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From the creation of Columbia by the state's General Assembly in 1786, the site of Columbia was important to the overall development of South Carolina. The Congarees, a frontier fort on the west bank of the Congaree River, was the head of navigation in the Santee River system. In 1754, a ferry was established by the colonial government to connect the fort with the growing settlements on the higher ground on the east bank. As one of the first planned cities in the United States, Columbia began to grow rapidly. Its population was nearing 1,000 shortly after the turn of the century.
In 1801, South Carolina College (now known as the University of South Carolina, home of the Fighting Gamecocks) was founded in Columbia. The city was chosen as the site of the institution in part to unite the state's citizens in the Upcountry (Greenville, Spartanburg) and the Lowcountry (Charleston, Beaufort).
Columbia became chartered as a city in 1854, with an elected mayor and six aldermen. Then just two years later, the city of Columbia formed a police force consisting of a full-time chief and nine patrolmen. The city continued to grow at a rapid pace, as throughout the 1850s and 1860s making Columbia the largest inland city in the Carolinas.
The early 1900s saw Columbia emerge as a regional textile manufacturing center with six mills in operation: Richland, Granby, Olympia, Capital City, Columbia, and Palmetto. Combined, these six mills employed over 3,400 workers with an annual payroll of $819,000, giving the Midlands an economic boost of over $4.8 million.
There were no paved streets until 1908, when 17 blocks of Main Street in downtown Columbia were surfaced. There were, however, 115 publicly maintained street crossings at intersections to keep pedestrians from having to wade through a sea of mud between sidewalks, which were wooden. As an experiment, Washington Street was once paved with wooden blocks but this proved to be the source of much local amusement when they buckled and floated away during heavy rains. The blocks were eventually replaced with asphalt paving in 1925.
Columbia's population continued to grow during the 1950s, having experienced a 40% increase from 186,844 to 260,828, with 97,433 people residing within the city limits. The Columbia metropolitan population reach 410,088 1980 and in 1990 this figure had hit approximately 470,000. Today, the city's popoulation is over 500,000.
The 1990s and early 2000s saw revitalization in the downtown area. The Congaree Vista district along Gervais Street, once known as a warehouse district, became a thriving district of art galleries, shops, and restaurants.
You won’t have to look far to find that Columbia has a love of the arts as seen in its theatres, galleries, dance companies, orchestra, arts schools and outdoor art and murals. The city is enriched by artists who have chosen to live here. Many more exhibit their works in galleries, museums and at festivals. The Columbia Museum of Art excites visitors with a changing collection of fine art. The Koger Center for the Arts provides Columbia with theatre, music and dance performances from around the world. The Colonial Life Arena, Carolina Coliseum and The Township Auditorium also provide a wide array of first class entertainment from some of today's biggest stars.
See a concert at the Colonial Life Arena. Experience an ice show at the Carolina Coliseum. Take in a Broadway show at the Koger Center or 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, numerous festivals, concerts and an amazing view at Finlay Park. Catch a theatrical production at one of Columbia's many community 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 Gamecocks battle in the Southeastern Conference, arguably the most competitive and exciting college football conference. 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 every October. Play challenging golf courses. Visit Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden, consistently rated one of the nation's "10 Great Zoos."
And for the professional sports enthusiasts are the Atlanta and Charlotte teams for Major League Baseball, NFL and NBA excitement are within easy driving distance from the Greater Columbia area (including Lexington, West Columbia, Cayce, Irmo and Lake Murray).
Columbia's city parks offer tens of thousands of baseball and softball enthusiasts, tennis players and swimmers a chance to take an active part in sports in their community. Nearby lakes and rivers offer great challenges and rewards for those who enjoy the best boating, fishing, canoeing and kayaking around.
South Carolina's capital region is one of the few areas in the world fortunate enough to have not one, but three rivers. Cutting through the heart of the Midlands, the Saluda and the Broad Rivers meet in a rush of rapids, and merge together to form the tranquil Congaree. The beauty along the banks of these rivers is astonishing. Fish leap into the air on a hot summer day, deer graze at the rivers' shores. Egrets perch on moss-covered rocks and eagles soar overhead, in hunt of their prey. Spanish moss cascades from old hardwood trees, whose branches delicately outline the waters' almost untouchable edges.
Columbia's real strength lies in her neighborhoods. The City of Columbia works closely with neighborhood organizations to increase the lines of communications between neighborhoods and Columbia City Hall. One of the strongest links is the City's support of the Columbia Council of Neighborhoods.
Columbia is also home to Fort Jackson is the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army, training 50 percent of all Soldiers and 70 percent of the women entering the Army each year. Providing the Army with trained, disciplined, motivated and physically fit warriors who espouse the Army's core values and are focused on teamwork is the post's primary mission. Accomplishing that mission means training in excess of 50,000 basic training and advanced individual training Soldiers every year.
The post has other missions as well. Fort Jackson is home to the U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute, the U.S. Army Chaplains Center and School and the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment (formerly the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute).
The fort includes more than 52,000 acres, including more than 100 ranges and field training sites and 1,160 buildings. Soldiers, civilians, retirees and family members make up the Fort Jackson community that continues to grow in numbers and facilities. More than 3,900 active duty Soldiers and their 14,000 family members are assigned to the installation and make this area their home. Fort Jackson employs almost 5,200 civilians and provides services for more than 36,000 retirees and their family members. An additional 12,000 students attend courses at the Soldier Support Institute, Chaplain Center and School and Drill Sergeant School annually.
The fort will continue to grow in the coming years as a result of the recent Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s decision to make Fort Jackson the home of the Army’s only Drill Sergeant School, the Department of Defense Joint Center of Excellence for Military Chaplaincy and one of four new Regional Readiness Sustainment Commands.
Since 1917, when fighting men were needed for World War I, Fort Jackson has a proud history of supporting our Army in times of war. That tradition continues today as the fort willingly accepts new challenges related to the War on Terrorism and stands ready to accept any additional mission in support of our nation’s defense.
My name is Paul Bryant and I specialize in assisting buyers and sellers in Real Estate transactions. My areas of expertise include Columbia, Lexington, West Columbia, and surrounding areas. As your REALTOR®, I will work hard to justify your confidence and generate the results you deserve. Through my determination, research and 100% follow-through, you can be assured that you will receive the best possible service and a clear look at all of your options. Whether you are selling, buying or just have a question, I invite you to call me today at 803.361.0585.