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Beck Street School

2019 Most Endangered Sites

Beck Street School


Year Built: 1884
Address: 387 East Beck Street, Columbus Ohio 43206
Original Building Use: School
Owner: Columbus City Schools

This stately masonry school building, evoking a Richardsonian Romanesque style, features symmetry, intricate dental detailing and perimeter brackets, and a stone arch. Beck Street School was designed by David Riebel, the first architect of Columbus Schools, and has stood in historic Schumacher Place near German Village for 135 years. Riebel designed nearly 40 Columbus public schools between 1891 and 1921, and they are some of our most notable landmarks. The building rests on a massive stone foundation and reflects the civic value accorded to education at the time.
Why is this Site Endangered?
The Beck Street School is vacant and the Columbus Board of Education faces the decision of declaring it surplus or putting it back in service. The building and its adjacent lot will be valuable property for redevelopment.

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Beck Street School

stately masonry school building, evoking a Richardsonian Romanesque style

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7 Comments

Laurie Cohen – May 23, 2019

In Pittsburgh, many buildings like this are purchased and turned into either condos or apartment buildings. If this could be done, while keeping the integrity of the structure and making at least some of the units affordable to low-income renters/owners, wouldn’t it be a win-win situation?

Roy Wentzel – August 12, 2019

We lived across the street from the school from 1976 to 78’ at 637 Briggs St. Then moved down the street to 596 Briggs for the next 10 years! This is an architectural landmark and must be saved!

G. Richardson – February 7, 2021

I went here from kindergarten through the 3rd Grade, it was a serious “culture shock” before that term existed or I could ever comprehend what that term would mean. I was an African American kid in a caucasian school in the early 1970s. I’m not going to lie, I was scared!! My father dropped me off there my first day and kissed me on my cheek and I started to cry, as he drove away in his white Ford Econoline van for work.

I remember drinking ice cold Borden chocolate milk after recess! It was only 5 cents. I remember drawing a picture of George Washington crossing the Delaware River with crayons, and wining 1st place! I won a Bicentennial solid Silver dollar!! That was the summer of 1976, a white bully took it from me, and my big brother Ben got it back for me! Beating the bully up with a warning! I never had any other problems again!

I remember most of my teacher’s names somehow, I believe most or all of them may have passed away. Mrs. Hogan, Mrs. Brandt, Mr. Morse, Mrs. Holly, Mr. Frye was one of the custodians, and Mr. Shevlin was the principal. I still stay in touch with one of my classmates 45 years later! I had Great memories and some memories I rather not relive as an adult. But Beck Street remains an indelible part of my life in early 1970s Columbus, Ohio.

Becky West – February 18, 2021

Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful memories! It helps document – and bring to life – the important history of Beck Street School. We are very relieved that the building is once again in active use – now as a charter school. Please keep writing down your stories … and sharing them. Also, three cheers for big brothers!

Gus Richardson – February 18, 2021

Becky, did you go to Beck Street in the 1970s?! Because I think I was your classmate back then. I now live in Boston,Massachusetts. I went Ohio State and then onto law school. I work as financial crimes consultant with a large investment bank. I hope you are the same person Im thinking of.

Barbara A. (Reynolds) Brodek – March 17, 2021

I spent the first 14 years of my teaching in Columbus City Schools at Beck Street Elementary. I met and worked with many great students,parents, and staff. I was there 1969-1970 thru 1982-1983 school years. I taught first grade most of those years.

Alicia Calderon – August 3, 2021

I would love to be able to go into some of these buildings and just look around to see history!

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