Franklinton, Columbus, Ohio

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The founding of Franklinton.
Urban Scrawl 2008 in Dodge Park.

Franklinton is a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. Franklinton is the original settlement in Franklin County. As the city of Columbus grew, the city annexed and incorporated the existing settlement and today it exists as a neighborhood immediately west of downtown.

A portion of the neighborhood gets its nickname of "The Bottoms" because much of the land lies below the level of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and a floodwall is required to contain the rivers and protect the area from floods. The low-lying bottom land was well suited for farming, with the river serving as a direct connection to the Ohio River.


Lucas Sullivant: Founder of Franklinton

Settlement and Founding (1795-1859)[edit]

In 1795 Lucas Sullivant was employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to survey the Central Ohio portion of the Virginia Military District . Sullivant, along with approximately 20 men surveyed the western side of the Scioto River at the confluence of the Olentangy and Scioto Rivers. As payment for his work, Sullivant was given 6000 acres in the Refugee Tract reserved for those who aided the American Revolution.

Sullivant, after surveying the land, returned to Kentucky where he courted Sarah Starling, the daughter of his mentor Colonel William Starling. In 1797, Sullivant returned to the Ohio and laid out a village of 220 lots in Franklin County, which he named Franklinton in honor of the recently deceased Benjamin Franklin. This original settlement was abandoned in 1798, a year later, when a flood submerged most of the town. Sullivant relocated the town less than a mile away, off of the banks of the Scioto River.

The replatted town was laid out in blocks that contained four lots in a sqaure, with each lot measuring 99’ wide by 115’ deep. To encourage people to move to the new settlement, Sullivant offered free land for anyone willing to build a house along Gift Street, near the eastern edge of his plat. Along with platting and settling the town, Sullivant also built several structures out of brick and glass from Philadelphia. These buildings included a courthouse, a brick home to impress Starling (who was wed to Sullivant in 1801), a brick church and the first bridge across the Scioto River.

The town of Franklinton was then made the County Seat of Franklin County in 1803, when Franklin County was created from Ross County. The population and town grew during the War of 1812, as Franklinton served as a staging point for General William Henry Harrison’s army. Following the war, the community continued to grow with the expansion of the country's railway system along with the construction of a new state capitol, Columbus, on the east, or opposite, side of the Scioto River. Columbus’s growth eventually led to the relocation of the county seat to the City of Columbus in 1824 and the annexation of Franklinton by the City of Columbus in 1859.

Post-Annexation (1860-1899)[edit]

20th Century (1900-1999)[edit]

The town Franklinton experienced extreme flooding when the wooden levees, holding the Scioto River, collapsed on March 25, 1913. The Flood of 1913 caused the neighborhood of Franklinton to be in 7 to 17 feet of water. Police officers in horse-drawn carriages traveled the flooded streets, warning residents to head to the higher ground of the adjacent Hilltop neighborhood. While recording the devastation of the flooding, Robert F. Wolfe, publisher of the Columbus Evening Dispatch, chartered an interurban train from Columbus to Buckeye Lake and took nine motorboats and 20 rowboats with him to the rivers edge. From Rich & Scioto Street he was able to help residents who could not get to higher ground. The rising of the waters swept ninety-three people to their deaths and left 20,000 people homeless. It also destroyed nearly 500 buildings and every bridge in the downtown area. Early estimates of the flood damage to homes and businesses came in at five million dollars with the eventual total climbing to twenty-two million dollars. The Flood of 1913 led to the first watershed planning and flood-control measures.

21st Century (2000-present)[edit]


Franklinton is a neighborhood bordered by the Scioto River on the north and east, Harmon Avenue on the east, Stimmel Road and Greenlawn Avenue on the south, and Interstate 70 on the west. West Broad Street, or U.S. Route 40, is one of the country's first roads and is Franklinton's main throughway. It is the neighborhood immediately west of Downtown. A portion of the neighborhood gets its nickname of "The Bottoms" because much of the land lies below the level of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and a flood wall is required to contain the rivers and protect the area from devastating floods. Two hundred years later, the area remains concerned about the potential for flooding and is continues to be called the “The Bottoms”. Just to the west of Franklinton is a group of smaller neighborhoods commonly referred to as "The Hilltop".[1] Franklinton remains geographically isolated. It is bounded on three sides by the Scioto River, which causes a physical and politcal boundary.

Land Mix of Residential Commercial[edit]

“Franklinton is characterized by a mix of land uses, reflecting its pattern of development as an independent, self-sufficient community. Single and multi-family residential uses are located throughout the area. There are also many commercial uses, most of which are located along West Broad Street. These include both neighborhood-oriented and regional commercial uses, including large office complexes and a retail center. In addition, there are many manufacturing land uses in Franklinton, with the heaviest concentrations along McKinley and Harmon avenues. Franklinton also contains many institutional and public land uses. The Center of Science and Industry (COSI), Mt. Carmel West Medical Center, and Veterans Memorial are among the major land users within this category. [2]


The major classifications for the central portion of Franklinton, between the railroad tracks west of Glenwood Avenue, include residential, apartment residential, commercial, and manufacturing. Most of the land zoned manufacturing is north of W. Broad Street. The primary classification for the western portion of Franklinton, between the railroad tracks west of Glenwood Avenue, are residential, commercial, and manufacturing.[3]


Based on the 2000 US Census, there are 5,444 housing units in Franklinton. About 1,000 of them are empty, which occupies 18.4%. Only 29.2% of those units have owners. Up till 2012, 90% of the housing units are rentals. The rate at Franklinton is higher than the average rates in most of the Columbus neighborhoods.[4] The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority is a organization which aims to help people who have difficulty to afford housing, as well as build healthy living environments for the community. The CMHA formed at 1934, and begin its construction of public housing until 1937. The first project was the Poindexter Village, which can include more than 400 families to live in.

