The New International Encyclopædia/Columbus (Ohio)
COLUMBUS. The capital of Ohio, county-seat of Franklin County, and the fourth city of the State in population, situated on both sides of the Scioto River, 100 miles northeast of Cincinnati and 140 miles southwest of Cleveland, near the geographical centre of the State (Map: Ohio, D 6).
The city is built on generally level ground at an altitude of 750 feet, and has broad, well-paved streets. Among public buildings the most prominent is the State Capitol, a large stone structure fronting on a public square near the centre of the city. The Ohio penitentiary is situated here. Columbus, well known for the number of its charitable and educational institutions, is the seat of the Ohio State University, founded in 1870 (q.v.); Capital University (Lutheran), established in 1850; Ohio Medical University; Starling Medical College; Columbus Law School, and Columbus Art Institute; and contains five public hospitals—Emergency Hospital, Columbus Hospital for the Insane, Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Blind Institute, Institute for Feeble-minded Youth, and the County Infirmary. In addition to those of the several institutions of learning, there are in the city the State Library and State Law Library, City Library, Public School Library, and Engineers' Institute and Library. Other features of interest may be found in the State fair grounds, which adjoin the city, and in the public parks, bridges, and monuments. There are five parks, including from 10 to 100 acres each, and numerous smaller ones; several street and railway bridges span the Scioto; and monuments have been erected in honor of Salmon P. Chase, William T. Sherman, Edwin M. Stanton, James A. Garfield, Philip H. Sheridan, Ulysses S. Grant, and Rutherford B. Hayes.
Columbus is an important commercial and manufacturing centre. It has excellent transportation facilities, more than a dozen railroads entering the city, including great trunk lines: the Baltimore and Ohio, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and Saint Louis, and roads of the Pennsylvania system. In the vicinity are the coal and iron fields of the State, an advantage which has contributed largely to the development of manufacturing industries. There is considerable trade in bituminous coal, and the city is an important distributing centre with large wholesale interests. It exports extensively its principal manufactured products, among which are vehicles of various kinds, wheelbarrows, scrapers, agricultural implements, mining machinery, shoes, uniforms, and regalia. There are also many smaller industries.
The government is administered by a mayor, chosen every two years and ineligible to serve three terms in succession, a unicameral city council, elected by wards, and a board of public works appointed by the executive. This board, composed of directors of law, accounts, public improvements, and public safety, constitutes a legislative body in which all important measures must originate and be approved before action by the municipal council. The director of law is acting mayor in case of the mayor's absence or disability. Officials of other departments are chosen by the people: the board of education, consisting of a representative from each ward; police judge and clerk; and four civil magistrates (justices of the peace). The annual budget of the city approximates $3,000,000.
Population, in 1830, 2435; in 1850, 17,882; in 1870, 31,274; in 1880, 51,647; in 1890, 88,150; in 1900, 125,500, including 12,300 persons of foreign birth and 8200 of negro descent.
Columbus was laid out in 1812, the Legislature having selected the site for the capital city, and in 1816 it was incorporated and supplanted Chillicothe as capital of the State. It became the county-seat of Franklin County in 1824. In 1833, and again in 1849-50, it suffered greatly from ravages of cholera. Consult Howe, Historical Collections of Ohio (Columbus, 1889-91).