Founded in June 1966, the Historic Columbus Foundation (HCF) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Its mission is to promote historic preservation, heritage education, and heritage tourism in Columbus, the seat of Muscogee County. HCF has an active board of directors and an advisory board of trustees, a growing membership of more than 1,500, and a full-time professional staff. It is an advocate for preservation through representation on numerous boards, such as the city’s Uptown Facade Board; Historic Chattahoochee Commission; Uptown Columbus, Incorporated; Board of Historic and Architectural Review; Gertrude “Ma Rainey House board; Historic Linwood Foundation; Port Columbus; Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce; Columbus Archives and History Center; and Columbus Housing Initiative. HCF is a local partner in a coalition with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

In 1969, just three years after its founding, HCF played a major role in establishing the Columbus Historic District. In 1988 Heritage Corner was established as a tourist site of five structures owned by the foundation: a log cabin, circa 1800; the Walker-Peters-Langdon House, circa 1828; the Pemberton House, circa 1840; the Woodruff Farm House, circa 1840; and 700 Broadway, circa 1870.

Historic Columbus Foundation
Historic Columbus Foundation

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation

With HCF support, a locally designated historic district, High Uptown, was established. In 2001 six new historic districts (Dinglewood, Wynn’s Hill–Overlook, Peacock Woods–Dimon Circle, Hillcrest–Wildwood Circle, Wynnton Village, and Liberty Heritage) were given local designation by the city council; for all six HCF was a strong partner and advocate. The Rankin House, in High Uptown, has been restored as an 1850-70 historic house museum and houses the foundation’s offices and research rooms.

HCF assisted with the establishment of the Chattahoochee Promenade, an outdoor history museum. The Seventh Street Project, a neighborhood revitalization effort, has been a public/private partnership through which HCF has saved and moved six endangered structures. This project continues with the purchase by HCF of numerous homes in the area for restoration and resale. Five endangered National Register properties were saved with Historic Columbus advocacy efforts in the Second Avenue Revitalization Project.

700 Broadway
700 Broadway

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation

Threatened properties throughout Columbus are purchased for stabilization, resale, or restoration through HCF’s revolving/redevelopment fund. Since 1966 HCF has revolved more than seventy structures and properties through this fund. Interest-free facade loans are made available for home improvement in Columbus’s ten historic districts.

HCF was a partner in building Heritage Park, a $2.5 million water-enhanced park, which re lates the industrial history of Columbus from 1850 to 1910. Hands-on-History Camps, field trips, and in-school programs are provided for all schools. HCF began Young Historian groups in two high schools. “Our Town” instructional materials are provided to public and private schools in Muscogee County. These heritage education materials include Images; Our Town: An Introduction to the History of Columbus, Georgia; Architectural Styles of Our Town, Columbus, Georgia, with videos and teachers’ guides; and a coloring book entitled A Historic Tour of Our Town, Columbus, Georgia.

Rankin House
Rankin House

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation

HCF has sponsored a variety of activiti es, including Heritage Tours for visitors, schoolchildren, and local residents; the Heritage Ball; weekend and day trips to historic sites; educational programs and seminars that feature noted preservationists and historians; and social functions for the forty-and-under group known as the Young Preservationists. It also sponsors Columbus’s largest annual festival, Riverfest Weekend, which attracts thousands of people to the Chattahoochee riverfront each spring.

Heritage Park
Heritage Park

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation

Operating and administrative expenses for the foundation are obtained from membership dues and donations. Annual fundraisers provide monies for community preservation projects. HCF was also a $1 million beneficiary of the Columbus Challenge Campaign of the Community Projects Foundation, Incorporated.

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700 Broadway

700 Broadway

The restored Italian villa-style house known as 700 Broadway was the only two-story brick home in the original city of Columbus. The structure dates to the 1830s.

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation

Historic Columbus Foundation

Historic Columbus Foundation

The Historic Columbus Foundation office is located at 708 Broadway, in what is still known as the Woodruff Farm House. The double-pen structure dates to the 1840s and was moved to Broadway in the 1980s.

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation

Rankin House

Rankin House

The Rankin House at 1440 Second Avenue was built for James Rankin, a planter and the owner of the Rankin Hotel and the Rankin Realty Company. The restored house, ca. 1850-70, is now a museum.

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation

Heritage Park

Heritage Park

Heritage Park is designed to recognize the people who harnessed the river and created the industries that laid the foundations for modern Columbus. Outdoor sculptures and historic elements of the park represent the textile, gristmill, brick, and foundry industries involved in the growth and development of the area.

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation

Log Cabin, Columbus

Log Cabin, Columbus

Moved from its original location ten miles from the current site, this structure is an example of a log cabin used by traders in the early 1800s prior to the settlement of Columbus.

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation

Pemberton House

Pemberton House

This Greek revival-style cottage, at 11 Seventh Street in Columbus, was occupied by John Stith Pemberton and his family, 1855-60. Pemberton, a druggist in Columbus and later Atlanta, was the originator of Coca-Cola. The apothecary, once the kitchen, houses unique Coke memorabilia.

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation

Walker-Peters-Langdon House

Walker-Peters-Langdon House

The Walker-Peters-Langdon house, a simple Federal cottage located at 716 Broadway, was built in 1828 and is considered the oldest house in Columbus. The grounds include a slave cabin and other outbuildings.

Courtesy of Historic Columbus Foundation