How metro Cleveland and Akron stack up against Buffalo, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit and Pittsburgh – 9/15/2017

How metro Cleveland and Akron stack up against Buffalo, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit and Pittsburgh
by Rich Exner
The link is here

Columbus is triple the size of Cleveland in area; answers to that and other census questions 5/23/2015

Great piece by Rich Exner from comparing Cleveland and Columbus

Columbus is triple the size of Cleveland in area; answers to that and other census questions 5/23/2015 

The link is here

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Columbus is nearly triple the size of Cleveland in terms of square miles.

That answers one question that commonly comes up every time the Census Bureau releases new population figures that show Columbus has far more people than Cleveland.

Yes, Columbus is growing. Yes, Columbus is the 15th largest city in the country. Yes, now at an estimated, 835,957 people, Ohio’s capital city is approaching 1 million in population.

And yes, to the chagrin of many proud Clevelanders, Columbus now has more than twice as many residents as Cleveland (389,521).

But population estimates are complicated for many reasons.

So, in the wake of the latest population figures released Thursday for every city in the United States, here are answers to some common questions.

Is Cleveland smaller in square miles than a lot of other major cities?

Yes. The only cities larger in population than Cleveland but smaller in square miles are Miami, San Francisco, Boston, Long Beach, California, and Washington, D.C..

Cleveland measures 77.7 square miles. Columbus is nearly triple the size at 217.2 square miles.

Put another way, Columbus is closer to the combined size of Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo (236.3 square miles). Cincinnati is 77.9 square miles and Toledo 80.7, according to the Census Bureau.

Columbus is by far the most populated city in Ohio at 835,957, but it’s not as densely populated as Cleveland.

The latest estimates place Cleveland at 5,013 people per square mile versus 3,849 for Columbus.

As for population, Cleveland (389,521), Cincinnati (298,165) and Toledo (281,031) total almost 1 million people (968,717).

How big are some of the growing cities elsewhere?

Columbus is not alone in topping 200 square miles.

Among the big cities that cover more ground are several from Texas. Austin is 305 square miles, Forth Worth and Dallas are 340 square miles each, San Antonio is 461 square miles and Houston is 600 square miles.

For a comparison, all of Cuyahoga County is 457 square miles.

The three largest cities in excess of 200,000 people are Anchorage (1,704 square miles), Jacksonville (747), Oklahoma City (606) and Houston (600).

Cleveland has so many suburbs. What about the region’s population?

Cuyahoga County remains the most populated county in Ohio, with 1,259,828, according to the latest estimates.

Franklin County (1,231,393) likely will grab that honor soon.

In terms of the metro area, Cuyahoga and the surrounding six counties have an estimated 2.8 million people, far more than the 1.9 million people in Franklin County and the six counties that surround it.

How are the estimates made?

The Census Bureau tries to account for everyone with its once-every-10-year census. In between, the bureau estimates populations.

At the county and state level, the estimates have proven to be very accurate. This is due, in part, to good tracking of births and deaths at the county level, as well as information about people who move from one county to the next.

The annual estimates for cities sometimes can be off. This is because the bureau uses a mix of new and old data to come up with city estimates, based in part on new estimates for housing units and old estimates for vacancy rates.

The Census Bureau first totals the populations for all cities, villages and townships in a county. The estimated population for each community is then adjusted up or down at the same rate so the total matches the estimate for the county.

What we found after the 2010 census is that the earlier estimates were often far off at the city level. But the estimates do offer the best accounting of people available until the next decennial census collections. The alternative is to rely on the 2010 numbers until 2020.

Rich Exner is data analysis editor for the Northeast Ohio Media Group

Why Mike Curtin’s retiring from politics May 13, 2016, Tom Knox Reporter Columbus Business First

Why Mike Curtin’s retiring from politics

May 13, 2016, 6:00am EDT

A political scribe’s pen can pack more wallop in Columbus than a politician, especially when the writer is an outnumbered Democrat in the conservative Ohio House of Representatives.

Mike Curtin knew what he was getting into in 2012, when he traded in his reporter’s hat for a seat on Capitol Square. The homegrown journalist who rose from reporter to president of Dispatch Printing Co., owner of the Columbus Dispatch, won election nearly four years ago to the 17th District that covers much of the Hilltop, Valleyview and other down-and-out west side neighborhoods.

Even as a lawmaker, Curtin kept penning political tomes, including recently updating the Ohio Politics Almanac with a third edition.

But legislating is a time-consuming job, especially in one of the poorest districts in Ohio. Curtin, who turns 65 this summer, won’t run for re-election this year so that he can spend more time traveling with his wife and watching his grandkids grow.

“And quite frankly, I want to research and write more,” Curtin said. “If I have a talent, it’s more of a journalistic talent than a policy maker talent.”

Curtin started in 1973 as a reporter at the Dispatch and focused mostly on politics. He rose through the ranks to become the daily newspaper’s editor and eventually vice chairman in 2005. Along the way, Curtin became one of the state’s most respected journalists. He retired in 2007 but consulted with the Wolfe family-owned newspaper until he began his short legislative career.

“I was the Jim Siegel of this place in the early to mid ’80s,” Curtin said, referencing the Dispatch’s current Statehouse reporter.

As a state legislator, Curtin noted just how stark partisanship can be, which he blames in part on gerrymandering. But that’s an obvious analysis for many who follow politics.

More nuanced might be his observation about law enforcement’s diminished status at Capitol Square. In the 1980s and ’90s, police-affiliated groups could flex considerable political muscle when they were united on issues like firearms legislation, Curtin said. Words of caution from the Fraternal Order of Police, Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police carried clout when they urged tighter regulations on guns.

