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Columbus, Ohio

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Country  United States
Population  822,553 (2013)
Area  223.11 sq mi
State  Ohio
Mayor  Michael B. Coleman (D)
Points of interest  Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, German Village, Easton Town Center, Ohio Statehouse
Colleges and Universities  Ohio State University, Columbus State Community College, Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio Dominican University, Franklin University

Columbus is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Ohio. It is the 15th largest city in the United States, with a population of 822,553 (2013 estimate). It is the core city of the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which encompasses a ten county area. Under the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) model, it is the third largest metropolitan area in Ohio, virtually tied with the Cleveland MSA and slightly behind the Cincinnati MSA (which includes portions of Kentucky and Indiana).

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Map of Columbus, Ohio

Under the Combined Statistical Area (CSA) model, the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area was the 28th largest in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Columbus-Marion-Zanesville, OH Combined Statistical Area (which also includes Marion, Chillicothe, and Mount Vernon) has a population of 2,370,839, making it the second largest metropolitan area in Ohio behind Cleveland, Ohio. It is also the fourth most populous state capital in the United States, and the third largest city in the Midwestern United States.

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Columbus is the county seat of Franklin County. The city proper has also expanded and annexed portions of adjoining Delaware County and Fairfield County. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816.

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The city has a diverse economy based on education, government, insurance, banking, fashion, defense, aviation, food, clothes, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail, and technology. Columbus is home to the Battelle Memorial Institute, the worlds largest private research and development foundation; Chemical Abstracts Service, the worlds largest clearinghouse of chemical information; NetJets, the worlds largest fractional ownership jet aircraft fleet; and The Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the United States. As of 2013, the city has the headquarters of five corporations in the U.S. Fortune 500: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, American Electric Power, L Brands, Big Lots and Cardinal Health. The fast-food corporations Wendys and White Castle are also based in the Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area.

In 2012, Columbus was ranked in BusinessWeeks 50 best cities in America. In 2013, Forbes gave Columbus an A rating as one of the top cities for business in the U.S., and later that year included the city on its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. Columbus was also ranked as the no. 1 up-and-coming tech city in the nation by Forbes in 2008, and the city was ranked a top ten city by Relocate America in 2010. In 2007, fDi Magazine ranked the city no. 3 in the U.S. for cities of the future, and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was rated no. 1 in 2009 by USA Travel Guide.

History

The land modern-day Columbus occupies was once called the Ohio Country, under the control of the French Empire through the Vice-royaute of New France. European traders flocked to the area, attracted by the fur trade.

The area was frequently caught between warring factions, including American Indian and European interests. In the 1740s, Pennsylvania traders overran the territory until the French forcibly evicted them. In the early 1750s George Washington was sent to the Ohio Country by the Ohio Company to survey, and the fight for control of the territory would spark Europes Seven Years War with the French and Indian War. During this period the country was routinely engaged in turmoil, with massacres and battles. The 1763 Treaty of Paris ceded the country to the British Empire.

Geography

The confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers occurs just north-west of Downtown Columbus. Several smaller tributaries course through the Columbus metropolitan area, including Alum Creek, Big Walnut Creek, and Darby Creek. Columbus is considered to have relatively flat topography thanks to a large glacier that covered most of Ohio during the Wisconsin Ice Age. However, there are sizable differences in elevation through the area, with the high point of Franklin County being 1,132 ft (345 m) above sea level near New Albany, and the low point being 670 ft (200 m) where the Scioto River leaves the county near Lockbourne. Numerous ravines near the rivers and creeks also add variety to the landscape. Tributaries to Alum Creek and the Olentangy River cut through shale, while tributaries to the Scioto River cut through limestone.

Columbus, Ohio Beautiful Landscapes of Columbus, Ohio

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 223.11 square miles (577.85 km2), of which, 217.17 square miles (562.47 km2) is land and 5.94 square miles (15.38 km2) is water.

