Our Georgia History
 

Columbus, Georgia
December 24, 1827 State declares its intention to lay out the city of Columbus, Georgia
  Columbus, Georgia
July 27, 1852 George Foster Peabody born, Columbus, Georgia
  George Foster Peabody
  Columbus, Georgia
May 27, 1863 The boiler on the CSS Chattahoochee explodes while plowing the waters near the coast of Georgia. She is taken to the shipyard in Columbus, where she is eventually scuttled.
  Columbus, Georgia
April 16, 1865 Wilson's Federal cavalry captures Columbus and West Point
  Civil War - 1865
  Columbus, Georgia
October 12, 1876 CSA Brig. General Pleasant J. Philips dies, Columbus, GA
October 12, 1876
  Brigadier General Pleasant J. Philips
  Columbus, Georgia
April 26, 1886 Blues singer "Ma" Rainey born, Columbus
  Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey
  Columbus, Georgia
August 16, 1888 John Styth Pemberton dies, Atlanta, Georgia. Following a service attended by "every pharmicist in the city of Atlanta," Pemberton's body was returned to Columbus, Georgia
  John Stith (Styth) Pemberton
  Columbus, Georgia
February 19, 1900 Writer Carson McCullers (Lula Carson Smith) born, Columbus, Georgia
  Carson McCullers
  Columbus, Georgia
February 23, 1913 The Million Dollar Fire destroys 6 blocks of downtown Columbus, Georgia.
  Columbus, Georgia
September 6, 1921 The New York World began a series of expose articles on the Ku Klux Klan. Syndicated throughout the U.S., it only appeared in the Columbus Enquirer-Sun in Georgia.
  Ku Klux Klan in Georgia
  Columbus, Georgia
April 15, 1924 (circa) WDBA, Columbus, GA licensed
  Columbus, Georgia
December 22, 1939 Blues singer "Ma" Rainey dies, Columbus
  Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey
  Columbus, Georgia
July 4, 1944 Rev. Primus King, enters the courthouse in Columbus, Georgia and attempts to vote in the "white only" Democratic primary. King was black.
  The Road to Integration
  Columbus, Georgia
  Primus King
June 21, 1947 Inaugural run of "Man o' War" rail service between Columbus and Atlanta on the Central of Georgia Railway
  Columbus, Georgia
February 18, 1956 Dr. Thomas H. Brewer, who help create a Columbus chapter of the NAACP in 1937 and was an important figure in the Primus King case, is murdered by Lucio Flowers, a white policeman. Brewer was shot 7 times in front of his office in Columbus
  The Road to Integration
  Columbus, Georgia
May 16, 1970 "Man o' War," Central of Georgia rail service between Columbus and Atlanta ends.
  Columbus, Georgia
September 15, 1977 Mary Willis "Ferne" Jackson, Director of Public Education for the Columbus, Georgia Health Department is strangled in her bedroom by an intruder.
  Wynnton Stocking Strangler
  Columbus, Georgia
September 25, 1977 71-year-old Jean Dimenstien is found strangled and assaulted in a sexual manner in her Wynnton (an area of Columbus, Georgia) home. Similar to a murder that had occured 10 days earlier, the elderly women of Columbus had become a target for a serial killer.
  Wynnton Stocking Strangler
  Columbus, Georgia
April 18, 1984 Carlton Gary is arrested on marijuana related charges in Columbus, Georgia. He posts bond and is freed.
  Wynnton Stocking Strangler
  Columbus, Georgia
April 21, 2004 Italy's Mario Cipollini won Stage 2 of the Dodge Tour de Georgia in a sprint finish. Comprised of 117.9 miles, the second stage began in Thomaston and concluded in Columbus, with more than 4,000 spectators cheering the cyclists at the finish area along Broadway Street.
  Tour de Georgia 2004
  Columbus, Georgia
August 28, 2006 Columbus, Georgia won the Little League World Series on Monday, defeating Kawaguchi City, Japan, 2-1, in the rain-postponed final.
  Columbus, Georgia
September 7, 2006 After visiting with Little League World Champions from Columbus, Georgia, President George W. Bush visits Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler for a fund-raiser for Republican Max Burns and the Cobb Galleria in Marietta for a speech on the War Against Terror
  Eighth Air Force
  Columbus, Georgia
March 27, 2008 Charles Johnson enters Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Georgia. He stalks a male nurse whom he blames for his mother's death in 2004 and kills him. He kills two more people while making his escape before being shot by a Columbus police detective.
  Gunman at Doctors Hospital
  Columbus, Georgia
  Muscogee County, Georgia


Introduction

The city of Columbus, Georgia is located on the Chattahoochee River in western-central Georgia and is the county seat of Muscogee County. In 1971 the city and county consolidated governments, making it the first consolidated city-county government in the state.

