Columbus is the capital and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. It is the county seat of Franklin County, although parts of the city also extend into Delaware and Fairfield counties. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816.
The population was 711,470 at the 2000 census. In 2008, Columbus was the 16th largest city in the United States, with 754,885 residents, and was also the 32nd largest metropolitan area, the fourth largest city in the Midwest, and the fourth most populous state capital in the U.S. after Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Austin. According to the U.S. Census, the metropolitan area has a population of 1,773,120, and the Combined Statistical Area (which also includes Marion and Chillicothe) has a population of 1,982,252. Columbus is located within 550 miles (890 km) of half of the population of the United States.
The city has a diverse economy based on education, insurance, banking, fashion, defense, aviation, food, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail, and technology.
Columbus is home to several notable buildings, including the Greek-Revival State Capitol, the art-deco Ohio Judicial Center and the Peter Eisenman-designed Wexner Center and Greater Columbus Convention Center. Other buildings of interest include the Rhodes State Office Tower, LeVeque Tower, and One Nationwide Plaza.
The Ohio Statehouse construction began in 1839 on a 10 acre (40,000-m²) plot of land donated by four prominent Columbus landowners. This plot formed Capitol Square, which was not part of the original layout of the city. Built of Columbus limestone from the Marble Cliff Quarry Co., the Statehouse stands on foundations 18 feet (5 m) deep, laid by prison labor gangs rumored to have been comprised largely of masons jailed for minor infractions. The Statehouse features a central recessed porch with a colonnade of a forthright and primitive Greek Doric mode. A broad and low central pediment supports the windowed astylar drum under an invisibly low saucer dome that lights the interior rotunda. Unlike many U.S. state capitol buildings, the Ohio State Capitol owes little to the architecture of the national Capitol. During the long course of the Statehouse's 22 years of construction, seven architects were employed. Relations between the legislature and the architects were not always cordial: Nathan B. Kelly, who introduced heating and an ingenious system of natural forced ventilation, was dismissed because the commissioners found his designs too lavish for the original intentions of the committee. The Statehouse was opened to the legislature and the public in 1857 and finally completed in 1861. It is located at the intersection of Broad and High Streets in downtown Columbus.
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