Place:Columbia, Richland, South Carolina, United States


Coordinates34.017°N 81.011°W
Located inRichland, South Carolina, United States     (1700 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Columbia is the capital of the U.S. state of South Carolina. With a population of 136,632 as of the 2020 U.S. Census, it is the second-largest city in South Carolina. The city serves as the county seat of Richland County, and a portion of the city extends into neighboring Lexington County. It is the center of the Columbia metropolitan statistical area, which had a population of 829,470 and is the 72nd-largest metropolitan statistical area in the nation. The name Columbia is a poetic term used for the United States, derived from the name of Christopher Columbus, who explored for the Spanish Crown. Columbia is often abbreviated as Cola, leading to its nickname as "Soda City."[1]

The city is located about northwest of the geographic center of South Carolina, and is the primary city of the Midlands region of the state. It lies at the confluence of the Saluda River and the Broad River, which merge at Columbia to form the Congaree River. As the state capital, Columbia is the site of the South Carolina State House, the center of government for the state. In 1860, the South Carolina Secession Convention took place in Columbia; delegates voted for secession, making South Carolina the first state to leave the Union in the events leading up to the Civil War.

Columbia is home to the University of South Carolina, the state's flagship public university and the largest in the state. The area has benefited from Congressional support for Southern military installations. Columbia is the site of Fort Jackson, the largest United States Army installation for Basic Combat Training. Twenty miles to the east of the city is McEntire Joint National Guard Base, which is operated by the U.S. Air Force and is used as a training base for the 169th Fighter Wing of the South Carolina Air National Guard.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Early history

In May 1540, a Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto traversed what is now Columbia while moving northward on exploration of the interior of the Southeast. The expedition produced the earliest written historical records of this area, which was part of the regional Cofitachequi chiefdom of the Mississippian culture.

During the colonial era, European settlers encountered the Congaree in this area, who inhabited several villages along the Congaree River. The settlers established a frontier fort and fur trading post named after the Congaree, on the west bank of the Congaree River. It was at the fall line and the head of navigation in the Santee River system.

In 1754 the colonial government in South Carolina established a ferry to connect the fort with the growing European settlements on the higher ground on the east bank.

Like many other significant early settlements in colonial America, Columbia is on the fall line of the Piedmont region. The fall line is often marked by rapids at the places where the river cuts sharply down to lower levels in the Tidewater or Low Country of the coastal plain. Beyond the fall line, the river is unnavigable for boats sailing upstream. Entrepreneurs and later industrialists established mills in such areas, as the water flowing downriver, often over falls, provided power to run equipment.

Designation as state capital

After the American Revolutionary War and United States independence, State Senator John Lewis Gervais of the town of Ninety Six introduced a bill that was approved by the legislature on March 22, 1786, to create a new state capital. Considerable argument occurred over the name for the new city. According to published accounts, Senator Gervais said he hoped that "in this town we should find refuge under the wings of COLUMBIA", for that was the name which he wished it to be called. One legislator insisted on the name "Washington", but "Columbia" won by a vote of 11–7 in the state senate.

The site was chosen as the new state capital in 1786 due to its central location in the state. The State Legislature first met there in 1790. After remaining under the direct government of the legislature for the first two decades of its existence, Columbia was incorporated as a village in 1805 and then as a city in 1854.

Columbia received a large stimulus to development when it was connected in a direct water route to Charleston by the Santee Canal. This connected the Santee and Cooper rivers in a section. It was first chartered in 1786 and completed in 1800, making it one of the earliest canals in the United States. With competition later from faster railroad traffic, it ceased operation around 1850.

The commissioners designed a town of 400 blocks in a square along the river. The blocks were divided into lots of and sold to speculators and prospective residents. Buyers had to build a house at least long and wide within three years, or face an annual 5% penalty. The perimeter streets and two through streets were wide. The remaining squares were divided by thoroughfares wide. As the capital and one of the first planned cities in the United States, Columbia began to grow rapidly. Its population was nearing 1,000 shortly after the start of the 19th century.

The commissioners constituted the local government until 1797, when a Commission of Streets and Markets was created by the General Assembly. Three main issues occupied most of their time: public drunkenness, gambling, and poor sanitation.

