UDH Hdr-Mirror Lake 1888

Administration Building

The Administration Building (present day Bricker Hall) was the focus of much of the activity during the riots.

Rioters fled back across campus to the Administration Building and besieged it. An angry crowd of nearly 3,000 quickly gathered. Bricks, stones, bottles, and furniture looted from adjacent buildings were hurled at the building. Windows were smashed there and in nearby Denney and Derby Halls. Someone got out the firehoses in Denney Hall and started spraying water out the windows. Two more patrolmen were injured trying to defend the building.

Movement leaders tried to defend the building from attack and urged calm but they had lost control.

Patrolmen and Columbus Police with tear gas and clubs arrived to lift the siege of the building and drove the rioters from The Oval. The rioters fled east and south to High Street and into the University District neighborhoods. Meanwhile, more students poured out of classrooms and dorms into the warm afternoon to watch or join the battle.

Through the late afternoon and into the evening, all hell broke loose.

Brick-throwing rioter

Outnumbered police fought running battles with bands of up to a thousand rioters across campus and through the neighborhoods near High Street. Rioters smashed windows on campus and High Street. Fire hydrants were opened. Makeshift barricades were thrown up across streets. Police were pelted with rocks, bricks, and bottles.

Police and rioters clashed along High Street at Woodruff; repeatedly up and down E. 15th where tear gas was used heavily to drive rioters east and a wayward canister started a fire in a frat house; at the site of a concrete block barricade at 13th where a maniac fired a shotgun wildly wounding a half-dozen students and a police car was destroyed when the mob swarmed it and officers had to crash through a barricade to escape; at 8th, 9th, and at McMillen where protesters climbed on building roofs to rain blocks, bricks, and other debris on police and their vehicles below.

Neighborhood elementary schools--Indianola, Northwood, and W. 9th--closed early because of fears for the students’ safety and the wafting clouds of tear gas. Columbus Public Schools announced that they would be closed Thursday as well.

Around 7 pm, officers were finally able to escort the president and other officials from the Administration Building where they had been besieged all day. The officials relocated to a secure location on West Campus and set up a command post.

As the evening wore on the rioters added guns and Molotov cocktails to their arsenal. The situation became more and more out of control as rioters hiding in apartments and on building rooftops fired on police and officers fired back. Officers were exhausted, ammunition was running low, and teargas supplies were almost gone. Police raced up and down High St., tearing down barricades and dispersing mobs only to see them form again a few minutes later someplace else.

In response to the chaos, Mayor Sensenbrenner imposed a curfew on the University District. High Street was blocked between 11th and Hudson. Anyone on the streets was subject to arrest

Ohio State President Novice G. Fawcett appealed to Governor James A. Rhodes for help in restoring order. Rhodes sent in units of the Ohio National Guard. Guardsmen set up an encampment on the Ohio State Fairgrounds east of campus. Shortly after midnight, the first of nearly 2,000 Ohio National Guardsmen arrived on campus. It was an uncanny sight as armed troops marched in formation up High Street from 5th Ave. lead by an armored personnel carrier and jeeps.

With the arrival of the Guard, calm finally returned to the area in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Only by a miracle was death and disaster averted. Gunfire in the densely populated campus neighborhoods could have easily killed somebody. Tear gas canisters and Molotov cocktails could have set a whole neighborhood of closely spaced wooden houses ablaze.

The day's official toll was 32 police injured, 42 civilians injured, and over 300 arrested.