Wandering the Scioto Mile in Columbus, Ohio

The Scioto River runs through the heart of Columbus. Much of the riverfront is now parkland, a key section, the Scioto Mile, is a linear park running through city’s historic downtown.

We start our walk along the Scioto Mile in Battelle Riverfront Park, near the fire fighter’s memorial with its eternal flame. . . which seems like an odd way to commemorate fire fighters. Wouldn’t a fountain be more apt symbol of peaceful eternity?

But there is a fountain here too, the James Barney Children’s Fountain. It seems like it would be a delightful fountain, with a glass wall and winding waterways to walk between. . . except there isn’t any water in it today. At least the bronze griffin, unicorn, and other wondrous creatures that inhabit the woods around the fountain are still keeping watch.    bronze statuteAll of this is supposed to be related to an American Indian fable about a child named Pickaweekee. While I don’t think unicorns and griffins (or lions) figured in native mythology, it does feel like a magical woodland.

A federal building that I believe to be the McKinneary Courthouse stands over one end of the park. (I couldn’t find a lot of good info on most of Columbus’ historic buildings and a number of them, like this federal building, seem to have changed names over time.) It’s undergoing what appears to be a major renovation at the moment, but some of the carved friezes are visible through the trees.

building carvingBelow, seeming really out of place, a replica of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria is docked along the shore.

ships in the rivership(I’m pretty sure that Columbus never reached this Columbus.)

I run into Christopher again outside the elegant City Hall.

Chris was a gift of the people of Genoa, Italystatute of Columbus. He’s kept an eye on City Hall since the 1950s. I’m more interested in the City Hall, as it looks like a beautiful historic building. It’s tempting, but I don’t make a detour to check out the inside. Now I wish I had, as it’s almost impossible to find information (or pictures) of the building. This seems odd, both because it apparently is/was a grand building (the council chamber could seat 400) and because there was a great deal of rejoicing when the old City Hall burned down in 1921, allowing for the construction of this more modern and stylish building. (At the time, the previous Gothic structure was seen as dreadfully tacky and old-fashioned.) How tastes in architecture change!

Postcard of old City Hall

[1908 postcard from the collection of the Columbus Metropolitan Library]

Farther along we come to the 1933 Ohio Judicial Center and Supreme Court Building. This is another place I’ll have to return to in order to check out the interior and its grand hearing rooms. But for now, I am happy to enjoy the exterior – especially with bronze fish spouting water in front of it!

window Ohio justice center in columbus fish sculpture(Just watch out for the great hammer gavel of justice back in the courtyard!)

statue of gavelThe promenade follows along the river. On one side we have these and other classic buildings, on the other, the river with views of its bridges and the Veterans Memorial.

river with bridgesfountain and Veteran's Memorial

The promenade itself is a pleasant place, with fountains and flowers and welcoming benches.

Scioto River Walk in Columbus Ohio

Farther down, there is a great view of the downtown; dominated, of course, by the LeVeque Tower.

promanadeColumbus OhioThe Scioto Mile ends (or begins, depending on your starting point) at an enormous fountain – the kind that all but begs you to go play in it – in Bicentennial Park fountain fountainfountain fountain

Scioto Mile Fountain

The LaVeque Tower

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2 thoughts on “Wandering the Scioto Mile in Columbus, Ohio”

    1. Thanks, Leigh. It’s the black background that makes the photos look better, but I am slowly becoming a better photographer too. Ohio is mostly new territory for me too. It was nice to discover there is lots there – we have dear friends there, so hope to get back more often.

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