See Rock City

See Rock City

Friday, October 3, 2008

Columbus, MS

Columbus is a city in Lowndes County, Mississippi, United States on the Tombigbee River. It is approximately 282 kilometers (175 mi) northeast of Jackson, 193 kilometers (120 mi) north of Meridian,and 60 Mi Northwest of Tuscaloosa,AL and the University of Alabama 102 kilometers (63 mi) south of Tupelo, and 198 kilometers (123mi) west of Birmingham, AL, and in the opposite direction 23 Miles west of Starkville,MS and Mississippi State University. The population was 25,944 at the 2000census. It is the county seat of Lowndes County and the principal city of the Columbus Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the larger Columbus-West Point Combined Statistical Area. Columbus is also part of the area of Northeast MS called The Golden Triangle, consisting of Columbus,MS, West Point,MS and Starkville, MS, and the counties of, Lowndes, Clay, and Oktibbeha.

Historic Driving Tour

Columbus, MS is proud of its diversity and the contributions African-American citizens have made throughout its rich history. These citizens played significant roles in shaping Columbus into the town it is today. We are dedicated to building awareness of this heritage, and we offer a historic tour that showcases the events, people, and achievements that are important to Columbus. Join Columbus and Lowndes County in paying tribute to the spirit of African-Americans with our historic and informative African-American Heritage Tour available year round.

Catfish Alley
4th Street South

Located between Main Street and College Street, Catfish Alley was a central meeting and business district for the Columbus African-American Community in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The name came from the aroma of catfish cooking in the alley. One could smell it across Main Street. The Alley held numerous businesses on both sides of the street. For over 50 years, Jones' Restaurant has represented a typical Catfish Alley business of the early years.

Concord CME Church
1213 Concord Road

Voices in Harmony

One of the oldest churches in Columbus, Concord was an African-American church established in Lowndes County in 1867. Prior to the construction of a wooden structure, the congregation met in what was called a "brush harbor," a collection of limbs and bushes gathered under a large tree in an open grove. The first wooden structure was constructed in 1908. Contact 662.328.3356.

Farmers Market
Corner of 2nd Avenue North and 4th Street North

The first store at this location was called "The Tan Yard" (1791-1819), and was owned and operated by William Cooper. It was the main area in Columbus for European and Native American trade. Cooper's last recorded transaction was the trading of horses with the Chickasaw Tribe in 1819. The Chickasaws called Cooper "the Big Black Tanner."

The Haven
315 2nd Avenue North

Built in 1843 by Isaac and Thomas Williams, “free men of color" and residents of Lowndes County, the original home was a four-room, two-story house which forms the core of the present structure.

Horace King/Bridge Builder and Bridge Street Bridge Site
West end of 4th Avenue South

Horace King (1807-1885), a slave freed by his master in 1846, became one of the most respected bridge builders in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. He designed and constructed a bridge across the Tombigbee River in Columbus, Mississippi. Completed in 1844, the bridge was located at the west end of what was then known as Bridge Street which formed the abutment for the river. The bridge was called "Bridge Street Bridge."

W.I. Mitchell Home Site
Corner of 7th Avenue and 16th Street North

In 1877, W.I. Mitchell became the first black principal of Union Academy, the first African-American school. Prior to becoming principal, he was also a teacher. From 1907 to 1913, he served as president of The Penny-Savings Bank, the first African-American bank in Columbus, Mississippi.

Missionary Union Baptist Church
1207 5th Avenue North

The Missionary Union Baptist Church, organized in 1833, is the oldest African-American church in Northeast Mississippi. The church was organized during the days of slavery, and members held their services Sunday and Wednesday afternoons in the basement of a local Baptist Church. The structure was built in 1871. Tours are available during the annual spring pilgrimage or by contacting Rev. Ton Montgomery at 662.327.4677.

Queen City Hotel Site
15th Street North and 7th Avenue North

Queen City Hotel was the center of the African-American business district in the mid-twentieth century. It was also the focus of lodging and entertainment for the African-American community. It was constructed, owned and operated in 1909 by Robert Walker, who was once a slave. The hotel played host to such luminaries as Louis Armstrong, Pearl Bailey, B.B. King, Duke Ellington, Little Richard, and James Brown, as well as many professional baseball players.

Penny-Savings Bank
Corner of 2nd Avenue North and 5th Street North

The Penny-Savings Bank, founded in the early 1900s, was Columbus' first African-American bank. W.I. Mitchell served as the president of the bank from 1907 to 1913. In addition to the Penny-Savings Bank, there are several other significant historical facts about this location:

According to an 1873 Business Directory of downtown, the site was the location of Robert Gleed's grocery store. Gleed was the originator of the "Eight of May" Emancipation Celebration in Columbus, the first African-American City Councilman, and the first African-American state senator from Lowndes County. At this site, on the eve of the 1875 state/county elections, local white Democrats shot and killed four African-Americans and wounded three others in an attempt to terrorize and intimidate the African-American majority, hoping they would not show up to vote at the next day's election.

Also, according to the 1873 Business Directory, Jack Rabb operated a grocery store and saloon next door to Gleed on this site.

From the late 19th century through today, this has been the meeting spot of several African-American Masonic and fraternal lodges. In 1914, there were eight African-American "secret societies" listed in the Polk City Directory and each of them met at 129 1/2 Market Street, presumably upstairs. Included in this number were four lodges of the Grand United Order Odd Fellows [Lodge nos. 2667 (met 1st & 3rd Mon.), 3850 (1st & 3rd Thurs.), 4162 (2nd & 4th Tues.), and 6098 (1st & 3rd Tues.) each met twice monthly], one lodge of the Knights of Pythias [no. 61, which met the 4th Thurs. of each month], and three Masonic lodges [Joppa lodge no. 15 (2nd Wed.), Joshua lodge no. 41 (2nd Fri.), and Evening Star lodge no. 10 (1st Fri.)]. The cornerstone of the current building indicates this historic aspect.

At one time this location also housed the New Light Printing Office. The New Light is believed to have been the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in Columbus (by Richard Denthrift Littlejohn).

Around the late 19th or early 20th century, this was also the location of Dr. Theodoric James' first downtown office. Educated at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Dr. James is believed to have been the first African-American doctor in Columbus.

Sandfield Cemetery
On Martin Luther Drive South and College Street

Sandfield Cemetery is the late nineteenth century burial site of several African-American leaders and businessmen which include the following: Robert Gleed, Mississippi State Senator (1870-1876); Richard D. Littlejohn, publisher and businessman; W. I. Mitchell, Educator, first black principal of Union Academy School, and president of the "Penny-Savings Bank"; Jack Rabb, Businessman, who also bought his own freedom; Simon Mitchell, Justice of the Peace during the Reconstruction Era.

Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church
110 2nd Avenue North

Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church originated under a "brush harbor" by a few determined and devoted Christian slaves. In 1821, the land for the church was chartered. It has been determined, however, that the original church was demolished and re-erected at its present location in 1886. It was later remodeled in 1942. Contact 662.327.9575.

