The next stop on our travels is Columbia, South Carolina. Developed at the junction of the Saluda and Broad Rivers (which then forms the Congaree River), Columbia would eventually become the capital and second largest city in the state. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the Native American Congaree had inhabited this area for centuries. By 1540, Fernando de Soto had explored the region and his journals are the earliest known written records of the area. Because of its central location, Columbia was established by the State General Assembly in 1786. Created in 1800, the Santee Canal System became the major transportation route between Columbia and Charleston. This was the earliest canal system in the country. In 1801, South Carolina College (later to become the University of South Carolina) was established to combat the growing trend of young men traveling to England to get higher education. By 1805, Columbia was incorporated as a village, and by 1854, as a city. With the arrival of the railroad, growth in the city skyrocketed, while the use of the canal system diminished. During the closing months of the Civil War (specifically February of 1865) much of Columbia was burned by Union troops, under the leadership of William Tecumseh Sherman. This promises to be an interesting visit.
Constructed in 1913, the Palmetto building is one of the iconic features of the downtown area.