Columbus Capitol Square Walking Tour
This short walking tour includes historic buildings, monuments, theaters, and sites throughout Capitol Square.
LeVeque Tower, once the American Insurance Union Citadel, was part of a larger urban beautification and improvement project aimed at rejuvenating the area around the Scioto River after the flood of 1913. The building was dedicated on September 21, 1927 when it became the tallest building between NYC and Chicago and the fifth tallest in the world. Leslie LeVeque and John Lincoln purchased the building in 1945 after the AIU went out of business. More recently, the LeVeque Tower changed hands in the 2000s before being renovated into the Hotel LeVeque, which opened in 2017.
Built by businessman Peter Hayden in 1869, the Hayden building was once the home of Hayden-Clinton Bank. Hayden built the structure to have a base for his banking business. The structure is the oldest in the Columbus Capitol Square. Known for his ironwork and brick and tile manufacturing, Hayden named an entire town after himself after placing his business there. Haydenville is along the Scioto River, and many brick structures of Haydenville still remain today.
Built in 1897, the Ringside Café is the oldest restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. The boxing-themed restaurant has been popular with politicians of Columbus, Ohio since it opened as the Board of Trade Saloon in 1897. The new structure was designed by Carl Howell, a native of Columbus. It reopened in 1910 with the name Chamber of Commerce Cafe & Rathskellar. It was renamed the Ringside Café in the 1930s when it was purchased by Al Haft, wrestler and businessman.
Rhodes Tower is the tallest building in Columbus, completed in 1974 at a cost of over $60 million. Five years later, the 41-story office building was re-named in honor of James A. Rhodes, Ohio's longest-serving governor who held office from 1963-1971 and again from 1975-1983. Rhodes was instrumental in establishing Ohio's two-year college system, an achievement recognized in in 2002, one year after his death, when Lima Technical College changed its name to James A. Rhodes State College. Rhodes is best known for another event at one of Ohio's colleges. He was governor during the Vietnam conflict and expressed little support for the rights of students and other war protesters prior to his fateful decision to send troops to quell the anti-Vietnam War protests at Kent State University. The statue of Rhodes in front of the office building was financed by private donors and dedicated on the statehouse grounds in 1982. The ceremony was marked by praise from long-serving politicians of both parties, as well as protesters who chanted and held signs asking participants to remember the Kent State Massacre. The statue was moved to its present location in front of the Rhodes Tower in 1991.
Columbus's Trinity Episcopal Church was founded in 1834. This sandstone Gothic Revival style structure was built by the Episcopal parish in 1869. After three years of construction, the church was opened for service and continues to serve the congregation. The building has many historic art pieces on display throughout the structure which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
This is a private club located in an historic building. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012 during its centennial celebration. The Club was founded in 1912 and first was located in what is called the Atlas Building. The current building was dedicated in 1915 and was designed by Richards, McCarty & Bulford. Frank Packard was the Advisory Architect.
The Ohio Veterans Plaza was dedicated in 1998 and honors veterans from World War II into the future. The plaza is a grassy lawn featuring flowers, two fountains, benches, and limestone walls inscribed with veterans’ letters to home. The idea for the monument came in the 1980s after two local Vietnam veterans took matters into their own hands and built a temporary tribute to other veterans on statehouse property. Local legislation was then passed to construct a permanent reminder of the sacrifices made by Ohio’s veterans.
Built in 1925, The Columbus Dispatch Building served as the printing facility for the Columbus, Ohio newspaper for many years. The structure was built in a second renaissance revival style. The Dispatch was the first newspaper in the United States to publish online in 1980. Editors used CompuServe dial-up to transfer the news to computers at home. The neon sign above the building marks the history of the paper and how news has evolved over time.
The Ohio Theatre was built in the Beaux-Arts style from stone and terra-cotta in 1928. It served as both a movie and live performance theater until its closure in 1969. That same year, locals saved the Ohio from demolition, and it was purchased and renovated by the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts. The Ohio Theatre is now the Official Theatre for the State of Ohio and is used primarily for stage performances, with some movies shown throughout the year.
On the south side of the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse you will find the Ohio Holocaust and Liberators Memorial. Dedicated in 2014, this newest addition to the historical markers on the statehouse grounds honors the memory of those who died in the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the men and women who liberated Europe. The memorial was begun at the urging of Governor John Kasich who said at the dedication, "Our young people need to know about the injustice and how it happened and what we can do so it doesn't happen again."
Constructed in stages between 1839 and 1861, the Ohio Statehouse serves as the meeting place of the state legislature and the offices of the governor. The design comes from a competition where the judges selected a structure that blended many of the standard classical features of state legislature buildings and the United States Capitol. Although it features the Greek Revival style, the building does not feature the nearly-ubiquitous dome that became common following the completion of the Capitol Dome in Washington. The State House features Doric columnns made of Columbus limestone from the Scioto River. In addition to skilled workers and supervisors, much of the labor for the building was provided by prisoners. The central feature of the building is the Cupola which provides natural light for the rotunda.
Built in 1984, the 37-story Huntington Center is an office complex that is the fourth tallest structure in Columbus, Ohio. The structure was built by architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP. It is the tallest structure built during the 1980s in Columbus, Ohio.