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A Capital Named in Honor of Christopher Columbus

Mound Street in today’s downtown Columbus, Ohio was so named because it was close to a large Native American burial mound. Other relics could be seen as well but the ancient civilizations had moved on by the time the European explorers started moving into the region south of Lake Erie. There were many different Native Indian tribes in the area.

By February 10, 1816, the Borough of Columbus was officially established and Columbus was founded in 1812, named in honor of Christopher Columbus. The National Railroad reached Columbus in 1831 and on the outskirts of the city European immigrants settled. In the north were Irish and Germans in the south. The German population built many breweries, the Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Capital University.

During the Civil War, Columbus was a major base for the volunteer Union Army with 26,000 troops and 9,000 Confederate prisoners of war at Camp Chase. Today this is the Hilltop neighborhood of west Columbus. By the end of the 19th century, Columbus was known as the “Buggy Capital of the World”. Two organizations founded here were the American Federation of Labor and the United Mine Workers of America.

In 1908 The Columbus Experiment was an internationally recognized environmental project, which was the start of the construction of the first water plant in the world. It was designed and invented by the Hoover brothers. In the 20th century, Columbus was nicknamed “The Arch City” because of the many wooden arches that spanned High Street. These arches illuminated the thoroughfare and became the means by which electric power was provided to the new streetcars.

Due to a devastating flood on March 25, 1913, which left thousands of residents homeless and flooded neighborhoods, leaving more than ninety people dead the Army Corps of Engineers decided to widen the Scioto River. New bridges and a retaining wall were built along the banks. Many new buildings started going up in 1he 1920s including the massive Ohio Stadium. WW II brought new jobs to the city. In 1948 the Town and Country Shopping Center opened in suburban Whitehall and today is noted as being one of the first modern shopping centers in the U.S.

The 1970s saw more construction which included the Greater Columbus Convention Center and brought in major conventions and trade shows to the city. The Scioto Mile is a showcase park along the riverfront.

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