The Ohio Statehouse Museum





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.

Christopher Columbus Monument

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 inscription on the monument reads:

BASE West side: Christopher Columbus, an Italian navigator, launched four voyages of discovery to the new world. East side: Donated by the Josephinum to the State of Ohio. This statue was relocated to Capitol Square. North side: The fountain honors Ohio’s sister state bond with Liguria, Italy, the navigator’s home. South side: The Pontifical College Josephinum commissioned this statue from the W.H. Mullins studio.

FOUNTAIN West side: 1492. The spirit of discovery has the power to change the course of human history as demonstrated by the voyages of Christopher Columbus, whose imagination shattered the boundaries of the Western world. Modern history has been shaped by one man’s courage to pursue a dream. 1892. A dream shared by later generations who explored a vast continent where freedom and opportunity beckoned to those with the courage and imagination to venture westward. 1932. Westward into Ohio came the successors to the spirit of Columbus, naming the capitol city of the new state after the man who symbolized the spirit of the frontier. . . 1992. Frontiers explored by later generations of Ohioans extend beyond land and water to a new world whose potential remains to be unlocked by the spirit of discovery.