Columbus, Georgia: A riverfront walk and park has been developed in downtown Columbus along the banks of the Chattahoochee River along with luxurious residential condominiums and apartments as part of the city’s revitalization and urban renewal projects.
Columbus is the second-largest city in Georgia (after Atlanta) and lies on the Chattahoochee River directly across from Phenix City, Alabama.
For centuries the greater area of Columbus was the traditional territory of the Creek Indians. Most Creeks moved west with the 1826 Treaty of Washington. Those that stayed and made war were forcibly removed in 1836. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the industries of Columbus expanded their production; becoming one of the most important centers of industry in the Confederacy.
For a closer look at the city’s history and the contributions of its rich African American community, take a historical trek and follow the Black Heritage Trail. Designated as a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2000, the urban trail features 30 African American heritage landmarks, buildings, and stories of noteworthy events that date back to the 1800s.
Among the must-see stops are: The Ma Rainey House and Blues Museum. Ma Rainey was a pioneering singer known as the “Mother of the Blues” who was born and raised in Columbus before making her way to Chicago, where she signed with Paramount Records. The Liberty Theatre was built in 1924 and was the first black theater in Columbus. It played host to some of the biggest African American musicians in the 20th century, including Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, and Columbus’ own Ma Rainey. It rivaled the size and opulence of the “whites only” theater and probably gave the local black community a much-needed respite from the harshness of African American life in the South. It was closed in 1974 when the city outlawed “separate but equal” facilities, but it reopened in 1996 as a regional theater and enrichment center.
The 14th Street Bridge. You would never know the wide, peaceful, well-kept pedestrian bridge connecting Phenix City, Ala., and Columbus was the site of the last land battle of the Civil War. On Easter Sunday, 1865, it was here that the Confederacy took its dying breath. The strife, disunity, and horror of the Civil War finally ended here, and the reunification of our country began, which included African Americans as citizens.
Downtown, also sometimes called “Uptown” is the city’s central business district, and home to multiple historic districts, homes, and churches. Museums include the Columbus Museum – containing artifacts of regional history and works of American art. It is the largest art and history museum in Georgia. The National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m²) facility that opened in 1962. It features two original Civil War military vessels, uniforms, equipment, and weapons used by the Union and Confederate navies. The Coca-Cola Space Science Center opened in 1996 for the purpose of public education in science, physics, and astronomy. It includes four flight simulators and a planetarium. The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, opened in June 2009, includes displays related to the history of the infantry from the founding of the nation to the present. Its IMAX theatre is used to show related films and special productions. The Bo Bartlett Center is a 18,000+ square foot museum and gallery space. The venue features a permanent display of large-scale paintings by Columbus native Bo Bartlett, as well as rotating exhibitions by renowned contemporary artists. The W.C. Bradley Museum is an 11,000 square foot art museum that features the art collection of the W.C. Bradley Company.
Info: Wikipedia and Explore Georgia.org
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR FOR THIS RICHLY HISTORIC CITY!
The Chattachoochee RiverWalk is an outdoor 15-mile linear park.
The relationship between Columbus and the Chattahoochee predates written history. Spanish explorers told about the falls nearby. The Indians nation’s most extensive trading center was here. Then, in 1828, state legislation set aside 1,200 acres for the town that became Columbus. Steam boats soon were unloading cotton and other products at her busy pier. Romantic ballads were written by passengers who sailed on her lazy paddle-wheelers. Commerce depended on the river with the arrival of the railroad and other means of transportation. More recently, the Chattahoochee became a Mecca for recreation. Lakes created from its lineup of dams attract fishermen from around the world and on weekends the water is filled with boats and skiers. So it was natural for Columbus to come back to the river in 1992. Four years later, that first stretch of riverfront trail was extended to the main post of Fort Benning, giving those who travel on two feet or two wheels a blend of cityscapes and untouched wildlife. The RiverWalk now extends through the campus of TSYS and into the cotton mill town of Bibb City. Join us now on a trip down the Columbus RiverWalk. Take a leisurely stroll through a city’s heritage, a walk that reminds all who come of what was, what is, and what will be.
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