By Vince Mancuso, Storage.com
Looking for a great place to live? The city of Columbus is right on the Chattahoochee River in Georgia and offers plenty of opportunities for its residents to live, work, and play! From historic neighborhoods and nationally-recognized companies to entertainment for young adults, families, and retirees, “The Fountain City” has something for everybody. Here are 12 things to know about living in Columbus.
1. A RICH SOUTHERN HISTORY.
Columbus’s history goes back to 1828, when the city was founded as a connection point for the cotton industry along the Chattahoochee. After the arrival of the railroad and textile industries in the 1850s, Columbus became a major hub in the South, earning the nickname “the Lowell of the South” (after the Massachusetts industrial city that’s also on a river). Much of this history can still be seen in the buildings and roads of the city’s eight historic districts: Bibb City Historic, Columbus Historic, Columbus Historic Riverfront Industrial, Dinglewood, Peacock Woods-Dimon Circle Historic, Weracoba-St. Elmo Historic, Wynn’s Hill-Overlook-Oak Circle Historic, and Wynnton Village Historic.
2. UPTOWN FUNK YOU UP.
You may get the terms “Downtown” and “Uptown” confused with Columbus, and that’s because Downtown Columbus is Uptown Columbus to its residents. Locals often “go down” to Uptown for free concerts, shows, and festivals. While you’re there, be sure to check out Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant, a cafeteria-style southern food joint. You have to try Minnie’s fried chicken, as well as the sweet potatoes and corn muffins. And if you’re a vegetarian, Minnie’s cooks all of its vegetables separate from its meat, so you can still enjoy this must-have Columbus experience!
3. FORT BENNING.
Just outside of Columbus sits Fort Benning, one of the largest U.S. military installations in the world and largest employer in Columbus (providing roughly 40,000 jobs). Established in 1918 to provide basic training to World War I units, this 182,000-acre base is home to more than 107,000 individuals and has the ability to deploy combat-ready troops at the drop of a hat. Fort Benning also hosts the United States Army Armor School, which trains soldiers in strategies and tactics using armored equipment, such as battle tanks.
Military personnel often use self storage while stationed in Columbus, GA. Learn about the benefits of Military Storage.
4. WHAT’S THE NAME OF THAT INSURANCE?
Have you ever heard of the American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus? Perhaps you know it better as the insurance-industry giant Aflac. Fortune Magazine ranked Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America in 2014, and it’s been listed there for 16 consecutive years. Aflac employs around 4,750 people inside the United States, the majority of which work in Columbus. In addition to being one of the largest employers in the area, it’s also been recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity for the ninth time.
5. GET YOUR COLLEGE ON.
Columbus State University has risen from a humble beginning to gaining national recognition for its programs. Originally founded as Columbus College in 1958 after nearly a decade of fundraising by local residents, the first 15 faculty members and 300 students met at the renovated Shannon Hosiery Mill. Now known as Columbus State University, the college has since relocated and enrolls more than 8,200 students. While the school offers 46 undergraduate and 42 graduate degree programs, it was recognized by U.S. News & World Report in 2014 for having best online programs in graduate business and education.
6. THE HOME OF COCA-COLA.
Despite claims of Atlanta being the original Coca-Cola town, Colonel John Pemberton actually created his prototype for Coke in Eagle Drug and Chemical House, a drugstore in Columbus. While he began working on the formula in the 1860s, he registered his French Wine Coca in 1885 as an alcoholic tonic for the nerves. Of course, it eventually became the non-alcoholic cola enjoyed my millions today. Because the city has ties to Coca-Cola history, be sure to refer to soda (or pop, depending on where you previously lived) as “coke.” And don’t be surprised if a local asks what kind of coke you want!
7. ENJOY FOUNTAIN CITY COFFEE.
Though Columbus earned the nickname of Fountain City for its many fountains, there’s only one Fountain City Coffee. On the corner of Broadway and 10th in Uptown, locals love this hometown coffee shop where fresh coffee beans are imported from around the world. Regulars appreciate it for its strong—not too strong—cup of joe, as well as its quirky atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a place to meet with a friend or two or just sit with a good book and read, Fountain City Coffee is where you’ll want to be.
8. GET OUT OF TOWN TO VISIT HUNTER’S.
One of Columbus’s best kept secrets is actually 30 minutes north of the city up I-185 in Hamilton, known as Hunter’s Pub. Don’t look for a sign—you’ll recognize it as the small building surrounded by cars. People say Hunter’s Pub has the best steak around, but there’s also amazing mashed potatoes and sweet potato fries. Don’t forget to order Fried Lobster Tail as an appetizer! It’s part of the experience.
9. LIFE ON THE CHATTAHOOCHEE.
The lifeblood of Columbus flows in the Chattahoochee River, and residents just can’t get enough of that water. Head out to the 22-mile Chattahoochee RiverWalk, which starts at Lake Oliver in North Columbus and ends at Fort Benning. For those who enjoy actually getting in the water, Columbus boasts the largest urban whitewater rafting course in the world. You can also check out Uptown’s Dragon Boat Festival in early May, where locals team up to compete in a fun and festive race!
10. MUSEUMS GALORE.
Columbus is home to many museums that celebrate the history of the city and the country. History buffs can enjoy a day at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center and check out Civil War reenactments. Another interesting museum is the National Civil War Naval Museum, which includes the largest surviving Confederate warship: the CSS Jackson. For parents whose children enjoy a more hands-on experience, there’s the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. Located on and operated by Columbus State University, the center provides a number of interactive exhibits, simulators, and presentations for all ages.
11. EXPLORE LOCAL HAUNTS.
Because Columbus is historic, you’re bound to encounter a ghost or two. Such is the case with the Springer Opera House. Though the opera house now hosts Broadway shows and the Springer Theatre Academy, it’s rumored to be haunted due to its history, which goes back to the 1870s. The ghost of legendary performer Edwin Booth—brother to presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth—is known to play pranks on female members of casts and crews, especially in wardrobe and props rooms. For a more frightful experience, however, visit Crybaby Bridge on Whitesville Road. Legend has it that a World War II widow went mad and murdered her own children, dropping them off on the bridge. If you’re brave, you can stand on the bridge to feel an eerie presence or put baby powder on your car’s hood to see little footprints.
12. COLUMBUS COTTONMOUTHS.
A hockey team that’s been around since 1996, the Snakes (a.k.a. Columbus Cottonmouths) call the Columbus Civic Center their home. Originally in the Central Hockey League as an expansion team, the Cottonmouths have consistently finished among the top teams, winning the President’s Cup twice in the South Professional Hockey League since joining in 2004.
Is there anything we’ve missed? Be sure to tell us what you think makes Columbus a great place to live!
If you’re moving to Columbus and need storage space to help with the transition, view Storage.com’s directory of storage units in Columbus, Georgia.
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