Thousands of Irish immigrants came to Columbus to seek personal and religious freedom. With the "Great Hunger" in Ireland and the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the National Road, immigration to Columbus increased in the mid nineteenth century. They initially settled in the north side of the city in the swamp flats, where inexpensive land was available and work could be had on the railroads. Settlement spread to Franklinton, on Naghten Street, later known as "Irish Broadway"- part of which is now Nationwide Boulevard, and to nearby Flytown. The immigrants became domestic workers, civil servants, entrepreneurs, and served the city in police and fire departments. Others were leaders in government, law, medicine, and education. Their legacy continues today in the Irish-American population of Columbus, Ohio.
These are only a representative few of the Irish individuals and groups who were prominent in the formation of Columbus.
Irish in Columbus before Ohio Statehood
Lucas Sullivant, Founder of Franklinton in 1797
John Brickell, Early settler
Irish in Columbus during early Statehood
Thomas Kirker, Ohio's 2nd governor, acting 1807-08 term
John Kerr, 2nd Mayor of Columbus
Alfred Kelley, Father of Ohio Canals, Ohio and Erie Canal Developer, and Legislator
Irish in Columbus after the Great Hunger (1845)
Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis, St. Francis Hospital
Dominican Sisters, St. Mary of the Springs, St. Mary of the Springs Academy
William "Billy" Naghten, Columbus City Council President
Patrick Egan, Franklin County Coroner for ten terms
Jeremiah O'Shaughnessy, Superintendent, Division of Water, Columbus, Ohio