The Near East Side is home to an amazing mix of historical architectural styles. Some of the most renowned architects in Ohio have left their mark right here in the neighborhood. The architectural styles represented in the PACT geography are almost too numerous to count. After a few trips to the different areas that make up this community, it will became evident that the wide range of the styles of homes and buildings are more than a hodge-podge of different designers and specific tastes. The unique array of architecture is another physical representation of the diversity that only the Near East Side can offer.
Union Grove Baptist Church, located at 266 North Champion Ave, this 125 year old church reflects Georgian Traditional Colonial style architecture. Notice the crowned front entrance and symmetrical placement of the muti-paned windows.
Driving through the neighborhood immediately notice the absence of “cookie cutter” homes and identical, characterless streets. Most of the homes and buildings were constructed during the Eclectic Movement of American Architecture (1880-1950) and mostly reflect the revival styles. Challenge yourself and pick any street in the neighborhood. There is guaranteed to be a Dutch Colonial Revival style home characterized by its Dutch arches or curved gambrel roof that probably sits somewhere near a Traditional Colonial Revival style church or building characterized by its symmetrical placement of windows and doors. Union Grove Baptist church, constructed in 1888 is a beautiful example of this particular style.
The Lincoln Theatre, located at 769 East Long Street was beautifully designed using Egyptian Revival style Architecture
Let’s consider a landmark structure, the Lincoln Theatre, constructed in 1928. From the outside, its architectural style may seem simple but it is actually a form the Egyptian Revival style. The Egyptian inspired imagery and motifs are more evident once you step inside. The Lincoln is a great example of architectural diversity that is unseen in other parts of the city. Also consider East High School, constructed in 1922 and one of the oldest public schools in the neighborhood. Its imposing size and stoned façade make it more distinctive to the Italian Renaissance Revival, however, considering the pillars; it could be considered more indicative to the Colonial Revival style.
Dutch Colonial Revival style home with a Gambrel roof (A two-sided roof with a double slope on each side, the lower slope having the steeper pitch). Designed by Frank L. Packard
The architectural treasure chest of the Near East Side is more than appearance. The prominent architect Frank L. Packard (1866-1923) was one of America’s foremost institutional architects. He designed over 3400 buildings, including over 100 business and residential buildings in Columbus. A few of those designs are located on the Near East Side. He is well known for his design of the Old Governor’s mansion, located at 1234 Broad Street. He is also the designer of an amazing home that sits on Hawthorne Park. It’s a beautiful example of the Dutch Colonial Revival Style on a larger scale. An even more fascinating fact is that right next door is a home designed by Florence Kenyon Hayden Rector (1882-1973), the first licensed female architect in the state of Ohio and also the designer of Oxley Hall, the first women’s dormitory at The Ohio State University. Rector’s design is reflective of the Italianate style that is seen throughout the community as well.
Home on Hawthorne Park, Designed by the first licensed female architect in the state of Ohio, Florence Kenyon Hayden Rector
These of course are not the only structures with the significance of stories behind them. They are simply just a few architectural points of interest. The truth is there are hundreds of little stories like this that exist throughout the neighborhood. Consider this the next time you walk around the area. An older or abandoned home or building is more than what it appears. It probably has a great story and reflects a distinctive architectural style. It may have been designed by a great local architect or is in need an imaginative local carpenter. The Near East Side’s architectural composition is very unique. It will be incredible to see the revitalization and restoration of some structures and equally exciting to see what new structures and styles will be added to replace those that are no longer viable. Will there be more Revival style architecture? Whatever the outcome may be its sure to add to the assortment of beautiful, architectural history.