“Today they’re patted on the heads and they (legislators) say, ‘Thank you very much for your input,’ ” Curtin said. “The attitude here is there ought to be no regulations. It’s a national trend in the Republican Party and certainly true here. Just the disdain for regulation – in my view reasonable regulation like background checks – that’s the biggest disappointment and biggest surprise.”

Indeed, a May 8 column by political writer Thomas Suddes identified utilities, banks, insurers, nursing home operators and oil and gas drillers – but not the police – as those with the most influence at the Statehouse.

Curtin thinks expanding term limits would help some of what ails policy making. Since 2000, Ohio lawmakers in both chambers have had their stays limited to eight years, though they can spend more time on Capitol Square through a loophole that allows them to switch between the Senate and House. Curtin would like to see the maximum extended to 12 years, preserving institutional knowledge on complex issues such as energy and the environment that can take up to five years to master.

“In my view we need the Ron Amstutzs, we need the Jack Ceras. We need the people who have the long view and understand how we got to where we are,” he said of the experienced Republican and Democratic representatives.

That’s a part of why Curtin wants to get back into explanatory journalism – taking a public policy issue and reaching back in time to explain how it came to be. He did that in the 1990s during the DeRolph v. State of Ohio school funding debate that ended in the state Supreme Court’s ruling Ohio’s funding mechanism was unconstitutional.

More recently, changing the composition of the Columbus City Council to 13 members from seven and moving to district representation are proposals ripe for the kind of analysis Curtin hopes to provide.

The Columbus Economic Portfolio (2014) By Alexander Tebben

The pdf is here

The Columbus Economic Portfolio (2014)

By Alexander Tebben

Through out its history the City of Columbus has enjoyed a strong stable economy, but it has never had the type of rapid economic expansion experienced by some of its neighbors. In the Great Lakes Region Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati grew to become economic powerhouses and reached impressive population numbers 1800s. Columbus’ economy has grown steadily and strong over the course of its two hundred and two years of existence. The economy of Columbus has grown steadily in that it never had the booms or busts of its neighbors and has become so strong that it has long been labeled ”recession proof”1. The country has experienced a great many periods of economic turmoil since Columbus’ founding in 1812 but Columbus has weathered them all. Currently, the city boasts a number of large corporate headquarters including American Electric Power, Nationwide Insurance, The L Brands (formerly the Limited). Columbus also is home to numerous world class research institutions such as: the Ohio State University, Chemical Abstracts, Ross Laboratories, Abbott Laboratories, and the Battelle Memorial Institute. The city boasts the headquarters national or major a facility for a number of banks including: Fifth Third, Huntington, and J.P. Morgan Chase2. There are a number of factors that have, throughout its history, contributed to the economic success of Columbus. These factors are primarily the city’s location, and its diversified economic portfolio.

All cities economies are shaped by their locations, as cities tend to be built on certain sites for a reason. Advantageous placement, such as near a lake or river could bring success to a city and shape its future. The Great Lakes Region was many major


cities; some of them were built next to lakes such as Chicago and Cleveland, others along rivers like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Over the course of their history Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati and Columbus have drawn many advantages from their location. Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati’s proximity to lakes and rivers would allow the cities to become bustling boomtowns by the middle of the nineteenth century. Columbus grew modestly during much of the nineteenth century, but never having the booms that its neighbors would. From the beginning Columbus’ neighbors had advantages it did not. Being on the shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland has easy access to trade with other Great Lakes ports3. Pittsburgh being further east was closer to the bustling East Coast and the confluence of the rivers meant that it was an important stop on trade routes west.4. Further west Cincinnati was the gateway to the western frontier as the Ohio River was one of the main routes for penetrating the country’s interior5. Columbus has no lake, and its rivers, the Scioto and Olentangy, were barely navigable. Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati’s economic history was strongly shaped by their waterways, Columbus’ story, on the other hand, is quite different and it was forced to forge its own different path.

Two facts, often quoted by the Columbus’ Department of Development reveal the foundation of Columbus’ economy. These facts are that Columbus is with five hundred miles of half the nation’s population, and no single industry dominates the city’s economy 6,7,8,9,10. While Columbus’ location does not reveal any obvious benefits like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati, its location did hugely impact the course of its economic development. The two facts above are both about the city are based largely based on the physical location of the city of Columbus. Columbus has been, and is, the nation’s crossroads. Though at its founding Columbus’ location was purely symbolic, it was at the


center of the state, however, this it would soon turn into a major factor in deciding the economic future of the city.

During the city’s first twenty years of existence from 1812 and 1832 Columbus’ economy was mainly focused on fulfilling its role as the state capital. Being the state capital would mean that the city would always have government as a major driver in the cities economy. In addition to being a seat of government, Columbus also had to meet the needs of the visiting legislators11. Legislators needed housing, and food and supplies; this would also be the start of the tradition of a service industry that remains strong today12. The role that government has played in Columbus’ economy has grown as the city ages 13. Not only is the city the capital of the state and the seat of Franklin County, but it is also a city that stretches for over 200 square miles and across three counties. Today Columbus has city, state, county, and federal offices, which make government the single largest employers in the city. According to the City of Columbus government accounts for eighteen percent of the jobs in the city or 158000 of the 904000 jobs in the city14. High government employment has also given the city an industry to lean on in times of economic turmoil15.