Union Academy
1425 10th Avenue North

Union Academy was established in 1877. As indicated by the state historic marker on 9th Avenue South, the original Union Academy was located at the site of a former Confederate Arsenal just south of the railroad tracks. Documents indicate that in late 1865 the Freedmen's Bureau opened a school for freed slaves at what was known as the Wayside Hospital building. The warehouse-type structure on the south side had been used as a hospital during the Civil War. The Freedman's Bureau school, which precedes the establishment of Union Academy, was probably at the south side site as well. Contact 662.328.6188.

It's here! The long awaited coffee table book featuring 47 beautiful antebellum homes and cottages of Columbus.

"Columbus boasts one of the most impressive collections of historic houses in the state of Mississippi. The city also enjoys the benefit of a strong and committed community of preservationists, who ensure that these beautiful homes are preserved and protected. Sylvia Higginbotham and Mark Coffey have captured the rich history and great beauty of Columbus in this fine new book."

-Elbert R. Hilliard, Director
Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Sylvia Higginbotham is an author of books and plays and a freelance writer of articles and videos. A recent book, Marvelous Old Mansions and Other Southern Treasures, features selected historic homes in a nine-state area of the South/Southeast.

Mark Coffey developed his passion for photography in Natchez, his hometown, surely one of the most photographed towns in America.

Robert Walker Home Site
Corner of 7th Avenue and 14th Street North

Robert Walker, born before the Civil War, was a slave who was a house servant for the Walker family. Here, he was trained as a butler and caterer. In 1908, he opened the Queen City Hotel, the first African-American owned and operated hotel in Columbus.

Dr. Theodoric V. James Home
1104 5th Avenue North

Dr. James (believed to have been Columbus' first African-American doctor) built this home between 1906 and 1912. It is a nice example of the Queen Anne Free Classic style in domestic architecture and is still owned by his descendants.


The first record of the site of Columbus in Western history is found in the annals of the explorer Hernando de Soto, who is reputed to have crossed the Tombigbee nearby on his search for El Dorado.

Hernando Desoto

The first trading post here was created in 1783, but there may have been European settlements predating that by a few decades in the general area of northeastern Mississippi.


Columbus was founded in 1821. Before its incorporation, the town site was referred to informally as Possum Town, which remains its nickname even today. Columbus's existence owed to the failure of a flooded settlement across the river, Plymouth, which was established in 1817. The Plymouth Bluff (above the ruined settlement) is today an environmental center for Mississippi University for Women. The survivors of the flood moved to a site occupied by Thomas Moore and Dr. Gideon Lincenum. Silas McBee suggested the name Columbus; in return, a small local creek bears McBee's name.

Mississippi University for Women, also known as MUW or simply the "W" is a four-year coeducational public university located in Columbus, Mississippi. It was formerly known as Industrial Institute and College (II&C) and later Mississippi State College for Women (MSCW). Men have been offered admission to MUW since 1982.

History and mission,

Upon its establishment in 1884, Mississippi University for Women became the first public women's college in the United States. Then known as the Industrial Institute and College, the institution was created by an act of the Mississippi Legislature on March 12, 1884, for the dual purposes of providing a liberal arts education for women and preparing them for employment. The first session began October 22, 1885, with an enrollment of approximately 250 students on a campus formerly occupied by the Columbus Female Institute, a private college founded in 1847.

The name of the institution changed to Mississippi State College for Women in 1920 to reflect an emphasis on collegiate, rather than vocational, education. The name changed again in 1974 to Mississippi University for Women to better reflect the nature of the academic programs, including graduate studies. All other Mississippi state colleges were also designated universities at this time.

In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan that the nursing school's single-sex admissions policies were in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Following this decision, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning ordered the university to change its policies to allow the admission of qualified males into all university programs. In 1988, the Board of Trustees reaffirmed the mission of MUW as an institution providing quality academic programs for all qualified students, with emphasis on distinctive opportunities for women.

One of the first actions taken by the city's founders was to establish a public school, Franklin Academy. This school is still being used today. As the territory had achieved statehood only a year previously, Franklin thus became Mississippi's first public school. However, this fact was not immediately recognized; early in its history, Columbus was referred to as Columbus, Alabama due to a mistaken estimate of the territorial boundary.

Mississippi University for Women, also referred to as The W, was established in 1884. This tradition-rich college is famous for being the first state-supported institution dedicated to the purpose of educating the women of its time, but it has also been educating men since 1982.

The private-style education offered by The W is highlighted by the fact that it is located in the heart of Columbus’ historic downtown. The campus itself is also home to more than 20 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

MUW offers four colleges consisting of more than 50 majors and concentrations. They are unparalleled in their success at offering exciting opportunities in the fine and performing arts. Their dedicated professors use their outstanding credentials to educate 2,300 students from more than 40 states and countries.

The W has an affordable tuition and generous financial aid and scholarship programs. U.S. News & World Report consistently rates it as a “best value,” and it was named 67 out of 100 top colleges in America by Kipling Finance Magazine.

Civil War and aftermath

During the American Civil War, Columbus was a hospital town. However, Columbus also had an arsenal that made gunpowder, hand guns and a few cannons. Because of this the Union tried to invade Columbus more than once but was stopped by General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Many of the casualties from the Battle of Shiloh were brought there, and thousands were buried in the town's Friendship Cemetery. One of the hospitals was located at the still-operating Annunciation Catholic Church, built in 1863. The decision of a group of ladies to decorate the Union and Confederate graves with flowers together on April 25, 1866 is credited as the founding of Memorial Day. A poet, Francis Miles Finch, happened to be in town that day and commemorated the occasion with the poem "The Blue and the Grey".

Another result of Columbus's history as a hospital town was the sparing of its antebellum homes, making its collection second only to Natchez as the most extensive in Mississippi.


Charles McLaran House, also known as Riverview, is a historic mansion in Columbus, Mississippi.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2001.

It is located at 514 Second Street South, in Columbus.

Amzi Love Home
305 7th Street South, Columbus, MS 39701

A popular spring Pilgrimage Tour Home, when the azaleas and wisteria are in bloom. Tours are also available throughout the year. The house is intact with original furnishings from 1848 when the house was built. Mr. Caradine is the 7th generation of his family to live in the house.

"This is truly the house that time forgot."
Listed On the National Register of
Historic Places

Lincoln Home
714 3rd Avenue South, Columbus, MS 39701

A popular bed & breakfast, the Lincoln Home has welcomed visitors for many years. It is located in the Columbus Historic District. Bed & Breakfast, tours, weddings, receptions, corporate lodging and retreats are available by calling
(662) 328-5413.

Stephen D. Lee Home MUSEUM

The Stephen D. Lee Home, located at 316 Seventh Street North, was completed in 1847 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Once the home of CSA Gen. Stephen D. Lee, it was restored in 1960 by the Historical Society and the Society for Preservation of Antiques. It is now houses the Florence McLeod Hazard Museum exhibiting Civil War collections and artifacts. It is featured in Columbus' Annual Spring Pilgrimage. During the remainder of the year, it is open 10am - 4pm each Friday or by appointment. The home is also available for rental.

