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Savings & Trust: 1910

Savings & Trust: 1910

        Completed in 1905, the Columbus Savings & Trust Building, known today as the Atlas Building, counted among its amenities "seven elevators, complete refrigerating plant, its own power plant to furnish electric lights for the offices, direct steam heating and a pneumatic clock system with dials on each floor."

Columbus, Ohio, circa 1910. "Columbus Savings & Trust Company." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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One Thing

Columbus hasn't torn down ...and it still looks great!

8 E. Long St.

The Atlas Building is still standing and scheduled to be redeveloped into apartments by the Schiff Capital Group. Story here.


This would be very early for "air conditioning", zealously defined by the profession at the time as precise humidity control and filtration, with refrigeration not necessarily being involved. These factors were very important in certain manufacturing processes such as printing, textiles, and munitions. An office building might have only demanded comfort cooling, which might have been as primitive as having chilled water pumped through the heating radiators. This might have been cool ground water, or it might have been produced by machines using either ammonia or sulfur dioxide as a refrigerant, bringing the well-known hazards of 19th century ice plants into your office basement. In any case, I see open windows.

It wasn't at all uncommon at this time for builders of high-end properties to opt for on-site power generation. Public utilities had not yet reached the economy of scale necessary to make grid power a no-brainer. Besides, if you have a steam engine in your basement, you get free heat. Also, free refrigeration, if you use the absorption process.

In 1935, Eleanor Roosevelt visited the Austin office of the National Youth Administration, and found its director, Lyndon Johnson, pulling late nights by gas light, since the landlord would shut down the generator at 10 PM.

Refrigerating plant?

What would a "complete refrigerating plant" be used for in a 1905 office building? Was some kind of early air conditioning an option?


In a recent effort to redevelop the Short North district, they have reproduced the arches shown in the lower left and erected them along High Street.


This modest 11 or so story place reminds me so much of the Medical Arts building in my home town, a taller, similarly, yet more modestly Beaux+Sullivan-ish building. At 18 stories it was a skyscraper. Miss it, and glad Dr. Skokie took out my tonslls.

Big Number!

Boy, I wish I could get the interest rate on the roof for my savings account.

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