Creating Columbus: 1812-1874

200 Arts and Cultural Moments that Shaped the City’s History

By Columbus Alive
From the February 2, 2012 edition

1812

Newly founded Columbus named state capital

Being named the seat of state government is a big win for the fledgling locale and eventually brings attention, people and resources that allow Columbus to expand. The legislature meets here for the first time in 1816.

1812

Franklinton’s first newspaper published

James Gardiner publishes Freeman’s Chronicle, the first newspaper in Franklinton, the settlement that gave birth to Columbus. Before the War of 1812, the paper notes that the area “begins to assume quite a military appearance.”

1816

Bridge connects Columbus and Franklinton

Until the structure is built, the two areas are severed by the flood-prone Scioto River. The structure crosses the water near the site of the future Broad Street bridge.

1830

Capital University founded

Opened by the Lutheran Church, the university is the first college to hold classes in Central Ohio.

1831

The Jury Room opens

A watering hole opens to sate Downtown workers in need of spirits. Over the years, it serves as a brothel, speakeasy and place to celebrate courtroom victories.

1833

The National Road reaches Columbus

Starting west from Cumberland, Maryland, in 1811, the nation’s first federally funded highway reaches Columbus 22 years later. By 1834, there are two taverns for every mile of the road between the Ohio River and Zanesville.

1836

Louis Hoster starts selling beer

The German entrepreneur establishes the L. Hoster Brewing Company in what’s later known as the Brewery District. Before the turn of the century, the beer is a household name throughout Ohio and beyond. Hoster inspires numerous other local breweries.

1839

Construction on first Neil House Hotel begins

Baron of the stagecoach industry William Neil opens a hotel just south of High and Broad streets. The original Neil House burns down in 1860, and its replacement is demolished in 1923 to make way for an improved third version. Over the years, presidents, lawyers, authors, celebrities and commoners stay the night.

1848

Columbus Maennerchor founded

One of several ethnic organizations founded in Columbus during the 1800s to preserve native culture and ease assimilation, the club eventually becomes the largest German singing society in North America.

1850

Central Market opens

Located along South 4th Street, between Town and Rich streets, this food market also serves as City Hall until 1872. It’s later joined in Columbus by the West, East and North End markets.

1850

First railroad line hits Columbus

The city’s first passenger train runs from Columbus to Xenia, where travelers can hail a car to Cincinnati, an important manufacturing and commercial center. The first of three major train depots in Columbus also opens this year.

1851

Lincoln Goodale gives Columbus its first park

A physician who became a wealthy merchant, Goodale donates 40 acres of uncut forest to his favorite city. Goodale Park is used as a military training ground, then returned to its normal appearance after the Civil War.

1851

Simon Lazarus opens clothing shop

In a city of 18,000 people, the German immigrant opens a one-room men’s clothing store on a dirt road known as High Street. Among successful store policies: no-haggle pricing and charging customers only if they’re satisfied with a product. A magnificent Lazarus department store built nearby in 1909 soon blossoms into a national retail chain.

1861

Ohio Statehouse completed

Construction on the Statehouse began on July 4, 1839. During the 22-year building period, legislation naming Columbus as the state capital expires. The city’s primary place in Ohio government is secure when the Statehouse is finally finished.

1865

Abraham Lincoln lies in state

From 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on April 29, the assassinated president’s body lies in the Ohio Statehouse. Roughly 50,000 come to pay their respects. Lincoln had delivered speeches Downtown in 1859 and 1861.

1866

Buckeye Baseball Club of Columbus takes the field

On April 6, the city’s first organized baseball team plays in front of a county insane asylum at the corner of East Broad Street and Parsons Avenue. The city’s love affair with the game begins.

1872

Sells brothers bring circus to town

A fan of three-ring action for decades, Columbus gets its own circus when the Sells brothers set up shop. Their big-top production grows into one of the nation’s most successful.

1873

Public Library and Reading Room opens in City Hall

The city’s public book collection remains in the building until moving to a new home at 96 S. Grant Ave. on April 8, 1907. The City Hall space is the beginning of the fruitful and award-winning local library tradition.

1873

Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College holds first classes

The fledgling institution kicks off on Sept. 17, when 24 students meet at a farm north of Columbus. In 1878, the school is renamed Ohio State University and graduates its first class (of six men).

1874

Ohio State Fair stays in Columbus

The state’s celebration of agriculture had been held in various cities, including Columbus, since 1850. This year, it’s given a permanent home in Columbus — first near East Broad Street and Alum Creek, then off of East 11th Avenue.

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