Creating Columbus: 1960-1974

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

By Columbus Alive
From the February 2, 2012 edition

1960

Phil Ochs discovers folk music

Upon enrolling at Ohio State, Ochs learns about folk music, befriends musical partner Jim Glover and hones an interest in politics. He leaves for Greenwich Village in 1962 — and becomes one of the decade’s most influential protest singers.

1961

The Kahiki opens

Decked out like a Polynesian war canoe, the restaurant at 3583 E. Broad St. remains a tiki-themed treasure until it closes in 2000. Favorite menu items include the Mystery Drink, an alcoholic beverage that serves four and is announced with the sounding of a gong.

1962

Jack Nicklaus wins first major

Born in Columbus in 1940, the Golden Bear’s raw talent and unrelenting drive combine for his first major championship victory at the U.S. Open. He goes on to win a total of 18, golf’s most admirable record.

1962

Columbus Festival of the Arts debuts

The annual street fair featuring art, music and food is held on the Ohio Statehouse lawn until 1983. The name’s later shortened to Columbus Arts Festival.

1963

Columbus Area Technician School established

Sixty-seven students enroll in three programs offered at the new facility. Over the years, it expands in size, moves locations and offers additional courses. The school is re-chartered as Columbus State Community College in 1987.

1963

Les Wexner opens The Limited

The 25-year-old entrepreneur opens The Limited on Aug. 10 in the Kingsdale Shopping Center with a $5,000 loan from his aunt. He sells garments for young women and girls — a more limited scope than his parents’ clothing shop. He takes the company public six years later. Over the years, his retail empire grows to include Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch and Henri Bendel.

1964

COSI opens in Memorial Hall

The wonders of science and industry come alive March 29, when the museum opens in a renovated Memorial Hall, 280 E. Broad St. Admission costs 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for kids. The museum moves to Franklinton in 1999.

1964

LGBT community convenes at inaugural Berwick Ball

This Halloween bash allows a culture living in secrecy to cut loose, mingle and dance. During early years, guests have to call an anonymous payphone for directions and are locked inside to thwart police interference. Drag queens like Dolly Divine entertain locals dressed in tuxedos or lavish regalia. The final ball is held in 2000.

1965

Gene Walker opens for The Beatles

The Columbus sax king is asked to play with King Curtis and the Band, which opens for The Beatles during a North American tour that starts at Shea Stadium. As the Fab Four perform, Walker watches from a dugout with The Rolling Stones.

1967

Igor Stravinsky leads Columbus Symphony Orchestra

The legendary composer and conductor leads the local classical group and its chorus through a selection of his works.

1968

Charles Csuri exhibits computer art in London

A talented Ohio State football player, Csuri earns far greater acclaim when he begins experimenting with computer-graphics technology in 1964. In 1968, Csuri astonishes audiences through the “Cybernetic Serendipity” exhibit at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art. He’s later recognized as the father of digital art.

1969

CAPA founded to save the Ohio Theatre

Hearing that the Ohio Theatre is slated for demolition, the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts forms to save the landmark performance space. Over the years, the organization becomes one of the most successful arts-management groups in the Midwest.

1969

First Wendy’s opens

On Nov. 15, Central Ohioan R. David Thomas opens the first Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers on East Broad Street. He names the restaurant after his eight-year-old daughter, Melinda Lou Thomas, whose nickname was “Wendy.”

1970

Campus theater becomes Columbus Agora

Cleveland music promoter Henry LoConti establishes his Columbus rock club in what was founded in 1923 as the State Theater movie house. By 1977, it becomes overrun by bikers and falls into disrepair. It reopens as the Newport Music Hall in 1984 with two shows by Neil Young.

1970

Capsoul Recording Company founded

Brainchild of activist and musician Bill Moss, the R&B label operates a studio at 3504 N. High St. and releases memorable hits until 1974. Doo-wop group The Four Mints chart twice in 1973.

Circa 1970

Stache and Little Brother’s opens

One of the city’s most groundbreaking music clubs opens at 2404 N. High St. Many of the city’s top concert promoters funnel acts to Stache’s, and thousands of rock, punk, blues, reggae and roots bands perform there over the years.

1972

ComFest founded

Local activists and musicians begin partying with a purpose on May 12. The event becomes as a favorite celebration of Columbus music, art and culture.

1974

COTA begins service in Franklin County

On New Year’s Day, the Central Ohio Transit Authority begins bus service throughout Columbus and numerous suburbs. The organization was established three years earlier when privately owned Columbus Transit Company began facing financial difficulties.

1974

Rhodes Tower opens

The tower stands as the tallest building in Columbus, besting LeVeque-Lincoln Tower. It’s named for Gov. James Rhodes.

1974

Columbus Museum of Art doubles in size

The Ross Wing is added for temporary exhibits, increasing the size of the art museum by 60 percent.

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