History Preservation Efforts Featured On WOSU

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Conn Baker was a stuntman who lived on East Norwich Avenue in Old North Columbus. He performed under the persona of “Diavolo” wearing a head-to-toe devil costume complete with horns and a cape. He became famous for being the first person to ride a bicycle around a loop - taking the act around the world and traveling with numerous circus companies.

During his travels he amassed a large collection of circus memorabilia related to his act, personal items from his travels and home, as well as correspondence from individuals around the world who witnessed his act. These items were retained by descendants of Baker until last spring when they were put up for action. University District community members were alerted to the items for sale and jumped into action to purchase the items so that they may remain in the University District as part of our cultural heritage.

The University District Organization worked with area property owners and Columbus Metropolitan Library to raise funds and attend the auction. The efforts were documented by WOSU and featured in the Columbus Neighborhoods segment which aired on January 10th. Take look at the video segment below!

Find out how we preserve the past with compelling local stories about a daredevil, a wedding dress and a fire bucket. Follow efforts to save memorabilia and photographs of Diavolo, a cycling daredevil legend in Columbus. See how firefighting has changed through the centuries at the Central Ohio Fire Museum.

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