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Columbus, Ohio

Columbus is the capital of the state of Ohio in the United States of America.

The city is the largest in the state (when measured by city borders), with a population of 711,470 as of the 2000 census. According to recent U.S. census estimates, in Ohio only the metropolitan areas of Cleveland (2.15M) and Cincinnati (2.01M) are larger than the Columbus metropolitan area, which has a population of 1,612,694 (2000 census, 31st largest in the United States). When adding in related areas of Marion and Chillicothe for Combined Statistical Areas, Columbus ranks 24th in the country with 1.84M, behind #19 Cincinnati (2.05M) and #14 Cleveland-Akron (2.95M).

Columbus is the county seat of Franklin County. It also extends into Delaware and Fairfield counties.

See also: List of Mayors of Columbus, Ohio



Columbus is the home of The Ohio State University, which has the distinction of being the largest single campus in the United States with a 48,003 total enrollment according to the OSU Office of University Relations. Also located in Columbus and its metro area are Ohio Wesleyan University, Capital University, Franklin University , the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD), Otterbein College, DeVry University, Ohio Dominican University, and Columbus State Community College .

Columbus Public Schools dominate the K-12 primary school landscape, with each of the suburbs also having fairly large districts as well. CPS offers many alternative schools as well, such as Columbus Alternative High school, Fort Hayes and Ecole Kenwood. Notable private schools within Columbus include Columbus School for Girls, Bishop Watterson High School, DeSales High School , Worthington Christian High School , Saint Charles Preparatory School, and the Columbus Academy .


As Columbus is the capital of the state of Ohio, there is a large government presence in the city. Including city, state, and jobs at the public Ohio State University, government jobs provide the largest single source of employment within Columbus. However, it is by no means a majority.

Columbus is the headquarters for a number of businesses as well. Nationwide Insurance makes its home downtown in a large, multi-building complex that dominates the northern end of the downtown area. Limited Brands (formerly known as The Limited, Inc.) is located on the east side of the city and is the parent company of the retail stores The Limited, Express, Victoria's Secret, and Bath & Body Works, among others. Worthington Steel is primarily located on the north side of the metro area in the Worthington suburb. Two fast food chains have their homebase in the Columbus metro area as well, Wendy's and White Castle, with Wendy's still operating their first store downtown as both a museum and a working restaurant. Cardinal Health has its headquarters in the northwest suburb of Dublin. Huntington Bancshares also has its headquarters in the downtown area. Borden Chemical (formerly part of the Borden, Inc. corporation prior to its acquisition and subsequent divestiture) is located downtown as well. The Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories, makers of Ensure nutritional drink and Similac infant formula, is also headquartered in Columbus, with over 7,000 employees.

In addition to these companies, many companies have a major presence in the Columbus area. Honda has its North American auto plant in Marysville to the northwest of Columbus and produces all of the Honda Accords, Civics, motorcycles and many of Acura's models for the North American market. Bank One, which used to be headquartered in Columbus prior to the merger with First Chicago-NBD, still has a major presence in Columbus. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., which announced a merger with Bank One in 2004, has a large mortgage servicing unit in the city. CompuServe still has its roots in Columbus, although it has been owned by AOL since 1998. Budweiser has a major brewery located on the north side of the city. McGraw-Hill Inc. has large offices within Columbus as well. UPS has a large distribution center on the west side of the city. Columbus is also home to the Chemical Abstracts Service, making it one of the world's leading centers for scientific information distribution.

Columbus also hosts many conventions in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, a pastel-colored building on the north edge of downtown that resembles jumbled blocks, or a train yard from overhead. The convention center was designed by famed architect Peter Eisenman, who also designed the renowned Wexner Center, also located in Columbus at the campus of The Ohio State University. Completed in 1993, the convention center spanned nearly 600,000 square feet (56,000 m²) at the time, and has recently been expanded.


Columbus is bisected by two major Interstate highways, Interstate 70 running east-west, and Interstate 71 running north to roughly southwest. The two Interstates combine downtown for about 1.5 miles in an area locally known as "The Split", which is a major traffic congestion point within Columbus, especially during rush hour. U.S. Highway 40, aka National Road, runs east-west through Columbus, comprising Main Street to the east of downtown and Broad Street to the west. It is also widely recognized as the nation's first highway. U.S. Highway 23 runs roughly north-south, while U.S. Highway 33 runs northwest-to-southeast. The Interstate 270 Outerbelt encircles the vast majority of Columbus and its suburbs, while the newly redesigned Innerbelt consists of the Interstate 670 spur on the north side (which continues to the east past the airport and to the west where it merges with I-270), OH-315 on the west side, the I-70/71 split on the south side, and I-71 on the east. Due to its central location within Ohio and abundance of outbound roadways, nearly all of the state's destinations are within a 2-hour drive of Columbus.

