Commercial Bank of Columbia - Obsolete Banknote - Paper MoneyInv# OB1612 Paper Money
$5. Columbia, South Carolina.
Columbia is the capital of the U.S. state of South Carolina. With a population of 136,632 as of the 2020 U.S. Census, it is the second-largest city in South Carolina. The city serves as the county seat of Richland County, and a portion of the city extends into neighboring Lexington County. It is the center of the Columbia metropolitan statistical area, which had a population of 829,470 and is the 72nd-largest metropolitan statistical area in the nation. The name Columbia is a poetic term used for the United States, derived from the name of Christopher Columbus, who explored for the Spanish Crown. Columbia is often abbreviated as Cola, leading to its nickname as "Soda City."
The city is located about 13 miles (21ákm) northwest of the geographic center of South Carolina, and is the primary city of the Midlands region of the state. It lies at the confluence of the Saluda River and the Broad River, which merge at Columbia to form the Congaree River. As the state capital, Columbia is the site of the South Carolina State House, the center of government for the state. In 1860, the South Carolina Secession Convention took place here; delegates voted for secession, making this the first state to leave the Union in the events leading up to the Civil War. The first six states to secede were those whose planters held the most enslaved African Americans; these were slave societies.
Columbia is home to the University of South Carolina, the state's flagship public university and the largest in the state. The area has benefited from Congressional support for Southern military installations. Columbia is the site of Fort Jackson, the largest United States Army installation for Basic Combat Training. Twenty miles to the east of the city is McEntire Joint National Guard Base, which is operated by the U.S. Air Force and is used as a training base for the 169th Fighter Wing of the South Carolina Air National Guard.
In May 1540, a Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto traversed what is now Columbia while moving northward on exploration of the interior of the Southeast. The expedition produced the earliest written historical records of this area, which was part of the regional Cofitachequi chiefdom of the Mississippian culture.
During the colonial era, European settlers encountered the Congaree in this area, who inhabited several villages along the Congaree River. The settlers established a frontier fort and fur trading post named after the Congaree, on the west bank of the Congaree River. It was at the fall line and the head of navigation in the Santee River system.
Like many other significant early settlements in colonial America, Columbia is on the fall line of the Piedmont region. The fall line is often marked by rapids at the places where the river cuts sharply down to lower levels in the Tidewater or Low Country of the coastal plain. Beyond the fall line, the river is unnavigable for boats sailing upstream. Entrepreneurs and later industrialists established mills in such areas, as the water flowing downriver, often over falls, provided power to run equipment.
After the American Revolutionary War and United States independence, State Senator John Lewis Gervais of the town of Ninety Six introduced a bill that was approved by the legislature on March 22, 1786, to create a new state capital. Considerable argument occurred over the name for the new city. According to published accounts, Senator Gervais said he hoped that "in this town we should find refuge under the wings of COLUMBIA", for that was the name which he wished it to be called. One legislator insisted on the name "Washington", but "Columbia" won by a vote of 11ľ7 in the state senate.
The site was chosen as the new state capital in 1786 due to its central location in the state. The State Legislature first met there in 1790. After remaining under the direct government of the legislature for the first two decades of its existence, Columbia was incorporated as a village in 1805 and then as a city in 1854.
Columbia received a large stimulus to development when it was connected in a direct water route to Charleston by the Santee Canal. This connected the Santee and Cooper rivers in a 22-mile-long (35ákm) section. It was first chartered in 1786 and completed in 1800, making it one of the earliest canals in the United States. With competition later from faster railroad traffic, it ceased operation around 1850.
The commissioners designed a town of 400 blocks in a 2-mile (3ákm) square along the river. The blocks were divided into lots of 0.5 acres (2,000ám2) and sold to speculators and prospective residents. Buyers had to build a house at least 30 feet (9.1ám) long and 18 feet (5.5ám) wide within three years, or face an annual 5% penalty. The perimeter streets and two through streets were 150 feet (46ám) wide. The remaining squares were divided by thoroughfares 100 feet (30ám) wide. As the capital and one of the first planned cities in the United States, Columbia began to grow rapidly. Its population was nearing 1,000 shortly after the start of the 19th century.
