facility for Confederate prisoners, and the Federal Government maintained a cemetery for the more than 2,000 soldiers who died there.

Academic Prominence Precedes High-Technology Growth

Columbus prospered economically after the Civil War, as new banks and railroad lines opened and horse-and-buggy companies manufactured 20,000 carriages and wagons a year. The city's first waterworks system and an extended streetcar service were built during this period. In 1870 the Ohio General Assembly created, through the Morrill Land Grant Act, the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, which became a vital part of the city's life and identity. This coeducational institution, renamed The Ohio State University in 1878, is now one of the country's major state universities. The Columbus campus consists of nearly 400 permanent buildings on 1,644 acres of land. Today, the university's technological research facilities, coupled with the Battelle Memorial Institute, comprise one of the largest private research organizations of its kind in the world.

Two events prior to World War I shook Columbus's stability. The streetcar strike of 1910 lasted through the summer and into the fall, resulting in riots and destruction of street cars and even one death. The National Guard was called out to maintain order, and when the strike finally ended, few concessions were made by the railway company. Three years later, the Scioto River flood killed 100 people and left 20,000 people homeless; property damages totaled $9 million.

Traditionally a center for political, economic, and cultural activity as the state capital, Columbus is today one of the fastest-growing cities in the east central United States. The downtown area underwent a complete transformation in the 1990s, and the economy surged as high-technology development and research companies moved into the metropolitan area. Franklin County saw its population top 1,000,000 for the first time in the 2000 census and celebrated its bicentennial in 2003.

Historical Information: Ohio Historical Society, 1985 Velma Avenue, Columbus, OH 43211; telephone (614)297-2510

Columbus: Communications

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Columbus: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The principal daily newspaper in Columbus is The Columbus Dispatch (morning). Business First, a business weekly, presents current news as well as analyses of local commerce. Several suburban newspapers also have a wide circulation in the metropolitan area.

Columbus is the publishing base for magazines and journals with extensive state and national distribution. Especially popular with Ohio readers is Ohio Magazine, which contains articles on local and state topics. A number of professional organizations publish their official journals in the city; among them are the Ohio Academy of Science, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Historical Society, and the Ohio Education Association. Other specialized publications are directed toward Ohio readers with interests in such fields as agriculture, religion, education, library science and communications, banking, business and industry, and sports.

Columbus is also home to membership publications of several national organizations, including Business Professionals of America and the American Society for Nondestructive Testing. The Ohio State University Press publishes several scholarly journals in such fields as theoretical geography, higher education, banking, and urban planning; several academic departments and colleges also issue publications.

Television and Radio

Columbus is the broadcast media center for central Ohio. Three commercial network affiliates and one public stationall locally basedprovide television programming for viewers in the city and surrounding communities. Cable service is also available. Radio listeners tune in to music, news, special features, and public-interest programs scheduled by 13 locally-based AM and FM radio stations.

Media Information: The Columbus Dispatch, 34 South Third Street, Columbus, OH 43215; telephone (614)461-5000. Columbus Monthly, PO Box 29913, Columbus, OH 43229; telephone (614)888-4567

Columbus Online

City of Columbus home page. Available

The Columbus Dispatch. Available (subscription based)

Columbus Metropolitan Library. Available

Columbus Public Schools. Available

The Greater Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available

Greater Columbus Super Site. Available

Ohio Historical Society Archives/Library. Available

Ohio State University Extension Data Center. Available

Selected Bibliography

Conway, W. Fred, The Most Incredible Prison Escape of the Civil War (Fire Buff House, 1991)

Howells, William Dean, Years of My Youth (New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1916)

Jacobs, Gregory S., Getting Around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools (Urban Life and Urban Landscape) (Ohio State University Press, 1998)

Columbus: Population Profile

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Columbus: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 1,244,000

1990: 1,345,450

2000: 1,540,157

Percent change, 19902000: 14.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 28th

