The City by the Bay and The City of Arches seem so disparate in their dealings and yet after living in both places I find myself seeing so many similarities—the two cities should be respected for their individual essences as those essences are what make each place so special.

Columbus was founded in 1812, almost 36 years after San Francisco and those 36 years really denote a vast difference in growth and maturity—but Columbus is trying to catch up to “big sister.”

To segment the greater Columbus area into a manageable grouping, to parallel that of some of the 7×7 (46 or so square miles) of San Francisco, we will journey along a 1.3-mile stretch (roughly 2 square miles) from Rich Street at South High Street to 5th Ave at North High Street and a bit beyond those boundaries.

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According to the 2010 US Census Columbus is the 15th largest city in the United States, right behind San Francisco at number 14—in the last 20 years the population of Columbus has increased by an estimated 26% from 632,910 to roughly 797,435.

Columbus earned the nickname “The Arch City”, because of the dozens of wooden arches that spanned High Street at the turn of the 20th century. The arches illuminated the thoroughfare and eventually became the means by which electric power was provided to the city’s streetcars. The arches were torn down and replaced with cluster lights around 1914; the arches have since been reconstructed, from metal, in The Short North District—since 2002 the metal arches have welcome visitors. Throughout the city of Columbus new metal arches have gone up defining various neighborhoods. Notably these new arches are not there to support streetcars as Columbus’ streetcars have long since gone away—yet those in San Francisco remain and are known as iconic symbols of San Francisco’s history.

Columbus is made up of a variety of neighborhoods, much like the hodgepodge of San Francisco neighborhoods. Each neighborhood maintains a unique character and charm that diversifies the life of the city of Columbus. While Downtown and Uptown, compromise a solid core of the business districts the Discovery District is home to Columbus College of Art & Design as well as Columbus State Community College, city living loft spaces and several design firms. The Arena District is home to Nationwide Arena and around the corner from the home of Nationwide Insurance. The charming neighborhood of Victorian Village sits to the west of The Short North—the city’s main arts district—and Italian Village. Continuing north the neighborhoods of Dennison Place and Weinland Park round out the 1.3-mile stretch of our Columbus journey.

{Come back soon for more in the series of a tale of two cities…}