In 1834 Columbus’ population reached the four thousand mark and it officially became a city 16. While still small by 1834 Columbus’ location had become vastly more important since 1831 when the National Road reached the city, and a feeder canal to the Ohio and Erie Canal opened. According to Columbus historian Alfred Lee these to advancements ushered in “ [a] new era of trade and travel of material and social progresses…[and] commercially speaking {were] a revolution”17,. For the first time there was now an easy and reliable way to reach the city. Connection to the national road


opened the city to trade with the heavily populated east to the ever-growing western frontier. The canal opened the city to trade ranging from Canada to Mississippi 18, 19. Truly Columbus was now a crossroads. For the beginning, its location on the trade routes had a dramatic impact on Columbus economy, travel the city was now easy, and many people and goods were passing through the city going east, west, north and south. For the first time it was simple for trade between all of Ohio’s main cities, goods from Cleveland could be sent down the canal through Columbus to end up in Cincinnati. At the head of the canal Cleveland’s markets gained a boost as goods flowed to the city to make their way south, Cincinnati’s position as the gateway to the west was enhanced as goods to go west were now easily obtained. In between Cleveland and Cincinnati was Columbus which began to realize its valuable location. One could not get to one town from the other without traveling through Columbus. This meant that goods in Columbus had the unique position of being able to go in either direction. Not only did Columbus get a boost from all of the individuals now moving to the city, but it also opened up the market to Columbus’ goods. Shortly after the Canal reached the city prices for Columbus’ farm goods doubled and demand for wood from the city skyrocketed20.

Not only did demand for Columbus goods increase their prices, but also in response to the large amounts of freight entering and leaving the city, entrepreneurs found new ways to simplify the trade process and turn a profit. Warehouses and distribution centers and shipped products while wholesalers made it so that large amounts of products could be sold at the best prices. From the 1830s onward, distribution and storage would be a major driver in Columbus economy21. This is where being located within 500 miles of half the nation’s population came into play. Though in


the 1830s it was an even higher percentage of the population. Being that closes to half the population means that goods shipped from Columbus can quickly reach much of the nation’s population, this meant that Columbus was a perfect location for storage, distribution and wholesale. By the turn of the 20th Columbus had its own warehouse district located northeast of Downtown. The importance of wholesale can be demonstrated by the number of hardware wholesalers have had locations in Columbus, including Timken, Buckeye Roller Bearings, Berry Brothers Bolt Works, among others22, 23. Shortly after World War I, again, due to the city’s location, the federal government greatly increased their presence in the Columbus economy, as they located a Defense Construction Supply Center (DCSC) here in the city24. Not only did the placement of DCSC in Columbus boast its economy, but also demonstrated the value of the city’s location. As the 20th century moved forward newer distribution centers would be placed in the city including J.C. Penny, Sears (the largest single roof warehouse building in the world) and Eddie Bauer (its only distribution center not located at its headquarters)25. Distribution is still alive today in Columbus, the city even boasts one of the only cargo only airports in the world, Rickenbacker International Airport 26. Distribution and wholesale currently makes up 4% of the Columbus economic profile or 37300 jobs27.

Columbus, to a large degree, owes its heavy industry to the railroads. When the Columbus and Xenia Railroad made its entrance into Columbus in 1851 a new phase in the city’s economic development had begun. 28, 29, 30. Links to other cities by canal and road were a start but now Columbus was linked by rail to a much larger trade system. Railroads could ship a much high volume of goods at a greatly increased rate than canal or road. Cities were now hubs on an interconnected web of rail lines. Once again Columbus


was placed at a crossroads, which opened up many new economic opportunities for the city. The nation had grown larger since the National Road and Erie Canal entered Columbus and the railroads linked the city with a much greater trade system than ever before. Trains also linked Columbus to the bountiful natural resources that Ohio has to offer.

The first trains connected Columbus to the rich coalfields in southeastern Ohio to the Great Lakes and access to the ore being mined in Minnesota31. With trains ores mined in Minnesota could be efficiently brought to Columbus and even Cincinnati, via the Great Lakes and a stop in Cleveland. The 1850s through the 1870s saw new train routes entering the city, routes that would cross through from Pennsylvania in the east on the way to the major cities of Chicago and St. Louis in the west. The Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad line (the Panhandle route) of the Pennsylvania Railroad, became on of the largest and busiest routes between, as its name implies, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis, though it traveled through Columbus. Between north and south, east and west Columbus was the hub 32, 33.

Access to coal and ore allowed Columbus’ manufacturing industry to grow immensely. According to historian Alfred Lee “to such lands as these [the coalfields] unlocked by science, made accessible by railways and utilized by invention…Columbus owes chiefly her industrial consequences.” 34. Coal from the south poured into Columbus’ factories as did metal from the north. Though manufacturing might become a driving force in Columbus’ economy, city’s location would help ensure that neither it nor any other industry would dominate Columbus’ economic landscape35. Unlike Pittsburgh,


which was located near coalfields, or Cleveland, which had access to ores around the Great Lakes, and Cincinnati which had access to metals from the blast furnaces east on the Ohio River Columbus is located hundreds of miles from where the metals and coal were being mined making it inconvenient, and impracticable, to ship raw materials to the city 36, 37, 38. Much of the refining was done closer to the sources, meaning that processing the ores and coal would be the driving factor in economies close to the sources, but not in Columbus. This is part of the reason that heavy industry became the main driving force behind Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati, but not Columbus. During the major expansion of railroads from the 1850s through the 1880s Cleveland and Pittsburgh experienced periods of extremely rapid growth. The proximity to metals and speed of railroad shipping allowed Cleveland to go from a city about the size of Columbus at just over seventeen thousand residents to a population of a hundred and sixty thousand39. The lure of Pittsburgh’s heavy industry allowed that city to grow from over eighty six thousand residents to over five hundred and thirty thousand40. Columbus was, however, at the center of many trade routes and its factories obtained much of the refined ores and coal, from cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh, which were in turn used to create finished products41. Even though Columbus would not have the boom that its regional neighbors did from heavy industry it still could benefit from it. Columbus during this time was able to grow to a city of over fifty thousand residents42.