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 32nd

City Residents

1980: 564,871

1990: 632,945

2000: 711,470

2003 estimate: 728,432

Percent change, 19902000: 12.4%

U.S. rank in 1980: 19th

U.S. rank in 1990: 16th

U.S. rank in 2000: 15th

Density: 3,225 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 483,332

Black or African American: 174,065

American Indian and Alaska Native: 2,090

Asian: 24,495

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 367

Hispanic (may be of any race): 17,471

Other: 8,292

Percent of residents born in state: 67.8%

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 53,347

Population 5 to 9 years old: 50,119

Population 10 to 14 years old: 44,291

Population 15 to 19 years old: 48,663

Population 20 to 24 years old: 74,938

Population 25 to 34 years old: 139,434

Population 35 to 44 years old: 110,351

Population 45 to 54 years old: 81,256

Population 55 to 59 years old: 25,724

Population 60 to 64 years old: 20,316

Population 65 to 74 years old: 33,793

Population 75 to 84 years old: 21,705

Population 85 years and over: 7,533

Median age: 30.6 years

Births (2002, Franklin County) Total number: 17,013

Deaths (2002, Franklin County) Total number: 8,351

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $20,450

Median household income: $37,897

Total households: 301,800

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 32,322

$10,000 to $14,999: 19,282

$15,000 to $24,999: 41,998

$25,000 to $34,999: 44,296

$35,000 to $49,999: 53,290

$50,000 to $74,999: 60,876

$75,000 to $99,999: 27,505

$100,000 to $149,999: 15,584

$150,000 to $199,999: 3,516

$200,000 or more: 3,131

Percent of families below poverty level: 10.8% (19% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 94,326


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Columbus: Introduction
Columbus: Geography and Climate
Columbus: History
Columbus: Population Profile
Columbus: Municipal Government
Columbus: Economy
Columbus: Education and Research
Columbus: Health Care
Columbus: Recreation
Columbus: Convention Facilities
Columbus: Transportation
Columbus: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1797 (incorporated 1834)

Head Official: Mayor Michael B. Coleman (D) (since 2003)

City Population

1980: 564,871

1990: 632,945

2000: 711,470

2003 estimate: 728,432

Percent change, 19902000: 12.4%

U.S. rank in 1980: 19th

U.S. rank in 1990: 16th

U.S. rank in 2000: 15th

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 1,244,000

1990: 1,345,450

2000: 1,540,157

Percent change, 19902000: 14.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 28th

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 32nd

Area: 225.9 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 685 to 893 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 52.8° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 39.4 inches of rain; 27.7 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Services, wholesale and retail trade, government, manufacturing, education

Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (February 2005)

Per Capita Income: $20,450 (1999)

2003 FBI Crime Index Total: 94,326

Major Colleges and Universities: The Ohio State University, Capital University, Ohio Dominican University

Daily Newspaper: The Columbus Dispatch

Columbus: Geography and Climate

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Columbus: Geography and Climate

Situated in central Ohio in the drainage area of the Ohio River, Columbus is located on the Scioto and Olentangy rivers; two minor streams running through the city are Alum Creek and Big Walnut Creek. Columbus's weather is changeable, influenced by air masses from central and southwest Canada; air from the Gulf of Mexico reaches the region during the summer and to a lesser extent in the fall and winter. The moderate climate is characterized by four distinct seasons. Snowfall averages around 27 inches annually.

Area: 225.9 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 685 to 893 feet above sea level; average elevation is 777 feet

Average Temperatures: January, 28.3° F; July, 75.1° F; annual average, 52.8° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 39.4 inches of rain; 27.7 inches of snow

Columbus: Transportation

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Columbus: Transportation

Approaching the City

Twenty-one commercial domestic and international airlines schedule daily flights into Port Columbus International Airport, which recently underwent a $92 million improvement to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2005. Port Columbus, just eight minutes from downtown, is serviced by 21 airlines and has more than 350 arrivals and departures daily. Ricken-backer International Airport also services the Columbus area. General aviation facilities are provided at Bolton Field.

Two interstate highwaysnorth-south I-71 and east-west I-70intersect in the city; I-270 serves as a bypass, and I-670 is a downtown innerbelt. Several other major highways provide convenient access into and out of Columbus.

Traveling in the City

Columbus streets conform to a grid pattern, the principal thoroughfares being Broad Street (U.S. 40/62) and High Street (U.S. 23 south of I-70), which form the main downtown intersection and divide north-south streets and east-west avenues. Efficient traffic flow into the center city permits commuting time of no more than 45 minutes from outlying areas.

The public bus system is operated by Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA).

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