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Columbus Culture Walks

Columbus Landmarks Foundation and Columbus Public Health are pleased to announce a series of four FREE Saturday walking tours made possible with...

Columbus Landmarks Foundation and Columbus Public Health are pleased to announce a series of four FREE Saturday walking tours made possible with support from Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Join us to celebrate historic neighborhoods through the experiences and stories of residents past and present.

Whether you live up the street or are visiting from another city, join these FREE walking tours to discover historic Columbus neighborhoods through the experiences and stories of residents past and present. Tours will begin promptly at the time and location listed. No need to register in advance – just show up!

King-Lincoln Culture Walk
Lessons in Black, Bronze and Blues
September 16, 2017, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St.
Whether you know it as the Blackberry Patch, Bronzeville or the Birthplace of Jazz in Columbus, the vibrancy of King-Lincoln is from the people who lived there. African-Americans of diverse cultural and educational backgrounds such as laborers, doctors and entrepreneurs all called this neighborhood home. By the 1920s, Long Street was the center of commercial, social and entertainment life with many black owned and operated businesses, including grocers, hotels, theaters, barber shops, beauty parlors, insurance companies, undertakers, confectioneries, dentists, and girls “frying fish in the windows of restaurants.” They were, in the words of the late Dr. Anna Bishop, “the nurseries of all Black progress in every field of endeavor.” The tour will begin at the historic Lincoln Theatre and end in time for the Soul Food Festival honoring the legacy of the late Eric Carmichael who helped create a vibrant King-Lincoln gateway.

Parsons Avenue Culture Walk
Avenue of Dreams and Possibilities
September 30, 2017, 10-11:30 a.m.
Hungarian Reformed Church, 365 E. Woodrow
Smokey Row, now called Parsons Avenue, was once home to the Foreign Grocery, where employees often spoke six or seven languages, and a school where little girls were “trained to be housemaids.” For those who lived nearby, it evoked memories filled with cabbage rolls, apricot or nut pastries, and sausage manicotti. Hungarians held court and occasionally sparred with Serbians in World War I. Men found employment at Buckeye Steel, Federal Glass or Bonney Floyd industries and went for a “beer and a bump” on pay day. The Steelton bank was founded, synagogues and churches were formed, and Bible studies and baseball clubs were founded by companies who wanted harmony, happy workers and no unions. From Abe the Grocer to the Crystal Drugstore and Ideal Theater, Parsons was its own world. The neighborhood of Italians, African-Americans and much of Eastern Europe is again reinventing its roots as orchards and settlement houses are now blooming as Fallen Fruit gardens and community houses.

Westgate Culture Walk
The Hidden and the Unexpected
October 7, 9-10:30AM
Westgate Park, 3271 Wicklow Dr.
A 1920s neighborhood with classical revival architecture built on the grounds of a former Union Civil War camp and large tracts of Quaker land took full advantage of the National Road and later the streetcar.  Once home to three Columbus mayors, the area was a political powerhouse from the Depression to the loss of industries in the later years of the 20th century until neighbors took charge.  They invent or “pop up” everything!  Coffee shops? No problem, they have roving Mugs and Muffins porch coffee shops.  Beautification? No problem, they are the test grounds for an out-of-state mum grower.  Children’s activities? Households here treat 1,000 beggars each Halloween. Farmer’s market? No problem.  They created their own.  Public Art? Recycled signage from a now-gone shopping center is an installation.  Meet at the Westgate Park Shelter House early at 8:30am for coffee from “Mugs and Muffins.” Bonus – while you are in the neighborhood, explore how Westgate makes art with a self-guided tour of four studios that are part of Columbus Open Studio & Stage (a purchased tour map is required.)

Hanford Village Culture Walk
Highway Divided … but Still United
October 21, 2017, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Hanford Village Historical Marker Corner of S. Nelson Rd. & Gault St.
The tiny neighborhood — with a big designation in the National Register of Historic Places — maintains unity despite a highway bisection. Built post-World War II for African-American service men and their families, Hanford residents have strong ties to Lockbourne Air Force Base and the famed Tuskegee Airmen. Once a village on the site of Alum Creek, the area was predominately rural (its massive grain silos still dominate the landscape) and flooding was an issue. Hanford had its own mayor, council and fire department before it came into the City of Columbus. Eventually, this early community became the site for a federal planned community of homes and it was impacted by construction of the highway that now swirls around and above it. Hanford’s culture is bound by its little-known history and its hopes for the future.

>>READ 9.15.17 Columbus Dispatch feature story

 

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