Economy

Columbus has a generally strong and diverse economy based on education, insurance, banking, fashion, defense, aviation, food, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail, and technology. In 2010, it was one of the 10 best big cities in the country, according to Relocate America, a real estate research firm. MarketWatch ranked Columbus and its metro area as the No. 7 best place in the country to operate a business in 2008. In 2012, Forbes Magazine ranked the city as the best city for working moms. In 2007, the city was ranked No. 3 in the United States by fDi magazine for "Cities of the Future", and No. 4 for most business-friendly in the country. Columbus was ranked as the seventh strongest economy in the United States in 2006, and the best in Ohio, according to Policom Corp. In 2011, the Columbus metropolitan areas GDP was $94.7 billion, up from $90 billion in 2009, up from $85.5 billion in 2006, $75.43 billion in 2005, and $69.98 billion in 2001.

Culture

Columbus is home to several notable buildings, including the Greek Revival State Capitol, the art-deco Ohio Judicial Center and the Peter Eisenman-designed Wexner Center and Greater Columbus Convention Center. Other buildings of interest include the Rhodes State Office Tower, LeVeque Tower, and One Nationwide Plaza.

The Ohio Statehouse construction began in 1839 on a 10-acre (4 ha) plot of land donated by four prominent Columbus landowners. This plot formed Capitol Square, which was not part of the original layout of the city. Built of Columbus limestone from the Marble Cliff Quarry Co., the Statehouse stands on foundations 18 feet (5.5 m) deep, laid by prison labor gangs rumored to have been composed largely of masons jailed for minor infractions. The Statehouse features a central recessed porch with a colonnade of a forthright and primitive Greek Doric mode. A broad and low central pediment supports the windowed astylar drum under an invisibly low saucer dome that lights the interior rotunda. Unlike many U.S. state capitol buildings, the Ohio State Capitol owes little to the architecture of the national Capitol. During the long course of the Statehouses 22 years of construction, seven architects were employed. Relations between the legislature and the architects were not always cordial: Nathan B. Kelly, who introduced heating and an ingenious system of natural forced ventilation, was dismissed because the commissioners found his designs too lavish for the original intentions of the committee. The Statehouse was opened to the legislature and the public in 1857 and finally completed in 1861. It is located at the intersection of Broad and High Streets in downtown Columbus.

Founded in 1975, The Jefferson Center for Learning and the Arts is a campus of nonprofit organizations and a center for research, publications, and seminars on nonprofit leadership and governance. Located at the eastern edge of downtown Columbus, The Jefferson Center has restored 11 turn-of-the-century homes, including the childhood residence of James Thurber. These locations are used for nonprofits in human services, education and the arts.

A to-scale replica of the Santa Maria is found on the Scioto Riverfront. It was installed in 1992 to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus namesake.

Within the Driving Park heritage district lies the original home of Eddie Rickenbacker, the famous WWI fighter pilot ace. Reconstruction of the home is underway.

Established in 1848, Green Lawn Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the Midwestern United States.

Parks and attractions

The Columbus and Franklin County Metropolitan Park District includes Inniswood Metro Gardens, a collection of public gardens; Highbanks Metro Park; Battelle-Darby Creek Metro Park; as well as many others. The Big Darby Creek in the southwestern part of town is considered to be especially significant for its beauty and ecological diversity. Clintonville is home to Whetstone Park, which includes the Park of Roses, a beautiful 13-acre (5.3 ha) rose garden. The Chadwick Arboretum is located on the OSU campus, and features a large and varied collection of plants. Downtown, the famous painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is represented in topiary at Columbuss Old Deaf School Park. Also near downtown, a new Metro Park on the Whittier Peninsula opened in 2009. The park includes a large Audubon nature center focused on the excellent bird watching that the area is known for.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is world renowned for its collections that include lowland gorillas, polar bears, manatees, Siberian tigers, cheetahs, and kangaroos. Its director emeritus, Jack Hanna, frequently appears on national television, including on The Tonight Show and the Late Show with David Letterman. In 2009, it was ranked as the best zoo in the United States. Also in the zoo complex is the Zoombezi Bay water park and amusement park.

Museums

The Columbus Museum of Art opened in 1931, and has a collection focusing on European and American art up to early modernism that includes extraordinary examples of Impressionism, German Expressionism and Cubism. The Wexner Center for the Arts, a contemporary art gallery and research facility, is located on the Campus of The Ohio State University. Also on campus is the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame, located in the Jerome Schottenstein Center (home of the basketball and mens ice hockey teams), as well as the Jack Nicklaus museum next door. Located on 88 acres (36 ha), just east of Downtown in Franklin Park, the Franklin Park Conservatory is a botanical garden that opened in 1895.

