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What's the Story Behind Grant Hospital and Why Does the Arena District Look So Industrial?

March 22, 2022

Article originally published in the Columbus Monthly by Jeff Darbee

On Front Street in the Arena District, there’s an old brick building with “Ohio Moline Plow Co.” over the front door. Moline is in Illinois, so what’s the connection? 

The area known today as the Warehouse District is mainly along North Fifth Street, but for many years the whole north edge of Downtown hosted dozens of such buildings. In today’s Arena District, most of the old warehouses are gone, but some really nice ones are left, the Moline Plow among them.

The original Illinois company started in the 1870s to compete with other horse-drawn plow makers such as John Deere. As it expanded, it established branches to sell and service its products. The Ohio Moline Plow Co. building at 343 N. Front St. was built in 1913 to offer warehouse, sales and office space. There was not much call for plows in Downtown Columbus, but our Central Ohio location and dense railroad network made Front Street a logical choice.

You’ll notice that the new buildings in the Arena District tend to have an industrial look. It’s because district developer Nationwide Realty Investors liked the character of the Ohio Moline Plow building and wanted new development around it to reflect how the old warehouse district looked so many years ago.

Jeff Darbee is a preservationist, historian and author in Columbus. Send your questions to [email protected], and the answer might appear in a future column.

Sources: George W. Paulson, M.D., “An Exraordinary Surgeon”; historical marker at State and Sixth streets; 1899 and 1910 Baist atlases at Columbus Metropolitan Library; Ohio Moline Plow Co. National Register nomination

This story is from the March 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.

Click here to read the full article.