The List: Other options for renaming Columbus

Joel Oliphint
About 50,000 people have signed a petition to change the name of Columbus to Flavortown in honor of celebrity chef Guy Fieri, who was born in Columbus.

Let’s pretend for a second that after all the statues of Christopher Columbus come down, the city actually decides to change its name. In that scenario, is Flavortown — a cheeky tribute to the king of frosted tips (sorry, Smashmouth), Guy Fieri — really the best we can do? Yes, the Food Network star was born here, and the petition has about 50,000 signatures, but maybe it’s better to be anonymous than a laughingstock.

If you, like me, are loath to embrace this bad joke of a name, here are some other options to consider.


It was the first American settlement in Franklin County, later annexed by Columbus. More than a century later, let’s take the opposite route and have Franklinton annex Columbus.


Rahsaan Roland Kirk was a Columbus-born jazz virtuoso. Sure, some people won’t know how to pronounce the name of this legend, but that hasn’t stopped Gallipolis from existing.


Vermont seems to have the market cornered on skoolies. Let’s get in on that action.


Songwriter Dwight Yoakam was born in Kentucky but raised in Columbus, graduating from Northland High School (and briefly attending Ohio State) in the ’70s. As far as I can tell he doesn’t come back to town much, but when’s the last time you saw Fieri in Columbus when a camera wasn’t around?

Land of Thunderbirds

Let’s bring Adam Hernandez’s mythical world to life. (Also a good excuse to cover the city with public art.)

Columbus Alive

Honestly, Alive could really use the promotional help, and instead of associating the name with Christopher (or, as his friends called him, “Chris”), citizens would instead recall the plucky alt-weekly that wouldn’t die, even when it was reduced to an online publication with two staffers.


“Ope” has become a treasured piece of Midwestern slang — that thing you instinctively say when you accidentally bump into someone (or even almost accidentally bump into them). Let’s embrace our awkwardly polite Midwestern-ness while also admitting we made a mistake with the whole name-the-city-after-a-pillaging-slave-trader thing.

On the Map

Every few months, some event or business or brand is billed as the thing that will put Columbus “on the map.” It’s both tiresome and stupid. Our city doesn’t need a singular thing to put it on the radar of coastal dwellers. It’s fine for a city to be a collection of interesting things rather than one giant signifier. Maybe the only way to put this argument to bed is to rename Columbus “On the Map.” Then we will actually, literally, be On the Map.