All strange but true

Do you know how Columbus' landfill got started?

Local investigative journalist, travel writer and author Anietra Hamper didn't either until she aimlessly dug through Columbus utility documents, hoping to find something unique or odd. The word “pig” caught her eye, and that sent her down a path to discovering the connection between swine and what would become the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill.

During a population boom in the 1940s, the county sent its extra garbage to local pig farms. But an increase in trichinosis among pigs prompted officials to turn to an alternative, and thus our modern-day waste-management system was born.

This is just one of nearly 90 nuggets contained in Hamper's 2018 book, Secret Columbus: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure. Readers will find unknown and little-known sites, as well as stories that she hopes will inspire more engagement with the city.

We at Alive were certainly motivated to explore several landmarks highlighted in the book, including: the Depot Event Center and Rail Museum, the Umbrella Girl statue, the Leatherlips monument, Sgt. Stanislaus Roy's gravesite and the Circus House.

“None of these things are going to change your life,” Hamper said. “But they might make you go, ‘Wow,' and maybe laugh. Or maybe go, ‘Oh, my god. I've driven past this 90,000 times and I've never seen that.'”

Buckle up.

>>The Depot Event Center and Rail Museum

>>The Umbrella Girl statue in Schiller Park

>>Circus House in Victorian Village

>>Army Sgt. Stanislaus Roy’s Gravesite in Green Lawn Cemetery

>>Leatherlips Monument in Dublin