Columbus, a city and the capital of Ohio, seat of justice of Franklin co., built mostly on the E. bank of the Scioto, just below the mouth of the Olentangy, in the centre of the state, 100 m. N. E. of Cincinnati. It lies in lat. 39° 57' N., Ion. 83° 3' W., on the great alluvial plain which stretches from the E. part of Ohio to the Mississippi river, and has therefore no great natural features of mountain, lake, or sea to make it remarkable. Its growth and wealth are largely due to the concentration of the state institutions and the liberal expenditure of public money, together with the natural advantage of a rich country. Its population has been as follows: in 1820, 1,400; 1830, 2,437; 1840, 6,487; 1850, 17,882; 1860, 18,-554; 1870, 31,274,'of whom 7,611 were foreign born, and 1,897 colored. The streets are very wide, and are regularly laid out in squares. Broad street is 120 ft. wide for more than two miles, and is beautifully shaded with maple and elm trees. Many of the handsomest residences are in this street. High street, the principal business thoroughfare, is 100 ft. wide. Capitol square, which is beautifully laid out and surrounded with elms, occupies the square of 10 acres between High and Third and Broad and State streets, in the centre of the city.
In it an artesian well has been sunk to a great depth. Goodale park, presented to the city by Dr. Lincoln Goodale, is at the N. end of the city, and contains about 40 acres of native forest, which has been improved. City park, at the S. end of the city, is similar in all respects to Goodale park. The grounds of the Franklin co. agricultural society, 83 acres in extent, on the E. border, are the finest in the state. The gardens of the Columbus horticultural society occupy 10 acres, in the vicinity of the agricultural grounds. Of the five cemeteries the most beautiful is Green Lawn. The most interesting feature of Columbus to the stranger is its numerous and important public buildings and institutions. In this it is not excelled 'by any city in the United States except Washington, and much surpasses any other town of the Ohio valley. The state has concentrated here nearly all the public buildings devoted to its business, benevolence, or justice. The most conspicuous among these are the capitol, the penitentiary, the lunatic asylum, the deaf and dumb asylum, and the blind asylum. These are all on a large and liberal scale. The capitol is one of the largest in the United States. It is 304 ft. long and 184 in width, and covers 55,936 square feet.
The rotunda is 157 ft. high and 64 ft. in diameter. The building is in the Doric order, of fine gray limestone, approaching marble in its texture and appearance, and is perhaps as fine a specimen of architecture as can be found in this country. The interior is elegantly finished. The hall of the house of representatives is 84 ft. long by 72 1/2 ft. wide. The senate chamber is 56 by 72 1/2. There are rooms for all the state officers, besides 26 committee rooms. All the arrangements for heat, light, water, and grounds are planned with the utmost improvement which modern skill has been able to invent. The penitentiary is another striking building. It is of hewn limestone, and with its yards and shops covers six acres of ground on the E. bank of the Scioto. Its entire front is 456 ft., the centre being 56 ft., containing the warden's house and offices, with two wings, each 200 ft. front and three stories high. These wings each contain 350 cells for prisoners, arranged in five tiers, and isolated from the main wall of the building by open galleries. The central Ohio lunatic asylum was burned in 1868. In 1870 a new series of buildings was commenced on 300 acres of elevated ground W. of the city.
These buildings will be in the Franco-Italian style, with a frontage of about 1,200 ft., depth 300 ft., centre tower 165 ft. high, and a capacity for 600 patients. The asylum for idiots, a plain Gothic structure, 272 by 198 ft., occupies grounds 123 acres in extent, adjoining those of the lunatic asylum. The new blind asylum in the E. part of the city, on the grounds of the old one, will be a stone structure, 340 by 270 ft., in the Gothic style of the Tudor period. The deaf and dumb asylum, centrally situated on large and handsome grounds in Town street, is built in the Franco-Italian style. There is a large and well built state arsenal. The United States arsenal, situated on extensive and handsome grounds, beautifully wooded, in the N..E. suburb of the city, comprises, besides an immense central structure, numerous other buildings, used for offices, quarters, storehouses, etc. The city hall, on the S. side of State street, is a Gothic building, 187i by 80 ft., with a central tower 138 ft. high. The high school building is a fine specimen of the simple Norman or church style of architecture. The Holly water works occupy a building 132 by 98 ft., near the junction of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and are abundantly supplied with machinery.
