Columbus History, Georgia
Columbus, GA US - History: ‘Lowell’ of the South
The city was founded by an act of the Legislature of Georgia in 1828, and located on the end of the Federal Road entering Alabama and at the last stretch of the Chattahoochee River. The city derives its name from Christopher Columbus, its founder, after being influenced by Washington Irvin’s writings.
Dr. Edwin L De Graffenried drew the plan for the city of Columbus after placing the town on a bluff that overlooked the river. It was the Creek Indians, who lived in the city across the river and the city of Phenix, until they were removed in 1836. It was this river which served as the connection of Columbus to the world. It connected the plantations of the region with the famous international cotton market via the city of Liverpool and New Orleans, England.
The commercial importance of the city increased in 1850 after the arrival of railroads. Numerous textile mills sprang up along the banks of the river, thus led to industry dominating in the area. The city became a major industrial centre of the South by 1860 and got the nickname of the “Lowell” of South.
After the outbreak of war in 1861, the production of the industries in the city expanded as it became the most industrial centre in the Confederacy. Columbus also had an ironworks industry along with textile industry and a shipyard built for the Confederate Navy. After the attack of General James H. Wilson, due to a union detachment, the city experienced its only fighting on April 16, 1865 as many industrial buildings were burned. Dr. John Stith, the inventor of the Coca-Cola Company, was wounded during this battle. The Civil War ended after the surrender of Confederate general Robert E. Lee at the Appomattox Court House.
Rapid industrialization and reconstruction followed and that resulted in prosperity and the city was quick enough to grow out of its original plan. Columbus experienced huge modernization after the Spanish American War as trolleys were added to Lake Bottom and Rose Hill. Columbus also got the Columbus College as its first university, which later became the Columbus State University. Columbus experienced some serious problems related to flight, prostitution and urban blight during the period of 1960 to 1980. After this period, the city of Columbus gradually stabilized due to the revitalization and urban renewal in the late 1990s.
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