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The First Doctor in Columbus, Ohio Founded its First City Park Near a Famous Hospital

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history, and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.

A Hospital Leads to a Famous Park

An acquaintance at OhioHealth asked why one of the hospital campus streets is named "White Cross Way." I explained that I was born at White Cross Hospital in Goodale Park, and then the facility moved north, became Riverside Methodist Hospital, the anchor of the modern OhioHealth System.

Before it was White Cross, it was the small Methodist-affiliated Protestant Hospital (1891 - 1957), to distinguish it from the only other Columbus hospital that was operated by the Catholic diocese.

Goodale Park was named for the first doctor in Columbus, Lincoln Goodale, who donated the land while treating the sick and injured on the west side of town and at the Catholic facility on the Near East Side. The park was developed from 1851 through the Civil War, used for many celebratory events and even military training.

The idea of the modern park began with the formation of three urban parks: Lafayette Park in St. Louis, a park near the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., and Goodale Park in Columbus.

— WOSU's "Columbus Neighborhoods" - Short North

Goodale Park initially included a stone east gate and smaller side gates, a horse stable, additional animal sheds, a gazebo, a large stone gate at the south entrance, and a sculpted bust of the founder atop a pedestal at that gate.

In 1892, a pagoda-style gate was installed on the north side on Buttles Avenue, sculpted with character faces from Shakespearean plays.

Inside the gates, children could ride on swing sets near a large pond maintained at the northeast sector, where White Cross Hospital was built. A large fountain was added later and in the 2000s, the pond was drained and reconstructed for cleanliness. Picnickers have always always welcomed.

In the year 1900, a male "kissing bandit" lived near the park and walked to and from work nearby. He had the hobby of quickly hugging women passersby and running off down Park Street. Enough women complained that he was arrested and fined, but released.

Circus in the Park

The Sells Brothers Circus was headquartered in this Columbus neighborhood called Sellsville in the late 1800s and again at the beginning of the 20th century.

Peter Sells built a mansion across the street from the west side of Goodale Park and the mansion stands today, fitted with circus memorabilia saved from Sells Brothers.

Peter provided the animals for the park's popular menagerie attraction as well as the circus and the northwest part of the park was full of animals he raised.

The Columbus Zoo was founded later, 13 miles north on High Street, which was farmland and a small fishing resort at that time.

Map of Goodale Park Landmarks

The Doctor and Hospital of Goodale Park

Doctor Lincoln Goodale offered medical services from his home in Franklinton, just west of today's Scioto Mile Park Complex in Columbus. He also worked in the Catholic clinic just nine blocks away from his home: St. Francis Hospital and Starling Medical College (founded 1847), which was the first teaching hospital in the country.

Goodale soon became a trustee of the facility, which became Grant Hospital and Nursing School, now also a part of Ohio Health. Starling Medical College joined with four other such schools to become The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Upon opening, Goodale Park immediately became a training camp for new Union Army recruits, including my great grandfather, Hugh McCaskey Inglish (1822 - 1870).

Bust of the park founder, placed in 1888.

Bust of the park founder, placed in 1888.

Lincoln Goodale served as a pallbearer for President Abraham Lincoln when the casket arrived by train to repose in state at Capitol Square in 1865.

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White Cross nursing school yearbook of the early 1950s.

White Cross nursing school yearbook of the early 1950s.

Riverside Methodist Hospital displayed a large lighted white cross on its rooftop in North Columbus near the Olentangy River until the 1980s. That era brought a planned reconstruction and expansion, with the addition of several new wings and annexes.

Today, the hospital complex is like a busy city!

OhioHealth is a nonprofit heathcare system that treats everyone with respect and high quality care. This service follows closely in the footsteps of Dr. Lincoln Goodale and he would be proud to witness the care positive results.

White Cross inside today's Riverside lobby.

White Cross inside today's Riverside lobby.

Before the American Civil War, Columbus had only two small hospitals, three doctors, and few nurses. The physicians persuaded the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis to move to Columbus to become caregivers in 1861. Later, Confederate P.O.W.s were housed nearby.

A Resort Park Becomes a Community

Dr. Lincoln Goodale (1782-1868) provided free medical services to American troops during the War of 1812. In the American Civil War, he donated services to both Union and Confederate soldiers at Camp Chase, just west of his Franklinton home. He also continued to donate services to the poor, using his income from large real estate deals and his general store, which the first in the state to stock medical supplies.

In 1851, the kind physician donated approximately 35 acres 1.5 miles north of Capitol Square for a park and tourist resort, the only outdoor recreation facility within in several counties.

The park opened with a large enclosed brick shelter house that is now on the list of National Historic Places. Goodale and the founder of the famous Neil House Hotel downtown sponsored 60-foot-wide streets on the east and south borders of the park to ensure easy access by horse carriage.

The park temporarily became a blighted high-crime area in the 1970s, but redevelopment happened quickly. Under several mayors, Goodale Park became a showplace where the annual Community Festival (ComFest) and the Independence Day Doo Dah Parade provide fun for everyone just 14 blocks from the Ohio Statehouse in the Short North. The idea below was captured with a drone's camera.