Columbus does not have a metro or other passenger rail system, but does maintain a widespread municipal bus service called the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). Columbus used to have a major train station downtown called Union Station, however it was razed long ago. Columbus is served by Port Columbus International Airport, Rickenbacker International Airport, Don Scott Airport (run by OSU), and Bolton Field Airport.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 550.5 km² (212.6 mi²). 544.6 km² (210.3 mi²) of it is land and 5.9 km² (2.3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.07% water. Unlike many other major US cities, Columbus continues to expand its reach by way of extensions and annexations, making it one of the fastest growing large cities in the nation, both in geography and population.

The confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers occurs just outside of downtown Columbus. Several smaller tributaries course through the Columbus metro area, including Alum Creek, Big Walnut Creek, and Darby Creek. By and large, Columbus is fairly flat, with ravine areas around the rivers and creeks, although the land begins to rise to the east and southeast as you approach the Appalachian Mountains.

Suburbs and Neighborhoods

The greater Columbus area includes many smaller cities, mostly within the Interstate 270 Outerbelt. On the north, these include Worthington, Dublin, and Westerville; on the west, Grandview Heights, Upper Arlington, and Hilliard; on the south, Canal Winchester, Grove City and Groveport; and on the east, Bexley, Reynoldsburg, Gahanna, Whitehall, and Pickerington. These form a patchwork of jurisdictions, perforating and interrupting the discontinuous and ever changing city limits of Columbus.

Columbus also has a number of distinctive neighborhoods within the metro area. The Short North area, immediately north of downtown Columbus, is rich with art galleries, as well as pubs and specialty shops. German Village, the largest privately funded historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, was formed by early German settlers and is still composed of 19th century houses, as is Victorian Village. The OSU Campus area has a high concentration of students during the in-session months (perhaps as many as 30,000), and is eclectic and ever-changing to the whims of the student body. Clintonville is nestled between the OSU campus area and the suburb of Worthington to the north and consists of a mix of middle class Levittown type homes and beautiful old stone and brick-faced houses on rolling hills. San Margherita was formed by Italian immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. Linden, to the east of Columbus, is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. Franklinton, aka "The Bottoms", is the neighborhood immediately to the west of downtown, which gets its colorful nickname due to the fact that much of the land is below the level of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers and requires a floodwall to contain the rivers and protect the area from devastating floods. Just to the west of Franklinton is a group of smaller neighborhoods commonly referred to as "The Hilltop".

Cultural Features

Landmarks and Museums

The Ohio Statehouse (illustration, right) was begun in 1839 on a 10 acre (40,000 m²) plot of land donated by four prominent Columbus landowners to form Capitol Square, not part of the original layout of the city. The Statehouse stands upon foundations 18 feet (5 m) deep, which were laid by prison labor gangs, rumored to have been swelled by masons jailed for minor infractions [1]. The Statehouse features a central recessed porch with a colonnade of a forthright and primitive Greek Doric mode, built of Columbus limestone that was quarried on the west banks of the Scioto River. A broad and low central pediment supports the windowed astylar drum, under an invisibly low saucer dome, that lights the interior rotunda. Unlike many US state capitol buildings, the Ohio State Capitol owes little to the architecture of the National Capitol. During the long course of the Statehouse's 22 years of construction, seven architects were employed. Relations between the legislature and the architects were not always cordial: Nathan B. Kelly, who introduced heating and an ingenious system of natural forced ventilation, was dismissed because the commissioners found his designs were too lavish for the original intentions of the committee. The Statehouse was opened to the legislature and the public in 1857, and finally complete in 1861.

The Columbus Museum of Art opened in 1931, with a collection focusing on European and American art up to early modernism. Downtown Columbus also boasts the Franklin Park Conservatory , which was also home to Ameriflora '92, and a to-scale replica of the Santa Maria on the Scioto Riverfront that was installed to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus' namesake. Columbus also includes the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), a notable science museum; and the museum of the Ohio Historical Society.

To some extent, the Ohio State University is a museum unto itself with its rich history and roots in the Columbus psyche, but it does host a number of museums and museum-like exhibits. Notable among these are the Wexner Center for the Arts, a contemporary art gallery and research facility located on the OSU campus, the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame located in the Schottenstein Center (home of the OSU basketball and hockey teams).

Columbus is also home to a top-ranked library system, as well as several top-ranked independent libraries (Hennenís American Public Library Ratings ).

