Downtown & Franklinton

Columbus Neighborhoods: Downtown and Franklinton

Downtown & Franklinton focuses on the frontier settlement on the Scioto River that would anchor a community that grew into a state capital and center for commerce, government, and education.

The documentary also chronicles Lucas Sullivant’s pioneering vision; life in the new capital city; how canal, railroads, and The National Road fueled Columbus’s spectacular growth; the dangerous work of a conductor on the Underground Railroad; and how the city was re-imagined after devastating floods.

Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North

Founding of Franklinton

Franklinton was founded in 1797 by Lucas Sullivant, a surveyor from Virginia. He called the fertile farm land “The Bottoms” because it flooded periodically.

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Goodale Park sign

Columbus: A Created Capital

Columbus was founded by people from Franklinton. It was an “invented city”—chosen to be the capital of Ohio after years of political wrangling and backroom deals.

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Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North

Transportation, Civil War and the Urban Growth

The impact of the canal system became evident in the 1830s along with the national road coming through Columbus. The area took in wave after wave of immigrants and Appalachian families.

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Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North

The Underground Railroad

Columbus was a crossroads between the North and the South. Runaway slaves could be caught and taken back. Those leading them to freedom were conductors who were mostly African American.

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Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North

The Growth of Business, The New Middle Class, and Gilded Age Corruption

In the mid-1800s, Columbus was starting to look and feel like a big city with a complement of financial and business districts, grand government buildings and theatres. The homes downtown kept the feel of a neighborhood even as the city grew.

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Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North

Progressive Columbus: Social Gospel

The social gospel said that it was not enough to find personal salvation. You had to help others less fortunate in any way you could. The leader of the social gospel movement, Reverend Washington Gladden, established the Gladden Community House in 1905 as a neighborhood outreach mission in Franklinton.

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Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North

The City Beautiful Movement

In 1908, civic-minded citizens, public leaders and elected official who were concerned about the quality of life in the city crafted a plan challenging Columbus to become the most beautiful and well-ordered state capital in the country.

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Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North

The Franklinton Flood

In 1913, the worst flood in the history of Ohio ravaged Franklinton. Over 90 people lost their lives and 4,000 homes were destroyed. Everything had to be rebuilt.

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Columbus Neighborhoods: Downtown & Franklinton map

Downtown & Franklinton Map

Take a look at a map of the Short North neighborhood. View Map