New guide book highlights Bexleys architectural gems


Taking a historical walking tour of Bexley has never been easier.

A new book, "The AIA Guide to Columbus," features architecturally significant buildings in eight downtown areas and 13 neighborhoods, including Bexley.

The book is illustrated with photographs and maps and documents about 160 buildings, including residences, churches, stadiums, skyscrapers, a bridge and a cemetery.

The book – small enough to fit in a pocket – is written by Columbus historic preservationists Jeffrey T. Darbee and Nancy A. Recchie for the Columbus Architecture Foundation and The American Institute of Architects.

Organized geographically, each chapter provides an opportunity to explore a different section of Columbus, with brief descriptions that offer details of architectural and historic significance.

Chapter 15 focuses on Bexley, covering eight buildings in the city, including Jeffrey Mansion, the Governor’s Mansion, St. Charles School and St. Catherine School.

"I think it’s organized in a way where people can find the neighborhood, find the downtown and find from the photographs what building they’re looking at," Recchie said. "It’s very user-friendly."

Each entry – approximately one page – includes the name of the building or location, street address, date of completion, architect and architectural style, as well as information about significant additions and renovations. Historic buildings are listed with special designations they have received.

"There also is a detailed map of the area so you can find your way pretty well," Darbee said.

The book is meant not only to be a source for visitors touring the community, but also for residents who have lived there their entire lives.

"It’s a great reference so they can learn more about their city," Recchie said.

The book has been a project in the making for 32 years, Darbee said. Back in 1976, a book called "Architecture Columbus" was published. It was compilation of historical information about primarily older buildings in the city.

"The idea was that there also would be a smaller guide you could carry around with you that would highlight important buildings around you," Darbee said.

Though the idea never came to fruition, it came back to life about three years ago when the Columbus Architecture Foundation began working again to get the book published.

Though the actual manuscript for the book was written about 10 years ago, Darbee and Recchie have spent the past few years providing additions and corrections to the book.

"A lot had changed," Darbee said. "Some of the historic buildings had disappeared or had been put to different uses."

Other neighborhoods included in the book are the Short North Historic District, Italian Village Historic District, Victorian Village/Harrison West/Dennison Place, The Ohio State University, Clintonville, Near East Side, German Village Historic District, Franklinton, Mount Vernon Area, Grandview Heights, Marble Cliff, Upper Arlington and Worthington.

"The AIA Guide to Columbus" is available in local bookstores and online at and (20 percent discount).

It is available in hardcover for $40 or paperback for $20.

Publication celebration Sept. 18

AIA Columbus and the Columbus Architecture Foundation will celebrate the publication of the book at a free reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Ohio Judicial Center, 65 S. Front St., Columbus. The event is open to the public. Authors Jeffrey T. Darbee and Nancy A. Recchie will be onhand.

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