With three rivers dicing the region the Broad, Saluda and Congaree, the area is now known as “The Columbia Riverbanks Region, Where Friendliness Flows”.
Metro Columbia has 660,000 resident, which is larger than Charleston, and the fastest growing city in the state.
At 117 square miles, Columbia proper is as large as Baltimore and Washington, DC combined. But you couldn’t tell, since there is so much undeveloped greenery.
Fort Jackson plays a major role in the local economy and is one of the largest Army training centers in the country.
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Notable residents born or made their mark here include:
Kimberly Clarice Aiken – 5th African American to hold the title of Miss America 1994
Colonel Charles Bolden, Jr. – Astronaut who piloted the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986
James Cleburne – Elected to Congress in 1992 and headed the Congressional Black Caucus; now chairman of the International Charleston African American Museum
Alex English – Former NBA star and an accomplished writer and poet who hosts the annual African American Arts Festival
Essie Mae Washington-Williams – Daughter of Senator Strom Thurmond and biographical author of the book, Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond
Hootie and the Blowfish – The rock band, headed by Darius Rucker, formed while attending the University of South Carolina
Jermaine O’Neal – All-star NBA Power forward from 1996-2000s
Sam Davis – Columbia City Councilman and apprentice of Iron Master, Philip Simmons; Davis created wrought iron gates at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
Stephen Davis – Former NFL running back for the Carolina Panthers
George Rogers – 1980 Heisman Trophy winner for outstanding collegiate football player and #1 pick in the NFL draft
Tyrone Geter – Nationally recognized artist and Director of Ponder Fine Arts Gallery at Benedict College
Matthew Perry – Attorney who led the struggle for desegregation in South Carolina, served as a primary legal advocate in the national civil rights movement, and became South Carolina’s first African American U.S. District Court judge
William Pinkney – Drifters vocalist who performed for over 50 years