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Columbia
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As the capital of South Carolina, Columbia is a city rich with history. There are numerous things for the entire family to see and do throughout the city. Whether you like visiting places important in history, enjoying the arts, playing or watching sports, attending festivals, or participating in outdoor activities, Columbia is the place for you.

THE 1700's

For nearly a century before the creation of Columbia by the General Assembly in 1786, the site of Columbia was important to the overall development of the state.

The Congrees, a frontier fort on the west bank of the Congaree River, was the head of navigation in the Santee River system. A ferry was established by the colonial government in 1754 to connect the fort with the growing settlements on the higher ground on the east bank.

State Senator John Lewis Gervais of Ninety Six introduced a bill that was approved by the legislature on March 22, 1786 to create a new state capital.

There was considerable argument over the name for the new city. One legislator insisted on the name Washington, but Columbia won out by a vote of 11-7 in the state Senate.

The commissioners designed a town of 400 Blocks in a two-mile square along the river. The blocks were divided into half-acre lots and sold to speculators and prospective residents. Buyers had to build a house at least 30 feet long and 18 feet wide within three years or face an annual 5 percent penalty.

The perimeter streets and two through streets were 150 feet wide. The remaining squares were divided by thoroughfares 100 feet wide. The width was determined by the belief that the dangerous and pesky mosquito could not fly more than 60 feet without dying of starvation along the way.

Columbians still enjoy most of the magnificent network of wide streets.

The commissioners comprised 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.

As the second planned city in the United States, Columbia began to grow rapidly. Its population was nearing 1,000 shortly after the turn of the century.

THE 1800's

Columbia received its first charter as a town in 1805. An intendent and six wardens would govern the town.

John Taylor was the first elected intendent. He later served in both houses of the General Assembly, both houses of Congress and eventually as governor of the state.

By 1816, there were 250 homes in the town and a population over 1,000.

The town's governing body was empowered to tax these citizens by up to 12 cents per $100 of property. An extra 5-cent levy could be charged to those who wished to be exempt from patrol duty. Additional taxes could be levied for ownership of a carriage, $5; a wagon, $3; and $4 for a mechanic's license.

For another $2 per year, a citizen could be come exempt from working on the streets. When the Legislature was in session, the town council constantly heard complaints about weeds and bushes growing in the streets.

One of the first municipal employees was the "Warner", someone who went through town warning citizens when it was their time to work on the public streets and roads.

In the early days of the town, every citizen was required to keep one fire bucket for each chimney in his house. Five small fire brigades were organized in 1816 with each male citizen expected to serve. Volunteer departments later replaced these brigades.

Policing the new town was also a hit and miss proposition in the early 1800's. The legislature has appointed a marshall who walked through the town twice a day. An official town guard was created in 1824. Citizens could buy an exemption from serving in the guard for $5.

Columbia became chartered in 1854,<
See a concert at the Colonial Center. an ice show at the Carolina Coliseum. a Broadway show at the Koger Center. a national dance touring company at The Township. a regatta at Lake Murray. a replica of a three ton white shark at the State Museum. historic homes from the 16th century. festivals, concerts and an amazing view at Finlay Park.

Catch a theatrical production at one of Columbia's many theatres. Walk through the tallest trees on the East Coast in the Congaree National Park. Tailgate at Williams-Brice Stadium as the University of South Carolina battles in Southeastern Conference football. Enjoy food from around the world at one of many festivals. Listen to one of music's hottest performers at the South Carolina State Fair.

Play challenging golf course. Visit Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden, consistently rated one of the nation's "10 Great Zoos." In short, Columbia really does have it all!


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