Forgotten Ohio: April 29, 2009
Forgotten Ohio
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Concrete Factory and Abandoned Neighborhoods

The beginnings of a new section today, but only the exterior prepared so far; you'll have to wait just a little longer if you want to see the inside of the Price Brothers Concrete Plant. And believe me, it's pretty cool. This is the new section, or at least the exterior part:

The Price Brothers Concrete Plant

Now that work is underway to add the Price Bros. plant to the website, I figured I'd engage in another round of the always-successful game everyone loves...


CMHA Residential Tower
Mount Vernon Avenue - Columbus, OH

I say "always successful" because I have never--never--been let down by my readers when I need help identifying a place. I've also gotten such solid opinions and advice on other things that I'd like to ask for help in two other areas, but for right now I'm wondering if anybody knows this ten-story building on Columbus's rather run-down Mt. Vernon Avenue, better known as the home of the drive-up crack sale. Customers don't even have to get out of their car. Talk about convenience!

I kid, of course. Mt. Vernon Avenue is notorious in Columbus for its run-down nature and drug problem, but there are signs of life everywhere, and it's a place full of decent people with hopes and aspirations no different from yours or mine. I ran into some very kind, extremely helpful people when I was photographing this hard-to-miss empty building in the rain, and they actually told me its name, but I have misplaced the notebook where I wrote it down. It's obvious from the photograph above that they're doing work on the place, so there's every chance that it's not coming down or being mothballed indefinitely, but instead receiving a major overhaul.

As usual, my question is this: What's the name of this building, what was it used for (am I right about Section Eight housing being the primary function?), and what else is there to know about it? For instance, when was it built? Do you know anyone who lived there, and if so, how long? Any interesting anecdotes or facts about the place worth mentioning on a forthcoming exploration page?

As usual, thanks very much in advance for your tips, bits of history, advice, and information. I hope to have the beginnings of a section about this place up by the next update, which should be sooner than you think.

Advice Needed: The "Forgotten Neighborhods" Section

Another item I'd really appreciate input on has to do with a new section I'm toying with putting together. The state of our national economy--and the economy of the Buckeye State in particular, mostly in the manufacturing cities of the north and northeast--has led to a ridiculous number of vacant properties sprinkled in among neighborhoods of all sorts, in every kind of city we have. In certain already-distressed neighborhoods, it's made them virtual ghost towns, filled with more abandoned, foreclosed-on, and repossessed property than anyone could easily catalogue. We have a lot more than just abandoned places--we have literal abandoned neighborhoods.

In order to capture some of these places in all their dramatic glory, I am considering adding a new section to Forgotten Ohio. I think I'll call it "Forgotten Neighborhoods," and the first two will likely be the aforementioned Mount Vernon Avenue in Columbus, and Cleveland's Warehouse District. So my request for input and advice on this is twofold:

1. First, does this topic seem specific enough to warrant inclusion on the website? I decided to tackle it because I saw so many vacant houses, row upon row of them, punctuated by abandoned strip malls and shopping centers and commercial zones of all sorts, and I thought it would be worth exploring these places from a certain angle. Often it will just be from outside, but there is a lot of work to be done. And it will mostly be done in the cities. I know Toledo, Youngstown, Cincinnati, Dayton, Akron, Canton, and Springfield have neighborhoods that have been all but left to crumble. Be this as it may, should I do this section? Does it have the potential to be as interesting as the exploration of, say, an amazing abandoned hospital complex?

2. Second, if I do add these new "Forgotten Neighborhoods" to the website, I will need recommendations. Please tell me of any that you think I'd find particularly interesting. Is there a place where a single industry's failure has destroyed the entire surrounding area? Is there a part of town that's been abandoned for longer than just the last decade or so? Do you have specific knowledge about the history of any of these places--admittedly not ancient history, even by American standards, but perhaps a mall you saw go downhill quickly and which is now just standing, awaiting the wrecking ball? You get the idea.

So there we have it: the potential new "Forgotten Neighborhoods" section, which could very well be a part of the next update. That residential tower isn't the only impressive abandoned sight to be seen on Mt. Vernon Avenue; I photographed dozens of homes and businesses and what look like apartment buildings or hotels, plus theaters and drug stores and parks and all manner of interesting locations that have sadly been allowed to deteriorate because the area residents lack the money necessary to get noticed. You just don't see parts of Upper Arlington, Indian Hill, or Cleveland Heights go to pot in that manner, and that's the kind of injustice I think deserves to be played up once in a while.

However, this isn't a preachy undertaking. I just think that we've gone from abandoned factories and houses and schools to entire parts of town with barely any life in them, and I'd like to start photographing and researching some of them--with your help. Recommendations are more than welcome at

I am reading:
FICTION - The Suicide Collectors, by David Oppegaard
NONFICTION - The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama
Time: A Traveller's Guide, by Clifford A. Pickover

I am listening to:
NPR. The news!

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