The commissioners constituted the local government until 1797, when a Commission of Streets and Markets was created by the General Assembly. Three main issues occupied most of their time: public drunkenness, gambling, and poor sanitation.
In 1801, South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) was founded in Columbia. The original building survives. The city was chosen as the site of the state college in an effort to unite residents of the Upcountry and the Lowcountry and to discourage elite youth from traveling to England for their higher education. At the time, South Carolina planter families sent more young men to England than did men of any other state. The leaders of South Carolina kept a close eye on the new college: for many years after its founding, commencement exercises were held in December while the state legislature was in session.
Columbia received its first charter as a town in 1805. An intendant and six wardens governed the town. John Taylor, the first elected intendant, later served in both houses of the General Assembly, both houses of Congress, and eventually was elected as governor. By 1816, some 250 homes had been built in the town and a population was more than 1000.
Columbia became chartered as a city in 1854, with an elected mayor and six aldermen. Two years later, Columbia had a police force consisting of a full-time chief and nine patrolmen. The city continued to grow at a rapid pace, and throughout the 1850s and 1860s, Columbia was the largest inland city in the Carolinas. Railroad transportation served as a significant cause of population expansion in Columbia during this time. Rail lines that reached the city in the 1840s primarily transported cotton bales, not passengers, from there to major markets and the port of Charlestown. Cotton was the chief commodity of the state and lifeblood of the Columbia community; in 1850, virtually all of the city's commercial and economic activity was related to cotton. Cotton was sent to New York and New England's textile mills, as well as to England and Europe, where demand was high.
"In 1830, around 1,500 slaves lived and worked in Columbia; this population grew to 3,300 by 1860. Some members of this large enslaved population worked in their masters' households. Masters also frequently hired out slaves to Columbia residents and institutions, including South Carolina College. Hired-out slaves sometimes returned to their owners' homes daily; others boarded with their temporary masters." During this period,
"legislators developed state and local statutes to restrict the movement of urban slaves in hopes of preventing rebellion. Although various decrees established curfews and prohibited slaves from meeting and from learning to read and write, such rulings were difficult to enforce." "[S]everal prewar accounts note that many Columbia slaves were literate; some slaves even conducted classes to teach others to read and write." Also, "many slaves attended services at local Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches, yet some struggled to obtain membership in these institutions."
Columbia's First Baptist Church hosted the South Carolina Secession Convention on December 17, 1860. The white delegates drafted a resolution in favor of secession, 159ľ0. Columbia's location made it an ideal location for other conventions and meetings within the Confederacy.
On February 17, 1865, in the last months of the Civil War, much of Columbia was destroyed by fire while Union troops under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman approached. Jeff Goodwyn, mayor of Columbia, sent William B. Stanley and Thomas W. Radcliffe to surrender the city to Sherman's troops. According to legend, the First Baptist Church was nearly torched by Sherman's troops. The soldiers marched up to the church and asked the sexton if he could direct them to the First Baptist Church. The sexton directed the men to the nearby Washington Street Methodist Church. First Baptist was saved at the expense of another historic church.
The controversy surrounding the burning of the city started soon after the war ended. General Sherman blamed the high winds and retreating Confederate soldiers for firing bales of cotton, which had been stacked in the streets. Sherman denied ordering the burning, though he did order destruction of militarily significant structures, such as the Confederate Printing Plant. Today, tourists can follow the path General Sherman's army took to enter the city and see structures or remnants of structures that survived the fire.
During the Reconstruction era, when African-American Republicans were among the legislators elected to state government, Columbia became the focus of considerable attention. Reporters, journalists, travelers, and tourists flocked here to see a Southern state legislature whose members included freedmen (former slaves), as well as men of color who had been free before the war. The city began to rebuild and recover from the devastating fire of 1865; a mild construction boom took place within the first few years of Reconstruction. In addition, repair of railroad tracks in outlying areas created more jobs for residents.
By the late nineteenth century, culture was expanding in the city. In 1897 the Columbia Music Festival Association was founded by Mayor William McB. Sloan and the city aldermen. It was headquartered in the Opera House on Main Street, which also served as City Hall. Its role was to book and manage concerts and events in the opera house for the city.