The New International Encyclopædia/Columbia (South Carolina)
COLUMBIA. The capital of South Carolina, and county-seat of Richland County, on the east bank of the Congaree River below the junction of the Broad and Saluda rivers, 84 miles northeast of Augusta, Ga., and 137 miles northwest of Charleston; on the Southern, the Atlantic Coast Line, and the Seaboard Air Line railroads (Map: South Carolina, D 2). It is at the head of steam navigation on the river, and is on the Columbia Canal, which furnishes abundant water-power (13,000 horse-power). The city is handsomely laid out with streets well shaded and crossing at right angles, and has a fine park. Among the prominent buildings are the Capitol, court-house, city hall, the State insane asylum, and the State penitentiary. The city maintains a municipal hospital and a public library. The educational institutions include the South Carolina College, opened in 1805; Presbyterian Theological Seminary; Columbia Female College (Methodist Episcopal, South), opened in 1859; Presbyterian College for Women, opened in 1890; Allen University (African Methodist Episcopal), opened in 1881; and Benedict College (Baptist) for colored students. Columbia is the seat of a very considerable manufacturing industry, principally in cotton; and there are also sash and door factories, iron-works, foundries, and machine-shops, etc. The government of the city, under a charter of 1854, revised in 1894, is administered by a mayor, who holds office for two years, and a city council elected by wards. The executive appoints one trustee in public schools; and the city clerk, auditor, engineer, police commissioners, and clerk of market are all selected by the council. The water-works are owned and operated bv the municipality. Population, in 1890, 15,353; in 1900, 21,108.
In response to a demand for a more central place of government than Charleston, the Legislature in 1786 ordered Columbia, which had been settled about 1700, to be laid out, and in January, 1790, it met there for the first time. On February 17, 1865, General Sherman, at the head of the Union army, entered Columbia, and that night a fire broke out, raging for a day, which destroyed three-fifths of the city, including the old State House and its library of 23,000 volumes, a convent, several churches, the railroad depot, and much cotton. After the war, however, Columbia rapidly recovered its prosperity.