The former anchorwoman's new book reveals the city's hidden past.

Anietra Hamper didn't want to write some novelty book full of barely weird Columbus facts. Using skills honed as a TV news reporter, she dug through piles of documents and shook sources for info for her book, “Secret Columbus: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure.” Here's how she found the strange truths.

Ask for the oldest guy in the building.

Apologies to Hugh Dorrian, but the longtime city auditor (now retired) happened to have the most candles on his cake when Hamper went in search of an old air-raid shelter beneath City Hall. Dorrian remembered tunnels lined with crackers and giant drums of water, and sure enough, Hamper found those tunnels in a sub-basement.

Embrace aimless searching.

That's how Hamper found an insensitive 1959 city law that's still on the books: “No person, being in any way diseased, maimed, mutilated or deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object, shall expose himself to public view … for the purpose of soliciting alms or exciting sympathy, interest or curiosity.”

Read the boring stuff.

In the library, Hamper found a 1951 utilities report that mentioned garbage-eating pigs. It turned out that after its population boomed, Columbus had cast its excess trash before swine. The pigs feasted until health officials noticed an upswing in trichinosis, which led to city leaders building three giant holes in the ground—paving the way for the modern-day landfill.


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