Capital of the state of South Carolina
. Founded in 1786
when the state legislature
passed a bill to build a capital city in the middle of the state for easier access by people who were far away from the former capital, the coastal city of Charleston
. It was the second "planned city
" in the United States
(after Washington, DC) and is laid out in a neat grid of wide streets in the downtown area.
General Sherman burned much of the city during the American Civil War -- Southerners had believed that it would be passed by since it was not yet all that big, and had sent their valuables there for safety. The state capitol building, which was being built during the war, still has bronze stars on the walls where Union cannonballs hit it.
The Columbia Metro area (most of Richand County and spilling into Lexington County and other surrounding areas) has grown a lot in the past 25 years or so. It's a lot more built up than it was when I grew up there (dragged kicking and screaming to Florida in 1986 when I was 13). It's a lot like Charlotte, NC without the worst of the traffic.