Before there was a Columbus, there was Franklinton. On this walking tour guests will learn more about the rich history of this historic neighborhood and visualize a timeline that swings from the epic highs of settlement to tragic lows of death, destruction, flooding and misfortune in the 20th century. We’ll discuss the new trajectory of the neighborhood and what that means for Columbus, Franklinton, and most importantly, the people of this community. As for the adventure part of your tour, we will explore the craft beer & food stops that are putting Franklinton on the map today: Brewdog, Land Grant, Strongwater Food & Spirits and Rehab Tavern.
As a guest you will have an “all access pass” to see the public and private spaces where the arts revitalized the neighborhood: 400 West Rich, Idea Foundry, The Vanderelli Room, and many other creative spaces. We’ll learn about the new residential developments such as River and Rich along the Scioto and the soon-to-be-more-iconic Gravity intentional living community on Broad Street. You’ll also learn the backstory of “the Bottoms”, the great flood of 1913, the African American company that extruded uranium for World War 2 atomic bombs and more hidden history.
Your tour guide is an expert on the history of Franklinton because he lived it and helped create some of it. Jim Sweeney was the visionary leader of the new phase of Franklinton and the unofficial mayor of the neighborhood. As Executive Director of the Franklinton Development Association from 2002-2016 and co-founder of the Franklinton Arts District he was part of all the planning and dreaming of what we are seeing today – both on the sidewalks and at city hall. Jim owns a home in the area and now runs Sweeney and Associates, a creative community and revitalization consultancy that continues to grow this up and coming community.
Our tour will involve four to five stops and up to 1.5 miles of walking over 3.5 hours. The tour includes several samples of beer and some snacks.
Franklinton is still very much a work in progress which means we will be walking on some uneven surfaces inside and outside so please wear comfortable shoes.
Guests have really embraced this tour as a special and unique way to enjoy and explore Franklinton. Here is what a few have had to say:
I have to admit, I had already been to Franklinton, so I thought, do I really need to take a tour of Franklinton?!? The answer is YES! Even if you were born in Columbus (even if you happen to be a Franklinton baby like me) you need to take this tour! The tour is given by Jim, who has lived in Franklinton since 2002. So, he really knows his stuff, and what’s even better, is that he is really passionate about his neighborhood.
-Hannah G. Yelp
….my friends and I FREAKING LOVED the Franklinton tour. The area itself is absolutely fascinating in its history and its ongoing evolution into the grassroots, underground arts district it’s growing into, and you can almost feel the buzz of creative energy when you’re walking through the different sights. (Or that could have also been the buzz from the abundant consumption of brews, which were also great!) The highlight of the tour, of course, is Jim Sweeney, master city planner, unofficial mayor of, and invested resident of Franklinton. This guy is heart and soul, you guys. He is the real deal, the walking I-Ching of all things Franklinton
-Suah L. Yelp
The tour was given by Jim Sweeney, who should be the Mayor of Franklinton! We really enjoyed learning the history of Franklinton dating back to the 1700’s. Jim took us into new and old buildings in Franklinton and we ate and drank in the best bars/restaurants in the area. This Tour is great for a group of friends, a family w/adult kids or couples. This particular tour is a walking tour. The walk is not far. I HIGHLY recommend this tour.
Tanya B. Yelp
If you want to do some pre tour reading, to get even more excited about some of what you will discover during this tour, read about what your guide Jim has contributed to FTON, as some call it, in this -> article in The Atlantic!