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The Great Southern Hotel, which contains the elegant Southern Theatre, is the most prominent building along South High Street. The four hundred incorporators of the Great Southern Fire Proof Hotel Company (so named for its masonry and steel construction) included some of the city’s major German businessmen, who expected the hotel to stimulate the southward development of downtown toward the city’s German neighborhood.  The exterior is quite lively, with the warm red of the brick walls contrasting with the light-colored stone trim. Note the round-arched windows with brick hoodmolds and the three-story semi-engaged (en ressault) columns on the main elevations.  When the building was rehabilitated, a new cornice was installed and wooden storefronts were constructed.  The Great Southern is the only historic downtown Columbus hotel still serving its original purpose. Go inside to see the ornate two-story lobby with its carved marble reception desk and stained-glass skylight, and take note of the enormous marble Ionic and Corinthian columns. The grand ballroom has its original light fixtures, marble floors, and stained-glass windows.

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