Historic Downtown Linden
Cleveland Avenue at Aberdeen Avenue in 2016 (Google Streetview)
How has the Cleveland Avenue corridor changed since its beginnings in the early 20th century? A 1922 master's thesis by Ira Blanchard sheds some light on the area, and provides a historic photograph of a street scene at Aberdeen and Cleveland Avenues. The most prominent building—occupied by the Linden Pharmacy at the time—is still standing today. The address of the pharmacy in the 1926 Columbus phone book was listed as 2613 Cleveland Avenue.
Just a few storefronts away, the phone book (page 34) lists multiple grocers, a restaurant, a confectionary, a hardware store, a bank, a dry cleaner, a shoe store, and two dentists.
Cleveland and Aberdeen in 1922 (Blanchard Collection)
The 1922 photograph reveals a much different street than today; one with parking on at least one side and streetcar tracks running down the middle. This section of Cleveland Avenue was the main retail section of the Linden neighborhood, affectionately called "Downtown Linden" by some today. Columbus development did not migrate north from Downtown to reach this area. Rather, development of Linden Heights moved south to meet the north-ward expansion of Columbus development. Eventually, the town of Linden Heights was annexed by the City of Columbus and a new neighborhood was created.
Downtown Linden in 1920
The Baist Real Estate map shows the layout of structures and their construction material, a mix of masonry (brick/stone) and wood frame. The map illustrates that most buildings were on the west side of Cleveland Avenue, with little to no setback distance from the sidewalk. This design supported an intimate shopping experience for retail and commercial businesses and a human-scaled physical layout.