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Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Muscogee Countymarker, Georgiamarker, United Statesmarker, with which it is consolidated. Its population was 186,291 people at the 2000 census. It is the principal city of the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area, which, in 2008, had an estimated population of 287,653. It joins with the Auburn, Alabama metropolitan areamarker to form the Columbus, Georgia-Auburn, Alabama Combined Statistical Area, which, in 2008, had an estimated population of 442,953. It is the third largest city and fourth largest metro area in the state, and also the 120th largest city in the U.S.

Columbus lies approximately 100 miles (160 km) south of Atlantamarker.Fort Benningmarker, a major employer, is located south of the city in Chattahoochee Countymarker. The city is also home to several museums and tourism sites, such as the National Infantry Museum. The area is served by the Columbus Metropolitan Airportmarker. The current mayor is Jim Wetherington, who was elected in 2006. The city was ranked number 4 on the 100 Best U.S. Cities to live by Best Life Magazine.


Founded in 1828 by an act of the Georgia Legislature, Columbus was situated at the beginning of the navigable portion of the Chattahoochee River and on the last stretch of the Federal Road before entering Alabamamarker. The city was named for Christopher Columbus, its founders likely influenced by the writings of Washington Irving. The plan for the city was drawn up by Dr. Edwin L. DeGraffenried who placed the town on a bluff overlooking the river. Across the river, where Phenix City, Alabamamarker is now located, Creek Indians lived until their removal in 1836.

The river served as Columbus' connection to the world, particularly connecting the plantations in the region with the international cotton market via New Orleansmarker and ultimately Liverpoolmarker, Englandmarker. The city's commercial importance increased in the 1850s with the arrival of the railroad. In addition, textile mills began springing up along the river, bringing industry to an area reliant upon agriculture. By 1860, the city was one of the more important industrial centers of the South, earning it the nickname "the Lowellmarker of the South," in deference to the industrial town in Massachusetts.

When the outbreak of war came in 1861, the industries of Columbus expanded their production and Columbus became one of the most important centers of industry in the Confederacy. In addition to textiles, the city had an ironworks as well as a shipyard for the Confederate Navy. The city finally saw its only fighting on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1865, when a Union detachment under General James H. Wilson attacked the city and burned many of the industrial buildings. The inventor of Coca-Cola, Dr. John Stith Pemberton, was wounded in this battle. The owner of America's last slave ship, Col. Charles Augustus Lafayette Lamar, was killed here. Ironically, the battle occurred after Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court Housemarker, effectively ending the Civil War. A historic marker has been erected in Columbus marking the battle by Wilson's troops as the "Last Land Battle in the War Between the States."

The Muscogee County Courthouse in 1941, which was destroyed in 1970.

Reconstruction began almost immediately and prosperity followed. The industrialization of the town led to rapid growth; the city had outgrown its original plan. Columbus was graced with the Springer Opera Housemarker on 10th Street, which has hosted over a century of great performers and still delights audiences today.

By the time of the Spanish American War, the city began to see much modernization including the addition of trolleys extending to outlying neighborhoods such as Rose Hill and Lakebottom and a new water works. Mayor Lucius Chappell also brought a training camp for soldiers to the area. This training camp named Camp Benning would grow into present day Fort Benningmarker, named for General Henry L. Benning, a native of the city.

With the expansion of the city, the need for a university saw the establishment of Columbus College, a two-year institution which would later grow into Columbus State University, now a comprehensive center of higher learning. The city would consolidate city and county governments in 1971 and become the first of its kind in Georgia (and one of only 16 in the U.S. at the time). As the city has turned from its initial industry of textiles, it has provided a home for other prominent industries including the headquarters for Aflac, Synovus, TSYS and Carmike Cinemas.

During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, urban blight, flight, and prostitution were serious problems in much of downtown Columbus and adjacent neighborhoods. Early efforts to halt the gradual deterioration of downtown began with the saving and lavish restoration of the Springer Opera Housemarker in 1965. With the revitalization of the Springer and its subsequent designation as the State Theatre of Georgia, a historic preservation movement was sparked and various historic districts were established in and around downtown. Large tracts of blighted areas were cleaned up and a modern Government Center was constructed in the city center. A significant period of urban renewal and revitalization followed in the mid to late 1990s. With these improvements, residents and businesses began moving back to these formerly blighted areas. Examples of these municipal projects including the construction of a softball complex which hosted the 1996 Olympic softball competition, construction of Riverwalk park along the Chattahoochee River, construction of the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbusmarker, construction of the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, the expansion of the Columbus Museum, and road improvements to include a new downtown bridge crossing the Chattahoochee River to Phenix City. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, commercial activity expanded north of downtown along the I-185 corridor. During the next several years, the expansion will continue starting with the growth at Fort Benning. Over the next several years more than 15,000 new troops will move to the Chattahoochee Valley.


