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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Columbia (South Carolina)

COLUMBIA, the capital city of South Carolina, U.S.A., and the county-seat of Richland county, on the E. bank of the Congaree river, a short distance below the confluence of the Saluda and the Broad rivers, about 130 m. N.W. of Charleston. Pop. (1890) 15,353; (1900) 21,108, of whom 9858 were negroes; and (1910) 26,319. It is served by the Atlantic Coast Line, the Southern, the Seaboard Air Line, and the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens railways. Columbia is picturesquely situated on the level top of a bluff overlooking the Congaree, which falls about 36 ft. in passing by, but is navigable for the remainder of its course. The surrounding country is devoted chiefly to cotton culture. The state house, United States government building and city hall are fine structures. Some of the new business houses are ten or more storeys in height. The state penitentiary and the state insane asylum are located here, and Columbia is an important educational centre, being the seat of the university of South Carolina, the Columbia College for women (Methodist Episcopal South, 1854), the College for women (Presbyterian, 1890), and the Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1828); and the Allen University (African Methodist Episcopal; coeducational, 1880), and the Benedict College (Baptist) for negroes. The University of South Carolina, organized in 1801 and opened in 1805, was known as South Carolina College in 1805–1863, 1878–1887 and 1891–1906, and as the university of South Carolina in 1866–1877, 1888–1891 and after 1906; in 1907–1908 it had departments of arts, science, pedagogy and law, an enrolment of 285 students, and a faculty of 25 instructors. By means of a canal abundant water power is furnished by the Congaree, and the city has some of the largest cotton mills in the world; it has, besides, foundries and machine shops and manufactories of fertilizers and hosiery. The manufactures under the factory system were valued at $3,133,903 in 1900 and at $4,676,944 in 1905—a gain, greater than that of any other city in the state, of 49.2% in five years. In the neighbourhood are several valuable granite quarries. The municipality owns and operates its water-works.

While much of the site was still a forest the legislature, in 1786, chose it for the new capital. It was laid out in the same year, and in 1790 the legislature first met here. Until 1805, when it was incorporated as a village, Columbia was under the direct government of the legislature; in 1854 it was chartered as a city. On the morning of the 17th of February 1865 General W. T. Sherman, on his march through the Carolinas, entered Columbia, and on the ensuing night a fire broke out which was not extinguished until most of the city was destroyed. The responsibility for this fire was charged by the Confederates upon the Federals and by the Federals upon the Confederates.