Columbus, Georgia - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Statues and exhibits help bring the
past to life at Heritage Park in
Columbus, Georgia. This exhibit
features a recreation of a dam on the
The Jackson was a massive ironclad
ship almost ready for action when it
was captured following the Battle of
Historic Sites & Points of Interest
A stunning fountain graces one of the many
entrances to the Columbus Riverwalk, a spectacular
natural and historical area that links many attractions
in the Georgia city.
A Rich and Significant History
Columbus, Georgia, is rich in th history of the
frontier, Civil War, industrial development of
the South and the modern U.S. Army.
Founded in 1828 at the head of navigation on
the Chattahoochee River, Columbus looks
across the river into what was once the
Creek Nation. The city is modern and
progressive and is noted today as the home
of Fort Benning, a major U.S. Army post.
Columbus during its earliest days was a
hotbed for speculators hoping to profit from
the forced removal of the Creek Indians to
what is now Oklahoma. Francis Scott Key,
composer of the National Anthem, was sent
by President Andrew Jackson to investigate
the fraud allegations, but it was too little too
The Yuchi branch of the Creek Nation was
infuriated against both frauds and the plan of
the government for the wholesale removal of
the Creeks on the Trail of Tears. They went to
war against the whites in 1836. Columbus
became the command post for military
operations against the Creeks and was the
headquarters of Maj. Gen. Winfield T. Scott.
The Creeks lost their final war against the
whites and over the 25 years that followed
Columbus emerged as an inland river port
and one of the few major industrial centers in
th South. Factories in the city were converted
for the manufacture of arms when Georgia
seceded from the Union. The workers of
Columbus produced material ranging from
swords and uniforms to Confederate
The massive ironclad CSS Jackson was
nearing completion at Columbus when
Union troops attacked the city on April 16,
1865. With a few more weeks of time to work,
the Confederates would have sent her down
river with the gunboat CSS Chattahoochee
and torpedo boat Viper to break the Union
blockade of Apalachicola, Florida.
Federal troops captured the city in a rare
night action remembered today as the Battle
of Columbus. The fight was the last major
land battle of the Civil War and was fought on
Easter Sunday, April 16, 1865..
The ironclad Jackson was burned to the
waterline by Union soldiers and cast adrift on
the Chattahoochee. Raised in 1961, her
500,000 pound wreck is now on display at
the National Civil War Naval Museum on the
Columbus riverfront. The museum also
houses the wreck of the CSS Chattahoochee
and is home to an array of other artifacts and
exhibits, including life-sized reconstructions
of Civil War ships including the USS Water
Witch and CSS Albemarle.
Columbus was the first American city to hold
Memorial Day observances after the war. A
group of ladies gathered to form a memorial
society and held the first services in 1866.
Columbus recovered quickly from the war to
continue its emergence as a major industrial
and commercial center. Riverboats carried
cargoes on the Chattahoochee, Flint and
Apalachicola RIvers from Columbus to
Apalachicola, Florida, where ocean-going
ships provided transport on to cities around
Railroads connected the cities factories to
markets around the country. Some of those
factories have now been converted to house
apartments and even the city's convention
and trade center.
Columbus achieved a unique distinction in
American history in May 1866. Dr. John S.
Pemberton, a Battle of Columbus veteran,
was trying to invent a new medicine when he
brewed up Coca-Cola in his backyard. A
pharmacist by trade, he offered his invention
for sale in Atlanta and the rest is history.
Two of his former homes are preserved in
With World War I raging in 1918, Columbus
became the home to Fort Benning (originally
called Camp Benning). Thousands of
soldiers have trained at this major U.S. Army
post during its 90 year history. Fort Benning
is home to the United States Army Infantry
School as well as the school for Airborne
The post was named for Gen.l Henry "The
Rock" Benning, a Confederate hero. He is
buried at Linwood Cemetery in Columbus
and the city is home to the National Infantry
Fort Benning remains a major driver of the
local economy, but the textile industry faded
during the mid to late 20th century. The brick
factory buildings have been converted for use
as apartments and modern high-tech
industries while the Columbus Ironworks
now houses the city's trade and convention
Columbus offers a wide array of historic sites
and attractions including Heritage Park, the
River Walk, museums, the Columbus
Historic District, the National Civil War Naval
Museum and the National Infantry Museum.
Heritage Corner features five noteworthy
historic structures including two homes of Dr.
John Pemberton. Tours are available by
appointment from the Historic Columbus
Foundation. Call (706) 322-0756 for more
information. Tours begin at 716 Broadway
and cost $5 for adults and $1 for students.
The opening of the city's dams has created a
remarkable stretch of urban whitewater on
the Chattahoochee River. Outfitters ofter
rafting and kayaking along the longest urban
whitewater course in the world.
Click here to learn more about Columbus
Numerous other attractions and points of
interest can be found in and around the
Columbus and Phenix City area. Callaway
Gardens and the scenery of Pine Mountain
are located just 30 miles north of the city.
Please click here for more about Columbus,
Last Major Battle of the Civil War
The last major land battle of the Civil
War was fought at Columbus on April
16, 1865. The engagement is
remembered each year at the
National Civil War Naval Museum.
Home of Coca-Cola Inventor
Col. John Pemberton led local men
in the Battle of Columbus. Later he
invented Coca-Cola. His home can
be seen at Heritage Corner.
Springer Opera House
The beautiful old Springer Opera
House is said to be haunted by the
ghost of actor Edwin Booth (among
One Tank Trips from Columbus, GA
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Last Updated: April 11, 2015