This material is used by permission of Ohio University Press,

  • Architects: Richards, McCarthy & Bulford, Columbus
  • 1916
  • 140 East Broad Street
  • Renovation: Brooks & Coddington, Columbus, 1965; Meleca Architecture, Inc., 2001-2002

Early in the twentieth century, most large cities had at least one downtown businessmen’s club with sports facilities. The Athletic Club had its grand opening on January 19, 1916. The club’s modest main door, centered in its Broad Street facade, contrasts markedly with this richly ornamented building, whose design strongly resembles that of a Renaissance Italian urban palace. The first and second floors form a distinct decorative unit, which contrasts with the relatively plain upper-floor walls and projecting bracketed cornice. The club’s most notable design features are its large, arched second-story windows on the south (main) and west sides. The arched areas contain bas-relief shield motifs; also note the lions’ heads topping the ornamental keystones. On the west side the three projecting bays added during the 1965 renovation increased the seating capacity of the main dining room. A curved staircase leads from the lobby to the second floor, where a ballroom extends across the front of the building. The ballroom’s warm wood paneling and decorative painted ceiling make it one of the most elegant spaces downtown.