In 1847, Major Thomas Garton Blewett, prominent early citizen of Columbus, completed this spacious Italianate mansion for his family home. The walls and foundation are of solid brick which was made and laid by local masons and the wood milled and crafted by local carpenters and artisans. The original house had a conservatory on the south side which overlooked formal gardens and a one and a half-story master bedroom wing on the north side. The present-day kitchen was a hall which not only led to the master bedroom but a covered outside walkway leading to a beautifuly appointed Roman bath house and the kitchen.

After the deaths of Major Blewett and his wife Regina DeGraffenreid, their daughter, Regina Blewett Harrison inherited the house. At her death the house was left to her two daughters, Mary Harrison, who never married, and Regina Harrison Lee, wife of General Stephen D. Lee. Eventually the house was inherited by their son, Blewett Harrison Lee, a practicing lawyer in Chicago. In 1916, he sold the house and entire block to the City of Columbus for use of the city school system, and the Stephen D. Lee High School was built on the square. The wings of the home and outbuildings were removed and the home converted into the home economics building and school cafeteria.

In December 1959, the school was destroyed by fire and the home severely damaged. On the day following the fire, the Association for the Preservation of Antiquities in Columbus and Lowndes County met with city officials to prevent the planned demolition of the house and to request permission to restore it. The Association for the Preservation of Antiquities and the Lowndes County Historical society combined to form the Stephen D. Lee Foundation, a tax exempt non-profit organization representing pilgrimage home owners and various civic, patriotic and historical groups. The Historical Society requested use of two upstairs rooms for a museum, and the Stephen D. Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy furnished the small upstairs room on the west side.

Some of the original furnishings, paintings and memorabilia were returned by the family, and many handsome gifts have been received by donors, both Columbians and others. The home now serves the community as an educational and cultural center. The Florence McLeod Hazard Museum and UDC room are filled with a variety of treasured and valuable historical items pertaining to the state and local area.

Through the Historical Society’s Docent Program, weekly tours are conducted for visitors, and complimentary school tours are given by appointment. The downstairs is used for meetings, weddings, educational events, and many other special occasions. The property receives no financial support from the city, county or state and is maintained and operated entirely by private funding and voluntary contributions. On behalf of both organizations, the Stephen D. Lee Foundation extends a warm welcome to this beloved home and museum, a property now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Tennessee Williams Welcome Center is the first home of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams. The author made history with well-known plays such as A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Glass Menagerie.

Tennessee Williams, the man said to be the most important American playwright, was born in Columbus, Mississippi in 1911. He spent his beginning years in an old Victorian home that was the rectory for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Williams' grandfather, Reverend Walker Dakin, served as minister for the church.

In 1993, the rectory was in danger of being torn down to make room for a church expansion. In an effort to preserve this historic literary landmark, the yellow and blue gingerbread home was loaded onto flatbed trailers and moved to Main Street, where it was restored. Just three months after opening, Tennessee Williams was honored with a U.S. postage stamp, and a public ceremony was held there. The home was also recently honored with the designation of a National Literary Landmark, and it now serves as the official Welcome Center for Columbus.

719 Seventh Street North Columbus, MS 39701

Welcome to Rosewood Manor. Built in 1835, this Greek Revival Antebellum mansion is located in Columbus, Mississippi. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been featured in major magazines and videos. This exquisite private residence, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dewitt Hicks, is available for touring year round by appointment. Rosewood Manor is open daily during the annual Pilgrimage from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

When to visit this home, its beautiful gardens, gazebo,
and authentic plantation chapel. Tickets, $7.50
per person, are available at Rosewood Manor
or at the Welcome Center at 300 Main Street.
Group rates 20 or more, 20 percent off.
Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Manor was originally the city home of planter Richard Sykes, who built it for his new bride to be. She was a "Yankee" girl who was unaccustomed to Southern seasons but well-versed in superstition. As were many homes of the time, Rosewood Manor was built on a hill near a ravine. Because low places were considered unhealthy, the young bride refused to live in the house. She said the vapors from the ravine would cause sickness. She returned "up North," and Mr. Sykes married a Southern girl who did not object to ravine "vapors."

The outstanding antiques from private collections and personal selections, many of which are museum-quality. Mrs. Hicks has carefully selected antiques appropriate to the style of the house.

The quaint old Plantation Chapel has beautiful stained glass windows and the most unusual woodwork, complete with crosses, prayer rail, pulpit, and organ.

The Gazebo is a new addition to the grounds. It was built on the site of the old kitchen in a period when kitchens were separate from a home. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and occupy four and a half acres. The gardens have a variety of different areas to enjoy. The open front lawn provides a perfect setting for the old Manor house. The rose gardens of Rosewood Manor are exquisite. Imagine strolling through acres of towering trees and lush foilage and flowers, admiring Greek Revival architecture, and enjoying the peace and beauty of nature.

During the war, Columbus attorney Jacob H. Sharp served as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. After the war, he owned the Columbus Independent newspaper and served four years representing the district in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

20th century

Columbus has hosted Columbus Air Force Base (CAFB) since World War II. CAFB was founded as a flight training school. After a stint in the 1950s and 1960s as a Strategic Air Command (SAC) base (earning Columbus a spot in Soviet Union target lists), CAFB returned to its original role. Today, it is one of only four basic Air Force flight training bases in the United States, and prized as the only one where regular flight conditions may be experienced. Despite this, CAFB has repeatedly hung in the balance during Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) hearings.

Columbus Air Force Base (IATA: CBM, ICAO: KCBM, FAA LID: CBM) is a United States Air Force base in Lowndes County, Mississippi, United States, five miles north of the city of Columbus, ten miles west of the Alabama state border. The residential part of the base is a census-designated place (CDP), with a population of 2,060 at the 2000 census.

The host wing is the 14th Flying Training Wing (14 FTW) of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), which includes staff agencies, an operations group, and a mission support group.

Columbus' mission is to conduct undergraduate pilot training, as well as perform quality assurance for contract aircraft maintenance.

Columbus boasted a number of industries during the mid-twentieth century, including the world's largest toilet seat manufacturer, Sanderson Plumbing Products, and major mattress, furniture, and textile plants. Most of these had closed by 2000. A series of new plants, capped by the proposed:

SteelCorr minimill, have been planned to revitalize the local economy.

SeverCorr Corporation, previously known as SteelCorr, was founded by a group of steel executives including former Nucor Corporation CEO John Correnti. It specializes in "mini-mill" plants, designed to recycle steel into new products suitable for the automobile industry. Its first plant is being built outside Columbus, Mississippi, across from Golden Triangle Regional Airport. The Russian steel company Severstal is a major investor in the company. The mill produced its first steel coil in October, 2007, and is currently undergoing an expansion that will double the mill's size and output. The plant is a major tenant of the Mississippi Steel Technology Center (MSTC).

American Eurocopter has constructed a facility at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport.

American Eurocopter is a subsidiary of EADS North America, the United States subsidiary of EADS. American Eurocopter manufactures and markets a broad range of civil helicopters, and as of 2005 had almost a 50% share of the American market.
Aurora Flight Sciences is planning on locating at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport.

Production plants in the United States
American Eurocopter produces helicopters at two production plants in the US.

Grand Prairie, Texas

Grand Prairie serves as the headquarters and main facility for American Eurocopter. It is adjacent to Grand Prairie Municipal Airport.

