For over 30 years, Columbus Landmarks Foundation has featured the original and substantiated haunted and unusual stories of what really lurks behind the city’s façade. This year’s line-up promises thrills and chills in the varied historic neighborhoods of Columbus. Columbus Landmarks Members enjoy discounted tickets to all tours & events while supporting historic preservation and quality new design … JOIN/RENEW today!
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Tales of the Ohio Pen Walking Tour
The area of Columbus now known as the Arena District has undergone massive transformation over the years. Originally the location of a Native American settlement and, most notably, the site of the Ohio Penitentiary for over 150 years, this now thriving commercial and residential has a dark past. The tour will begin inside Betty’s Bar. Established in 1962 and tied to the area with its own unique stories, Betty’s will be the start of our walk through the area filled with history, folklore, and spirited stories.
School Spirits: Tales of Ohio State
If you think a large university would have some ghost stories, you would be correct. Ohio State has many legends, sightings, and urban folklore. With over 710,000 degrees since its inception in 1870, plus faculty, employees, and visitors, the campus is alive with activity. But not all who graduate or teach here have left. In fact, a few remain permanently while others “pass” through. An autumn walk, great architecture, and a collection of stories worth telling your next out-of-town visitor. Meet behind the Ohio Union (1739 North High Street). Parking is available in the garage of the Ohio Union. Tickets are limited – please purchase in advance.
Glen Echo Ravine – Haunted Lantern Tour
The neighborhoods of Columbus can be very “spirited” places. Sometimes the architecture, history, and lore are well known; other times they are more obscure—even to the current residents. Buildings disappear over time, roads change courses, plans are scrapped, and history is forgotten—but not by all. Forgotten events, unfulfilled plans, and tragic deaths are recalled through the haunted lore of Glen Echo Ravine. The unique location was forged millennia ago by nature, contained a Civil War railroad spur, a tuberculosis camp, and ultimately became a city park. Learn about the history of the area, the lore of Glen Echo Ravine, and who may still be there.
Town Street – Haunted Lantern Tour
From the neighborhood that started it all, this walking tour is still one of our most popular because the quality of the architecture of the homes, the crunch of fall leaves on the sidewalk, the stories of long ago Halloween nights and customs in Columbus, and the authentic stories of sightings combine for the perfect late fall evening atmospheric event. We will have some flashlights and lanterns, but feel free to bring your own.
Favorite Haunts Bus Tour
Each season we choose from some of our favorite stories set against the architectural background where they took place. Old watering holes, a literary house, a bed and breakfast, a Victorian mansion, a final resting place, or a city park—anything is fair game as we choose three or more mystery stops—and provide more stories in between.
Short North – Haunted Lantern Tour
Meet in front of Char Bar, one of the Short North’s most storied establishments, for a 1 ½ mile, two-hour walking tour and the legends behind some of the old Italianate commercials buildings and even newer facades. The Short North is witnessing large transformations, and you know what they say about ghosts—they don’t like change and are most active when disturbed. While we can’t promise any sightings, the next time you are enjoying a beer, make sure the neighbor next to you is really there. Though we start in a tavern, this is a walking tour, and at the end, you can circle back to any of the establishments with new respect for their history.
Mound Street – Haunted Lantern Tour
Mound Street and its environs have long been associated with the architecture and history of the courthouse(s). However, it is an area with more than just this “criminal past.” Old haunted taverns, the restless site of the old prison and gallows hill, the canal warehouse area, a former “Bowery Street” (later an early Chinese business district), and the most cultured of all ghosts ever known to haunt Columbus, this area is rich in folklore and story—it is, after all—the site of the largest mound in Central Ohio whose destruction may have started the activity.
Franklinton – Haunted Lantern Tour
Before there was Columbus, there was Franklinton. Founded in 1797 by Lucas Sullivant, Franklinton has seen its fair share of triumph and tragedy. Join us for a walking tour as we visit local sites and learn of history and folklore surrounding this original Columbus neighborhood. Meet at the Lucas Sullivant Land Office, behind the Harrison House, located at the corner of West Broad and Gift Streets. The Franklinton Historical Society will have the Land Office open at 6:30 pm, and the tour will begin at 7 pm. There is on-street parking nearby. Following the tour, we will caravan a short distance to the Franklinton Pioneer Cemetery located off Souder Avenue for more tales in the graveyard.