History of Columbus, Georgia


    Established in 1828                        

Columbus, Georgia, once the site of a Creek Indian Village, is one of the few cities in the United States to be planned in advance of its founding.  Established in 1828 as a trading post to strengthen the western border of Georgia, Columbus was the last "frontier town" of the original Thirteen Colonies.

Columbus, which encompasses an area of approximately 218 square miles, is located in the west central part of the State of Georgia bordering on the Alabama state line, 90 miles southwest of the City of Atlanta and approximately 80 miles east of Montgomery, Alabama.

The original corporate area of Columbus was first known as the Coweta Reserve.  A tract of 1,200 acres was set aside by the State of Georgia for the location.  Tracts were reserved for a courthouse (the present site of the Government Center of Columbus), male and female academies, a jail and cemetery sites.  More significantly, a tract of land comprising between 300 and 400 acres was designated as the City Commons and reserved for future use by the public.  A large segment of this is now occupied by the Columbus Civic Center, Memorial Stadium, and Golden Ball Park.

Columbus was established in 1828 on the Chattahoochee River, and subsequent growth has been to the north and northeast.  This is because of the Alabama State line and the later establishment of Fort Benning on the south and east.  Until recent years, the economy has been dominated by textiles and the Fort.  The central business district still remains a major employment center, but typically the population centers are on the fringes of this business district, and the last area of consolidation is essentially rural.  The moderate climate allows year-round use of many recreational facilities that would be curtailed in other cities.

As the northern most navigable point on the Chattahoochee River from the gulf of Mexico, Columbus became a center of shipping and military manufacturing (water and rail transportation and hydro-electric power).

Columbus has extended its corporate limits eight times since 1828 to maintain pace with urban development.  In 1970, the citizens of Columbus and Muscogee County, with the exception of Bibb City, which preferred to remain semi-independent, voted to consolidate to improve government services.  Bibb City voted in 2001 to consolidate into Columbus.

The entire land area of Muscogee County encompasses approximately 140,000 acres making it the largest city in Georgia in terms of land area.  The 2006 Census lists the population at 188,660.

An annual mean temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit allows for the year-round use of many recreational facilities which would not be possible in other parts of the country.  Winters typically have periods of warm weather, often reaching the low 80s.  Columbus is characterized by hot, humid summers that require the buildings to be air conditioned to be comfortable.  Columbus' favorable latitude offers an opportunity to use energy-efficient site orientation and building designs.  The frost-free growing season averages about 240 days.  This is significant from the standpoint of a long turf management period.

Columbus is located on the Fall Line, the natural division of the Piedmont of north Georgia and the Costal Plain of south Georgia and Florida.  Its physical features includes steep slopes in the north, transitioning to level terrain in the south.  Several streams and creeks provide good natural drainage to the Chattahoochee River.

Fort Benning Military Reservation, a primary U.S. Army training facility and the major employer of the region, borders Columbus on the southeast and south.  Development patterns of the community have been significantly influenced by its presence.

The southern two-thirds of Columbus are essentially built-out, with single-family residential property making up 27 percent of all land use.  Commercial and industrial land uses make up approximately 10 percent of the land uses in the area and are located principally in central Columbus, in two industrial parks bordering Fort Benning Military Reservation in east Columbus, and adjacent to several major arterial roadways in north Columbus.  The north and northeast sections of the community consist primarily of low population densities.  Many sections of this portion of the City are still undeveloped and it is in this area that most of the future growth-commercial as well as residential-is likely to occur. 

Historic buildings are located mostly in the central portion of Columbus and include residential, commercial and public buildings.  Private and public actions have demonstrated the importance placed on historic resources.  Both the private and the public sectors have renovated many buildings in the past several years, particularly in the Historic District immediately south of and along the western edge of the central business district.

  1787 Map of Columbus


Columbus 1885
(detailed map)

    The Coweta Reserve        



Columbus 1900
(detailed map)





Columbus 1907
(detailed map)




Muscogee County
Historical Maps


Library of Congress Photos

"Columbus as it was During the War"



Muscogee County Court House 1838



Historical List of Mayors


Historical List of City Managers


| Columbusga.com | Top of Page | Columbusga.org |