A Revitalized Neighborhood

A Brief History of Italian Village

A century ago, many Italians did make their home in the neighborhood just north of Downtown that now bears their name. But so did the Irish and Lebanese, Greeks and Germans – all immigrants eager to build new lives.  “A big, giant melting pot,” said Joe Pishitelli, who grew up in the neighborhood in the 1930s. “These people lived where the jobs were available.” Those jobs could be found within walking distance at the sprawling Jeffrey Manufacturing Co. complex lining N. 4th Street, the Berry Bolt Works and Timken Roller Bearing, to name a few. Today, residents are more likely to be young professionals interested in restoring the 100-year-old homes in the neighborhood.

St. John the Baptist Italian Catholic Church

St. John the Baptist Italian Catholic Church

The neighborhood was annexed to Columbus in 1862 and is known for its Italianate architecture. A great example is St. John the Baptist Italian Catholic Church, built in 1898. The church was built for Italian immigrants who lived in nearby neighborhoods, including Flytown to the west, where Goodale Park is today, and along St. Clair Avenue to the east. Each fall, the church anchors the Columbus Italian Festival, a hub of good food and music, singing and dancing, bocce and films. The festival draws attention to the church and neighborhood.

People began moving to the suburbs after World WarII and continued the migration into the 1970s. In 1972, residents formed the Italian Village Society to help turn things around.

Italian Village is undergoing a rapid transformation that is redefining and expanding the neighborhood.

Today, boosted in part by the soaring popularity of the Short North, Italian Village is undergoing a rapid transformation that is redefining and expanding the neighborhood. Everywhere you look, new housing is rising from long-vacant lots that dotted the neighborhood. For many years, Italian Village remained a secret, and for a while, it had a dangerous reputation. But when the housing market bounced back after the Great Recession, development took off. Some recent examples include:

  • Wagenbrenner Development’s Jeffrey Park project is rising at N. 4th Street and E. 1st Avenue.  The first phase includes 276 apartments and a community center with a fitness center and pool.  Eventually, the company plans more than 700 apartments and for-sale housing on the 40-acre site that was the home of Jeffrey Mining Machinery Co.
  • Sixty-six apartments were built inside an old bakery to create the Wonder Bread Lofts on N. 4th Street just north of I-670.
  • The Fireproof warehouse and document storage facility at the corner of High Street and East 2nd Avenue was partially torn down and replaced with retail, including three restaurants and over 50 luxury apartments.
  • Six houses are going up at Summit Street and E. 2nd Avenue and seven more townhouses at Summit Street and East 1st Avenue.
  • New houses have been constructed along East 3rd Avenue between Summit and 4th Streets.
  • Two old buildings were demolished in Italian Village’s network of alleys just east of the High Street business corridor and are being replaced by apartments and condos.

Italian Village has become one of the most trendy neighborhoods in Columbus. 

Where new housing attracts more residents, new businesses are sure to follow.  North 4th Street is being transformed into a business corridor with the addition of a craft brewery, cafe and bakery, restaurants and more. 

Italian Village has become one of the most trendy neighborhoods in Columbus.  It is part of the fabulous Short North! It is hip, it is convenient to downtown, and it is affordable – for now.

National Park Service Register of Historic Places

Italian Village is located on the National Park Service Register of Historic Places.
It is listed as the Near North Side also encompassing other neighborhoods.

It was listed June 4, 1980.  It has the record number of 383345 and the NRIS item number 80003001

The second NPS listing has more defined borders and was listed August 30, 1996

Individual Listings

The Berry Brothers Bolt Works was listed Feb 19, 1988
350 E 1st Ave
the NRIS item number 88000051

The Jeffrey Manufacturing
Company Office Building was listed April 12, 2001
224 E. 1st Ave., 883 and 895 N. 6th St are the locations
NRIS item number 0100379

More History

on Italian Village

History of Italian Village – Article (PDF)