During the Civil War, Camp Chase, named for Salmon P. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln and a former governor of Ohio, was home to a military training camp for Union troops and one of the largest Confederate prisons. The first occupants of Camp Chase’s prison were political prisoners, but during the Civil War, as many as 25,000 Confederate soldiers passed through the camp, which was built to house 3,500-4,000 prisoners. By the end of January 1865, the prison held more than 9,400 prisoners. Today, the only remnant of the camp are the graves of 2,260 Confederate soldiers, buried in quarters so tight their headstones nearly touch one another. In the middle stands a monument — with the word “Americans” engraved into its “memorial arch.”
The Central Ohio Fire Museum & Learning Center opened in 2002 inside the restored historic Columbus Engine House (No.16) dating to 1908. In addition to historic engines and equipment, the museum aims to educate visitors about the dangers of fire and features a Safety Kitchen and a Safety Bedroom showing potential hazards and how to escape in an emergency.
Home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 600 species from around the globe, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium leads and inspires by connecting people and wildlife. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Course. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also operates The Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact; annually contributing $4 million of privately raised funds to support conservation projects worldwide.
The 4,200-square-foot museum, located in Hilliard, Ohio, a western suburb of Columbus, boasts more than 150 television sets, including mechanical sets from the 1920s and American and British equipment from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Many of the sets are in working order. The museum’s most popular exhibits include the collection of early color sets, a DuMont Royal Sovereign, the working Baird mechanical set and the RCA remote telecasting van. The Early Television Foundation, a non-profit organization that operates the museum, is always looking to expand its collection of equipment.
Malcolm Cochran created “Field of Corn (with Osage Orange),” which debuted in 1994 and as part of a project commissioned by the Dublin Arts Council. The field features 109 rows of corn measuing six feet tall or taller. Sam Frantz, a pioneer of hybrid corn and his wife, Eulalia, previously owned the land and grew corn here. Since debuting, the project wasn’t without its share of controversy.
In the heart of Hilliard, a bucolic Columbus suburb, stands what is said to be one of the largest Sept. 11 memorials. First Responders Park Memorial is dedicated to first responders nationwide and aims to remind visitors that no matter where they live, they have a stake in what happened on Sept. 11. One of the memorial’s features is a trio of granite walls inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives in the attack. In addition, steel from the World Trade Center was incorporated into the memorial.
Arizona artist Barbara Grygutis created the Garden of Constants, located at the College of Engineering. The garden, installed in 2004, features two main elements: 10 large number sculptures numbers and symbols set into the pavement. The Ohio State University Percent for the Arts commissioned the sculpture. The work is located outside of Dreese Lab, home to the Computer and Information Science and Electrical Engineering departments.
Hoover Dam dams the Big Walnut Creek, forming the Hoover Memorial Reservoir, which holds 20.8 billion gallons of water. Construction began during 1953; the dam was dedicated in 1955 and officially opened in 1958. It was named for brothers Charles P. Hoover and Clarence B. Hoover in honor of their careers with the City of Columbus Waterworks.
Leatherlips is one of Ohio’s great historic legends. He was executed in on June 1, 1810, though the precise location is open to some debate. To honor the great Wyandot Native American Chief, the Dublin, Ohio, community in 1990 unveiled a 12-foot high sculpture of Leatherlips’ head. Designed by Boston artist Ralph Helmick and located in Scioto Park, the portrait was made using stacked native limestone. The top is open with stacked stones extending back along its sides, making for a popular picture stop.
Founded in 1948 and incorporated in 1950, the Ohio Railway Museum is among the oldest railroad museums in the country. The museum operates over the former Columbus, Delaware, and Marion Railway right-of-way. One of its key locomotives on display is Norfolk & Western No. 578, an American Locomotive Co. 4-6-2 “Pacific” E2a steam locomotive. Built in March 1910, the steamer is said to be one of the last surviving E2a locomotives built for the Norfolk and Western Railway Co.
Construction on the Ohio Statehouse started in 1839, and the structure was completed in 1861 and is considered to be a significant architectural accomplishment. The edifice, the seat of Ohio’s government, has been restored to its 1861 appearance. To learn more about the Buckeye State can venture to the Ohio Statehouse Museum Education Center on the ground floor of the statehouse. Visitors can participate in a tour or wander the museum at their own pace. A monument to President William McKinley, a native of Niles, Ohio, stands in front of the statehouse.
The Ohio Historical Society operates the Ohio Village living history museum. The 15-acre museum, which opened on July 27, 1974, aims to give a firsthand view of life in Ohio during the Civil War. The village is home to 22 buildings, including a mix of reproductions and historic structures relocated to the site.
The Olentangy Indian Caverns, located in Delaware, Ohio, north of Columbus, are a series of natural underground caves formed millions of years ago by an underground river that cut through the limestone rock. The cave’s passages and rooms occupying three different levels. According to the caverns’ webpage, Wyandots used the caverns over the years as a place of refuge from both their enemies (the Delaware Indians) and the weather.
The Granville Opera House was destroyed by fire on April 7, 1982. The historic edifice was built in 1849 as a Baptist Church and moved to a location at the corner of Broadway (Ohio Route 661) and Main Street in 1882. The church tower’s bell is still on display in a park built on the site of the Opera House. The bell first rung on June 29, 1872, to announce the death of the Reverend Samson Talbot, Denison University’s fifth president. The bell was also know for sounding on the hour and as the fire alarm.
Shrum Mound was likely built between 800 BC and 100 AD. At approximately 100 feet in diameter and 20 feet tall, Shrum Mound is said to be “one of the last remaining conical burial mounds” in Columbus. The grass-covered mound features a path leading to the top. The mound is located in Campbell Park, named for former Ohio Gov. James E. Campbell who later served as president of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society. The mound derives its name from the Shrum family, which in 1928 donated the land where the mound sits to the Ohio Historical Society.
The Columbus Italian Club commissioned this sculpture, created by Gary Ross, in 1992. The statue is on display in Battelle Riverfront Park along the Scioto River.
Anyone who says the judiciary does not loom large over society has never been to downtown Columbus. Artist Andrew Scott designed the 30-foot-long stainless steel gavel that today sits outside the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, which is home to the Ohio Supreme Court. The gavel was installed in 2008.