Columbus, Mississippi

The recently constructed Columbus plant will handle the manufacturing and final assembly work for the A-Star AS350, as well repairs, upgrades and customizations of other American Eurocopter models. It is located on the Golden Triangle Regional Airport.

MedLink AIR EC145 Showcased at AMTC 2008
20 October 2008

Gundersen Lutheran Health System’s MedLink AIR EC145 was showcased at AMTC 2008 on American Eurocopter's booth (#829) at the Air Medical Transport Conference.

Due to its high performance, large cabin size, versatility and advanced avionics, the EC145 has become the helicopter of choice for growing numbers of AMS operators in the United States and worldwide. Gundersen Lutheran purchased this EC145 in June 2006 and it has been in service since April 2007.

“The features that attracted us to the EC145 were the larger cabin space, more range, more payload, and continuation of a twin engine program,” said Quentin Lamers RN, BSN, Clinical Manager for Gundersen Lutheran MedLink AIR. “The main reason for choosing the EC145 was due to its multi-mission capabilities so we could maintain our mission profile, which can be very diverse.”

The company’s mission profile includes transport of trauma, cardiac, medical/surgical, neurological, pediatric, high risk maternal, and intra aortic balloon pump patients. The company also has a specialized neonatal transport team. “The EC145 was important because we did not want to lose the capabilities we have offered our customers for over 15 years,” Lamers continues.

The advanced technology available on the EC145 also has allowed Gunderson Lutheran to maintain its high standards of safety. This technology includes: Terrain Awareness Warning System, Radar Altimeters, Obstacle Avoidance Systems, Night Vision Compatible cockpit, advanced GPS systems, IFR capabilities and wire strike prevention.

Gundersen Lutheran Health System is one of the nation’s largest multi-specialty group medical practices. Headquartered in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the company provides health services to patients at its hospital and clinics throughout western Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa. Gundersen Lutheran is a major teaching hospital, providing a broad range of emergency, specialty and primary care services to its patients.

The company has been consistently ranked in the upper five percent of hospitals in the country, and they have flown over 6,500 accident-free missions.

Golden Triangle Regional Airport (IATA: GTR, ICAO: KGTR) is a public airport midway between the towns of Columbus, Starkville, and West Point, Mississippi, and serving the area known as the Golden Triangle and the surrounding region of Mississippi. The airport has a single runway.

GTR is mostly used for general and military aviation but is also served by one commercial airline, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, under the auspices of Delta Connection (although Delta sold ASA to SkyWest in September 2005). Chautauqua Airlines, a Republic Airways Holdings company, also operated flights under the Delta Connection banner early in 2006. Until Delta's withdrawing "focus city" operations from Dallas-Fort Worth in February 2005, GTR had one flight per day to DFW. Four ASA flights per day to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport remained until late 2005. In 2006, there are but three flights per day to ATL.

Mesaba Aviation, d.b.a. Northwest Airlink, also operated flights to Memphis from GTR, but they ceased these operations in 2003 citing a desire to not compete with the new regional jet service being started by ASA as they replaced the Embraer fleet.

GTR is the nucleus of a new industrial complex in northeast Mississippi. American Eurocopter, a subsidiary of EADS North America, moved into an 85,000 square foot helicopter production plant built by the airport and leased to the company on airport property in 2004. In 2007 American Eurocopter finshed the second phase of the project, a 220,000 square foot facility built primarily to manufacture and assemble the new U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter. Aurora Flight Sciences, a high-tech UAV manufacturer completed a manufacturing facility in 2005 and is expected to open the second phase of the facility in late 2008. SeverCorr opened a steel mini-mill in an adjacent site in October 2007 and immediately began construction on phase II, bringing total investment in the plant to $1.6 billion. PACCAR, parent company of Peterbilt, Kenworth and DAF (Dutch) trucks is constructing a truck engine plant adjacent to the airport to the north that is expected to open in 2009. Other industry, many with international roots, continues to locate at the industrial park adjacent to the airport. The area has two "megasites" adjacent to the airport that were certified under the Tennessee Valley Authority's Certified Megasite program.

Because of the projected growth, in the five years since 2003 the airport has spent significant resources improving and upgrading the infrastructure. In 2003 a $1.6 million air traffic control tower was opened to maintain the safety of the flying operation and is manned under the FAA's Contract Tower Program. The runway was repaved and strengthened to take commercial aircraft up to a Boeing 757. Two additional parking ramps were constructed and the two remaining ramps were rehabilitated. The terminal has had minor renovations but a major expansion is planned for 2009. GTRA is attempting to expand their runway from 6,497 to 8,000 feet.

Columbus is the birthplace of:

Famous playwright Tennessee Williams,

Author of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire. His birthplace, formerly the rectory of nearby St. Paul's Episcopal Church, is now the welcome center for Columbus (300 Main St., Columbus).

Thomas Lanier Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983), better known as Tennessee Williams, was an American playwright who received many of the top theatrical awards. He moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to "Tennessee", the state of his father's birth. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. In addition, The Glass Menagerie (1945) and The Night of the Iguana (1961) received New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards. His 1952 play The Rose Tattoo received the Tony Award for best play.


He was born in Columbus, Mississippi, in the home of his maternal grandfather, the local Episcopal rector. The home is now the Mississippi Welcome Center and tourist office for the city. Williams' middle name, Lanier, indicates his family's Virginia connections to the artistic family from England.

By the time Thomas was three, the family had moved to Clarksdale, Mississippi. At seven, he was diagnosed with dyptheria. It caused his legs to be paralyzed for nearly two years but his mother encouraged him to make up stories and read. She gave him a typewriter when he was 11.

His father Cornelius Williams was a traveling salesman who became increasingly abusive as his children grew older. The father often favored Tennessee's brother Dakin, perhaps because of Tennessee's illness and extended weakness and convalescence as a child. Tennessee's mother Edwina Dakin Williams had aspirations as a genteel southern lady and was smothering. She may have had a mood disorder.

In 1918, when Williams was seven, the family moved again, this time to St. Louis, Missouri. In 1927, at 16, Williams won third prize (five dollars) for an essay published in Smart Set entitled, "Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?" A year later, he published "The Vengeance of Nitocris" in Weird Tales.

In the early 1930s Williams attended the University of Missouri, where he joined Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. His fraternity brothers dubbed him "Tennessee" for his rich southern drawl. In the late 1930s, Williams transferred to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri for a year, and finally earned a degree from the University of Iowa in 1938. By then, Williams had written Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay!. This work was first performed in 1935 at 1780 Glenview in Memphis.

Tennessee Williams found inspiration in his problematic family for much of his writing.

Williams lived for a time in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. He moved there in 1939 to write for the WPA. He first lived at 722 Toulouse Street, the setting of his 1977 play Vieux Carré. The building is part of The Historic New Orleans Collection. He began writing A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) while living at 632 St. Peter Street. He finished it later in Key West, Florida, where he moved in the 1940s.

