Today was suppose to be a beautiful sunny day with temps reaching into the 70’s and with rain in the forecast for Sunday, Mike and I decided to get out and enjoy the day. Once we got up and started our day, we realized the sun part just might not make but we decided to not let a few clouds dampen our day.
We have read and heard about the RiverWalk in Columbus. Columbus is located about 30 miles south of Pine Mountain. I spent a large portion of my young life living in Columbus with my family. I graduated from high school and undergraduate school in Columbus but the RiverWalk was not a part of my past. Today we would explore this area.
The Columbus downtown area, as many other large cities, has undergone a huge redevelopment. With the development of malls for shopping the concept of a “downtown” slowly went by the wayside and these areas began to suffer. Columbus was no different. What they did was salvage many of the old old buildings and mills and renovated them into convention centers, lofts and eateries.
The RiverWalk spans some 15 miles along the Chattahoochee River. This has become a very beautiful area where you will find folks walking, jogging, riding bikes, fishing or just sitting and enjoying the day. There are paved walkways with many beautiful trees marking the landscape.
We picked up our walk at the Uptown Historic area. There are several access points along the 15 miles and this one is in the old historic area on Bay Front and 10th Street.
We walked along the river toward the Oglethorpe Memorial Bridge which leads into Alabama. We passed the Columbus Convention and Trade Center which was originally built in 1853 as the Columbus Iron Works. The Iron Works was an important manufacturing center during the Civil War making armaments for the Civil War and later steam engines for boats that made their way along the Chattahoochee River. It continued to service the area long after the Civil War ended. In restoring this old building in the late 1970s, original bricks and original huge timbers were used.
The Dillingham Bridge, 1910-12, crosses the Chattahoochee River. This bridge replaced the original wooden one built by John Godwin and Horace King. There is also a railroad bridge connecting Georgia with Alabama. This bridge also replaced the original wooden bridge built by Horace King in the 1860s. The base shows the remnants of the original bridge.
Inside one of the gazebos, up on the hill above the RiverWalk, was a replica of the Liberty Bell. This bell was cast in the same English factory as the Liberty Bell.
As we made our way north along the RiverWalk we came to what is a temporary interruption of the walk. It is here we saw a rocky area at the beginning of a series of falls that at one time were referred to as Coweta Falls. These falls mark the fall line that divides the Coastal Plain to the south from the Piedmont to the north.
The large brick building seen in this area was the Eagle and Phenix Mill. This mill was the largest in the South during the 1870s. It proved to be an important mill during the Civil War supplying goods for the Confederacy such as grey uniform tweed, army shirting, rope, and the cotton duck that tents were made from. This historic mill burned on April 17, 1865 during the famous Battle of Columbus. It was rebuilt as Eagle and Phenix in 1866. The part of the building in the picture that juts out furthest into the water is the Powerhouse which was constructed in 1899. What I found to be most interesting was this Powerhouse is still working today using turbines dating from 1899 and with electrical generators installed from 1908 to 1921. It is currently undergoing multi-use redevelopment by the W.C. Bradley Company.
It was a great day.
We exercised, got outside and enjoyed fresh air, soaked up what sunshine there was and had a great history lesson. Life is good.