19th century

In 1801, South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) was founded in Columbia. The original building survives. The city was chosen as the site of the state college in an effort to unite residents of the Upcountry and the Lowcountry and to discourage elite youth from traveling to England for their higher education. At the time, South Carolina planter families sent more young men to England than did men of any other state. The leaders of South Carolina kept a close eye on the new college: for many years after its founding, commencement exercises were held in December while the state legislature was in session.

Columbia received its first charter as a town in 1805. An intendant and six wardens governed the town. John Taylor, the first elected intendant, later served in both houses of the General Assembly, both houses of Congress, and eventually was elected as governor. By 1816, some 250 homes had been built in the town and a population was more than 1000.

Columbia became chartered as a city in 1854, with an elected mayor and six aldermen. Two years later, Columbia had a police force consisting of a full-time chief and nine patrolmen. The city continued to grow at a rapid pace, and throughout the 1850s and 1860s, Columbia was the largest inland city in the Carolinas. Railroad transportation served as a significant cause of population expansion in Columbia during this time. Rail lines that reached the city in the 1840s primarily transported cotton bales, not passengers, from there to major markets and the port of Charlestown. Cotton was the chief commodity of the state and lifeblood of the Columbia community; in 1850, virtually all of the city's commercial and economic activity was related to cotton. Cotton was sent to New York and New England's textile mills, as well as to England and Europe, where demand was high.

"In 1830, around 1,500 slaves lived and worked in Columbia; this population grew to 3,300 by 1860. Some members of this large enslaved population worked in their masters' households. Masters also frequently hired out slaves to Columbia residents and institutions, including South Carolina College. Hired-out slaves sometimes returned to their owners' homes daily; others boarded with their temporary masters." During this period,

"legislators developed state and local statutes to restrict the movement of urban slaves in hopes of preventing rebellion. Although various decrees established curfews and prohibited slaves from meeting and from learning to read and write, such rulings were difficult to enforce."[2] "[S]everal prewar accounts note that many Columbia slaves were literate; some slaves even conducted classes to teach others to read and write." Also, "many slaves attended services at local Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches, yet some struggled to obtain membership in these institutions."[2]

Columbia's First Baptist Church hosted the South Carolina Secession Convention on December 17, 1860. The white delegates drafted a resolution in favor of secession, 159–0. Columbia's location made it an ideal location for other conventions and meetings within the Confederacy.

On February 17, 1865, in the last months of the Civil War, much of Columbia was destroyed by fire while Union troops under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman approached. Jeff Goodwyn, mayor of Columbia, sent William B. Stanley and Thomas W. Radcliffe to surrender the city to Sherman's troops. According to legend, the First Baptist Church was nearly torched by Sherman's troops. The soldiers marched up to the church and asked the sexton if he could direct them to the First Baptist Church. The sexton directed the men to the nearby Washington Street Methodist Church. First Baptist was saved at the expense of another historic church.

The controversy surrounding the burning of the city started soon after the war ended. General Sherman blamed the high winds and retreating Confederate soldiers for firing bales of cotton, which had been stacked in the streets. Sherman denied ordering the burning, though he did order destruction of militarily significant structures, such as the Confederate Printing Plant. Today, tourists can follow the path General Sherman's army took to enter the city and see structures or remnants of structures that survived the fire.

During the Reconstruction era, when African-American Republicans were among the legislators elected to state government, Columbia became the focus of considerable attention. Reporters, journalists, travelers, and tourists flocked here to see a Southern state legislature whose members included freedmen (former slaves), as well as men of color who had been free before the war. The city began to rebuild and recover from the devastating fire of 1865; a mild construction boom took place within the first few years of Reconstruction. In addition, repair of railroad tracks in outlying areas created more jobs for residents.

By the late nineteenth century, culture was expanding in the city. In 1897 the Columbia Music Festival Association was founded by Mayor William McB. Sloan and the city aldermen. It was headquartered in the Opera House on Main Street, which also served as City Hall. Its role was to book and manage concerts and events in the opera house for the city.

