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"C" is for Columbia

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Columbia (Richland County; 2010 population 130,493). Named for Christopher Columbus and created in 1786 as the nation’s first truly planned capital city, Columbia has a unique history. While now the setting for state, county, and municipal governments, it took shape in the wilderness near the geographic center of South Carolina. The original plan for the city was a grid two miles square containing 400 blocks. Most exceptional were the wide streets. In 1950, Columbia embraced the city-manager government. The city has always been a multifaceted community that defies easy classification: home to a college, but not a college town; built cotton mills and acquired huge military base, became neither a mill town nor a “soldier” town. The inability to be pigeonholed may be Columbia’s greatest asset as its diversity has made it “Everyone’s City.”

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.