Columbus Bicentennial: City of the Future


Columbus in 1992, as envisioned by the architects of Tibbals-Crumley-Musson, courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch Photograph Collection via Ohio Memory. Highlights include elevated roads moored by cables, and floating “music shells.”

Fifty years ago–during Columbus’s sesquicentennial–the October 14th issue of Columbus Dispatch Magazine included an interesting feature looking at the “Columbus of the future.” Because the anniversary of that article is this weekend, and 2012 is now the bicentennial of our city, we’d like to show off a few of the interesting images from the article that we have available on Ohio Memory!

The article, entitled “Columbus looks ahead,” featured experts discussing the changes the capital city could expect over the next half century. The illustrations of the city in 1992 included visions of the city 500 years after its namesake landed in the Americas, while other predictions revolved around how Columbus would be different by the year 2000. Let’s take a look at some of the ideas that have come to pass, and those we’re still waiting on!

Floating restaurant on the Scioto, forecast by Holroyd and Myers.

Correct predictions:

  • New techniques for human organ transplantation
  • “Pre-cooked, irradiated and frozen meals” changing cooking practices
  • Bills paid by “magnetically inscribed cards”
  • Home television with “personal commercial-less programs”
  • Underground parking areas
  • Pedestrian parks in the downtown area

Still waiting:

  • “Mind-reading will be possible with electronic gadgets”
  • Cargo and passenger rocket ships
  • Water considered as valuable as gold
  • Floating transportation, roads and buildings thanks to discovery of an “anti-gravity principle”
  • Clothes cleaned in the closet by sound waves
  • A Columbus population of 1.5 million (we’re about half of that right now)
Holroyd and Myers version of Columbus in 1992, looking north up the Scioto from the Broad Street Bridge. Courtesy of Columbus Dispatch Photograph Collection via Ohio Memory.
Architects Brooks and Coddington envision Columbus in 1992, with landmarks including a “Spindle Top Restaurant” and “depressed Broad Street Esplanade.” Courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch Photograph Collection via Ohio Memory

Take a closer look at the predicted views of the city on Ohio Memory, or visit the Research Room at the Ohio History Center to view the original article on microfilm! The Dispatch also published an article early this year on how the 1962 vision of the future stacks up today, and what the predictions tell us about the values of the time in which they were made. As we look forward, perhaps to the year 2062, a line from the original article seems fitting: “Anything Columbus has done will be overshadowed spectacularly by what is to come.”

Thanks to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!

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