Saturday, March 20, 2010

Short North

Blogroll Me!I snagged this from The Columbus Dispatch.

As recently as 1980, the Short North was known as just "the near North Side."

Cabdrivers and police dispatchers, however, were already referring to the area along High Street just north of Downtown as the Short North.

And, in 1981, John Allen named his pub the Short North Tavern.

The neighborhood - the former site of a Civil War military reunion, a major train station and the home of a circus magnate; and a showcase today for art galleries and festivals - is the subject of the first of six WOSU Public Media documentaries.

Columbus Neighborhoods: Short North will be previewed Wednesday as part of an event in the Short North and make its broadcast debut Monday on WOSU-TV (Channel 34).

"It's the largest local project we've ever done," said Tom Rieland, general manager of WOSU Public Media.

In addition to the documentaries, the project will include town-hall forums, a Web site, community storytelling events and educational materials for use in classrooms throughout the state.

Other neighborhoods to be explored are German Village, King-Lincoln, Olde Towne East and the University District.

The final segment, a special on Downtown and Franklinton, will air in February 2012, in conjunction with the city bicentennial.

At the town-hall gatherings, to take place at WOSU@COSI, the discussion will center on issues and problems particular to each neighborhood.

The site, www.columbus, will feature residents and former residents telling their stories - "very much like StoryCorps," said Rieland, mentioning a national oral-history project whose interviews are sometimes heard on public radio.

The Short North documentary covers the rise and fall of the High Street arches, first erected in 1888 for a reunion of Civil War veterans. Originally wooden, they were replaced by steel structures, torn down in 1914 and reconstructed in 2002.

The work also explores the 1976 Union Station demolition, timed to prevent preservationists from obtaining a restraining order to save the historic train station; the Romanesque-style mansion, built in 1895 by circus magnate Peter Sells, that remains an architectural landmark; and the birth of the popular Gallery Hop in October 1984.

"The transformation of what was this tough, suspect neighborhood into this incredible arts neighborhood is pretty awesome," Rieland said.

Maria Galloway, owner of pm gallery, is among the longtime Short North business owners featured in the film.

The area's success as an arts district, she said, is attributed to "some happenstance, (partly) having the right people at the right time and partly just having the right geography."

"Oddly enough, the width of the street (was a factor)," she said. "It isn't too wide. It's not a really long trip across the street - (so) you get a lot of energy when you can see what's going on."

WOSU plans to post anecdotes online for access by Columbus visitors via hand-held devices, Rieland said, and to rerun the documentaries from time to time.

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