Columbus Ohio Homes
Columbus Ohio History
Columbus, which is both the capital of Ohio and the county seat of Franklin County, was first laid out in 1812 and incorporated in 1816. Columbus was not the original capital, but the state legislature chose to move the state government there after its location for a short time at both Chillicothe and Zanesville. Columbus was chosen as the site for the new capital because of its central location within the state and access by way of major transportation routes (primarily rivers) at that time. The legislature chose it as Ohio's capital over a number of other competitors, including Franklinton, Dublin, Worthington, and Delaware. Prior to the state legislature's decision in 1812, Columbus did not exist. The city was designed from the first as the state's capital, preparing itself for its role in Ohio's political, economic, and social life. In the years between first ground-breaking and the actual movement of the capital in 1816, Columbus grew significantly.

The town was surveyed, and various city lots were put up for sale. By 1813, a penitentiary had been built, and by the following year the first church, school, and newspaper had been established. The statehouse was built in 1814 as well. Columbus grew quickly in its first few years, having a population of seven hundred people by 1815. It officially became the county seat in 1824. By 1834, the population of Columbus was four thousand people, officially elevating it to "city" status. In that year, Columbus residents elected John Brooks as its first mayor.

Although Columbus suffered as a result of the Panic of 1819, in the following decades the capital continued to grow both economically and in terms of population. Much of Columbus's growth can be attributed to its proximity to major transportation routes. Columbus was connected to the Ohio and Erie Canal by way of an eleven-mile feeder canal in September 1831. By 1836, the National Road extended from Cumberland, Maryland, to Columbus, and within the next several years eventually extended all the way to Illinois. In the 1840s and 1850s, railroads and telegraph lines connected the capital to other parts of the state as well.

As might be expected of a capital city, Columbus became a center of learning and social activities in the nineteenth century. A significant number of both private and public schools existed within the city. In addition, there were two colleges located in Columbus by the late nineteenth century—Ohio State University and Capital University. Ohio State was a state-supported school, while the Lutheran Church founded Capital University. Two medical schools also functioned at this time, Starling Medical College and the Columbus Medical College. Supplementing this emphasis on education were a number of libraries containing thousands of volumes, an Art School, and numerous musical societies and concerts. According to city records in the 1880s, Columbus boasted more than fifty churches but also had approximately six hundred saloons. The city supported numerous newspapers and magazines as well

As capital, Columbus also hosted a number of legal and medical institutions.  In addition to hospitals associated with the medical colleges, Columbus reputedly had the largest insane asylum in the world, with approximately 1300 patients.  It also supported an "Asylum for Feeble-Minded Youth," a "Blind Asylum," and a "Deaf and Dumb Asylum."  The Ohio Penitentiary was also still located in the capital and housed about 1400 people by the late 1800s.
By the mid-nineteenth century, industries began to emerge in the Columbus area, and they really began to grow in the years following the Civil War.  Columbus's industrial development benefited from the nearby transportation systems as well as the city's position as the state capital.  By the 1880s, there were almost two hundred factories in operation, with fifty-eight of them employing at least forty people apiece.  These industries included factories manufacturing shoes, cigars, farm tools and machinery, furniture, carriages, and brooms; iron manufacturers and foundries; and brewing companies established by German immigrants.  Despite this industrial growth, Columbus was not the state's largest city.  In the 1880 census, the city's population was 51,647. 
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