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Photo of the Month - April 2008
1915 Broad & High Streets
This photo has been publish many times as it is a favorite of the Columbus history books. Even if you are familiar with it, take a second look as it is such a good window into 1915 Columbus. The "Great War" is raging in Europe while the on going job of building Columbus continues.
Horses still rule in the 1915 construction industry. The only motor truck is a small delivery van crossing High Street in the far distance. The debris from the building demolition is being hauled away by a wagon with a three horse hitch. You can also see a workman climbing one of the chutes with a tool in his hand maybe to clear a blockage. According to one of the signs, the glass is being salvaged for reuse. To see a view of this building taken in 1914 before demolition started click here.
The CRP&L Co. project is probably not connected to the building construction. The streetcar company was responsible for the street for one foot on either side of their track. Once the track work is complete the streetcar company installed cobble stone which would last until the tracks were removed in 1948.
The little work car was typical of CRP&L Co. work cars and very handy. It was built using the trucks and electrical equipment from an old four-wheel passenger car. The center cab was recessed on the sides so the car could carry rails and poles. It was good for carrying ties, as in this example, and also cobble stones. It could also pull a trailer. The CRP&L Co. also had double truck versions of this work car. Notice the small boy in the middle of all the track work action.
The 600 series streetcar in the corner of the picture would normally turn onto High Street. This construction work must have been a major disruption in service for the streetcar patrons. There was an alternate route using Front Street, nevertheless the local citizens must have been a little grumpy about the inconvenience.
Leaning on the railing in the lower left of the picture are four men watching the action. One of them is missing a leg. The people of 1915 went to work very properly dressed. Wouldn't they be surprised to go to work in the twenty-first century?
Street scenes are always interesting. You can see Mills Restaurant which lasted in business through the 1950's and maybe later. You can also see the Union Department Store and in the far distance the Chittenden Hotel. Can you see the little van crossing the track?
L.P. Hartley wrote "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." A picture like this gives you a look into that foreign country of 1915 Columbus where they surely did things differently.