Columbus is one of Georgia's three Fall Line Cities, along with Augustamarker and Maconmarker. The Fall Line is where the hilly lands of the Piedmont plateau meet the flat terrain of the coastal plain. As such, Columbus has a varied landscape of rolling hills on the north side and flat plains on the south. The fall line causes rivers in the area to decline rapidly towards sea level, making it an ideal location for textile mills in the past. The Chattahoochee River is the major river that runs through Columbus.

The city is located at (32.489608, -84.940422).

According to the US Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 221.0 square miles (572.4 km2), of which, 216.3 square miles (560.1 km2) of it is land and 4.7 square miles (12.3 km2) of it (2.14%) is water.


Columbus has a humid subtropical climate. Daytime summer temperatures often reaches a high in the mid 90s, and low temperatures in the winter average in the upper 30s. Columbus is often considered a dividing line or "natural snowline" of the southeastern United States with areas north of the city receiving snowfall annually, with areas to the south typically not receiving snowfall every year or at all.


Columbus is divided into five geographic area, and they are as follows:

  • East Columbus is the largest of the five Columbus areas. It is home to Bull Creek Golf Course, the largest of seven golf courses in the city. The area is roughly bounded by Macon Road to the North, Buena Vista Road to the South, Schatulga Road and Fort Benningmarker to the East, and I-185 to the West.

Surrounding cities and towns

The Columbus Metro Area includes four counties in Georgia, and two in Alabamamarker. A 2008 Census estimate showed 287,653 in the metro area, with 442,953 in the combined statistical area.


A satellite image of Columbus
As of the census of 2000, there were 186,291 people, 69,819 households, and 47,686 families residing in the city. The population density was 861.4 people per square mile (332.6/km2). There were 76,182 housing units at an average density of 352.3/sq mi (136.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 50.42% White, 43.74% African American, 1.54% Asian, 0.38% Native American, 0.14% Pacific Islander, and 1.90% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.49% of the population.

There were 69,819 households out of which 34.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 19.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,798, and the median income for a family was $41,244. Males had a median income of $30,238 versus $24,336 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,262. About 12.8% of families and 15.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.0% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government

Elected Officials

City Council

  • Jerry Barnes (District 1)
  • Glenn Davis (District 2)
  • Julius Hunter, Jr. (District 3)
  • Evelyn Turner-Pugh (District 4)
  • Mike Baker (District 5)
  • R. Gary Allen (District 6)
  • Evelyn Woodson (District 7)
  • C. E. McDaniel (District 8)
  • Wayne Anthony (District 9)
  • Berry Henderson (District 10)


  • John Darr (2008)

Tax Commissioner

  • Lula Huff

Clerk of Court

  • Linda Pierce


For 2006, (see Columbus had an overall crime rate of 7,850.6 per 100,000 residents; this exceeds the national average of 4,479.3 crimes per 100,000 people by 75%. By way of comparison, New York City's overall crime rate was 2,517.1 per 100,000 residents.

The rate for violent crimes was 620.8 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 553.5 per 100,000; murders and robberies exceeded the national average, while rapes and aggravated assaults were below the national average. Property-crime rates, such as burglaries, larceny and motor vehicle thefts, significantly exceeded the national average (7,229.8 in Columbus, compared to the national average of 3,906.1). In recent years, drug crimes have also risen.

Attractions and Culture


  • Founded in 1953, the Columbus Museum is one of the largest museums in the Southeast and is unique for its dual concentration on American art and regional history, displayed in both its permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions.
  • Columbus is home to the National Civil War Naval Museummarker, a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) facility that opened in 1962 and features two original American Civil War military vessels, uniforms, equipment and weapons used by the Union and Confederate navies. It is the only museum in the nation that tells the story of the two navies during the Civil War.
  • The Coca-Cola Space Science Center opened in 1996 for the purpose of public education in science, physics, and astronomy. It includes seven flight simulators and a planetarium.
  • The National Infantry Museum opened in June 2009 and honors the history of infantry forces in the United States Army.


Columbus is served by one indoor shopping mall, Peachtree Mall, located between Midtown and North Columbus and anchored by department stores including Dillard's, Macy'smarker, and J.C. Penney. The total retail floor area is 821,000 square feet (76,300 m2). Strip malls include Columbus Park Crossing, in North Columbus, which opened in 2004, and The Landings, in Midtown, which opened in early 2005.