COSI Columbus, (Center of Science and Industry), is a large science museum. The present building, the former Central High School, was completed in November 1999, opposite downtown on the west bank of the River. In 2009, Parents magazine named COSI one of the ten best Science Centers for families in the country.

The Ohio Historical Society is headquartered in Columbus, with its flagship museum, the 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) Ohio Historical Center, located 4 mi (6.4 km) north of downtown. Along with the museum is Ohio Village, a replica of a village around the time of the American Civil War.

The Kelton House Museum and Garden is a museum devoted to Victorian life. Built in 1852, it was home to three generations of the Kelton Family and was a documented station on the Underground Railroad. In 1989, Columbus hosted the "Son of Heaven: Imperial Arts of China," a cultural exchange display from China featuring the artifacts of the ancient Chinese emperors.

Fairs and festivals

Columbus, Ohio Festival of Columbus, Ohio

Annual festivities in Columbus include the Ohio State Fair—one of the largest state fairs in the country—as well as the Columbus Arts festival and the Jazz and Ribs Festival, both of which occur on the downtown riverfront.

Columbus, Ohio Festival of Columbus, Ohio

June is a popular festival month in Columbus. During the first weekend in June, the bars of Columbuss trendy North Market District play host to Park Street Festival. The event attracts thousands of visitors from the surrounding neighborhoods and beyond, creating a massive party both inside the bars and on the street. The second to last weekend in June is one of the largest gay pride parades in the Midwest, reflective of the sizable gay population in Columbus. During the last weekend of June, ComFest (short for "Community Festival") is an immense three-day music festival, the largest non-commercial festival in the U.S., in Goodale Park, with art vendors and live musicians on multiple stages, hundreds of local social and political organizations, body painting and beer.

The Hot Times festival is held annually in Columbuss historic Olde Towne East neighborhood—a celebration of music, arts, food, and diversity.

Restaurant Week Columbus is the citys largest dining event, held for a week in mid-July and mid-January each year. This popular event featured over 40 restaurants in January 2010. Over 40,000 diners went out during the week, culminating with a $5,000 donation made to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank on behalf of sponsors and participating restaurants.

The Juneteenth Ohio Festival is held each year at Franklin Park on Fathers Day weekend. JuneteenthOhio is one of the largest African American festivals in the United States, started 19 years ago by Mustafaa Shabazz. The festival is three full days of music, food, dance, and entertainment by local and national recording artists. The festival holds a Fathers Day celebration, honoring local fathers.

Around the Fourth of July, Columbus hosts Red, White, and Boom! on the Scioto riverfront downtown to crowds of over 500,000 people. The popular Doo Dah Parade is held at this time, as well.

During Memorial Day Weekend, the Asian Festival is held in Franklin Park. Hundreds of restaurants, vendors, and companies open up booths, traditional music and martial arts are performed, and cultural exhibits are set up. In recent years, attendees have numbered over 100,000.

The Jazz and Rib Fest is a free downtown event held each July featuring jazz artists like Randy Weston, D. Bohannon Clark, and Wayne Shorter, along with rib vendors from around the country.

The Short North is host to the monthly "Gallery Hop", which attracts hundreds to the neighborhoods art galleries (which all open their doors to the public until late at night) and street musicians. The Hilltop Bean Dinner is an annual event held on Columbuss West Side that celebrates the citys Civil War heritage near the historic Camp Chase Cemetery. At the end of September, German Village throws an annual Oktoberfest celebration that features authentic German food, beer, music, and crafts.

The Short North also hosts HighBall Halloween, Masquerade on High, a fashion show and street parade that closes down High Street. In 2011, in its fourth year, HighBall Halloween gained notoriety as it accepted its first Expy award. HighBall Halloween has much to offer for those interested in fashion and the performing and visual arts or for those who want to celebrate Halloween and with food and drinks from all around the city. Each year the event is put on with a different theme and it increases in size and popularity.

Columbus also hosts many conventions in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, a pastel-colored deconstructivist building on the north edge of downtown that resembles jumbled blocks, or a train yard from overhead. The convention center was designed by architect Peter Eisenman, who also designed the aforementioned Wexner Center. Completed in 1993, the convention center now has 1,700,000 square feet (160,000 m2) of space.

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References

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