Lost History Of Columbus: The Christopher Inn

Christopher Inn hotel postcard at opening.

Throughout the years, Columbus has torn down some truly iconic buildings.

One of the most interesting of these lost icons is the Christopher Inn. After the Alfred Kelley mansion was demolished in 1961, the Christopher Inn sprung up in its place at 300 E. Broad. The hotel opened on July 29, 1963 and it became an nearly instant icon.

The Christopher Inn was designed by Karlsberger & Associates, along with Leon Ransom, a prominent African American architect in the city. The unique cylindrical exterior of the hotel and the mid-century modern decor were luxurious and very trendy. Each room had floor to ceiling glass walls with panoramic views of Columbus. The hotel had 16 floors, 137 pie-slice rooms, and a heated pool.

A postcard of the Christopher Inn. The back of the postcard reads “This unique 16-level circular Motor Inn is one of the newest architectural triumphs in the City of Columbus.” Photo via CML

After just 20 years, the hotel was facing a variety of problems. The size of the hotel wasn’t accommodating the larger crowds that Columbus was drawing in. The hotel went into foreclosure and was sold in February 1988.

Two months after the sale, the hotel was demolished and turned into a parking lot.

This is a view of the sunken patio and the 3 tiered landscaping at the Christopher Inn. Photo via CML

In January 2020, Columbus Business First reported that a former member of Karlsberger & Associates has hopes to rebuild the iconic hotel. Clyde Gosnell, who worked on the project in the 1960s, was putting together drawings to recreate it, though incorporating modern technology.

Here’s hope that the next time someone builds the Christopher Inn, it lasts a lot longer than 25 years.

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