Major Venues

The Bradley Theater
Below is the list of major venues in the city of Columbus:

Themed attractions

  • Hollywood Connection is an indoor entertainment facility which offers ten movie theaters operated by Carmike Cinemas, nine amusement rides, a miniature golf course, and over 100 video and entertainment games.
  • The Columbus Museum offers an entertainment area with many fun and educational activities for people age 5-13.
  • Monkey Joe's is an indoor fun park, with many inflatable slides for kids ages 1-12 to play on.
  • At Zoo City, they offer one low price for unlimited events so that the entire family can play all day. The events they offer include indoor go karts, black light mini golf, paintball tag, indoor amusement rides, a dance floor, and a toddler soft play area. They have Columbus's largest arcade, a food court and Columbus Police Department on hand to ensure that the fun continues all day long.
  • Chuck E Cheese
  • Jumpin Jax (Similar to Monkey Joe's)


Columbus is home to seven golf courses. They are as follows:


The Columbus Public Library

Columbus is home to 4 libraries. They are as follows:

  • Columbus Public Library (Midtown)
  • North Columbus Branch Library (North Columbus)
  • Mildred L Terry Branch Library (Downtown)
  • South Columbus Library (South Columbus)


The largest parks in Columbus include:

In all, Columbus is home to a total of 48 parks.

Historic Districts

Columbus is home to 7 historic districts, all listed in the NRHP. They are as follows:

Media and communications



AM stations

FM stations


Movie theaters

There are 4 movie theaters located in the Columbus area. They are as follows:

Online media

  • is a website with useful information for people interested in moving to the Columbus area.
  • is a citizen journalism outlet created to extend the power of the press to the people of the Chattahoochee Valley while supporting the local business community.
  • is a social networking site for users in the Columbus Metro Area.


Higher education



Primary and secondary education

Public schools

Columbus is home to 65 public schools, all operated by the Muscogee County School District.

Private and religion-based schools

  • Brookstone School (K-12)
  • Calvary Christian School (Christian, K-12)
  • Grace Christian School (Christian, K-12)
  • Hallie Turner Private School (9-12)
  • Our Lady of Lourdes School (Catholic, K-8)
  • Pacelli High Schoolmarker (Catholic, 9-12)
  • St. Anne School (Catholic, K-12)
  • St. Luke School (Methodist, K-8)
  • Westminster Christian School (Christian, K-8)
  • Wynnbrook Christian School (Baptist, K-12)


Doctors Hospital



Columbus Metropolitan Airport

Private airports

Several private general aviation airports operate in the metro area:

Military airports


Interstate Highways

U.S. Routes

Georgia State Routes

Public transit

A METRA bus in Midtown
A Greyhound bus in Downtown.
METRA operates a bus system within Columbus, which connects riders to places within the City of Columbus. METRA was incorporated in 1924 to furnish bus service in the Columbus Metro area. METRA can transport a person anywhere in the city for a fee of only $1.30.

Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service with a station Downtown.



The fourth-largest Christian denominations by number of churches in Columbus is as follows:


Columbus is home to one Synagogue ( Temple Israel).


Columbus is home to three Mosques ( Masjid Al Jannah, Masjid An-Nur and Masjid Abdullah Bin Masud.)


Club Sport League Venue Logo
Columbus Cottonmouths Ice hockey Southern Professional Hockey League Columbus Civic Centermarker
Columbus Lions Indoor football Southern Indoor Football League Columbus Civic Centermarker
Columbus Life Basketball American Basketball Association Frank J. Lumpkin Jr. Center, Columbus State University
CSU Cougars Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country/Track, Golf, Tennis Peach Belt Conference Columbus State University
Columbus Wood Bats Baseball Great South League Golden Parkmarker
Georgia Slashers Football United National Gridiron League A.marker J.marker McClung Memorial Stadiummarker

Sister cities

Columbus has three sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

Notable Columbusites

The following people are closely associated with the city of Columbus, or one of its surrounding communities, and have garnered a level of national or international recognition. For a more comprehensive list of notable Columbus natives and residents, see People from Columbus, Georgia.