Indian occupation

Moundbuilders inhabited the area near Columbus and controlled the entire length of the Chattahoochee River. Before 1700 two independent factions of the Creek lived near the site of present-day Columbus, the Cusettas and the Cowetas, both members of the Creek Confederacy. The federal government negotiated the treaty which moved the Creek west in 1827.

Columbus Founded

On December 24, 1827, Governor John Forsyth signed the bill creating a "trading town" below the great falls (Coweta Falls) of the Chattahoochee along the Old Federal Highway comprised of 1200 acres of land. Ignatius Few, Elias Beall, Philip H. Alston, James Hallam and E. L. deGraffenried were named as commissioners to select the site and oversee an auction of lots for the new city. Settlers poured into the city even before the acreage was to be sold. The weekly Columbus Enquirer newspaper was started by Mirabeau B. Lamar in May, 1828. The auction for city lots began on July 10 and continued through July 23, 1828.

By 1831 the town had its first bank (Farmer's Bank of Chattahoochee), daily mail service, and a fourteen man fire company. In 1836 the federal government removed the Creek Indians living immediately west of the city in Alabama. Columbus was added to Georgia's expanding telegraph grid in 1847.

Civil War

During the Civil War Columbus served as a shipbuilding facility for the Confederate government. By 1864, however, production at the shipyard and other facilities was slowed by a lack of raw material. After the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox,

Consolidation

The movement towards the consolidation of the city and county governments began when the health departments consolidated in 1940. Ten years later the city and county school systems were consolidated. It was the success of these consolidations in saving money while increasing services to the vast majority of the people served over a twenty year period that convinced local politicians of the need to consolidate city and county operations. In 1961 former Chamber of Commerce president James Woodruff, Jr. began pushing the idea of city-county consolidation. Based on his idea, the city of Columbus and Muscogee County, Georgia created a joint 21-member Consolidation Study Committee that was seated in June 1961. In November, 1961 the committee's non-binding recommendation was accepted. It called for the abolishment of both the city and county government, and the formation of a six-commissioner board with a mayor handling executive duties of the combined government. The Georgia General Assembly approved the merger in 1962.

Later in 1962 the first referendum on the subject failed at both the city and county level, although the city referendum lost by less than 500 votes out of 11,594 votes cast. In 1965 the city changed to an elected mayor. A similar vote in 1966 produced votes granted the city and county permission to consolidate, but did not give specific approval for details. In 1967 a second Consolidation Study Committee recommended the creation of an independent Charter Commission. In November, 1968, the voters of Columbus and Muscogee County approved the commission.

The creation of the commission proved to be politically astute. The charter proposed by this commission would go directly to the people for approval. By moving it away from the county and city commissions the Consolidation Study Committee avoided potential defeat since opponents would only need three votes in either commission to avoid consolidation. Furthermore, the study committee also avoided a high negative vote by exempting Bibb City, an independent city in the county that did not want to join the consolidation. During the 1968-1969 legislative session the state of Georgia approved the creation of the charter commission and it was signed into law by Governor Lester Maddox in April, 1969.

Led by Columbus College president Dr. Thomas Y. Whitley the charter commission immediately began work on the new charter, setting a target date of April 1, 1970 for completion of its work. In October a series of four meeting designed for public input was held. It was at this public input hearing that the charter commission found a glaring hole in its composition. A community leader pointed out that although blacks made up one-third of the consolidated population there were no blacks on the commission. Dr. Whitley took the recommendation very seriously, acknowledged the "unfortunate ommission," and appointed four blacks in an advisory role, since he did not have the power to change the appointed commission.


On May 27, 1970, the citizens of Columbus and Muscogee County, Georgia voted to become the first consolidated city-county governments in the state, and among the first in the nation behind Nashville, Tennessee and Jacksonville, Florida. On November 10, 1970, voters selected the new mayor and 10 council members (6 elected at-large and 4 elected by district, one of whom was black). The organization of the consolidation was officially completed on January 1, 1971, and the following day all former city and county employees reported to their respective Columbus-Muscogee County government offices.









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