During the 1880s and 1890s Columbus grew to be an industrial powerhouse, though not quite on par with Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Cincinnati. Columbus instead focused on making finished products and the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company and the Columbus Buggy Company were able to allow the city to become the largest producer of


mining equipment and horse drawn buggies in the world 43, 44. Until World War I Columbus manufacturing continued relatively unchanged. The Great Depression struck Columbus’ manufacturing industry heavily, and it would not be until World War II when Columbus manufacturing took off again. Even though heavy industry ground to almost a halt during the Depression, Columbus managed to make it through better than Cleveland or Pittsburgh. Columbus’ economy depended much less on heavy manufacturing than its neighbors meaning that its economy could be supported by the other industries45. Decisions made by the Federal Government during World War II helped to revitalize Columbus economy. During the war the Federal Government decided to place the Curtiss Wright airplane plant in the Columbus (once again due to the city’s centralized location), this would spur new manufacturing again in the city after the war46. By the end of World War II, in part due to the work of Columbus Mayor James Rhodes Westinghouse, GM Motors would take up residence in Columbus. By the 1950s Western Electric and North American Aviation (replacing Curtiss Wright) would have homes in Columbus 47, 48, Columbus is not located in an area that would lend itself to primarily focusing on heavy industry. Because of this and the fact that manufacturing entered Columbus’ economic portfolio comparatively late it never dominated the city. Rather manufacturing, would simply add another pillar on which Columbus’ economic health would rest. In contrast to Columbus cities such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati would experience huge jobs losses during the 1970s and 1980s. In part due to increased competition from overseas as a result of an increasing amount of globalization, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati all faced crisis in their manufacturing sectors 49, 50, 51. . Today manufacturing makes up seven percent of the jobs in Columbus, with sixty three thousand workers 52.


The confluence of train routes at Columbus also opened other avenues for economic growth for the city. Trade and industry brought new money and people to the city of Columbus. To cope with the influx of wealth into the city Columbus has developed a strong financial industry. It was in the 1866s that Huntington Bank started53. Many major banks call Columbus home, or have a major facility here. Huntington and Fifth Third each have their own skyscraper downtown, and J.P. Morgan Chase has a large processing building. Insurance entered the Columbus market heavily in the 1920s when the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation incorporated the insurance Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. In the 1950s the Company change its name to Nationwide Insurance. Today Nationwide is a Fortune 100 company that employs over eleven thousand and controls multiply blocks downtown by their corporate headquarters54, 55. Many other insurance companies call Columbus home including the Grange. Finance is a particularly strong pillar in Columbus’ economic portfolio as the city has a high percentage of financial jobs as compared to the rest of the country 56. Today the financial industry makes up seven percent of Columbus jobs with over sixty eight thousand employees57.

Included in Columbus diverse economic profile are the fields of research and technology. Columbus, in part owes its strong research tradition to its history of manufacturing. Columbus is home to the Battelle Memorial Institute, which is the single largest non-profit institution in the world58. Battelle Memorial founder Gordon Battelle at one time worked in his fathers steel mills learning the arts of metallurgy and left his bequest to found a foundation that sought to advance the metallurgy field, though it left room for scientific advances in general. During the 1950s Battelle worked to produce the electrostatic copying processes that are now used in all copiers. The early work with


Xerox produced vast sums of money that were used to transform the small facility into the massive research facility that it is today 59,60. Today Battelle employs over two thousand employees and is magnet for researchers coming to Columbus from all over the world61. Columbus is also home to many other world class research institutions. Ross Laboratories, maker of formulas and nutritional supplements had got its start in 1903. Today Ross Laboratories in now a part of Abbott Nutrition and is a leading researcher into diet and nutrition62. Chemical Abstracts Services (part of the American Chemical Society) started in 1907 and is now is the largest compiler of chemical formulas63. Demonstrating how important research is to Columbus’ economy is the fact that Battelle, Abbott Nutrition, and Chemical Abstracts are the 19th, 21st and 34th largest employers in the city, respectively64.

Closely related to research is the technology field. In 2008 Columbus was rated by Forbes as the number one Up and Coming Tech City in the nation65. The area in and around Columbus contains two thousand science and technology firms and institutions meaning that the city is a large magnet for those seeking positions in the technology field 66.. Indicative of Columbus tech potential is the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). Founded in 1967 OCLC sought to bring technology to libraries, using computers for cataloging. Today OCLC’s CONTENTdm is used by many major museums, and its WorldCat connects libraries across the globe67. Companies such as OCLC are anchors for Columbus’ technology field and will help it advance in the future.

No discussion of research would be complete with out mentioning the Ohio State University. From its small beginnings in 1873 until now the Ohio State University


continues to provide a large financial impact on the City of Columbus. Though the various governments combined provide a larger number of jobs, the Ohio State University is the largest employer in Columbus as a single entity, with a total just short of thirty thousand full time positions68. Between tuition, spending by students, visitors, and athletic game attendees, it is estimated that the Ohio State University has an impact of 2.4 billion dollars to the Columbus economy69.

Rounding out Columbus economic portfolio is its retail industry. Though Columbus has always had a certain amount of retail, Alfred Lee lists in depth the stores available to the early residents; it was not until the 1950s and 1960s that retail joined the ranks of the major industries70. Columbus itself experienced tremendous growth in area during the 1950s and 60s as Mayor Sensenbrenner and the City Council pursued a policy of aggressive annexation. As the city grew so to did demand for new commercial outlets. Prior to this time retail was mainly focused Downtown with the department store Lazarus as the anchor71. With annexation came a rise in new retail and service jobs in the city, particularly on the city’s peripheries, a trend that continues today72. It was during this time that Columbus’ retail future was made, not only was there was a shift to near suburban shopping , but also many of the present retail moguls got their start during this period. Leslie Wexner, whose Limited Brands would become a driving forces in Columbus’ commercial field by the end of the 20th century opened his first store in 1963 73.
Today eleven percent of Columbus’ jobs are in the retail field with ninety six thousand employees 74.