The Columbus Zoo is world-renowned, and its director emeritus, Jack Hanna, frequently appears on national television, including The Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Columbus is home to several world class buildings, including the Greek-Revival State Capitol, and the Peter Eisenman-designed Wexner Center and Columbus Convention Center.

Sports and entertainment

By far, the sports team that draws the most attention in Columbus is the Ohio State Buckeyes football team (2002 NCAA Champions). Games are played from late August through late November (and usually in early January), with home games at Ohio Stadium in front of over 100,000 crazed Buckeye fans. Tailgating at OSU home games has become an event in and of itself, with as many as 30,000 more people partying during the game in the parking lots and at controlled events on Lane Avenue such as Hineygate and the Varsity Club street party. The OSU-Michigan football game is the final game of the regular season and is played in November each year (alternating between Columbus and Ann Arbor, Michigan). It is easily the biggest annual event in the city, with an estimated 80% to 90% share of television viewers in the Columbus market, and is one of the greatest rivalries in all sports.

Columbus is also home to many professional sports teams, including the Columbus Crew (Major League Soccer), Columbus Clippers (minor league baseball), Columbus Blue Jackets (National Hockey League), and Columbus Destroyers (Arena Football League). For its GMP and population growth rate, however, Columbus notably does not have a major league baseball, basketball, or football team. This can be explained in part by the city's proximity to both Cincinnati (100 miles) and Cleveland (125 miles), which have five major league teams between them, the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, and Cleveland Cavaliers. All five teams have a following in Columbus, with the baseball and football fans fairly evenly split between the two cities, although a sizeable Pittsburgh Steelers fanbase exists as well.

There are several major concert venues in Columbus, including Nationwide Arena (home of the Blue Jackets and the Destroyers), the Schottenstein Center (also home to OSU's men's and women's basketball and men's ice hockey teams), and Ohio Stadium. Columbus also has a number of medium sized venues including the Palace Theatre, the Ohio Theatre (home of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra ), the Southern Theatre, Franklin County Veterans Memorial hall, and PromoWest Pavilion. Germain Ampitheater (formerly Polaris Ampitheater) is located north of the city, and hosts large outdoor concerts during the warmer months. The Newport Music Hall, located in the OSU campus neighborhood, is a smaller venue, but highly respected among upcoming artists and the alternative music scene. It is the regular venue of notable local band Ekoostik Hookah, and musicians such as Smashing Pumpkins and Sarah McLachlan played at Newport before achieving fame.

Columbus also hosts the annual Arnold Classic weightlifting and fitness exposition in late February, hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as the annual Quarterhorse Congress. Both of these conventions are very large draws of tourists to Columbus.

Much of the growth in entertainment capacity in Columbus has been recent. The expansion of Ohio Stadium to over 100,000 in capacity, and the construction of the Crew Stadium, Nationwide Arena, the Schottenstein Center, the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the PromoWest Pavilion are all projects completed since 1990.


Annual festivities in Columbus include the Ohio State Fair —one of the largest state fairs in the country; the Columbus Arts Festival and the Jazz and Ribs Festival, both of which occur on the downtown waterfront. ComFest (short for "community festival") is an immense three-day gathering in Goodale Park (just north of downtown Columbus) with art vendors and live music on multiple stages, hundreds of local social and political organizations, body painting, and enough beer to quench anyone's thirst. Coinciding with the weekend of ComFest is the large Gay Pride Parade, reflective of the sizeable gay population in Columbus. Around the Fourth of July, Columbus hosts Red, White, and Boom, the largest fireworks display in the midwest on the riverfront downtown to crowds of over 500,000 people, as well as the popular "Doo Dah Parade", a nonsensical satire of ordinary parades. The Origins International Game Expo is held around the first week of July. The Short North is host to the monthly "Gallery Hop", which attracts hundreds to the neighborhood's art galleries (which all open their doors to the public until late at night) and street musicians. German Village has an annual Oktoberfest celebration featuring 32 bands, authentic German food, and various other festival activities.


As of the census of 2000, there are 711,470 people, 301,534 households, and 165,240 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,306.4/km² (3,383.6/mi²). There are 327,175 housing units at an average density of 600.8/km² (1,556.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 67.93% White, 24.47% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 3.44% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.17% from other races, and 2.65% from two or more races. 2.46% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 301,534 households out of which 28.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.1% are married couples living together, 14.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 45.2% are non-families. 34.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 3.01.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 14.0% from 18 to 24, 35.1% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $37,897, and the median income for a family is $47,391. Males have a median income of $35,138 versus $28,705 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,450. 14.8% of the population and 10.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 18.7% of those under the age of 18 and 10.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Famous people from Columbus

External links

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