Zach Henkel's Washington Beach TourInteractive Map
Washington Beach is a neighborhood within the area known as Old North Columbus, which is generally referred to as simply "North Campus".
North Campus is an appropriate term for a conglomeration of neighborhoods including Washington Beach, Washington Bluffs, Awesome Town, So-Hud, Glen Echo, and Iuka City.
Washington Beach is believed by many to be the cultural hub of Arawak City (Columbus). It is mentioned, by name, in pop music, and even has a flag in development, and a drink named after it (there are many variations). One can often hear about somebody throwing a "Washington Beach Party."
This is the longest recording of the Beach on the web from Urbandictionary.com (It lists different boundaries details different from our account:
Historically known as an artist's haven, Washington Beach is the north campus area of Columbus, Ohio. Once designated as SoHu (because the area lies south of Hudson Avenue), the vast majority of Washington Beach real estate is comprised of rental property. The large student population in the area is generally less rowdy than what may be found a little further south. Parking can at times be a pain, however the Beach does not require parking permits or meter maids. Famous for its crime as well as its artistic residents, Washington Beach has also been referred to as the Vertical Slum.
The origin of the Washington Beach moniker supposedly stems from the Grand Theft Auto video game. As legend has it... in the spring of 2003, Mike Carney and his roomate were joking about north campus. They were playing Grand Theft Auto a lot and started calling the hood, Washington Beach. This title was intended to bring pride to the citizens that live in north campus that have nothing to do with The Ohio State University, mostly kids not in school or attending CCAD.
Geographically speaking, the boundaries of Washington Beach are Hudson Avenue to the north, Patterson to the south, Summit Street to the east, and High Street to the west.
Subsidaries of Washington Beach include Baja Clintonville, Washington Grove, Washington Heights, and Washington Flats.
Bands hailing from Washington Beach include 84 Nash, Tree Of Snakes, The Jive Turkeys, Times New Viking, Necropolis, Night of Pleasure and (little) neon wilderness.
Famous sites within Washington Beach include The Dube, Bourbon Street, Taco Ninja, Inglesia de la Playa, Columbus Discount Records and The Spot.
1. Rumour has it that the last two "Neighborhood" songs on Arcade Fire's "Funeral" are about Washington Beach.
2. If you walk around Washington Beach on a sunny day you can hear a band practice on every street corner, find enough furniture in the alleys for an Upper Arlington mansion, and see at least one local celebrity.
Zach Henkel, an avid cyclist (but not a cycling advocate) and host of the cycling-themed radio show, Cranksters
, was nice enough to give me a walking tour of what he claims is the only neighborhood to be named after a place in a video game (hint: remember the older GTAs when there was an overhead view?). I think you'll be hard pressed to find another example. The neighborhood consists of a healthy cross-section of society, from families to hipsters to residents of varying levels of income, education, and background. Zach argues that it is most diverse neighborhood in Columbus. One of the biggest misconceptions about Washington Beach is that it is a "student neighborhood." Though students make up a significant part of it, they are not dominant.
We started our tour On Blake and High which has some of the typical wood-framed housing. Not shown in the photos are the speed humps found Blake which are wide giving both cyclists and motorists a smoother ride than speed bumps and maintain safety of children playing in the street.
Columbus gets it right here by properly terminating this vista.
At the corner of Patterson and Adams is this Catholic church complete with a grotto and across the street is a Spanish language religious center and school. It's only open for those with an appointment.
Impressive brick homes are sprinkled all over the hood.
Lonely in the Beach.
At the corner of Summit street is Maynard-Summit Park which was packed with happy children, until Zach scared away the kids with his big chain so that he could have it all to him self. Zach expressed a desire to hold a festival in this park sometime in the future.
It might have had something to do with the B.O.
The neighborhood is one of a handful that is served by more than one mass-transit system: it is on OSU's CABS route.
The railroads serve as the de facto eastern boundary and as Zach pointed out Crew Stadium is within walking distance, but you have to two separate sets of two railroad tracks and no pedestrian bridge in sight. There was also some lamenting going on over the fact that this would be perfect for light rail.
On the bright side, proof that there is indeed a beach (where we ended up spending quite a bit of our time, rather impressive considering the fact that it's in the middle of Ohio). I respected Zach's request to not take photos of the beach itself, since it would surely destroy the tranquil setting currently found there.
A common sight: the smooth green snake.Biodiversity in the Beach includes lots of dogs, smooth green snakes, bats, and birds.
Now for downtown Washington Beach. It's not too much to look at, but there are bars and a clothing shop. Personally, I like the grit.
Cafe' Bourbon Street serves as the hub of the local indie community, which has a much greater concentration in Washington Beach than in any other neighborhood in Columbus. Zach said that he would point out any hipsters he saw in the Beach during our tour, he became increasingly disappointed as there were few during our three hour walk. He claimed that many were not off work yet, or still asleep. In total he only counted 3- thus proving the elusiveness and rarity of such a creature even in their own habitat. We instead see an ice cream truck merrily cruising the neighborhood selling ice cream to the many children in the Beach.
Looks can be deceiving; they're open.
Interstingly enough, this is the southernmost building on this continuous stretch of buildings.
Zach points out the fact that just about every major intersection has a rowhouse. This applies to other less-busy intersections too, making it impossible not to pass by one of these cookie-cutter rowhouses.
This is going for just over $200,000.
The city provides incentives for those who want to construct garages for two-wheeled vehicles vs cars.
The city provides incentives for those who want to construct garages for two-wheeled vehicles vs cars." width="375" height="500" />
Just about every other car you see here is a smart car.
Zach is down with America. (Sorry). He found this stick in the street and picked it up off the ground and stuck it on a fire hydrant where it is displayed proudly.
First thing that came to our minds; why the need for windows that belong on a castle tower for archers?
Several brick structures line ritzy E Oakland.East Oakland looked like Bexley... Actually Northwood is considered a historic district. Fancy Pants.
That's Washington Beach in a nutshell. I'd like to thank Zach again for the tour, his collaboration in this entry and raising awareness of a deserving lesser-known neighborhood.