Structure and Landmarks[edit]


The Franklinton neighborhood contains several parks, such as McKinley Park, Cody Park, Maurice Gates Memorial Park, and Genoa Park. The McKinley Park is a neighborhood park located at McKinley Ave. at the northwest of Franklinton.[5] The neighborhood consists of 6.95 acres, which includes athletic fields, basketball courts, picnicking facilities, and playgrounds. The area serves as a public space for the residents. The Cody Park, located at Brehl Avenue, covers 0.29 acres of land and has a playground similar to Maurice Gates Memorial Park. The Genoa Park, once called the Riverfront Amphitheater, can be found on the West bank of the Scioto River. It has an area of 2,07 acres and access to a greenway trail that serves as a walking trail for residents to enjoy. The Genoa Park hosts events such as Rhythm on the River, Waterfire, and Latino Festival.[6]

Recreation Facility[edit]

The Dodge Recreation Center, Sullivant Gardens Community Center, McDowell Senior Center are three recreational centers located in Franklinton neighborhood. The Dodge Recreation Center and Sullivant Avenue provides various facilities such as athletic fields and swimming pools for the community


Franklinton holds several centers for restaurants and social spaces. These are:

Rail Depot[edit]

The Depot moved to the Old Henderson Road on 2003. It was located in Brice, Ohio during the 1880s. It has been kept in its original form and has been used to hold different kinds of events. The ceiling is still in its original red pine bead board, with hand-hewn hickory floors. Inside the Depot are walls from a Quaker church that are 150 years old and tables made out of 300-year-old hardwoods. Every detail in the Depot has been preserved in its original appearance.[7]


COSI Columbus is the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus Ohio. It opened at Memorial Hall in 1964, and moved to West Broad Street in 1999. The center is designed by Arata Isozaki, which covers a land for about 320,000 square feet. It has been named America’s No. 1 science center for families by the Parents Magazine.Retrieved March 28, 2014[8] The center holds exhibits in different themes, such as energy explorers, ocean, space. Its education programs have engaged over five million teachers and students. The COSI is also a non-profit organization, which has large number of volunteers serving for its activities.


The Franklinton Flood wall began its construction in 1993 and ended in 2004 with a expenditure of 193 million dollars. It protects this area from flooding from the Scioto River with an area up to 30.9 feet. The flood at 1959 was one of the worst disasters throughout Franklinton’s history.[9]

Street and Transportation[edit]

Broad Street[edit]

Broad Street is one of the major east-west main stems in Franklinton. The others are McKinley, Sullivant, Town Rich and Mound Streets. The Broad Street is between McKinley Avenue and the Sullivant Avenue. It goes across the I-70, Central Avenue, Glenwood Avenue, SR 315 and High Street, which make it one of the most significant road in Columbus. In the Columbus Thoroughfare Olan, it was classified as a type “6-2” arterial, which means six moving lanes, and two way. Like its name, Broad Street is a wide street with about 60 feet width can carrying 16,000 vehicles a day. [10]

Sullivant Avenue[edit]

The Sullivant Avenue is also one of the major east-west main stems in Franklinton. Unlike the Broad Street, it is a “4-2D” type arterials, which could be explained as “four moving lanes, two way and a median divider on mainline sections”.[11] The Sullivant Avenue goes pass I-70, Central Avenue, Glenwood Avenue, and ends at Davis Avenue at the east. It lies between Town Street and Mound Street.

Neighborhood Plans[edit]

Frainklinton Plan[edit]

The Franklinton Plan was contributed by the City Council in 2003, as a future plan for design for the Franklinton Area. It shows the current condition, goals, policies, and strategies for different planning aspects. This plan has covered land use and zoning, housing, parks recreation and open space, traffic and streets, sanitary sewers, urban design, historic preservation, economic development, and maps in different sections that would be improved. [12]

The McKinley Avenue Corridor Plan[edit]

The McKinley Avenue Corridor Plan was initiated in 2000. This plan is for an area locates 1.5 miles west of the downtown. It could be accessed from I-270, I-70, Broad Street and State Road 33. The McKinley Avenue Corridor is one of the most productive employment areas in Columbus with more than 5,000 employees.[13] This plan mainly focused on the property, land use and zoning, streets and traffics, as well as public safety problem.

According to the Franklinton Area Commission:



External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°57′15″N 83°01′37″W / 39.954228°N 83.026857°W / 39.954228; -83.026857