King Lincoln- Columbus’s Historic African American Neighborhood

Originally known as Bronzeville by its residents, this neighborhood was rebranded as King-Lincoln during Mayor Michael B. Coleman’s administration to highlight its historical significant to the African-American community in Columbus.

The origins of King-Lincoln date back to the 19th century when freed and escaped slaves from across the Confederate South began to settle in Columbus. The neighborhood’s Black population especially grew during the Great Migration after WWI due to its existing Black population and convenient location near jobs. Restrictive housing covenants in other areas and White flight, solidified Bonneville’s claim as the most populated African American neighborhood in Columbus and by the 30s it was a vibrant self-sustaining Black community. It also became a hub of Black cultural hosting four theaters and multiple jazz clubs. The district would later be the  site for much of Columbus’ civil rights activism. Like most African American neighborhoods in America, Brownsville started to decline in the 60s thanks to the construction of I-71, and the migration of middle class Black families to the suburbs. This gutted King-Lincoln of most of its businesses and helped create a concentrated area of blight, crime and poverty.

Thankfully King-Lincoln is on the rise again thanks to the success of neighboring Olde Town East but also to the tireless promotion of its community groups and lots of gorgeous historic homes that are being renovated. While there is a significant amount of permanent rental housing, efforts should be made to ensure long time residents can move to homeownership and take advantage of the rise in housing prices and investment. There are also signs of Long Street being rebuilt with some new food & beverage businesses and some mixed-use infill. But much work is still needed as there remains lots of blight and vacancy in King Lincoln. The northern business district, Mt. Vernon has seen very little reinvestment.

Click here to view my King-Lincoln Album on my Flickr Page

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Solid transit access and excellent convenience to Dwtn being literally on its eastern border.
* Good urban connectivity.
* Excellent economic diversity decent racial and generational diversity.
 * A good # of walkable schools within the neighborhood but most average or under performing.
* Good diversity in housing. 1-beds condos or rowhouses sell in the high 100Ks or low 200Ks, 2 beds btwn 100K-300K depending on size, condition, and stability of the block, 3-beds btwn mid 100Ks-400K, 4 & 5 beds are similar but with larger and newer homes selling btwn 400K-700K.
* Market rate rentals are a bit limited but moderately priced. 1-beds lease around 1,000, 2-beds in the 1,000s, and 3-beds in the mid $1,5000s to low 2Ks.
* Medium rent in King Lincoln is only $350 an indication that there remaining a lot of dedicated affordable rentals here.
* Some excellent residential architecture on the more stable streets. Also some good recent in-fill although plenty of crummy auto centric in-fill as well.
* Solid number of parks and recreational amenities within or near King Lincoln including Mayme Park, Beatty Park and recreation center. Franklin Park and Saunder Park/Swimming poll are in adjacent districts but still walkable. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Density isn’t great thanks to all the demolition and blight that have affected the neighborhood.
* Some bike infrastructure with a dedicated bike lane and a 2 dedicated bike stations.
* Decent ADA infrastructure but plenty of non compliance ADA curbs and some missing or broken sidewalks.
* While King Lincoln is prob much safer than it was still some pretty dodgy areas especially around Mt. Vernon and lots of blight remaining.
* As the density is still pretty low and there isn’t a cohesive biz district yet, pedestrian activity is pretty low.
* Cultural amenities are limited to the King Theater, the Kings Arts Complex, and a handful of restaurants and bars. Decent proximity to the cultural amenities in Olde Town East, Franklin Park, and Downtown.
* Retail amenities are also pretty limited but there is a local pharmacy, florist, library branch, a major hospital, post office branch and a handful of boutiques, barber shops, salons, and banks. Lots of churches however.

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