City Stories

Columbus Ohio

True Story on the Columbus Ohio Ghetto

In the era of the 1980s and 1990s, the streets of the Columbus Ohio ghetto had some of the most legendary neighborhoods in the Midwest, like Short North, Livingston Avenue, Uzi Alley, or South Park.

To truly understand the story of the streets of the Columbus Ohio ghetto, one most know the history on how the city became what it is today.

Columbus East Side

The story of the Columbus Ohio ghetto begins on the East Side in the Bronzeville (King-Lincoln Bronzeville) community.

The neighborhood grew as blacks from all over came into the city, whether it was small rural towns in Ohio or from southern states.

columbus ohio ghetto east side

Today’s Bronzeville neighborhood

This section of the city was one of the most thriving black communities in the state.

Sadly the community changed after the building of highways Interstate 71 and Interstate 670 destroyed many homes and businesses in the area.

The East Side went from being a historic thriving community to being the home of some of the city’s roughest neighborhoods in the Columbus Ohio ghetto.

Columbus ohio ghetto columbus east side

Poindexter Village

Columbus’ first housing project of Poindexter Village or the Greenbriar Apartments nicknamed Uzi Alley, are just two examples of the streets of the East Side.

Eventually, these housing complexes would later be either demolished or rebuilt with less housing units than originally.

Mainly due to the apartment complexes being prejudice to certain tenants, misusing of federal funds, the lack of upkeep, or the gentrification of the community.

With gentrification changing areas of the Near East Side, whether it is Main Street or the King-Lincoln Bronzeville community, the East Side’s black population is slowly declining.

columbus ohio ghetto east side

The once heart of the East Side, Long Street, has become more of a ghost town compared to its glory days.

The community is furthering into the Far East Side, with Livingston Avenue and James Road being the main streets around neighborhoods like Elaine Road or Easthaven.

Today, the original East Side is mainly centered around Mt. Vernon, Atcheson Street and a few blocks around Main Street and Franklin Park.


Columbus South Side

After the highway destroyed parts of the historic East Side community, many black families were forced to relocate into the Driving Park neighborhood of Livingston Avenue.

Generations later, the South Side streets became known for blocks like 22nd and FNL (Fairwood N Livingston) or housing complexes like Smith Road or Lincoln Park.

columbus ohio ghetto south side

Today, the South Side mostly centered around Livingston Avenue, Whittier Street, Frebis Avenue or Lockbourne Road.

Columbus NorthSide

On Columbus NorthSide, some of the first all-black communities were the American-Addition neighborhood as well parts of the 5th Avenue community of Milo-Grogan and the Short North.

columbus northside columbus ghetto

Short North with gentrification in the background.

As white flight was occurring, the Columbus Ohio black population took over most of the North Side, beginning with Milo-Grogan and the Short North and eventually spreading into the Linden neighborhoods as far as Weber Road.

The Columbus NorthSide community is one of the biggest sides in the city with blocks all throughout the area.

The Short North was once home to the Short North Posse, which has been around for years, who originally started out as a source of protection for their community from outsiders.

Cleveland Avenue

Outside of the Short North, the Windsor Terrace or Dub T projects, blocks in Linden along Cleveland Avenue, and Milo-Grogan make up the majority of the North Side.

There are other Columbus NorthSide communities like Brittany Hills, Brentnell, Agler Road, and blocks of the East Linden area, but none are as reputable.


West Side

The West Side, known as the Hilltop, has always had a small African-American population.

Today, the Hilltop area is mostly known for being a low income community filled with Hispanic, white, and black families.

columbus ohio ghetto columbus west side

Riverside-Bradley Homes

The two most known communities of the West Side were the Riverside-Bradley Homes and the Sullivant Gardens and South Park projects.

The Riverside-Bradley housing projects were one of the many housing projects in Columbus that have been demolished.

The Future

In the story of every city, the talk of gentrification is changing many communities throughout the country with no exception to the city of Columbus.

columbus ohio ghetto columbus east side

Today’s Main Street of the Near East Side

Neighborhoods like Short North, the near East Side, or the Franklinton neighborhood have been the most sought after communities.

Due to their close to distance to the Ohio State University in the Short North neighborhood, the Downtown area that is close to the East Side, and the COSI center in the West Side’s Franklinton area.

As stated above, many communities have already been rebuilt or torn down.

columbus ohio ghetto

Windosr Terrace

Windsor Terrace has become the Rosewind apartments, the South Side’s Lincoln Park projects was sold to a private investor, and the city’s first housing project of Poindexter Village has been rebuilt while being reduced in size.

With all of the changes, many people are moving further from the inner city to communities as far as Morse Road or even into areas near Reynoldsburg of the East Side.


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*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.