Leading into the 21st century Columbus boasts an economy based on government, research, education, finance, and retail. The diverse portfolio of economic drivers has helped Columbus maintain a stable economic course through out its history. When one pillar of the economy is weak the others remain to stabilize the city75. At the beginnings of the 21st century Columbus’ economy has be a bright spot in the Midwest. While its neighbors Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati all suffered massive declines during the 20th century Columbus has remained constantly growing. Consistently Columbus now outperforms its region and the United States in many metrics measuring economic health76. With a sound economy built on many different pillars Columbus’ economic story illustrates how to weather economic storms. Columbus’ resilience in the face of economic troubles is evidenced in the fact that as of January 2013 it was the only city in the Midwest to regain the jobs lost during the Great Recession. The situation for Columbus’ neighbors has been improving since the latest economic downturn. Lately Columbus’s neighbors have all been diversifying their economic portfolios. The Great Lakes region has been experiencing a rapid growth in the number knowledge based jobs versus, manufacturing jobs, jobs that do well when the manufacturing sector is suffering78. In recent years, particularly following the Great Recession, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh have begun leaving their heavy manufacturing past behind and have been focused on a wider range of industries. Great strides have been made in all three cities in the areas of business services, finance, and healthcare79, 80, 81. The future will see a region of cities with numerous strong avenues of economic development, cities that in many ways mirror the City of Columbus.



1.) Reader’s Digest (1959) Inside Test City USA: Report of a Study in Columbus Ohio Pleasant City New York: Reader’s Digest Association

2.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Corporate Success

3.) Ohio History Central. Cleveland Ohio. Ohio Historical Society
Accessed at,_Ohio

4.) Dietrich II, William. A Very Brief History of Pittsburgh. (Fall 2008) Pittsburgh Quarterly. Accessed at history-of-pittsburgh.html

5.) Ohio History Central. Cincinnati, Ohio. Ohio Historical Society Accessed at,_Ohio

6.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Corporate Success

7.) Fee, Kyle. Holston, Kathryn (2013) The Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Economic Trends

8.) Columbus Chamber of Commerce (1987) Information Guide 1987 Columbus Ohio: Columbus Chamber of Commerce

9.) Ohio State University Bureau of Business Research (1966 or 7) The Columbus Area Economy Structure and Growth 1950-1985. Its Monograph no.126 Columbus Ohio: Ohio State University
10.) Columbus Ohio, Department of Development. Planning Division ( 1977)Columbus as a Warehouse and Distribution Center
11.) Lee, Alfred (1892) The History of the City of Columbus Volume I New York and Chicago: Munsell and Company

12.) Ohio State University Bureau of Business Research (1966 or 7)

13.) Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce (1976) Columbus ’76 An Economic Symposium for Business Leaders Concerning the Future of Columbus Ohio Columbus, Ohio: Columbus Area Chamber of Commence

14.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Employment by Sector Accessed at

15.) Reader’s Digest (1959)
16.) Ohio History Central. Columbus, Ohio. Ohio Historical Society Accessed at,_Ohio?rec=689 17.) Lee, Alfred (1892) pg. 320
18.) Lee, Alfred (1892) Vol I
19.) Columbus, Ohio(1986) Columbus Economic Resource Profile
20.) Lee, Alfred (1892)
21.) Ohio State University Bureau of Business Research (1966 or 7)

22.) Columbus, Ohio (1986)

23.) Ohio State University Bureau of Business Research (1966 or 7)

24.) Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce (1976)

25.) Columbus, Ohio, City of. (1988) Discover the Columbus Opportunity Columbus, Ohio

26.) Columbus Regional Airport Authority(2013) Rickenbacker International Airport: Airport Overview overview/

27.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Employment by Sector

28.) Lee, Alfred (1892) The History of the City of Columbus Volume II New York and Chicago: Munsell and Company

29.) Columbus, Ohio (1986) Columbus Economic Resource Profile

30.) Ohio State University Bureau of Business Research (1966 or 7)

31.) Lee, Alfred (1892) Vol. II.
32.) Ibid

33.) Ohio State University Bureau of Business Research (1966 or 7)

34.) Lee, Alfred (1892) Vol. II Pg. 315

35.) Lee, Alfred (1892) Vol II
36.) Ohio History Central. Cleveland Ohio. Ohio Historical Society Accessed at,_Ohio 37.) Dietrich II, William. (Fall 2008)

38.) Ohio History Central. Cincinnati, Ohio. Ohio Historical Society Accessed at,_Ohio

39.) Smith, Harvey. Annual Report of the Secretary of State to the Governor and the General Assembly of the State of Ohio for the Year Ending June 30, 1921. Kelly Springfield Printing Company. Springfield, Oh. 1921

40.) Dietrich II, William. (Fall 2008)

41.) Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce (1976)

42.) Smith, Harvey (1921)
43.) Columbus, Ohio(1986)
44.) Lee, Alfred (1892) Vol. II

45.) Lentz, Ed. Columbus: The Story of A City. Arcadia Publishing. Charleston, Sc. 2003

46.) Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce (1976)
47.) Ohio State University Bureau of Business Research (1966 or 7)

48.) Lentz, Ed. (2003)

49.) David Stradling, Cincinnati: From River City to Highway Metropolis Arcadia Publishing. Charleston, Sc. 2003

50.) Dietrich II, William. (Fall 2008)

51.) Warf, Barney. Holly, Brian. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Cleveland.(May 1997) Annals of the American Society for Political and Social Sciences. Vol . 551

52.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Employment by Sector 53.) Huntington National Bank (2013) About Huntington

54.) Nationwide Insurance (2013) Nationwide’s Corporate History.