20th century

During the early 20th century, Columbia developed as a regional textile manufacturing center. In 1907, Columbia had six mills in operation: Richland, Granby, Olympia, Capital City, Columbia, and Palmetto. Combined, they employed over 3,400 workers with an annual payroll of $819,000, giving the Midlands an economic boost of over $4.8 million. Columbia had no paved streets until 1908, when 17 blocks of Main Street were surfaced. But, it had 115 publicly maintained street crossings, boardwalks placed at intersections to keep pedestrians from having to wade through a sea of mud between wooden sidewalks. As an experiment, Washington Street was once paved with wooden blocks. This proved to be the source of much local amusement when they buckled and floated away during heavy rains. The blocks were replaced with asphalt paving in 1925.

During the years 1911 and 1912, some $2.5 million worth of construction occurred in the city, as investors used revenues generated by the mills. New projects included construction of the Union Bank Building at Main and Gervais, the Palmetto National Bank, a shopping arcade, and large hotels at Main and Laurel (the Jefferson) and at Main and Wheat (the Gresham). In 1917, the city was selected by the US Army to be developed as the site of Camp Jackson, a U.S. military installation that was officially classified as a "Field Artillery Replacement Depot". The first recruits arrived at the camp on September 1, 1917. In the first several decades of the 20th century, white Democrats of the Solid South controlled an outsize amount of power in the House and Senate. The former Confederate states had effectively disenfranchised most blacks and many poor whites through passage of discriminatory laws and constitutions that made voter registration and voting more difficult. But they controlled all the seats in Congress related to the total state populations.

In 1930, Columbia was the hub of a trading area with about 500,000 potential customers. It had 803 retail establishments, 280 of them being food stores. The city also had 58 clothing and apparel outlets, 57 restaurants and lunch rooms, 55 filling stations, 38 pharmacies, 20 furniture stores, 19 auto dealers, 11 shoe stores, nine cigar stands, five department stores, and one book store. Wholesale distributors located within the city numbered 119, with one-third of them dealing in food.

In 1934, the federal courthouse at the corner of Main and Laurel streets was purchased by the city for use as City Hall. Built of granite from nearby Winnsboro, Columbia City Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by Alfred Built Mullett, President Ulysses S. Grant's federal architect, the building was completed in 1876. Mullet, best known for his design of the Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, had originally designed the courthouse with a clock tower. It was not constructed, perhaps because of large cost overruns on the project. Copies of Millet's original drawings can be seen on the walls of City Hall alongside historic photos of other Columbia beginnings. Federal offices were moved to the new J. Bratton Davis United States Bankruptcy Courthouse.

In 1940 Camp Jackson was reactivated after war started in Europe, and was designated as Fort Jackson. City leaders and the congressional delegation had lobbied to gain such a permanent military installation. In the early 1940s, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, which catalyzed the entry of the US into World War II, Lt. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and his group of now-famous pilots began training for the 1942 Doolittle Raid over Tokyo at what is now Columbia Metropolitan Airport. They trained in B-25 Mitchell bombers, the same model as the plane that is installed at Columbia's Owens Field in the Curtiss-Wright hangar. [3]

During the 1940s African Americans increased activism for their civil rights: seeking to reverse Jim Crow laws and racial discrimination that pushed them into second-class status in Columbia and the state. In 1945, a federal judge ruled that the city's black teachers were entitled to equal pay to that of their white counterparts. But, in following years, the state attempted to strip many blacks of their teaching credentials. Other issues in which the blacks of the city sought equality concerned voting rights and segregation (particularly regarding public schools). In 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education, the US Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional.

On August 21, 1962, eight downtown chain stores served blacks at their lunch counters for the first time. The University of South Carolina, a public institution, admitted its first black students in 1963. Around that same time, many vestiges of segregation began to disappear from the city: blacks attained membership on various municipal boards and commissions, and the city adopted a non-discriminatory hiring policy. These and other such signs of racial progress helped earn the city the 1964 All-America City Award for the second time (the first being in 1951). A 1965 article in Newsweek lauded Columbia as a city that had "liberated itself from the plague of doctrinal apartheid".

Since the late 20th century, historic preservation has played a significant part in the city. The historic Robert Mills House was restored in 1967, which inspired the renovation and restoration of other historic structures, such as the Hampton-Preston House and others associated with President Woodrow Wilson, Maxcy Gregg, Mary Boykin Chesnut, and noted free black Celia Mann. In the early 1970s, the University of South Carolina initiated the refurbishment of its "Horseshoe". Several area museums also benefited from the increased historical interest of that time, among them the Fort Jackson Museum, the McKissick Museum on the campus of the University of South Carolina, and most notably the South Carolina State Museum, which opened in 1988.

