The rendering of the sea faring explorer who is the namesake of Ohio's capital city has a history shrouded in mystery and speculation as the man it depicts. Though historians can't provide definitive information about Columbus's 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's 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 Jessing 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 Josephinum 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 Capitol Square 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's 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 believed to be from.
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, Ohio 43215