Tennessee was close to his sister Rose, a slim beauty who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age. As was common then, Rose was institutionalized and spent most of her adult life in mental hospitals. When therapies were unsuccessful, she showed more paranoid tendencies. In an effort to treat her, Rose's parents authorized a prefrontal lobotomy, a drastic treatment that was thought to help some mental patients who suffered extreme agitation. Performed in 1937 in Knoxville, Tennessee, the operation made Rose incapacitated for the rest of her life.

Williams never forgave his parents. Her surgery may have contributed to his alcoholism and his dependence on various combinations of amphetamines and barbiturates often prescribed by Dr. Max (Feelgood) Jacobson. They may have shared a genetic vulnerability, as Williams also suffered from depression.

Williams worked extremely briefly in the renowned Gotham Book Mart in Manhattan, lasting less than a day.

Williams' relationship with Frank Merlo, a second generation Sicilian American who had served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, lasted from 1947 until Merlo's death from cancer in 1961. With that stability, Williams created his most enduring works. Merlo provided balance to many of Williams' frequent bouts with depression and the fear that, like his sister Rose, he would go insane.


Hotel Elysee in New York

Piano Bar In Hotel Elysee

Williams died on February 24, 1983, after he choked on an eyedrop bottle cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York. He would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye.[4] His brother Dakin and some friends believed he was murdered. The police report, however, suggested his use of drugs and alcohol contributed to his death. Many toxic drugs were found in the room. Williams' response may have been diminished by the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Williams' funeral took place on Saturday March 3, 1983 at St. Malachy's Roman Catholic Church in New York City. Williams' body was interred in the Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri. Williams had long told his friends he wanted to be buried at sea at approximately the same place as the poet Hart Crane, as he considered Crane to be one of his most significant influences.

Calvary Cemetery, at 5239 W. Florissant Avenue, is a 477-acre (1.9 km²) Roman Catholic cemetery established in 1857. It is the burial place for several members of the Chouteau family. They were co-founders of the city of St. Louis. Their descendants were part of the ceremony for the Louisiana Purchase. Some of the old burials and tombstones were transferred to Calvary Cemetery from much older Catholic cemeteries originally existing in what is now the downtown area of the city near the Old Cathedral and the Mississippi River.

Williams left his literary rights to Sewanee, The University of the South in honor of his grandfather, Walter Dakin, an alumnus of the university. It is located in Sewanee, Tennessee. The funds support a creative writing program. When his sister Rose died after many years in a mental institution, she bequeathed over 50 million dollars from her part of the Williams estate to Sewanee, The University of the South as well.

In 1989, the City of St. Louis inducted Tennessee Williams into its St. Louis Walk of Fame.

The Walk was founded by developer Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill pub/restaurant and other establishments located along the Walk. The first stars and plaques for the Walk were installed in 1989; the inductees that year were musician Chuck Berry, dancer/choreographer Katherine Dunham, bridge builder James B. Eads, poet T. S. Eliot, ragtime composer Scott Joplin, aviator Charles Lindbergh, baseball player Stan Musial, actor Vincent Price, newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer and playwright Tennessee Williams. Ten more were selected for each of the next four years (in order to get the Walk established), but starting in 1994 no more than three have made the cut in any year.

In May 2008 Cedric the Entertainer received the first star and plaque located in the City of St. Louis portion of the Loop. The Walk (and the boundaries of the Delmar Loop in general) have been expanded eastward by Edwards in recent years as Edwards continues to invest in the area's redevelopment.

The work,

The "mad heroine" theme that appeared in many of his plays seemed clearly influenced by the life of Williams' sister Rose.

Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Characters in his plays are often seen as representations of his family members. Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was understood to be modeled on Rose. Some biographers believed that the character of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire is also based on her, as well as Williams himself. When Williams wrote A Streetcar Named Desire, he believed he was going to die and that this play would be his swan song.

Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was generally seen to represent Williams' mother. Characters such as Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and Sebastian in Suddenly, Last Summer were understood to represent Williams himself. In addition, he used a lobotomy operation as a motif in Suddenly, Last Summer.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar named Desire both included references to elements of Williams' life such as homosexuality, mental instability and alcoholism.

Williams wrote The Parade, or Approaching the End of a Summer when he was 29 and worked on it through his life. It seemed an autobiographical depiction of an early romance in Provincetown, Massachusetts. This play was produced for the first time on October 1, 2006 in Provincetown by the Shakespeare on the Cape production company, as part of the First Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival.

Will Mr. Merriweather Return from Memphis? and The Parade, or Approaching the End of a Summer were among several works published by New Directions in the spring of 2008. The collection of experimental plays was titled The Traveling Companion and Other Plays.

Williams' last play A House Not Meant to Stand is a gothic comedy published in 2008 by New Directions with a foreword by Gregory Mosher and an introduction by Thomas Keith. Williams called his last play a "Southern gothic spook sonata."

Columbus is also the birthplace of baseball announcer Red Barber,

Walter Lanier "Red" Barber (February 17, 1908, Columbus, Mississippi – October 22, 1992) was an American sportscaster.

Barber, nicknamed "The Ol' Redhead", was primarily identified with radio broadcasts of Major League Baseball, calling play-by-play across four decades with the Cincinnati Reds (1934-38), Brooklyn Dodgers (1939-1953), and New York Yankees (1954-1966). Like his fellow sports pioneer Mel Allen, Barber also gained a niche calling college and professional football in his primary market of New York City.

Early years,

Barber grew up in Columbus, Mississippi, and was a distant relative of poet Sidney Lanier and writer Thomas Lanier Williams. The family moved in 1918 to Sanford, Florida, and at the age of 21, he hitchhiked to Gainesville and enrolled at the University of Florida, majoring in education. During his first year, he worked at various jobs, including as a part-time janitor at the University Club. It was there that, in January 1930, Barber got his start in broadcasting.

An agriculture professor had been scheduled to appear on WRUF, the university's radio station, to read a scholarly paper on the air. When the professor's absence was discovered minutes before the scheduled broadcast, janitor Barber was called in as a substitute. The future sportscaster's first commentary was the reading of "Certain Aspects of Bovine Obstetrics" [1]. After those few moments in front of a microphone, Barber decided to switch careers. He became WRUF's director and chief announcer, and announced Florida football games that autumn. Barber promptly dropped out of school to focus on his radio work. He held his position at WRUF for the next four years, eventually landing a job broadcasting on WLW and WSAI with the Cincinnati Reds when Powel Crosley, Jr., purchased the team in 1934.

On Opening Day (April 17, 1934), Barber broadcast the his first play-by-play for a major league game (having never even attended a major league game before), as the Reds lost to the Chicago Cubs 6-0. He called games from the stands of Cincinnati's newly-named Crosley Field for the next four seasons.

Brooklyn Dodgers,

Barber had been hired by Larry MacPhail, then president of the Reds. When MacPhail moved on to become President of the Dodgers in 1938, he took Barber with him.

In Brooklyn, Barber became an institution, widely admired for his folksy style of play-by-play. He was also well respected among people concerned about Brooklyn's reputation as a land of "dees" and "dems."

