A Guide to Frank Packard’s Broad Street Buildings

A walking tour of the best place to view the work of the legendary Columbus architect

Dave Ghose
Columbus Monthly

If you’re a local architecture buff, it’s hard to beat the stretch of Broad Street from East Franklinton to the Near East Side. There you’ll find landmarks like the Ohio Statehouse and LeVeque Tower, of course, but an underappreciated attribute is this: It’s ground zero for the work of Frank Packard, perhaps Columbus’ greatest and most prolific architect. Packard’s imprint can be seen all over the region, from the Sells House in Victorian Village to Orton Hall at Ohio State to Bryn Du Mansion in Granville, but nowhere is it more concentrated than along these 2.5 miles of Broad. With interesting walks in high demand during the pandemic, Columbus Monthly worked with the Ohio History Connection’s Barb Powers, a Packard expert, to put together this Broad Street tour of the architect’s extraordinary legacy. 

More:Columbus Monthly’s Best of Columbus 2021

Stop 1

Columbus Firefighters, Union Local 67, 379 W. Broad St., 1895 

Columbus Firefighters Union Local 67

The former Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad Station is one of the most distinctive buildings in Columbus, with its tile roof, flared eaves and pagodalike central tower. 

Stop 2

8 on the Square, 8 E. Broad St., 1906 

This Capitol Square condo complex, originally known as the Capital Trust Building, was the tallest structure in Columbus until the LeVeque Tower was built in 1927. 

Stop 3

Empire Building, 150 E. Broad St., 1924 

This eight-story building includes Gothic-inspired relief sculptures, ornamental metal panels and a vaulted lobby ceiling with decorative plasterwork. 

More:Frank Packard’s distinctive railroad station on West Broad Street

Stop 4

Franklin County Memorial Hall, 280 E. Broad St., 1906 

Now the home of various county agencies, Memorial Hall features classical Greek and Roman influences that characterize late-period Packard, Powers says. 

Stop 5

Seneca, 361 E. Broad St., 1917 

The city’s first high-rise hotel, restored into apartments in 2008, boasted lavish ballrooms and a rooftop garden when it was built. 

Stop 6 

Shiloh Christian Center, 787 E. Broad St., 1903 

Shiloh Christian Center

The former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church features a unified design, rich use of materials and elegant stonework and woodwork typical of Packard-designed churches, Powers says. 

Stop 7 

Columbus Foundation, 1234 E. Broad St., 1904 

The Columbus Foundation building

Businessman Charles Lindenberg hired Packard to design this ornate mansion, which later became the home for 10 governors and has housed the Columbus Foundation since 1987. 

Side Trip

The Atlas Apartments, 8 E. Long St., 1905 

Two blocks north of Broad and High sits this narrow, 12-story skyscraper with one of the most elaborate cornices in the city.