The Architecture of Columbus, GA
One hundred miles southwest of Atlanta, on the Alabama border, is Columbus, Georgia. The city has just surpassed Augusta as the second-largest city in Georgia, but is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state with (only) 316,000 population. Compared with Atlanta’s nearly 6 million metro population, it is still a small city, but it does have an interesting collection of historical and contemporary architecture and urban design.
Like Atlanta, it is situated on the Chattahoochee River and was started as a western frontier town based on a transportation and industrial economy. Columbus was established in 1828, nine years earlier than Atlanta. It was located on the northernmost navigable portion of the river for shipping of cotton to Liverpool, England. The river enabled establishment of many large textile mills making Columbus the “Lowell, MA of the South”.
City leaders once again realized the potential of the river in the 1990’s when a portion of the 1996 Olympic Games were held there and the Riverwalk was established. In 2012, an old dam was removed to release the power of the Chattahoochee river creating the longest urban whitewater venue in the world.
Nearby, is Fort Benning, an US Army Post serving 120,000 people. Since 1918, it has served as the Home of the Infantry. Since 2005, Fort Benning has been transformed into the Maneuver Center of Excellence. Included in this transformation was the move of the Armor School from Fort Knox to Fort Benning.
Columbus has come so far from that small mill town on the western edge of Georgia on the Chattahoochee River. It is experiencing one of its greatest and most accelerated periods of growth. Looking good, Columbus.