Back in the 1950s, you could travel around the world just by taking a trip to the west side.
The Walk O’ Wonders was an exhibit dedicated to showing off the Seven Wonders of the World at the Great Western Shopping Center. The display featured a 20-foot Leaning Tower of Pisa, a 22-foot Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal and even a replica of Niagara Falls. It was one-of-a-kind and it was incredibly popular.
Families would head to the shopping center just to see the display and it quickly became a place of interest for Columbus residents. But nothing lasts forever and over time, the visitors became fewer and the problems increased.
The exhibit became prone to vandalism. According to a report from The Columbus Dispatch, kids regularly poured soap powder into the water of the Niagara Falls area, which created quite the mess considering the replica pumped a whopping one million gallons of water per day.
By the 1970s, parts of the attraction were in disrepair and the majority of the Walk O’ Wonders was demolished. In 1979, the final piece of the exhibit, the miniature Eiffel Tower, was torn down so the parking lot could be resurfaced. Which is kind of on-brand for how Columbus goes about demolishing things. It’s almost always in the name of a parking lot.
Walk O’ Wonders was conceived by local developer Don M. Casto, designed by Joseph Skilken, and constructed by Ivan Pusecker. The project was a massive undertaking. It cost just as much to build as the new shopping center it was part of and it was a main selling point for the developers to convince anchor stores like JCPenney to sign onto the location.
If the name Casto sounds familiar, that’s because the Casto family has played a huge role in the development of Columbus over the years. While we’ve had some interesting exhibits and installations since, there still hasn’t been anything quite like the Walk O’ Wonders.
It was sort of weird, and very unique, and I wish it would have been around in the social media phase of life because I can’t help but think that it would be a popular destination for the perfect Instagram pic.