Our History

The "Old" COSI: 280 East Broad Street



By the 1950s, Memorial Hall, located at 280 East Broad Street in downtown Columbus, was considered by many a “white elephant.” The still-handsome 1906 building was falling into disrepair, a bond issue to overhaul the building was defeated and there wasn’t much of a consensus among city leaders about what should happen to the decaying building.

Sandy Hallock, Herschel Stephan, and Historical Society Director/Secretary Dan Prugh took their science center plan and model to city business leaders to gain their support and to convince them to build and sponsor exhibitions that would become part of the new center, to be housed in Memorial Hall.

On January 1, 1963, the Historical Society Board appointed Sandy Hallock Executive Director of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). During 1963, Memorial Hall was remodeled to accommodate COSI. Work included the addition of a second floor and the installation of a drop ceiling and new lighting in the lobby. Another feature was a huge circular "cyclorama" wall in the lobby featuring a quote from astronaut John Glenn.

COSI opened to the public on March 29, 1964. That first day, an Easter Sunday, COSI welcomed more than 5,000 guests, who paid 50 cents for an adult and 25 cents for a youth admission.

After 35 wonderful years in Memorial Hall, COSI moved to its current location in downtown Columbus at 333 West Broad Street on November 6, 1999. Memorial Hall, renovated as office space, still stands proudly in its original location at 280 East Broad Street.