Barber was well known for his signature catchphrases, which included:

"They're tearin' up the pea patch" -- used for a team on a winning streak.
"The bases are F.O.B. (full of Brooklyns)" -- indicating the Dodgers had loaded the bases.
"Can of corn" -- describing a softly hit, easily caught fly ball.
"Rhubarb" -- any kind of heated on-field dispute or altercation.
"(Sittin' in) the catbird seat" -- used when a player or team was performing exceptionally well. This expression was the title of a well-known story by James Thurber. According to a character in Thurber's story, the expression came from Red Barber. But according to Barber's daughter, her father did not begin using the expression until after he had read the story.
"(Walkin' in) the tall cotton" -- also used to describe success.
To further his "Southern gentleman" image, Barber would often identify players as "Mister," "Big Fella" or "Old" (regardless of the player's age):

"Now, Mister Reiser steps to the plate, batting at .344."
"Big fella Hatten pitches, it's in there for strike one."
"Old number 13, Ralph Branca, coming in to pitch."
A number of play-by-play announcers, including Chris Berman, picked up on his use of "back, back, back" to describe a long fly ball with potential to be a home run. Oddly, those other announcers are describing the flight of the ball, whereas Barber was describing the outfielder, in this famous call from the 1947 World Series with Joe DiMaggio at bat:

"Here's the pitch, swung on, belted... it's a long one... back goes Gionfriddo, back, back, back, back, back, back... heeee makes a one-handed catch against the bullpen! Oh, Doctor!"
The "Oh, Doctor" phrase was also picked up by some latter-day sportscasters, most notably Jerry Coleman, who was a New York Yankees infielder during the 1940s and 50s and later worked alongside Barber in the Yankees radio and TV booths.

Baseball Hall of Fame Museum

In 1939, Barber broadcast the first major-league game on television. He later added to his Brooklyn duties a job as sports director of the CBS Radio Network, succeeding Ted Husing, and called college football and other events. For most of his run with the Dodgers, the team was broadcast over radio station WHN at 1050 on the AM dial. From the start of regular television broadcasts until their move to Los Angeles, the Dodgers were on WOR-TV, New York's Channel 9. Barber's most frequent broadcasting partner in Brooklyn was Connie Desmond.

In 1948, Barber developed a severe bleeding ulcer and had to take a leave of absence from broadcasting. Dodgers president Branch Rickey arranged for Ernie Harwell, the announcer for the minor-league Atlanta Crackers, to be sent to Brooklyn as Barber's substitute in exchange for catcher Cliff Dapper.

While running CBS Sports, Barber became the mentor of another redheaded announcer -- a young Vin Scully -- recruiting the Fordham University graduate for CBS's football coverage, and eventually inviting him into the Dodgers' broadcast booth to succeed Harwell in 1950 (after the latter's departure for the crosstown New York Giants).

Barber was the first person, outside of the team's board of directors, to be told by Branch Rickey that the Dodgers had begun the process of racial desegregation in baseball, a process that led to the signing of Jackie Robinson as the first black player in major league baseball since the 1880s. As a Southerner, living with segregation as a fact of life written into law, Barber told Rickey that he wasn't sure he could broadcast the games, but said he would try. Observing Robinson's skill on the field and the way Robinson held up to the vicious abuse from opposing fans, Barber became an ardent supporter of Robinson and the black players who followed him, including Dodger stars Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe. (This story is told in Barber's 1982 book 1947: When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball.)

New York Yankees,

Barber was determined to be a fair broadcaster, and not a "homer" who would seem to be cheering for his employer. By the end of the 1953 season, with Walter O'Malley having a controlling interest in Dodger ownership, Barber was pressured to become more of a homer. According to the baseball-broadcasting historian Curt Smith, however, Barber resigned from the Dodgers because O'Malley refused to back Barber in his demand that the Gillette Company pay him a higher fee for telecasting the 1953 World Series (which Gillette was sponsoring). Barber declined Gillette's fee and was replaced on the series telecasts by Vin Scully, who partnered with Mel Allen. Soon afterward, Barber was hired by the crosstown Yankees. Just before the start of the 1954 season, surgery resulted in permanent deafness in one ear.

With the Yankees, Barber increasingly strove to adopt a strictly neutral, dispassionately reportorial broadcast style, avoiding not only partisanship but also any emotional surges that would match the excitement of the fans. Some fans and critics found this later, more restrained Barber to be dull, especially in contrast to the more dramatic, emotive delivery of his famous Yankee colleague, Mel Allen.

In 1955, Barber took his long-running television program Red Barber's Corner, which had premiered in 1949, from CBS to NBC. It ran until 1958.

Barber described one of the central differences between himself and Allen as how they described potential home runs. Allen would watch the ball, resulting in his signature call of "That ball is going, going, it is GONE!" sometimes turning into, "It is going . . . to be caught!" or "It is going . . . foul!" Barber would watch the outfielder, his movements and his eyes, and would thus have a better idea of whether the ball would be caught. This is evident in his famous call of the Gionfriddo catch. Many announcers say "back, back, back" describing the ball's flight. It is clear from the Gionfriddo call that Barber is describing the action of the outfielder, not the ball. Curt Smith, author of Voices of Summer, summarized the difference between Barber and Allen in these words: "Barber was white wine, crepes suzette, and bluegrass music. Allen was hot dogs, beer, and the U.S. Marine Corps Band. Like Millay, Barber was a poet. Like Sinatra, Allen was a balladeer. Detached, Red reported. Involved, Mel roared."

On September 22, 1966, in a season in which the Yankees finished in tenth and last place under the ownership of CBS, their first time at the bottom of the standings since 1912 and after more than 40 years of dominating the American League, a paid attendance of 413 was announced at the 65,000-seat Yankee Stadium. Barber asked the TV cameras to pan the empty stands as he commented on the low attendance. Although denied the camera shots on orders from the Yankees' head of media relations, he said, "I don't know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game."

By a horrible stroke of luck, that game was the first for CBS executive Mike Burke as team president. A week later, Barber was invited to breakfast, where Burke told him that his contract wouldn't be renewed.

Later life,

After his dismissal by the Yankees in 1966, Barber retired from baseball broadcasting. He wrote several books, including his autobiography, Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat; contributed to occasional sports documentary programs on radio and television; and from 1981 until his death made weekly contributions to National Public Radio's Morning Edition program. He would talk to host Bob Edwards about sports or other topics, including the flora at Barber's home in Tallahassee, Florida. Barber would call Edwards "Colonel Bob", referring to Edwards' Kentucky Colonel award from his native state. Red Barber died in 1992 in Tallahassee, Florida. In 1993, Edwards' book Fridays with Red: A Radio Friendship (ISBN 0-671-87013-0) was published, based on his Morning Edition segments with Red Barber.


In 1978, Barber joined former colleague Mel Allen to become the first broadcasters to receive the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1979, he was recognized with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Florida, given a Gold Award by the Florida Association of Broadcasters, and inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.

The Red Barber Radio Scholarship is awarded each year by the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications to a student studying sports broadcasting.

A WRUF microphone used by Barber during the 1930s is part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's collection. It has been displayed in the museum's "Scribes and Mikemen" exhibit, and from 2002-2006 it will tour as part of the "Baseball as America" traveling exhibition.

Henry Armstrong,

And boxing's first three-time world heavyweight champion, Henry Armstrong.

