Columbia is the capital of South Carolina and the state’s largest city. The city was specifically created to be the state capital by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1786. Prior to that The Congarees, a frontier fort on the west bank of the Congaree River, was the site of a ferry established in 1754 to connect the fort with the growing settlements on the higher land on the east bank. Columbia was incorporated as a village in 1805 and as a city in 1854. As one of the first planned cities in the United States, Columbia grew rapidly and shortly after 1800 reached nearly a thousand people.
In 1917, the city was selected as the site of Camp Jackson (today Fort Jackson), a U.S. military installation which was officially classified as a “Field Artillery Replacement Depot.” The first recruits arrived at the camp on September 1, 1917. Many years later so did I. I have fond memories of Columbia as I spent a large part of my military service there.
The city is a splendid place for those who love the elegance of earlier days. Historic preservation and reconstruction has played a major
role in shaping Columbia into the beautiful city it is today. Several area museums also have excellent collections from these historic eras among them the Fort Jackson Museum, the McKissick Museum on the campus of the University of South Carolina, and the South Carolina State Museum. Another place a history buff should see is the capitol building. It has a copper dome with bronze stars marking places where Sherman’s cannonballs hit, the Statehouse is well worth the trip for history and architecture alike.
For shoppers, start downtown. The Congaree Vista district along Gervais Street, once known as a warehouse district, is a thriving area of art galleries, shops, and restaurants. Near the end of Gervais is the South Carolina State Museum so one can shop and take in a bit of history on the same outing. The Five Points neighborhood is another area of specialty shopping, including art, antiques and some nice eateries.
While Columbia is not a city known as a ‘dining destination,’ there are some good restaurants around specializing in southern cuisine as well as ‘fusion’ combining southern with other cuisines. These are found mostly in the historic Congaree Vista district, Five Points, and along Devine Street. However, there is a sizeable collection of mid-range regional chains and the usual national chains largely catering to Fort Jackson residents and visitors. For some reason I seem to remember pimento-cheese fries with most everything.
Columbia is considered a safe city. Normal precautions apply.
“Columbia has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with mild winters, warm springs and autumns, and very hot and humid summers. The area averages 56 nights below freezing, but extended cold is rare. The city’s current promotional slogan describes Columbia as “Famously Hot.” But the phrase is also considered a sly reference to fires that swept the city after it was captured in 1865 by Union Army forces under the command of General William T. Sherman.” – weather summary from Wikipedia
Columbia is served by Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Public transportation is bus and taxi.
Columbia population is 129,333 (2009) Metro area is 744,730
1 is the international calling code for the United States.
893 is the area code for Columbia.
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