Mayor Kirkman Finlay, Jr., was the driving force behind the refurbishment of Seaboard Park, now known as Finlay Park, in the historic Congaree Vista district. His administration developed the $60 million Palmetto Center package, which resulted in construction of an office tower, parking garage, and the Columbia Marriott hotel, which opened in 1983. In 1980, the Columbia metropolitan population reached 410,088, and in 1990, this figure had hit roughly 470,000. During the 1970s and 1980s skyscrapers were constructed and other real-estate development took place throughout Columbia. To meet demand of businesses, the city constructed The Tower at 1301 Gervais in 1973. In 1983, Hub at Columbia was constructed. In 1987, the Capitol Center was built, which became the tallest building in South Carolina. The Bank of America Plaza was built in 1989.

21st Century and Recent history

During the 1990s and early 2000s the city worked to revitalize the downtown, as businesses had been pulled out to the suburbs. The Congaree Vista district along Gervais Street, once known as a warehouse district, became an area of art galleries, shops, and restaurants. The Colonial Life Arena (formerly known as the Colonial Center) opened in 2002, and brought several major entertainers and shows to Columbia. EdVenture, the largest children's museum in the Southeast, opened in 2003. The Village at Sandhill shopping center opened in 2004 in Northeast Richland County.

The Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center opened in 2004, and a new convention center hotel opened in September 2007. A public-private City Center Partnership has been formed to implement the downtown revitalization and boost downtown growth. In 2009, Columbia's most recent skyscraper, the Tower at Main and Gervais, was completed. Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin started his first term in July 2010, elected as the first African-American mayor in the city's history.

Founders Park, home of USC baseball, opened in 2009. The South Carolina Gamecocks baseball team won two NCAA national championships in 2010 and in 2011. The 2010 South Carolina Gamecocks football team, under coach Steve Spurrier, earned their first appearance in the SEC championship. Historic flooding in the city in October 2015 forced the Gamecocks football team to move their October 10 home game. Segra Park (formerly Spirit Communications Park), home of the Columbia Fireflies, opened in April 2016. In 2017, the Gamecocks women's basketball team (under coach Dawn Staley) won their first NCAA championship, and the men's basketball team went to the Final Four for the first time. They won their second national championship in 2022.

A Mast General Store was opened in 2011. The Music Farm opened a location in Columbia on Senate Street in 2014. In 2000, the Confederate battle flag was moved from the South Carolina State House to the Confederate monument. On July 10, 2015, the flag was removed from the monument to a museum. In 2017, the central path of a total solar eclipse passed directly over the city and state capitol.

In March 2019, the murder of Samantha Josephson gained national attention. In Five Points, a neighborhood in Columbia known for its late-night bars, Samantha Josephson mistakenly entered into a car she believed was her Uber. The driver, Nathaniel Rowland, killed Josephson, sparking laws around the United States to further regulate rideshare companies. In South Carolina, the Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Act requires rideshare drivers to display identifying lights and prohibits the misrepresentation of non-rideshare drivers as such. Similar laws passed in New Jersey, North Carolina, and New York State. Rowland was caught, convicted, and sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

In May 2019, 10,000 people marched at the Statehouse in the "All Out Rally" to protest issues surrounding education, including low teacher pay, high student-to-teacher ratios, and the general underfunding of education. The protest was led by SC for Ed, a left-learning state advocacy group for teachers.

In 2020, protests after the death of George Floyd spread to Columbia, which included the burning of several police cars and the breaking of business' windows.

In 2021, Republican Daniel Rickenmann was elected mayor of Columbia, defeating Tameika Devine. He succeeded Stephen K. Benjamin, who did not seek reelection, in January of 2022.

On April 16, 2022, a mass shooting at the Columbiana Centre in the Lexington County portion of the city resulted in the injuries of 14 people. 10 were struck by gunfire while four sustained stampede-related injuries. Three men were arrested; Columbia police declared that the shooting was the result of an argument, not a random attack or terrorism.

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