Henry Jackson Jr. (December 12, 1912 - October 22, 1988) was a world boxing champion who fought under the name Henry Armstrong.

The son of a sharecropper and America Armstrong, an Iroquois native American, Henry Jr. was a boxer who not only was a member of the exclusive group of fighters that have won boxing championships in three or more different divisions(at a time when there were less weight divisions), but also has the distinction of being the only boxer to hold three world championships at the same time. He also defended the Welterweight championship more times than any other fighter.

In 2002, Ring Magazine ranked Armstrong as the 2nd greatest fighter of the last 80 years, behind only Sugar Ray Robinson and ahead of the legendary Muhammad Ali.


A native of Columbus, Mississippi, Armstrong moved as a youngster with his family to St. Louis, Missouri, where he developed his boxing skills. Armstrong graduated from Vashon High School[1] and was later inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Armstrong's two nicknames were Hurricane Henry, and Homicide' Hank.

Armstrong started out as a professional on July 28, 1931, being knocked out by Al Sorvino in three rounds. Just like Alexis Arguello, Bernard Hopkins, and Wilfredo Vazquez in the future, Armstrong was one world champion who started off on the losing end. His first win came later that year, beating Sammy Burns by a decision in six. In 1932, Armstrong moved to Los Angeles, where he started out losing two four round decisions in a row, to Eddie Trujillo and Al Greenfield. But after that, he started a streak of 11 wins in a row, a streak which expanded to 1933, until he lost again, to Baby Manuel. Then he went 22 straight fights without a defeat, going 17-0-5in that span, including a win in a Sacramento rematch with Manuel, and five wins over Perfecto Lopez. After that, he moved to Mexico City, where in his first fight there, he lost to former world bantamweight champion Baby Arizmendi. He had four more fights there, going 2-2 and losing to Arizmendi in what was considered by Mexico and California a world title bout (thus Armstrong losing on his first championship try), and to Baby Casanova by a five round disqualification. He then moved back to California, where he went 8-1-1 for the next ten bouts.

In 1936, Armstrong split time campaigning between Los Angeles, Mexico City and St. Louis. Some opponents of note that year were Ritchie Fontaine, against whom he lost by decision and then won by decision in the rematch, Arizmendi, whom he finally beat by a ten round decision, former world champion Juan Zurita and former champ Mike Belloise, who also lost a decision to Armstrong.

Armstrong started out 1937 by winning 22 bouts in a row, 21 by knockout. He beat Casanova in three, Belloise in four, Joe Rivers in three, former world champion Frankie Klick in four and former world champion Benny Bass in four. After those 22 wins in a row, the inevitable happened: Armstrong was given his first world title try, for the 126 pounds title, Featherweight world champion Petey Sarron defending it against him at the Madison Square Garden. Armstrong became the world's Featherweight champion knocking out Sarron in six, and closed the year with four more knockout wins.

In 1938, Armstrong started with seven more knockouts in a row, including one over future world champion Chalky Wright. The streak finally ended when Arizmendi lasted ten rounds before losing a decision to Armstrong in their fourth fight. His streak of 27 knockout wins in a row qualifies as one of the longest knockout win streaks in the history of boxing, according to Ring Magazine. After the fourth bout with Arizmendi was a bout with Fritzie Zivic's brother, Eddie Zivic, resulting in another Armstrong knockout win, and after one more bout, Armstrong, the 126 pound division world champion, challenged a fellow member of the three division champions' club, Barney Ross, then world Welterweight champion, for the title. Armstrong, 126, beat Ross, 147, by unanimous decision, adding the world Welterweight championship to his Featherweight belt. Then, he went down in weight, and challenged world Lightweight champion Lou Ambers. In a history making night, Armstrong became the first boxer ever to have world championships in three different divisions at the same time, by beating Ambers on points. A few days later, he decided he couldn't make the 126 pounds weight anymore, and left the Featherweight crown vacant.

He dedicated the next two years to defending the welterweight crown, beating, among others, future world middleweight champion Ceferino Garcia, Al Manfredo and Bobby Pacho, before defending his Lightweight belt in a rematch with Ambers, which he lost on a 15 round decision. After that, he concentrated once again on defending the world Welterweight title, and made eight defenses in a row, the last of which was a nine round knockout win over Puerto Rico's Pedro Montanez. Then, he tried to make history once again by becoming the first boxer to win world titles in four different categories in a rematch with Garcia, already world Middleweight champion, but the fight ended in a ten round draw, Armstrong's attempt to win a fourth division's world title being frustrated. According to boxing historian Bert Sugar, many felt Armstrong deserved the decision in this fight.

He went back to Welterweight and retained the title five more times, until Fritzie Zivic was able to avenge his brother Eddie's defeat by taking the world title away from Armstrong with a 15 round decision. With this loss, Armstrong's reign as Welterweight champion came to an end, leaving Armstrong's successful defense streak at eighteen, the most defenses by a champion ever in Welterweight history. In 1941, they boxed a rematch, this time, Zivic stopping Armstrong in 12 rounds.

1942 saw Armstrong go 13-1, including wins over world champions (Fritzie) Zivic in a ten round non title bout, Jenkins and Zurita.

1943 saw him go 10-3, with wins over world champions Tippy Larkin and Sammy Angott in ten round bouts, and losses to world champions Beau Jack and Sugar Ray Robinson, also in ten round bouts.

1944 saw Henry go 14-2-1 in 17 bouts, among those, another win over Belloise.

After winning one fight, losing one and drawing one in 1945, Armstrong decided to retire from boxing. Apart from the ceremonies and galas that he attended afterwards, he led a relatively quiet life for the rest of his life. He became a born-again Christian and an ordained pastor, and he taught young, upcoming fighters how to box.

Armstrong registered an official record of 150 wins, 21 losses and 9 draws, with 100 knockout wins. His exact record, however, isn't really known, because it is said he fought some pay fights under the nickname of Melody Jackson.

Armstrong became a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.

After retiring from boxing, Henry Armstrong became a Baptist minister.

On his passing in 1988, he was interred in the Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Recent history

Columbus has made the national news at least three times in the past two decades. On June 12, 1990, a fireworks factory exploded, detonating a blast felt as far as 30 miles away from Columbus. Two workers were killed in the blast. On June 26, 2000, the television show 48 Hours did an investigative report of five murders of senior citizens occurring in an 18-month period between late 1997 and early 1999. On February 16, 2001, straightline winds measured at 74 miles per hour destroyed many homes and trees but fortunately resulted in no fatalities. The city was declared a federal disaster area the next day by President George W. Bush.


Columbus lies on U.S. Highways 82 and 45. It is also served by state routes 12, 50, 69, and 182. Columbus is the eastern terminus of the Columbus and Greenville Railway; it is also served by the BNSF Railway (on the original right-of-way of the St. Louis - San Francisco Railway), the Norfolk Southern, and the CN (using the original right-of-way of the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio). The local airport is Golden Triangle Regional Airport. The airport currently has three flights a day to Atlanta, and is seeking to get more airlines and flights to serve Columbus and the Golden Triange.

