The Amazing Story of the Short North Neighborhood in Columbus

Columbus’s Short North neighborhood is experiencing unparalleled growth and expansion. Lots of people moving to the area means rising real estate prices.

This is a dramatic difference from when I lived here in the mid-80s when the area was still considered transitional. There used to be a lot more crime. In the 80s, the White Castle had armed guards.

Now there are art galleries, interior design shops, and there’s even a stretch on High Street with four different sex-toy stores. How many sex-toy stores do you need before you have sex-toy mall?

Guys, don’t you hate it when your spouse or girlfriend takes you to the mall, and you have to sit on those little benches while she spends all day shopping? How long would you have to spend sitting there at the sex-toy mall? “Honey, how much longer? We need to pick up milk and bread on the way home? Honey?

The area has always appealed to artistic, Bohemian types. One year, the student who was Brutus the Buckeye hailed from the Short North. He wore a black beret on his head at games. “Oui, please hold still so I can paint this cheer,” he liked to say to his fellow cheerleaders.

The Gallery Hop is a monthly tour of art galleries that has grown in popularity over many years. In the early years, the sidewalks were so broken and rundown, patrons had to actually hop over the broken sections.

Way back in the early to mid 1900s, the Short North was called “Old North.” It was a retirement village. In those days, you didn’t go to Florida, you moved to High Street north of downtown to play euchre and cornhole for seniors. It’s like regular cornhole, but the boards are set three feet apart.

“I found my old Old North retirement building when I last visited Columbus,” an elderly lady said recently. “Now it’s a sex-toy mall. Not just one shop, a whole mall! I didn’t really notice until I had visited the fourth store. And I still didn’t find what I was looking for.”