First Multicultural Community

Most Ohio cities in the late 1800s and early 1900s were not melting pots, but pockets of enclaves of people from other countries. Columbus was different - immigrants used to immediately move into the neighborhood just south of the park.

The area welcomed almost 20 different nationalities at once into what was nicknamed "Flytown" and had no ghettos of ethnic cultures - people of different countries lived next door to each other and were happy. People seemed to come from everywhere and fly in like a huge flock of birds to settle the area.

Old North Market Diversity

Flytown quickly developed diverse businesses that included restaurants serving the foods from the "old countries." This helped to give rise to the diversity at the open air Old North Market that circled four blocks downtown beginning in 1876 and is now located south on Neil Avenue a few blocks from the park.

I remember seeing farmers and vendors of at least a dozen cultures there in the 1960s, from affable fishmongers to kind Gypsy fruit vendors. Today's market under roof is still diverse, but directly in the area that was Flytown.

Native North Americans

It is generally forgotten that Native Americans lived in Columbus then as well. A few of the indigenous people are scattered throughout the city today and operate the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio.


  • Betti, T. and Saur, D. "On this Day in Columbus" radio program.
  • Columbus Landmarks Foundation. Nomination of Columbus Architecture for Status of National Historic Places; 1979. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  • Correspondence of Hugh McCaskey Inglish II (1870 - 1959).
  • Correspondence of Harry Taylor (1890 - 1945).
  • Lee, A.E., History of the City of Columbus; 1892.
  • Randall, Beverly. Dr. Lincoln Goodale and His Living Legacy. Short North Gazette; 12/2006. May 20, 2017.
  • The Ohio State University Library; Retrieved May 19, 2017.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Patty Inglish MS


Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 23, 2018:

I am sad that Ringling Brothers circus closed down. It was also one that my father used to help take care of elephants for when it came to town long ago. The kids would get out of school early to carry water and help raise tents.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 22, 2018:

I think that the circus house in Columbus, Ohio would be a bit hit. Years ago my mother and I got to see some of the circus memorabilia from the Ringling Brothers collection in Sarasota, Florida. It undoubtedly brings in many visitors.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 22, 2018:

Thank you, Peggy! I wish this type of historical information was more widespread. If the circus house were opened to the public, I think it would be popular.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 22, 2018:

What a fascinating look at your city. Doctor Goodale was obviously a talented and generous man. The park named after him is so pretty. What I found most fascinating when reading this post was the information about the Sells Brother's Circus. That video you included is so informative! Thanks for writing this.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 10, 2017:

Hi Kari - I'm glad the maps help. So many new places are developing and so many old places are being preserved that it's a pleasant surprise day by day. I once thought of moving out of the area, but It's completely different now and I like it.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on October 10, 2017:

It is very interesting to see how the town has changed. I have lived in the Columbus area for almost 2 years. I need to get out and visit a few of these places. Thanks for including the maps, they are very helpful.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 01, 2017:

Glad that there is such a handsome bust of the good doctor to keep him in the memory of all. He deserves the honor. Hope the current population, especially children appreciate him.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 30, 2017:

@Maria Jordon - Thanks so much for your visit here -- I always liked the elephant fountain, too!

Riverside, or the "new" White Cross is jaw-dropping beautiful, efficient, and effective today. I took a friend there for diagnosis and treatment last week and the good bedside manner, kindness, and cutting-edge medical knowledge and procedures were all breathtaking.

Have a fantastic week!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 30, 2017:

@Audrey Hunt - Audrey, your trip is sure to be full of good things when you come to Columbus for the first time! German Village with its shops, cobblestone streets, and early German small-houses is another place to see. It's just south of downtown and was at the southern border of the city with Goodale Park was opened.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 30, 2017:

@Mike -- Thanks for the kind words. In the 1970s, the park was dilapidated, as was the Columbus Zoo, and a high crime area. Today, both are tremendous showplaces of which we can be proud. We have a lot to share with the world today! Dr. Goodale would be quite pleased.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 29, 2017:

Hello Patty - Some people are born to leave a legacy. Your hub gives us a good example. What I found interesting is the civic pride that you have shown here. The people of the community seem to have pulled together to make the area a nice place.

As always, you have presented the information in an interesting manner. Happy Memorial Day.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on May 29, 2017:

Dear Patty,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and seeing the history behind Goodale Park and Dr. Lincoln Goodale.

Your photographs are beautiful - I especially love the Whitecross nursing school yearbook and that amazing elephant fountain.

The video made me feel like a visitor - lovely choice.

Thanks for sharing this inspirational life legacy.

Happy Memorial Day! Hugs, Maria

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on May 28, 2017:

This is a tremendous article filled with informative and educational material. I'll be making my first trip to Columbus this summer and the maps and photos will come in handy.

Thanks Patty for sharing this history-filled hub!

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 28, 2017:

Hello Patty - Some people are born to leave a legacy. I like how much civic pride is shown here in your presentation. Not a lot of people talking about pride these days. As always you present information in an interesting manner.

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