North Bank Park
Riverfront Park with Pavilion for Public Rentals
This park at 311 West Long Street, site of the old pumphouse for the Ohio State Penitentiary, was dedicated on July 16, 2005. Funding for the park came from the state of Ohio’s and city of Columbus’ capital budgets, with the land being donated by AEP.
Size: 9 acres
About North Bank Park
The focal point of the park is the glass pavilion, which is available for public park rentals. The upper level plaza includes an interactive spray fountain for small children, and there is also a large patio with tables and benches that provides a panoramic view of the Scioto River and the downtown skyline. The stone veneer on the park walls are actual stones from the Ohio State Penitentiary that once stood just north of the park.
A Park Illuminated by History
Major events in the development of Columbus and its downtown have touched the site that became North Bank Park. The park, which sits just southeast of the spot where the Scioto and Olentangy rivers converge, is steeped in the city’s heritage.
Evolution of Transportation
Much of the development of Columbus’ early means of transportation was pushed forward by William “Wild Billy” Neil, who owned several stagecoach lines and controlled almost all passenger traffic into the area. Neil Avenue, which runs north from North Bank Park, is named for Neil, and it was previously a private drive to his farm (which became the main campus of The Ohio State University).More on the Riverfront’s History
Neil also played a major role in bringing the Xenia and Columbus Railroad – the city’s first – to Columbus in 1850. More railroads were built to connect Columbus to other major cities in the following decades, and the steel bridge that replaced the original wooden bridge is still visible from North Bank Park; it’s the first railroad bridge you can see to the east. And it’s not the only piece of Columbus transportation history that can be seen from the park. Other highlights include:
- State Route 315, which loosely follows the path of the Scioto Trail, a buffalo trail followed by Native Americans
- The Broad Street Bridge, to the southeast, which is part of the National Road
- The site of the former Columbus Buggy Company, now part of the Arena District
The Ohio Penitentiary
The Ohio Pen was situated across from North Bank Park, at the corner of Neil Avenue and Spring Street. It sat there for more than 167 years, opening in 1834 and closing in 1974 following extensive damage during a 1968 riot. The pen was knocked down in 1997 to make way for the Arena District project. Famous inmates included Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, The Gift of the Magi author O. Henry (born William Sydney Porter) and inspiration for The Fugitive TV show Dr. Sam Shepherd.
Location & Info
311 W. Long Street
Columbus, OH 43215
7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Ample meter parking, surface lots, and parking garages are located in the area.
Park Reservations: 614.645.3337
To find out more about North Bank Park, contact us today!