The county buildings are the court house and a poorhouse, or county infirmary. There are also a fine opera house and a new odd fellows' building. - Columbus has great advantages for internal commerce. It is situated on a branch of the Ohio canal, at the intersection of the following railroads: Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis; Central Ohio; Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Louis; Little Miami; Columbus and Xenia; Columbus, Chicago, and Indiana Central; Cleveland, Mt. Vernon, and Delaware; Columbus and Hocking Valley. The last named road, opened in 1870, penetrates a very rich iron and coal region, and has given a great impetus to the business interests of the city. There are several lines of street railroad. The manufactures are important, the principal establishments being 7 founderies, 7 breweries, 10 machine shops, 8 planing mills, 7 tanning and currying establishments, 2 manufactories of agricultural implements, 3 of boilers, 2 of brushes, 3 of cars and car wheels, 17 of carriages, 7 of chairs, 3 of edge tools, 2 of files, several of furniture, 8 of hair work, 3 of lard oil, 3 of lime, 1 of paper, 3 of ploughs, 4 of pumps, 14 of saddlery and harness, 2 of soap, 1 of tools, 1 of wire work, 6 flour mills, 6 book binderies and blank book manufactories, 2 blast furnaces, 1 manufactory of bolts and nuts, 4 of boots and shoes, 1 of rope, 1 of saws, 3 of silver plating, and 2 rolling mills.
There are 24 hotels, 3 national banks, with an aggregate capital of $650,000, 2 state banks, and 5 insurance companies, of which one is a life insurance association. - The city is divided into 9 wards, and is governed by a mayor and a common council of 17 members. The fire department is under the control of a chief engineer. There are 3 steam engines, a hook and ladder company, and 11 fire alarm boxes. In 1870 the penitentiary contained 1,053 prisoners and 72 officers and employees; the lunatic asylum, 320 patients; idiot asylum, 232; blind asylum, 193 patients and 30 employees and officers; and the deaf and dumb asylum, 266 inmates and 15 instructors. There are also several hospitals and orphan asylums. A convent of the sisters of the Good Shepherd has been established at Franklin, in the neighborhood. The board of education consists of a president, secretary, and one member from each ward. In 1871 there were two high schools, with 19 teachers and 621 pupils; and seven evening schools, with 43 teachers and 1,241 pupils, The other schools (grammar and primary) had 102 teachers and 4,003 pupils. The total expenditure on account of schools for the year was $121,255 27, of which $53,158 35 were for sites and buildings, and $53,759 92 for teachers' wages.
The Roman Catholics have four parish schools, with an average attendance of 1,020, and several academies and seminaries. Other educational institutions are Capitol university (Lutheran), and Starling medical college, which in 1871 had 10 professors and 42 students. The Ohio agricultural and mechanical college, endowed with the congressional land grant, was opened in September, 1873. The state library contains over 36,000 volumes. There are two musical societies, two daily newspapers, four tri-weekly (one German), five weekly, and four monthly periodicals (two German). One of the weeklies, " The Mute's Chronicle," is published by the institution for the deaf and dumb. The churches, 44 in number, are as follows: 4 Baptist (one for colored people), 4 Congregational, 1 Disciples, 3 Episcopal, 2 Evangelical Association, 1 Friends, 1 Independent Protestant, 1 Jewish, 4 Lutheran (1 German), 9 Methodist, 5 Presbyterian, 4 Roman Catholic, 4 United Brethren, and 1 Universalist. - Columbus was laid out in 1812; it was incorporated as a borough in 1816, and as a city in 1834. It became the seat of the state government in 1816, and was made the county seat in 1824.