Aug 31, 2023 - News

Broad Street's history and most iconic landmarks

A historical marker for "The National Road" near the intersection of West Broad and North Wheatland streets. Photo: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

Broad Street has been a major thoroughfare for more than 200 years, features countless iconic landmarks and, not surprisingly, has been the site of major historical events.

Flashback: The first bridge over the Scioto River was built on Broad Street in 1816.

The intrigue: The National Road followed the 40th parallel (for latitude coordinates), hence Broad Street's other name — U.S. Route 40.

A historical mile marker for the Cumberland Road in the foreground in front of steps down to the Scioto River and the Columbus skyline in the background.
National Road mile markers can still be found along Broad Street, including this one, across from COSI. Photo: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

The big picture: Broad Street is also where the Northwest Army was headquartered during the War of 1812, where Confederate prisoners were held and where 11 governors have lived.

What else has happened on Broad Street:

🏛 1861: Abraham Lincoln spoke at the Statehouse and learned while in town he had officially won the presidency.

  • 1865: Lincoln's body lay in state inside the capitol building rotunda weeks after his assassination.

🏈 1927: National Football League headquarters moved to 16 E. Broad St. and remained there for 12 years.

Wendy's founder Dave Thomas holding a burger in front of a sign reading "Dave's Favourites."
When Dave Thomas was scoping out a location for his first Wendy's, he knew just the street to pick. Photo: Peter Power/Toronto Star via Getty Images

🍔 1969: Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy's restaurant at 257 E. Broad St.

ğŸŽï¸ 1985-1988: Drivers sped down Broad Street during the annual Columbus 500 races.

🌸 1992: Franklin Park hosted AmeriFlora '92, a gigantic (and expensive) horticultural exposition with plants from across the world.

President George H.W. Bush and comedian Bob hope sit in front of a flower arrangement.
President George H.W. Bush and comedian Bob Hope at the AmeriFlora '92 exhibition. Photo: Dirck Halstead/Getty Images

Go deeper: Lessons from a long walk down Broad Street, plus what's next for the corridor


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