Creating Columbus: 1919-1936

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

By Columbus Alive
From the February 2, 2012 edition

1919

Prohibition destroys Columbus beer trade

The 18th Amendment cripples the local brewing industry — a crucial part of the city’s culture and economy. The nationally famous L. Hoster Brewing Company and other operations close and never fully recover.

1920

Maramour serves first meal

Mary Love McGuckin opens a restaurant on East Broad Street, and it becomes known as one of America’s best. Diners laud the Maramour’s food, service, elegance and dinner music.

1920

Columbus shapes pro football

The Columbus Panhandles are among 14 teams that play in the inaugural season of the American Professional Football Association, precursor to the NFL. League headquarters remain in Columbus for nearly two decades.

1922

Ohio Stadium hosts its first football game

On Oct. 7, the Buckeyes settle into their new digs with a loss to Ohio Wesleyan. The stadium is dedicated two weeks later with a ceremony that features President Warren Harding, Orville Wright, Knute Rockne and John Heisman.

1923

Elijah Pierce moves to Columbus

The barber, preacher and artist is born in Mississippi in 1892 but follows his wife to her Ohio hometown. Pierce’s primary medium is woodcarving, and he often creates images of his sermons for members of his congregation. He’s recognized as a pioneer while in his 70s.

1923

Lawrence Grill moves to Campus

Moving to 2040 N. High St. from Downtown, the fancy Italian restaurant owned by the Paoletti family undergoes drastic changes during its long, rich history. It’s one of the first places to serve hooch after Prohibition and, by the 1960s, a counterculture hotspot known as Larry’s. The bar closes at the end of 2008.

1923

Mary Katherine Campbell wins her second Miss America pageant

The Columbus beauty becomes the contest’s only two-time winner. After she nearly wins a third crown in 1924, rules are enacted to prohibit repeat victories.

1926

Pythian Temple built

Funded by a black fraternal organization known as the Knights of Pythias, the theater is a hotbed of Near East Side culture and a jewel along Mt. Vernon Avenue. The King Arts Complex opens in March 1987 after a $2.7 million renovation to the Pythian.

1927

Columbus gets proper zoo

Small traveling menageries had visited Columbus since roughly the 1820s. A small zoo opened in 1903 survived only two years. When the Columbus Zoological Park is established north of Downtown, the city gets its first critter collection of note.

1927

American Insurance Union Citadel dedicated

On Sept. 21-22, the stunning art deco skyscraper is celebrated with an organ recital, balloon release, parade and poetry reading. The building is the fifth tallest in the world at the time of its construction, and it stands as the city’s tallest building until the completion of the Rhodes Tower. It’s renamed LeVeque Tower in 1977.

1928

Ohio Theatre opens

Opened March 17 as a Loews movie house, the theater also hosts vaudeville and other stage shows. Milton Berle, Cab Calloway, Ginger Rogers and other stars perform there over the years. The building is later named a National Historic Landmark and the Official Theatre for the State of Ohio.

1928

Ogden Theatre and Ballroom opens

On Nov. 11, the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, a black fraternal organization, dedicates a new entertainment venue at the corner of Garfield Avenue and Long Street. The event space is upgraded and renamed the Lincoln Theatre in 1938.

1929

Battelle Memorial Institute founded

Six years after his death, Gordon Battelle’s will and fortune establish a research complex on King Avenue. Over the years, the institute draws to Columbus some of the world’s most innovative thinkers.

1929

Port Columbus airport takes flight

Charles Lindbergh had visited Columbus the previous year to promote an airport bond levy, and his mission succeeds when Port Columbus opens July 8. The first flight includes two Ford Tri-Motor planes, one of which is carrying Amelia Earhart. 

1931

Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts opens in new space

The museum opens at 480 E. Broad St., thanks in large part to Ferdinand Howald, a Swiss-born investor who was raised in Columbus. He donates 271 works by American and European painters and assists with construction costs. The building is renamed the Columbus Museum of Art in 1978.

1932

Red Bird Stadium dedicated

Built for St. Louis’ top minor-league team, the ballpark is dedicated June 3 and quickly becomes a beloved baseball home. It’s renamed Cooper Stadium in 1984 to honor Harold Cooper, who worked tirelessly to keep minor-league ball in Columbus.

1933

Jesse Owens enrolls at Ohio State

Less than two years later, the track star known as the “Buckeye Bullet” sets three world records at a single Big Ten meet. This prepares him for his Hitler-humiliating performance — four gold medals — at the 1936 Olympics.

1933

Emerson Burkhart paints a mural
Funded by a New Deal grant, the local painter produces the “Muses of Art and Music” mural at Central High School. However, administrators paint over it roughly five years later, arguing that it’s too provocative for students. The piece is later restored and displayed at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

1934

Big Bear Stores opens first grocery

The store is built at 386 W. Lane Ave. and draws 200,000 visitors in its first three days. Founder Wayne Brown is credited with bringing the self-service supermarket to the Midwest.

1936

OSU marching band writes Script Ohio

The University of Michigan had written a cursive “Ohio” at the ’Shoe in 1932. However, Ohio State’s marching musicians offer a better version during the 1936 season. It emerges as a crowd favorite.

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