55.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Major Employers

56.) Fee, Kyle. Holston, Kathryn (2013)

57.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Employment by Sector

58.) Battelle Memorial Institute (2013) About Us

59.) Battelle Memorial Institute How to Change the World Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Memorial Institute.

60.) Dessour, John (1971) My Years with Xerox: The Billions Nobody Wanted Garden City N.Y. Doubleday and Company

61.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Major Employers

62.) Abbott Nutrition (2013) About Us

63.) American Chemical Society(2013) CAS History

64.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Major Employers

65.) Forbes (2008) Top Ten up and Coming Tech Cities cx_wp_0310smallbizoutlooktechcity_slide_2.html

66.) Columbus 2020 (2013) Science and Technology in the Columbus Region

67.) OCLC (2013) History of the Corporation

68.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Major Employers

69.) University Communications, The Ohio State University (2012) Economic Impact

70.) Reader’s Digest (1959)


72.) Bush, B. (2011, March 11) Census Shows Columbus’ Growth was Uneven. The Columbus Dispatch columbus-growth-was-uneven.html

73.)_ Limited Brands (2013) Our Founder

74.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Employment by Sector 75.) City of Columbus Dept of Development (2013) Corporate Success

76.)Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Columbus- Leading the State to Recovery (2013) Accessed at


77.)Business First. Columbus, Only Midwest City to Regain Jobs Lost to Great Recession. (1/15/13) American City Business Journals Accessed at only- midwest-city-to-regain.html?ana=e_du_pub&s=article_du&ed=2013-01-15

78.)Elvery, Joel. Brain Hubs and Manufactoring in the Fourth District (2013) Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Accessed at

79.)Schneieder, Keith, An Ohio River City Comes Back to its Shoreline (06/05/12) New York Times

80.) Venkatu, Guhan. Pittsburgh Labor Market (2013) Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Accessed at

81.) Warf, B. Holly, B. (1997)

Annexation and Mayor Sensenbrenner The Story of How Columbus Grew to be the Largest City in Ohio By Alexander Tebbens

columbus_annexation1950-1980-oh-wesleyan-univThe pdf is here

Annexation and Mayor Sensenbrenner

The Story of How Columbus Grew to be the Largest City in Ohio

By Alexander Tebbens

Since its founding over two hundred years ago, the success of the City of Columbus has never been a given. Due to its lacking entirely navigable rivers and many natural resources that drive a city’s growth, Columbus has been overshadowed by Ohio’s other large cities, Cleveland and Cincinnati, for much of its history. During the latter half of the twentieth century, however, Columbus experienced an era of unprecedented growth. Since 1954, Columbus has grown to become Ohio’s largest city both in land area and population. The growth has allowed Columbus enough economic stability to have remained relatively untroubled by the recent recession as compared to other Ohio cities1. Columbus’ success is linked to its growth, which is itself linked to the policies of Maynard (Jack) E. Sensenbrenner, Columbus’ mayor from 1954 to 1960 and from 1964 to 1972.

In the years following World War II, there was a general exodus across the country from cities to the suburbs. Residents leaving for the suburbs took a toll on their former cities. Property and income tax bases declined steeply and businesses failed as people preferred to shop close to their new homes instead of venturing downtown. Growing suburbs also began to encircle cities, which cut them off from further growth. By the 1950s, the migration to the suburbs was already underway in Ohio’s cities2. In 1954 Columbus elected a new mayor whose leadership team knew that Columbus did not have to end up strangled by its suburbs. Mayor Sensenbrenner made it the central goal of his administration to keep his city healthy and safe from its suburbs.

Columbus City Council and Mayor Sensenbrenner’s solution to the problem of suburban growth was simple and led to policies that would cause Sensenbrenner to “put a greater stamp on Central Ohio than any [other] human being,” according to City Auditor Hugh Dorrian. The solution was simply that Columbus would outgrow its suburbs. There was a large amount of unincorporated land surrounding the city and this was where people were moving. If the City of Columbus could annex this land, then it, and not the suburbs, would be the beneficiary of those residents. Adding new land would not only add new residents to the city, but it would also expand the city’s tax base and provide new commercial and industrial centers. State laws in Ohio made annexation difficult, however Mayor Sensenbrenner and the Columbus City Council knew that they had a powerful tool at their disposal. In Central Ohio most smaller towns and townships could not afford to create and maintain their own water and sewer infrastructure. For a fee, in fact, it was Columbus that was providing water and sewer services and infrastructure to its own suburbs and adjacent townships 5. By controlling access to water and sewer systems, the City of Columbus could control growth in Central Ohio.

In March and April, 1954 the Columbus City Council passed two sweeping resolutions that would form the base for its many years of growth and transformation. On March 8th, 1954, the Columbus City Council passed, and Mayor Sensenbrenner approved, a resolution that stated “To preserve the city’s water supply for the benefit of residents of Columbus…no further extensions of existing water mains of no additional taps be made except in territories annexed to Columbus” because “ an emergency exists in the usual daily operation of the Department of Public Service, Division of Water, in that it is immediately necessary to make provisions for the conservation of the water supply for the inhabitants of the City of Columbus”6. The following month on April 5th 1954 the Columbus City council passed and Mayor Sensenbrenner approved a second resolution that would also have a profound effect on the growth of the city. The April 5 resolution declared that “ To protect the health of the residents of Columbus…no further extensions of existing sewer mains, trunks, and laterals, or no additional taps be made in territories outside the corporate limits of the City of Columbus, except in territories annexed to Columbus”7.

