A Small (Though Indicative) Lesson on Columbus, Historical and Architectural

Fun fact: Columbus, Ohio, is the largest city in the United States that is not serviced by inter-city passenger rail. This was not always true, but the last Amtrak train pulled out of here on April 28, 1977. Our Union Station was torn down in September 1979, but our story focuses on the station's Arcade, which was actually demolished in 1976.

There was a move out to save the Arcade, as it was a lovely piece of architecture, though ultimately the consortium led by Battelle Memorial Institute wanted to build the Convention Center there, and they got their way when the money for the Arcade just couldn't be raised.

Well, not enough, anyway. They did manage to gather enough to save one archway, which now rests in a park about a half mile away. Incidentally, the park and the buildings around it cover the land previously occupied by another historic building that was torn down in the name of commercial progress: The Ohio Penitentary.


I'm sure you're thinking it was a valiant effort. Hey, at least they saved part of it. And they even set it up to be reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe. Lovely framing, that, with the park and all (even lovelier from the other side, where the view is of the parking lot to Nationwide Arena, the home of the Colu´╗┐mbus Blue Jackets).

I'd be more apt to agree if I didn't know what happened next.

You see, less than fifteen years later, someone decided that the Arcade would make a beautiful place for shops and restuarants. Sadly, the Arcade was now a Convention Center. Missed opportunity? Not in Columbus. They just decided to rebuild the Arcade one block north, in the area originally covered by the station proper. They could just move the arch back and build up around it a recreation of the Arcade. But matching the style and moving the Arch would be expensive and hard. Plus who would really care? A much better plan was formed: build something that kind of maybe looks like the old Arcade if you squint and don't look at it.

And so we have this:


Facade, I believe, is a good architectural term.

At least they matched the color. Kind of.