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Columbia, Alabama
Columbia, Alabama in 2012
Columbia, Alabama in 2012
Location of Columbia in Houston County, Alabama.
Location of Columbia in Houston County, Alabama.
Country United States
State Alabama
County Houston
 • Total 4.00 sq mi (10.35 km2)
 • Land 3.93 sq mi (10.18 km2)
 • Water 0.07 sq mi (0.17 km2)
223 ft (68 m)
 • Total 690
 • Density 175.53/sq mi (67.77/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 334
FIPS code 01-16744
GNIS feature ID 0116457

Columbia is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 740, down from 804 in 2000.


Founded in 1820, Columbia served as a major trading center for communities throughout the Wiregrass Region of Alabama between 1822-1833, which coincided as its time as Henry County seat. Henry County which then comprised portions of present-day Covington, Dale, Barbour, Coffee, Crenshaw, Bullock, Geneva, and Houston counties. It lost the county seat status to Abbeville in 1833.

Bordering the State of Georgia and the Chattahoochee River, Columbia was a major port-of-call for steamboats and was known to many as "Old Columbia". The town was incorporated on April 29, 1880 and was the center of education, culture, commerce, and trade. Columbia was the largest town in the area during the 19th century and remains one of the area's oldest continuously operating municipalities.

Columbia received its first cotton textile mill in 1891 and its first electric plant in 1892. A branch of the Henry County Courthouse was located here from 1889 until Columbia became part of Houston County in 1903. Columbia got electric street lights in 1900 and its first electric utility company in 1914.

At the turn of the 20th century, Columbia was bypassed by the Alabama Midland Railway in favor of Dothan. As the railroads continued to take freight trade away from the riverboats. Columbia's position as a principal trade center began to decline; however, Columbia sustained itself as a thriving farming community through the mid-20th century.

Old Columbia Jail

Erected sometime in the early 1860s, the Old Columbia Jail is today one of the last wooden jails still standing in Alabama. Originally, there were two cells, each measuring 10x15 feet. Interior walls are studded every two inches with iron spikes to prevent prisoners from being able to escape. The Columbia Women's Club and the Columbia Bicentennial Committee have completely renovated the building for use as a museum to preserve some of the articles of historical interest to Columbia citizens.

Purcell-Killingsworth House

The Purcell-Killingsworth House, also known as "Traveler's Rest" was completed in 1890 by William Henry Purcell (1845–1910), a prominent Columbia business man and politician. Purcell had many business interests including a steamboat landing on the Chattahoochee River. This was the boyhood home of Bishop Clare Purcell (1884–1964) who, in 1955, was elected President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, the highest place of recognition ever achieved by a native-born Alabama Methodist minister. In 1946, the Purcell Family sold the two acre homestead to Mr. & Mrs. Henry Killingsworth who have meticulously restored this imposing Victorian mansion. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 16, 1982.


Columbia is located at 31°17′32″N 85°06′44″W / 31.292283°N 85.112123°W / 31.292283; -85.112123. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.0 square miles (10 km2), of which 3.9 square miles (10 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (1.75%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 290
1890 960 231.0%
1900 1,132 17.9%
1910 1,122 −0.9%
1920 860 −23.4%
1930 926 7.7%
1940 829 −10.5%
1950 849 2.4%
1960 783 −7.8%
1970 891 13.8%
1980 881 −1.1%
1990 922 4.7%
2000 804 −12.8%
2010 740 −8.0%
2020 690 −6.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
2013 Estimate

2020 census

Columbia racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 529 76.67%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 117 16.96%
Asian 1 0.14%
Other/Mixed 40 5.8%
Hispanic or Latino 3 0.43%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 690 people, 343 households, and 192 families residing in the town.


Notable people

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Columbia (Alabama) para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Notable Hispanic authors
Gustavo Gac-Artigas
Lucia M. Gonzalez
Meg Medina
R. J. Palacio
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