Twice per year, we have to interrupt our travels to return to the United States in order to see our doctors. We use these opportunities to also see our children and grandchildren. During the Spring visit,we pass through Columbus, Ohio in order to visit with our middle child, Carl, and his family, as well as to have our taxes done. Columbus is a fine family-friendly city and we always enjoy visiting here.
For centuries, several Native American tribes (including the Delaware, Shawnee, Miami, Mingo, and Wyandot) inhabited this territory. With the arrival of the Europeans, this part of the North American continent became known as the “Ohio Country” (1663 to 1763) under the control of the French Colonial Empire. During the 1740’s, a large contingent of Pennsylvania traders overran the territory until the French forcibly evicted them. Conflicts between the Native Americans and the Europeans, over control of the territory, resulted in the French and Indian Wars (1754 to 1763). By the end of these conflicts, the Treaty of Paris ceded the “Ohio Country” to the British Empire. After the American Revolution, this area became part of the Virginia Military District of the fledgling United States. However, the Native American tribes continued to resist expansion into their lands - eventually ending with the 1795 Treaty of Greenville. The first non-Native American settlement, known as “Franklinton” was founded in 1797 in the West Bank of the fork of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers. However, a year later, the settlement was destroyed by a massive flood. Eventually, Franklinton was rebuilt. When Ohio became a state in 1803, the state legislature settled political in-fighting over the location of the state capital by planning a new city in the center of the state and naming it in honor of Christopher Columbus. During the early part of the 1800’s, a wave of European immigrants led to the creation of two ethnic enclaves in the city; a large population of Irish settled in the northern neighborhood of Columbus, while a similar population of Germans took advantage of cheap land to the south. Before the abolition of slavery, in 1863, Columbus was an active part of the “Underground Railroad.” Throughout the Civil War, Union troops looked after 9000 confederate prisoners-of-War at Camp Chase in Western Columbus. In 1870, the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College was founded - later to become Ohio State University. By the end of the 19th century, Columbus had become known as the “Buggy Capital of the World” because of the two dozen major carriage companies located here ( including the “Columbus Buggy Company” founded by C.D. Firestone in 1875). With the development on the Interstate Highway system came rapid suburban expansion in central Ohio. By the 1990’s, Columbus has grown to become Ohio’s largest city.
Like many of the major cities we’ve visited, Columbus has a wonderful system of parks and green spaces. One of the more popular parks is the Scioto Audubon Metro Park with its climbing wall.