The city is located on the east bank of the Tombigbee River and the associated Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Columbus Lake, formed by the John C. Stennis Lock and Dam, is approximately two miles north of downtown. The Luxapalila Creek runs through the town, separating East Columbus from Columbus proper (both are within city limits). The Lux, as it is locally known, joins the Tombigbee about three miles south of downtown.

Coffeville Lock and Dam on the Tombigbee River near Coffeeville, Alabama. Coffeeville is the last lock and dam down the Tombigbee River to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Tombigbee River is a tributary of the Mobile River, approximately 400 mi (644 km) long, in the U.S. states of Mississippi and Alabama. It is one of two major rivers, along with the Alabama River, that unite to form the short Mobile River before it empties into Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. The Tombigbee watershed encompasses much of the rural coastal plain of western Alabama and northeastern Mississippi, flowing generally southward. The river provides one of the principal routes of commercial navigation in the southern United States, navigable along much of its length through locks and connected in its upper reaches to the Tennessee River via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Pleasure boats cruising America's Great loop use the waterway each year in the fall.

Demopolis Lock and Dam on the Tombigbee River. The dam is located at Demopolis, about 4 miles (6.4 km) below the confluence of the Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers.

The river begins in northeastern Mississippi in Itawamba County. Historically, the beginning of the river was in northern Monroe County, by the confluence of Town Creek (also known as West Fork Tombigbee River) and East Fork Tombigbee River. Today, however, what was once known as the east fork is now designated as the Tombigbee itself.

It flows south through Aberdeen Lake near Aberdeen, and Columbus Lake near Columbus. It flows through Aliceville Lake on the Mississippi-Alabama border, then generally SSE across western Alabama in a highly meandering course, past Gainesville and Demopolis, where it is joined from the northeast by the Black Warrior River. South of Demopolis it flows generally south across southwestern Alabama, past Jackson. It joins the Alabama from the north on the Mobile-Baldwin county line, approximately 30 mi (48 km) north of Mobile, to form the Mobile River.

After the completion of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in 1985, much of the middle course of the river in northwestern Mississippi was diverted into the new straightened channel. Above Aberdeen Lake, the waterway flows alongside the original course of the river.

In addition to the Black Warrior, the river is joined by the Buttahatchee River from the east north of Columbus, Mississippi. Approximately 10 mi (16 km) north of Gainesville it is joined from the north by the Sipsey River. At Gainesville it is joined from the west by the Noxubee River.

The Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge is along the river in southwestern Alabama, approximately 20 mi (32 km) northwest of Jackson.

The upper reaches of the Tombigbee formed the homeland of the formidable Chickasaw prior to their removal in 1838. The Tombigbee was the route taken by Bienville's 1736campaign against them.

Failure of the Mississippi Highway 25 N/U.S. Route 45 S bridge over the Tombigbee River relief (Big Nichols Creek)/Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in Aberdeen, Mississippi during the March 1955 floods.

On April 28, 1979, a tugboat called Cahaba was on the Tombigbee near Demopolis, Alabama. It was passing under a drawbridge that failed to open while the river was near flood stage. The fast currents pinned the craft against the bridge in shallow waters. The force was so dramatic that it pulled the boat downward, tumbling it beneath the bridge, fully submerging it in the river. The boat emerged out the other side with mostly cosmetic damage and righted itself.

Columbus is situated at the juncture of three rivers: the Tombigbee, The Buttahatchie, and the Luxapalila. Hernando de Soto crossed the Tombigbee River in 1540 into this area. William Cooper had a trading post near here in the 1780's. Columbus has managed to progress as a city, while still honoring those who came earlier and forged a path. Since before the town was chartered in 1821, men and women of character and intellect had already staked their claim on the area. At that time, the still-new United States was offering land grants to anyone who could work the land. United States military officers came through here during the War of 1812, and some decided that someday, they would return to this lush and lovely land. A few did return, and built the plantations Goshen, Belmont and others after they cleared wilderness for homesites.

From the early days, education has been a pivotal force in Columbus. In 1821, the first public school in the state was started here, and Franklin Academy is still going strong today. By 1830, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek opened up more land for settlement, and some of the landed gentry from the cotton-depleted East Coast states came here because of the rich Black Prairie soil. They began to build the grand mansions to provide comfort and safety for their families -- and to reflect their prosperity.

Economic depressions in 1836 and again ten years later brought ruin to some planters, though fortunes were made by others. Columbus was, by the 1850s, a boom town. Cotton production was flourishing, with planters now learning about the necessity of crop rotation and diversification.

By 1860, states' rights had taken control of the thoughts and actions of many Mississippians, and the nation was on the verge of a civil war. The North had industry; the South had agriculture and the war began. Mississippi seceded from the Union on January 9, 1861. The American Civil War lasted until 1865, when Southern soldiers returned to a homeland they hardly recognized.

In 1866, a group of Columbus women met in the home Twelve Gables to decide on a way to honor the Confederate war dead in the local Oddfellows Cemetery. They decided on a date to meet, walk to the cemetery and decorate the graves with flowers from their gardens. Once they arrived, one of the women began placing flowers on the graves of the few Union soldiers, too, for they also had given their lives for their beliefs. Other women followed suit, and soon, all the graves -- Confederate and Union -- had flowers. This generous gesture was told and re-told, and finally made its way to the New York Tribune, where the short article was seen by young attorney Francis Miles Finch. He was so moved by the generosity of the Southern ladies and their Decoration Day, he wrote the poem, "The Blue and the Gray," and it was published in the Atlantic Monthly in September 1867.

Other towns claim Decoration Day, perhaps earlier than the one in Columbus, but Columbus was the first to honor former enemies. Here's what the Library of Congress said: "Columbus, Mississippi, thus, can rightly claim to be not only one day ahead of Columbus, Georgia, in its observance of Memorial Day, but more generous in its distribution of the tributes of honor
and mourning."

What began as a solemn occasion in Columbus in April 1866 has evolved into the nation's Memorial Day, now officially observed each May. The Union soldiers were later moved to a national cemetery, and Columbus went about rebuilding its spirit as well as the economy. A new South was emerging, and Columbians changed with the times.

The nation's first state-supported college for women was organized in 1884 and the city settled into a life of culture and prosperity.

Columbus is also the birthplace of playwright Tennesse Williams, whose home is now the Welcome Center on Main St.

The African-American community found its niche and prospered, too. Former servants developed their own businesses and civic life from the part of town known as "Catfish Alley," which is actually a block on 4th Street South between College Street and Main Street. According to the late Dr. E.J. Stringer, a local civil rights leader, politician, minister and dentist, Catfish Alley was the hub of activity for rural blacks who came into town to sell fresh vegetables and the catfish they caught along the way.

Dr. Stringer said in a previous interview: "Long before the 1940s, there were provisions to either sell the catfish uncooked, or cook it on the spot and sell it by the plate. When it was cooked, the aroma of the catfish filled the air, thus the name 'Catfish Alley'. As long as I can remember, Catfish Alley served as a place where laborers gathered for transportation provided by employers, and it was a place where people congregated to talk and to exchange news and ideas. It was the site of black-owned businesses and professional offices, and a place for people who made a difference in the black community." Dr. Stringer, who once had his dental office in "The Alley", said that his greatest desire was to see people get along; to achieve oneness of community. He died in 1995.