On the surface, the resolutions of March and April 1954 make it seem that Mayor Sensenbrenner and the Columbus City Council were merely concerned about the wellbeing of the residents of Columbus. The texts of the resolutions seem to explicitly state that their purposes were to ensure that residents of the city have sufficient water during a so-called “emergency” water shortage and to prevent the spread of disease by creating fewer sewer lines. A closer look at the texts reveals that this interpretation is not entirely correct. The resolutions clearly state that the city cannot keep extending water lines to suburbs because of the water shortage, and more sewer lines because of health concerns. Both resolutions also clearly state that the only exception to their prohibition on new water and sewer lines would be for areas that are annexed by the city. In circumstances of annexation, the city was “required by law” to provide the new territories with water and sewer lines 8,9. If there truly were a shortage of water for the city, then adding lines anywhere should exacerbate the shortage regardless of whether or not the land was annexed. Also, if concerns about public health were keeping the city from extending sewer lines, it is unclear as to how extending lines to newly annexed areas would be any less of a public health hazard than to non-annexed areas. On the day following the April 5th resolution, the Columbus Citizen Journal noted the true reason for the resolutions that “ the legislation had been advocated to encourage annexation of outlying areas”10.

Not only did the resolutions of March and April 1954 overstate how dire the water and sewer situation was in Columbus, they also left out an important detail about how the city interacted with its suburbs. In theory, following the resolutions would result in no further water or sewer lines except in areas annexed to Columbus. In practice, however, Columbus’ water and sewer policy was much more complicated than the resolutions implied. In fact, the city had designated service areas in which they would provide water and sewer services to its suburbs. These service areas allowed for space for the suburbs to grow but ensured that there were gaps between them so that Columbus would always have avenues for its own growth11. Providing services to the suburbs was a large source of revenue for Columbus as it charged premiums for water and sewer services outside of its boundaries. The revenue collected from the premiums actually helped fuel Columbus’ annexation campaigns. Funds collected from providing services to the suburbs were used to build and expand the infrastructure in areas that were annexed into Columbus12.

The year 1954 would be the trial run for the annexation campaign. The City of Columbus’ annual report on 1954 states that the city was forty square miles in 1950 and in 1954 it grew by 2.768 square miles- the largest amount of annexed property since 192913. The annual report of 1954 also describes the Columbus’ Master Plan towards annexation and reveals the strategies employed by the City Council and Mayor Sensenbrenner. At first the city proposed a one-shot solution to completely solve its problem of the suburbs. The city first tried annexation referendums on entire surrounding townships. The referendums failed and the city was forced to adjust its strategy. The city’s new strategy would be to try to entice smaller areas to petition for annexation. The City of Columbus actively campaigned to make annexation seem more desirable including the creation of annexation checklists that described annexations advantages to residents14.

Throughout the mid and late 1950s, the City of Columbus grew at an unprecedented rate. In 1955 the city added 9.8 square miles, which was the largest addition to the city ever15. Also in 1955, The Ohio General Assembly made for many the annexation decision a little easier. The law was changed so that people were no longer required to switch school districts if their hometown or city changed. This allowed residents in areas annexed by the city to gain the benefits of being part of the city but let them keep their old school district16. The new law gave a new reason to pursue annexation, getting the benefits of living in Columbus, while not having to deal with city schools. The next year the city added 12.26 square miles and surpassed of the previous year’s record17. By the end of 1957 Columbus had more than doubled its 1950 size. It was noted in the city’s annual report for 1957 that annexation was growing in popularity as residents in the surrounding townships voiced their desire for access to city services such as efficient fire and police departments18. In 1959 Sensenbrenner lost his bid for mayoral reelection. In Sensenbrenner’s absence annexation slowed and fewer than six square miles were added in the next four years19, 20, 21, 22. The rate of annexation took off again when Sensenbrenner once again took up the office of Mayor in 1964, that year 8.25 square miles were added23. By the end of 1971, and Sensenbrenner’s last year as mayor, the City of Columbus had grown to 168.79 square miles. Leaving office in 1972 Sensenbrenner left behind a city that was more than four times larger than the one he took charge of in 195424.

Through annexation, Columbus gained not only land, but also additional population, new commercial centers, and it achieved Sensenbrenner’s initial goal of escaping strangulation by its suburbs25. Under Mayor Sensenbrenner the city also finally outgrew Cincinnati and Cleveland in size, to become the city with the largest area in Ohio. The City of Columbus now takes up nearly all of Franklin County and stretches into Delaware, Union, and Licking counties. In many cases, the city has engulfed its own suburbs26. Suburbs that Mayor Sensenbrenner was concerned about cutting off Columbus, such as Upper Arlington, Bexely, Grandview, Worthington, and Westerville now are all completely or nearly completely surrounded by Columbus27.

