Columbus. 1 City (1990 pop. 178,681), seat of Muscogee co., W Ga., at the head of navigation on the Chattahoochee River; settled and inc. 1828 on the site of a Creek village. The second largest city in the state, Columbus is a port of entry situated at the foot of a series of falls that extend more than 30 mi (48 km) and provide extensive water power. An important industrial and shipping center with many giant textile mills (the first was built in 1838), it also has ironworks and food-processing plants. Factories produce lumber, chemicals, furniture, hospital equipment, concrete, and wood, rubber, paper, and metal products. Columbus was a busy river port until the arrival of the railroads in the 1850s. Its river traffic has been revitalized with the completion of a series of locks and dams that provide access to the Gulf of Mexico. During the Civil War, Columbus was captured by Union troops one week after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Its industry grew with the development of 20th-century hydroelectric power plants. Many antebellum homes and Columbus College are in the city. Fort Benning is to the south.
2 City (1990 pop. 31,802), seat of Bartholomew co., S central Ind., on the East Fork of the White River; inc. 1821. Its many manufactures include transportation equipment, pharmaceutical and medical devices, food and beverages, plastics, and electronics. In the Civil War, Columbus served as a depot for Union armies. The city is known for its outstanding architecture, with many buildings designed by world-renowned architects from the late 1930s onward.
3 City (1990 pop. 23,799), seat of Lowndes co., NE Miss., on the Tombigbee River; inc. 1821. It is the trade, processing, and shipping center of a cotton, livestock, dairy, and timber area, and has marble and granite processing and diverse manufacturing. Franklin Academy, the first free school in the state, was opened in 1821. Mississippi State Univ. for Women and Columbus Air Force Base are there. The city has many beautiful antebellum homes. Tennessee Williams was born there.
4 City (1990 pop. 632,910), state capital and seat of Franklin co., central Ohio, on the Scioto River; inc. as a city 1834. Ohio's largest city, it is a transportation, industrial, and trade center in a fertile farm region. Its manufactures include consumer goods, aircraft, engines, transportation equipment, glass, food, textiles, and primary metals. Government agencies and many research and educational centers are central to the economy, which expanded rapidly from the 1940s. Columbus is the seat of Ohio State Univ., Capital Univ., Ohio Dominican College, Franklin Univ., state schools for the deaf and blind, and Battelle Memorial Institute (for industrial research). Landmarks include the state capitol; the state office building and its library; Ohio State Univ.'s huge Ohio Stadium; the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts; the Center of Science and Industry, a science museum designed by Arata Isozaki; the postmodern convention center designed by Peter Eisenman; the library and museum of the state archaeological and historical society; the headquarters of the American Rose Society, with one of the world's largest rose gardens; Camp Chase Confederate cemetery, with the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War prison camp there; and the vast state fair grounds. Also in the city are U.S. Fort Hayes (est. 1863) and a state penitentiary. The Griggs, O'Shaughnessy, and Hoover reservoirs are the center for park and recreational activities. The city also has a professional hockey team (the Blue Jackets), racetracks, and a variety of annual cultural events.
Columbus was laid out as state capital in 1812 but did not take over the government from Chillicothe until 1816. Its growth was stimulated by the development of transportation facilities—a feeder canal to the Ohio and Erie Canal, which was opened in 1831; the National Road, which reached the city in 1833; and the railroad, which arrived in 1850.
See G. E. Condon, Yesterday's Columbus (1977).