Columbus was planned in 1812 as a political centre by the Ohio legislature and was named for Christopher Columbus. The state government moved to the city in 1816 from Chillicothe, and Columbus later absorbed the nearby earlier settlement of Franklinton (founded 1797). The city experienced significant growth after a feeder branch of the Ohio and Erie Canal was opened to it in 1831 and the Cumberland (National) Road from Maryland reached it in 1836. The first railroad arrived in 1850, further stimulating development.
During the American Civil War, Columbus became a major staging area for Union forces, and Camp Chase, one of the North’s largest facilities for Confederate prisoners of war, was built on the city’s west side. The local economy continued to boom after the war. Columbus became one of the country’s major manufacturers of horse-drawn vehicles. By 1900, when the population exceeded 125,000, the city had emerged as an important transportation and commercial centre. Following damaging floods in 1913, the Scioto River was widened and levees, retaining walls, and bridges constructed, which allowed riverfront development.