The Seneca Hotel
Where: Columbus, OH
Status: Slowly being renovated.
The Seneca Hotel is one of the early features from the original site. It still stands today along Broad street and Grant and appears to finally be getting some much needed attention.
The Seneca was built in the early 1900s and was used as a hotel up in to the 1980s I believe. The EPA used the building more recently for a headquarters and it was completely abandoned in the 1990s. By the time we visited it was clear that it was a tops spot to for homeless people to sleep. This was one of the few buildings were we actually ran in to a homeless person inside. Actually we didn't see him, but we heard the distinct sound of him smoking crack right around the corner. We left.
The rear of the Seneca from Grant looking toward Broad.
After our initial run in with the crackhead, we returned for a second look and simply skipped the floor that the crack head had populated. One the second trip we were able to get all through the building.
Elevators. Nice wood trim covered in white peeling paint.
The seneca had really been chopped up by the time we visited. In addition to the damage of being abandoned the building had all the signs of a place that had been renovated during the 1980s. Drop ceilings hung below neglected nice ceilings in the lobby. Nice wood trim had been covered in white paint. Cheap paneling had been used to cover nice walls. False walls had been built to section off areas that once flowed nicely. Its really a shame.
There really wasn't a part of the building that still really gave me a good idea of what type of hotel the Seneca had once been. I've since seen pictures of the building it really was a nice place.
A common find in these old buildings are dead birds. They get in through an open window and then can't get out. The seneca had more than its fair share. A few times I actually heard bones crack as I stepped on something soft. Gross. Outside of the crack smoker and the dead birds, signs of life in most of the building were minimal. There was working electric in the basement, but the rest of the building was just plain empty.
Really nice wood work covered in ugly white paint. How did this ever become the popular thing to do?
One of the stranger things in the hotel was the lobby. There was a section where you could walk down a hallway, and go through a wooden panel that left you on a balcony that surrounded the lobby. The strange part was that you were above a drop ceiling that had been installed.
My memory is vague on the other details since its been a good 6 years or more since I was here. I remember a room full of rental property stuff leading me to assume the building was owned by a rental company. There was also a huge freight elevator that made no sense to have in a hotel. There was what appeared to be an old computer room or something... I really couldn't quiet figure it out.
I'd love to know the details of the computer room looking thing if you happen to have any info. It looked like it had been used as a computer room or possibly telco room in the 1970s. There was power run everywhere through this area and signs of either racks or work stations, and the tacky orange plastic walls just had that late 1970s feel that you really don't miss.
That was about it for the upper rooms. The actual hotel rooms were really tiny and had really gross bathrooms. They reminded me of a hotel you'd see in downtown New York where the rooms are still small like they were in the 1920s. There were a few board rooms through out.
The basement was another strange area. There was quite a bit of electrical rig in the basement and there was still power to a single light. There was also a room filled with legal papers, probably belonging to the epa. If I had had a bunch more time to search I could have looked for the file of the Industrial Waste superfund site also featured here... but I didn't. We did see a room full of toilets and sinks which made up for it.
The new section of the building
So that's about all I can remember of this old place. Time will tell what the future holds, but all signs are that they are fixing the building up and not tearing it down.
1990s 1950s Above the drop ceiling. From the roof looking up toward the city. Strange stairs leading to a blocked off room that Andy later found to be an office I believe. Elevator. Notice the trim seems to have escaped the white paint.
NOTE: Your browser's pop up blocker may prevent you from using the gallery correctly. If so, you should be able to change it to allow content from my page. There is nothing harmful on my page, its simply a protection against a useful application that some people do use maliciously.
More pictures can be found in the gallery here.