A former Civil War hospital town, Columbus is known for its rich history and its folksy, small-town environment. Located in Lowndes Country in East Mississippi, this 22.3-square-mile city is part of the Golden Triangle, a region that also includes the cities of Starkville and West Point.
Located fewer than 300 miles from big Southern cities, such as Birmingham, Memphis, New Orleans and Little Rock, Columbus is often referred to as the Center of the South.
Among the industries that help fuel the Columbus economy are the military and education. The city is home to Columbus Air Force Base, one of only four Air Force pilot training facilities in the country, as well as to Mississippi University for Women, which currently enrolls more than 2,400 students. Other employers in Columbus include Severstal and Sanderson Plumbing Products.
The highest percentage of male workers is employed by the construction industry, while most women work in educational service fields, with many teaching in preschool through middle school.
Many Columbus residential streets retain a 19th century feel, with big trees and Victorian homes. The historic downtown has been revitalized and contemporary shops now occupy 100-plus-year-old brick buildings.
The city of Columbus has a population of about 24,000. Neighborhoods and districts of Columbus accommodate around 11,000 houses, out of which more than 10,000 are occupied. Of the occupied houses, more than half are owner-occupied, while renters occupy the rest. The neighborhoods of Columbus have a housing density of around 520 houses or condos per square mile.
U.S. News & World Report, Consumer's Digest, and Kiplinger's Personal Finance have all recognized Columbus's local college, Mississippi University for Women (MUW), for providing a quality education with a low price tag. Established in 1884 as the first state-funded public university for women, MUW is now a co-ed institution that offers undergraduate degrees in more than 50 different programs. Nursing and elementary education rank among the university's most popular undergraduate offerings.
The school also offers graduate programs in education, nursing, speech pathology, and health and kinesiology. Many high school students looking to earn college credits and adults seeking continuing education credits take courses at MUW.
Other colleges and universities located within 100 miles of Columbus include:
Two newspapers are headquartered in Columbus:
Columbus radio stations offer everything from country to top 40 to oldies to news to gospel music. TV stations that broadcast from the Columbus area include:
Columbus features more than 600 properties in its three nationally recognized historic districts, and visitors can take walking and driving tours of the homes, churches, universities and mansions located throughout the city.
In 2008, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Columbus one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations for the city's efforts to protect its heritage from demolition and commercial sprawl. Among Columbus' historical landmarks are: