Arch City, My City

So... yesterday I turned 45. (Yippee.)

I celebrated the day by spending ten hours working on a Blink comic page, having a nice nap, then going out to dinner (with me, myself and I) and then going to Jeni's for some ice cream.

imageI had dinner at Arch City Tavern, which will be appearing in a future Blink comic.  I'd never been to Arch City before but have heard good things about it. The restaurant is co-owned by Koli Memushai and Xhevair Brakaj. Brakaj also owns the Red Door Tavern in Grandview Heights, which I love and frequent often (it's located half a block away from my house).

For the heck of it, here’s my assessment of the place:

imageIt’s an intriguing combination of casual and fancy schmancy—having a mild “hipster” vibe to it (I consider hipsters to be 21st Century yuppies). But I didn’t let that deter me from appreciating and enjoying all that this place had to offer. The staff was friendly and attentive and the food was good. I had some Bratwurst Corn Dogs with ketchup (a little bit hipster) and French Onion soup (served in a large, carved-out onion... very hipster). 

Overall, I had a very nice time. On reflection, I consider the very existence of Arch City Tavern to be a celebration of the wonderfulness that is Columbus. It’s fitting that I’ll be ending the run of my Blink strips here.

Sigh…

Now I’m in the mood for a little history.

digital-collections.columbuslibrarySo, I’m going to fill you in on what the heck the deal is with these arches and Columbus.

Much like Chicago being known as “The Windy City” and Detroit the “Motor City,” in the late 19th and early 20th Century, Columbus was known nationwide as "Arch City."  (There was even a song!)  The whole thing started in 1888 because there was going to be a very very big party for veterans in Columbus. The city built a bunch of wooden arches downtown to help keep the streets well lit (by gaslight). Over the next 30 years, more arches were built along High Street and Broad Street. Eventually though, the cost of maintaining the arches grew too high and lampposts were being used for keeping the streets lit. By 1914, most of the arches were dismantled. (Only to rise up again like the legendary Phoenix 100 years later.) You can read the detail here and watch this short video (from the Columbus Neighborhoods: The Short North documentary) if you’re jonesing for more info.