Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Columbus is a city located in Muscogee County, Georgia. As of the 2000 census, the entire city-county had a total population of 186,291, though Columbus itself is actually less than this. The city is the county seat of Muscogee County, with which it is a consolidated city-county.
Because of the consolidation, Columbus is listed with the same population and other demographic data as the entire county. There is also a Columbus (balance), Georgia reported, which is the entire county minus Bibb City, the only other municipality. Fort Benning takes up most of the rest of the county.
Columbus is located at 32°29'22" North, 84°56'25" West (32.489608, -84.940422)1.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 186,291 people, 69,819 households, and 47,686 families residing in the city. The population density is 332.6/km² (861.4/mi²). There are 76,182 housing units at an average density of 136.0/km² (352.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 50.42% White, 43.74% African American, 0.38% Native American, 1.54% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 1.90% from other races, and 1.87% from two or more races. 4.49% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 69,819 households out of which 34.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% are married couples living together, 19.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% are non-families. 26.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.54 and the average family size is 3.08.
In the city the population is 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $34,798, and the median income for a family is $41,244. Males have a median income of $30,238 versus $24,336 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,262. 15.7% of the population and 12.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 22.0% of those under the age of 18 and 12.1% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Founded in 1828 by an act of the Georgia Legislature, Columbus was situated at the end of the navigable portion of the Chattahoochee River and on the last stretch of the Federal Road before entering Alabama. 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. DeGaffenried who placed the town on a bluff overlooking the river. Across the river, where Phenix City, Alabama 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 Orleans and ultimately Liverpool, England. 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 Lowell of the South." 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 14, 1865, when a Union detachment under General James H. Wilson attacked the city and burned many of the industrial buildings.
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 House on 10th Avenue, 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 and a new water works. Mayor Lucius Chappell also brought a training camp for soldiers to the area. This training camp would grow into Fort Benning, 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 Junior College which would later grow into Columbus State University. 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 found a home for other prominent industries including the headquarters for AFLAC and Synovus.
Famous Columbus residents
- General Henry Lewis Benning, Confederate general.
- Eugene Bullard, first African-American fighter pilot.
- Augusta Jane Evans , novelist.
- Nunnally Johnson , writer and screen writer.
- Carson McCullers, novelist and author of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
- John Stith Pemberton, created Coca-Cola.
- Ma Rainey, blues-musician known as 'The Mother of the Blues".
- Alma Thomas, African-American artist.
- Frank Thomas, baseball player for the Chicago White Sox.
- Columbus is the third largest city in Georgia and the fifth largest metropolitan area in the state.
- The companies AFLAC, Synovus, TSYS , and Tom's Foods locate their headquarters in Columbus.
- Columbus lies right next to Fort Benning, home of a U.S. sniper training school.
- Was the site of the first ever Olympic women's fast-pitch softball competition during the 1996 Olympic Games.
- Every November, is the site of a protest by thousands organized by SOA Watch against the former School of the Americas at Fort Benning. Celebrities who have appeared at the protest have included Martin Sheen and Susan Sarandon. Since 2002, a counter-protest called God Bless Fort Benning has been organized by local residents.
- Was the home of RC Cola until the 1960s.
- Local folklore maintains that Coca-Cola was developed here by Dr. John Pemberton, who resided in Columbus during the 1860s.
- Columbus, GA is the largest city in the United States which has a larger namesake (Columbus, Ohio).
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