  • Jordan Vocational High School won the state title as Class AAA Basketball Champs in 2007. The members of the team were as follow: 10-Winford Ivey III, 11-Terrance Hill, 24-Steve Peterson, 25-Derek Brown Jr, 15-Joshua Woods, 34-Pierre Ware, 12-Xavier Jordan, 20-Tim Jordan, 22-Keith Saunders, 21-James Abraham, 30-Joe Crouch, 31-LaQuinton Crouch, 13-Xavier Lane. Head Coach: Gerald Turner.
  • G.W. Carver high school won the state title as Class AAA football champs in 2007.
  • G.W. Carver is the oldest high school that has yet to be rebuilt. It has, however, gone under construction by adding a new Media Center, IMST (Integrated Math, Science, & Technology) hall, Administration building, and courtyard. Plans are currently made to reuild the entire school in the same location in the summer of 2010* Jordan Vocational High School is the oldest and first vocational high school in the United States is Located in Columbus.
  • Columbus is the third largest city in Georgia and the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state. Columbus was the second largest city in Georgia in 1996, when Augusta and Richmond County consolidated, making it the second largest city in Georgia.
  • From 1916 through 1958, Columbus was the site for every college football game, except one, between the University of Georgiamarker and Auburn Universitymarker. Georgia won 21 times, Auburn won 16 times, and there were 2 ties.
  • Tom's Snacks Co. was based in Columbus before the company closed in October, 2005. Its facilities are now used by Lance, Inc
  • Columbus lies next to Fort Benningmarker, home to one of the largest basic training facilities in America for infantry.
  • Every November, SOA Watch organizes a protest, which is held in Columbus just outside the main entrance to Fort Benning, against the former School of the Americas. Celebrities who have appeared at the protest have included Martin Sheen and Susan Sarandon. Since 2002, a counter-protest called God Bless Fort Benning Daymarker has been organized by local residents.
  • In 2003, The Fighting Temptations [16793]was partially filmed in Columbus, utilizing it's residents as extras as well as the River Center for Performing Arts.
  • Was the home of RC Cola until the 1980s.
  • Coca-Cola was developed here by Dr. John Pemberton, who resided in Columbus during the 1860s.
  • The City Council nicknamed Columbus the Fountain City in 1966, at the suggestion of Othell Hand. Hand, who was then pastor of First Baptist Church, had been impressed by the fountains he and his family saw on a trip to Europe. The fountains along Broadway in Uptown Columbus were refurbished in a Streetscape project.
  • The all-star team from Columbus’ Northern Little League captured the 2006 Little League World Series Championship on August 28, 2006, with a 2-1 victory over Kawaguchi City, Japanmarker at Howard J.marker Lamade Stadiummarker in South Williamsport, Pennsylvaniamarker.
  • In 1987, the Columbus City Council passed an anti-lewdness ordinance in reaction to a controversial Beastie Boys concert which featured cage dancing Go-Go dancers and a giant hydraulic penis.[16794][16795] Performers arrested in violation of the ordinance were Bobby Brown, LL Cool J, Too $hort and Gene Simmons[16796][16797]. This led to the city receiving the dubious distinction of being insulted by rapper Ice-T in his 1989 single "Freedom of Speech". Ice-T had planned to do a show in Columbus, but was threatened with jail time if the show contained profanity. He cancelled the show and condemned the Columbus city fathers for being narrow-minded and interfering with his right to free expression.
  • In 2007, a documentary film entitled "The Last Ditch" [16798] debuted on public television. It detailed the Civil War battle for Columbus, a struggle many historians consider to be the final "official" battle of the war. The film was nominated for five Southeast Regional Emmy awards, winning two.
  • The Columbus Stockade, immortalized in the song "Columbus Stockade Blues" is still standing and is still used to house non-violent prisoners.
  • The Ledger-Enquirer newspaper founder, Mirabeau B. Lamar, became the 3rd President of the Republic of Texas.
  • Columbus's longest current professional sports franchise are the Columbus Cottonmouths hockey team which began play in 1996. They have brought 2 Championships to the city, winning the Central Hockey League Levins Cup in 1998, and were the Inaugural Southern Professional Hockey League President's Cup Champions in 2005.
  • The city uses a "tax freeze" property tax system in which the property tax valuation and tax rate for a homeowner's primary residence is frozen in the year in which the property is purchased. The tax freeze remains in effect until the homeowner either sells the home to a new owner, or obtains a building permit and upgrades the property, triggering a new valuation. The tax freeze is opposed by some local residents who view it as a form of unequal taxation. Under this system two neighbors with equally valued property can have very different tax bills, especially when one neighbor has lived in his home for a much longer period of time than the other. However, a majority of Columbus voters have consistently decided against changing the system and the law was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court of the State of Georgiamarker in 2003.\
  • Columbus Square Mall was a former mall in the city. It was also one of the first indoor malls in the state of Georgia.

See also


External links

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