On the surface, Sensenbrenner’s policy of aggressive annexation appears to have been an overwhelming success. Columbus is now over 225 square miles, and has prevented itself from being engulfed by its suburbs 28. Discussion of the history of Columbus’ annexation policy often focuses on its successes, how it grew to an unprecedented size, thrived economically and beat back the approaching suburbs. Hidden within the successes, however, are some very unflattering facts about the city’s growth. Between 1950 and 2000 the city added around 357,000 residents. For the past decade, the main population growth in Columbus has been on the northern and eastern boundaries, particularly near new shopping areas such as Polaris Fashion Mall and Easton Town Center29. The city’s largest shopping areas are no longer at its middle but at its peripheries30. In the areas that made up the city in 1956, there was actually a loss of around one hundred thousand individuals31. Areas that were once in or near the core of the city, such as Franklinton, the Hilltop, the Near East Side and Linden, have all experienced drops in population32. Perhaps Columbus is no longer in danger of being strangled by the suburbs but it had been in the process of strangling itself. Until recently, with each push outward the city has increasingly become a shell around an empty center. During the periods of annexation, the City of Columbus chased development on its edges and often neglected its center. In recent years, however, the city has been aggressively pushing for revitalization in its core areas. These revitalization pushes have begun to yield two bright spots of growth in the city’s center. Between the years 2000 and 2010, Downtown and the area named the Short North, have gained between 500 and 2500 residents33. Since the 1980s, the Short North neighborhood has evolved into the city’s thriving arts district34. In 2010, the City of Columbus enacted a strategic plan to cultivate its downtown. The plan involves creation of more housing, parks and attractions, and new business in the heart of the city35. After years of neglect, the center of the City of Columbus is starting the process of filling itself in again.

For nearly fifty years Mayor Sensenbrenner’s annexation policy was the standard operating procedure for Columbus and for the most part it has worked. In 2003, however, Mayor Michael Coleman introduced a change in the policy with a plan dubbed “Pay as you Grow”. Under the new policy developers and residents of new annexations have to bear some of the infrastructure costs associated with adding that land to the city36. Mayor Coleman explained that aggressive annexation is no longer needed, as the danger of the city being encased by the suburbs has passed. Mayor Coleman argued that the city’s prior annexation policy put a strain on city taxpayers, as it was ultimately they who had to pay for the additional water and sewer lines and other infrastructure added to annexations37. In recent years the rate of annexation has slowed, and some suburbs are now adding land at a faster pace than Columbus38. Mayor Sensenbrenner’s annexation policy may have propelled the City of Columbus past its suburbs from the 1950s, but there are new dangers encountered by the city. Columbus’ fifty years of growth has brought it into contact with a new set of suburbs. Towns such New Albany and the area of Orange Township are so far from downtown that they would never have been considered a threat by Sensenbrenner, yet are growing both in land and population at an accelerated pace 39, 40. Only time will tell if Columbus will be able to out-maneuver this new set of suburbs.


1.) Hallett, J., Johnson, A., Niquette, M. (2007, December 9) Columbus- The Bright Spot Among Ohio’s Biggest Cities isn’t Immune to Problems and isn’t Keeping up with its Peers Nationwide. The Columbus Dispatch, pp. 01A

2.) City of Columbus (1957) Annual Report Department of Public Services.

3.) Ferenchick, M. (2009, June 8) Harrison W. Smith Jr. Hones Legacy on City’s Growth The Columbus Dispatch.

4.) Howlett, J., Johnson, A., Niquette. M., (2007)

5.) Ibid.

6.) City of Columbus (1954) City Council Resolution, March 8.

7.) City of Columbus (1954) City Council Resolution, April 5.

8.) City of Columbus (1954) City Council Resolution, March 8.

9.) City of Columbus (1954) City Council Resolution, April 5.

10.) (1954, April 6) Out-of-City Water, Sewer Rates to Rise. Columbus Citizen Journal.

11.) Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission (1977) A Checklist for Evaluating Annexation 

12.) Arthur D. Little Inc, Consultants to Department of Development, City of Columbus (1970) Annexation Issues and Recommendations- The Columbus Plan 1970-1960, Implementation Study No. 6

13.) City of Columbus (1954) Annual Report Department of Public Services

14.) Ibid.

15.) City of Columbus (1955) Annual Report Department of Public Services.

16.) South Western City Schools (2010) The Win-Win Agreement Retreived at:

17.) City of Columbus (1956) Annual Report Department of Public Services.

18.) City of Columbus (1957) Annual Report Department of Public Services.

19.) City of Columbus (1960) Annual Report Department of Public Services.

20.) City of Columbus (1961) Annual Report Department of Public Services.

21.) City of Columbus (1962) Annual Report Department of Public Services.

22.) City of Columbus (1963) Annual ReportDepartment of Public Services.

23.) City of Columbus (1964 ) Annual Report Department of Public Services.

24.) City of Columbus (1971) Annual Report Department of Public Services.

25.) Howlett, J., Johnson, A., Niquette. M., (2007)

26.) Gebolys, D. (2008, February 4) Stunted Growth- Columbus Still Has an Appetite for Annexation, but it’s Swallowing up Land Much Slower Lately. The Columbus Dispatch. Pp. 01B

27.) Ferenchick, M. (2003, November 22) Builders have Questions about Mayor’s Growth Ideas- Developers, Residents Would Help Pay Cost on the City’s Edge. The Columbus Dispatch. Pp. 05C

28.) Bush, B. (2011, March 11) Census Shows Columbus’ Growth was Uneven. The Columbus Dispatch Retrieved at:

29.) Howlett, J., Johnson, A., Niquette. M., (2007)

30.) Bush, B. (2011)

31.) Howlett, J., Johnson, A., Niquette. M., (2007)

32.) Bush, B. (2011)

33.) City of Columbus (2010) Department of Development Planning Division. City of Columbus 2000-2010 Change for Total Population.

34.) Duffy, J. (2012, August 7) In Columbus, Ohio, an Arts Belt is Thriving New York Times. Retrieved at:

35.) City of Columbus (2010) 2010 Downtown Strategic Plan Executive Summary. Retrieved at:

36.) Ferenchik, M. (2003)

37.) Ibid.

38.) Gebolys, D (2008)

39.) Lyttle, E. (2013, September 3) New Albany Growth Marches on Toward Licking County. The Columbus Dispatch Retrieved at:

40.) Orange Township (2010) Land Use Plan Chapter 2: Demographic Trends Retrieved at:


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