History of Columbus
The area of present-day Columbus was initially part of the Ohio Country, under the French rule. The area was ceded to the British Empire with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. After the American Revolution, it was part of the Virginia Military District. When the colonists from eastern United States moved to the area, they found it was already inhabited by various Native American tribes and also by the European fur traders. The first settlement at the site of the future city of Columbus was founded in 1797 and called Franklinton, after Benjamin Franklin.
When Ohio became a U.S. state in 1802, the capital moved between Chillicothe and Zanesville. It was clear that the state needed a new, permanent capital, and a more central one. A site across the river from Franklinton was chosen in 1812 and named Columbus, after Christopher Columbus. The first years of the new city were difficult, with frequent fever and cholera epidemics. When the National Road reached the city in 1831, it connected it with the Ohio and Erie Canal, which prompted a population boom. A lot of immigrants came from Europe, especially the Irish and the German, and formed two distinct enclaves. Columbus was chartered as a city in 1834. In 1850 and 1851 the city got its first railroads - Columbus and Xenia Railroad and Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad. The Ohio Statehouse was completed in 1857.
During the Civil War, Columbus was a major Union Army base with the Camp Chase where the Confederate prisoners of war were held. After the war and until the end of the 19th century Columbus saw the rise of many manufacturing business and became known as the “Buggy Capital of the World” with more than 20 buggy companies. Breweries and steel industry were also on the rise. During that time, Columbus was one of the nation’s largest centers of organized labor.
In the 20th century, the city was the site of the “Columbus Experiment” which involved the construction of first water plant in the city with filtration and softening systems. At the time, Columbus became known as “The Arch City” due to a number of wooden arches across the streets that provided street illumination. The arches were replaced with modern cluster lights in 1914 but then reconstructed again in 2002 because of their historical value.
In 1913, the neighborhood of Franklinton was struck by a devastating flood that killed more than ninety people.
In the second half of the 20th century, Columbus experienced rapid suburban development with led to a downfall of the downtown area.
Geography and Climate
Downtown Columbus lies just east of the confluence of Scioto and Olentangy rivers. Smaller bodies of water in the city include Big Walnut Creek, Alum Creek and Darby Creek. The city lies at 902 feet and its topography is relatively flat.
The climate in Columbus is between humid continental and humid subtropical. The winters are cold and dry and the summers are hot and muggy. Snowfall is usually light. As a typical Midwestern city, Columbus is susceptible to severe weather, such as thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes.
In 2010, the racial makeup in the city was 59.3% Non-Hispanic Whites, 28% African Americans, 5.6% Hispanics or Latinos, 4.1% Asians, 0.3% Native Americans, 0.1% Pacific Islanders and 3.3% two or more races. The largest ancestry groups are German, Irish, English, Polish and Italian. The average household income in Columbus in 2010 was $37,897 and the per capita income was $20,450.
Columbus has a large LGBT community (34,952 gay, lesbian or bisexual residents) and it is often considered to be one of the best cities in the USA for the LGBT population.
Economy of Columbus
The city has a strong, growing and diverse economy, which relies mostly on education, banking, financial services, insurance, healthcare, energy, defense, aviation, logistics, retail, hospitality and technology. Some of the major national or international corporations based in Columbus include Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, American Electric Power, Limited Brands, Big Lots and Momentive Specialty Chemicals.
Culture and Landmarks
Important landmarks in Columbus include the Greek Revival-style State Capitol, the art deco Ohio Judicial Center, LeVeque Tower, Rhodes State Office Tower, One Nationwide Plaza, replica of the Christopher Columbus’ ship Santa Maria and Franklin Park.
The most important museums in the city include the Columbus Museum of Art, Wexner Center for the Arts, the Kelton House Museum and Garden and Center of Science and Industry.
Columbus is the home to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Opera Columbus, Columbus Jazz Orchestra and Actors Theatre of Columbus.
The city hosts a number of annual and seasonal events, such as Ohio State Fair, ComFest, Gay Pride Parade, Doo Dah Parade and Gallery Hop.
Columbus also has a good dating scene, especially for women.
Professional sports franchises in Columbus include the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, the MLS’s Columbus Crew and Minor League Baseball’s Columbus Clippers. The city also hosts the annual Arnold Classic, a fitness expo hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Columbus has two public colleges: The Ohio State University (one of the largest campuses in the United States) and Columbus State Community College. Private institutions of higher education in the city and the surrounding area include Columbus College of Art and Design, DeVry University, Fortis College, Ohio Business College and Franklin University.
The city is bisected by two interstate highways: I-70 and I-71. Other major highways include U.S. Highway 40, U.S. Highway 23, U.S. Highway 33, the Interstate 270 Outerbelt and State Route 315. Major bridges include Main Street Bridge, Lane Avenue Bridge and Rich Street Bridge.
The primary airport in the city is Port Columbus International Airport, with service to Toronto, Cancun and almost all major domestic destinations.
As for the passenger rail service, Columbus currently does not have any and it is the largest U.S. metropolitan area without local or intercity rail service.