An interesting fact about Columbia, South Carolina, it was the first city in America, as well as the first capital named for Christopher Columbus. Founded on March 26, 1786, Columbia serves as the state's center of government, education and commerce with over 200 years of history.
Here are five facts about South Carolina's capital:
Columbia was almost named Washington. State Senator John Lewis Gervais introduced a bill that was approved by the legislature on March 22, 1786 to create a new state capital. The only problem was what to name the city. One legislator insisted on the name Washington, but Columbia won out by a vote of 11-7 in the state Senate, according to the city's website.
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In the early 1800s every house in town was required to have a bucket in the home for every chimney in the structure. Five fire brigades were formed in 1816 and all male citizens were expected to serve. These brigades were later replaced by volunteer fire departments.
On February 17, 1865, in the last months of the Civil War, much of Columbia was looted and burned while being occupied by Union troops under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman.
Sherman was thought to be holding a grudge against Columbia and wanted to make an example of the city because it was the location of the South Carolina Secession Convention in 1860, which led to South Carolina becoming the first state to leave the Union in the events leading up to the Civil War.
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Washington Street was once paved with wooden blocks. This was a source of amusement for local residents because every time it rained the blocks would float away. The wooden blocks were replaced with asphalt paving in 1925.
At the Riverbanks Zoological Park in Columbia, over 2,000 animals thrive on 170 acres in recreated natural habitats with no bars or cages. But the Zoo not only serves to protect rare and endangered wildlife, it also safeguards a number of South Carolina's significant historical landmarks.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, Riverbanks is situated on property with landmarks dating back to the early 1800s, including covered river bridge abutments. These abutments were all that was left after Confederate soldiers burned the bridges in an unsuccessful effort to keep General Sherman's troops from entering Columbia at the end of the Civil War.
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