Christopher Columbus Discovery Plaza
The rendering of the sea faring explorer who is the namesake of Ohio's capitol city has a history shrouded in
mystery and speculation as the man it depicts. Though historians can not provide definitive information about
Columbus' birth date, nationality or physical description, the fact that he made a number of voyages to what would
be called the New World is not in question. As the 400th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage approached in 1892
many Americans sought ways to recognize what many felt was the beginning of the nation's history.
One Columbus resident, Monsignor Joseph Jessings went so far as to have a statue of the Italian explorer created
and put on display on the grounds of the Catholic Seminary he had founded. When the Pontifical College Josephenium
left its near Eastside location for a larger campus north of the city in 1932, the statue was given to the state,
and has been a fixture on the grounds of the Statehouse ever since. The piece is crafted of hammered copper plates
joined together with rivets, and was created in Salem Ohio in the workshops of the W.H. Mullins company, who did a
large volume of business in this type of hollow metal sculptures that were inexpensive, quick to make and often
more detailed than stone. The Mullins company produced at least four other Columbus statues such as this one,
likely basing the design on work produced by the well known American sculpture Augustus St. Gaudens.
The base upon which the statue is mounted was created in 1992, the five hundredth anniversary of Columbus' voyage.
Rededicated on Columbus Day of that year, the ceremonies were attended by the mayor of Columbus, Governor of the
state of Ohio, as well as the mayor and governor of Genoa, Liguria, the Italian city and state that Columbus is
reputed to be from.