Columbus, Kentucky

Not to be confused with the similarly-named Columbia, Kentucky.
Columbus, Kentucky


Horse & Buggies
Down Town Columbus about 1920

Location of Columbus, Kentucky
Coordinates: 36°45′37″N 89°6′10″W / 36.76028°N 89.10278°W / 36.76028; -89.10278Coordinates: 36°45′37″N 89°6′10″W / 36.76028°N 89.10278°W / 36.76028; -89.10278
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Hickman
  Total 0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)
  Land 0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)
  Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 459 ft (140 m)
Population (2000)
  Total 229
  Density 558.6/sq mi (215.7/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 42032
Area code(s) 270 & 364
FIPS code 21-16768
GNIS feature ID 0489887

Columbus is a 5th-class city in Hickman County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 170 at the 2010 census, a decline from 229 in 2000.


Map of Rebel Fortifications in 1862
Click to embiggen.
A system map of the M&O in 1903, by which time it had expanded north to St. Louis.

Columbus is the oldest town in Kentucky's Jackson Purchase. It was first settled on the Mississippi floodplain in 1804 and known as Iron Banks after the site's French name les rivages de fer.[1] The long-held local rumor that President Thomas Jefferson planned to remove the American capital to the site[2][3] has absolutely no basis in fact.[1]

The name of the town was changed to Columbus (in honor of the Italian explorer) in 1820, the year the town received its first post office and its formal establishment by the state assembly. It was the original county seat of Hickman before the transfer of the court to Clinton.[1] It was formally incorporated in 1860,[4] just ahead of its seizure by Confederate forces (including the Louisiana "Shreveport Rebels"[5]) during the American Civil War the next year. The Columbus-Belmont State Park commemorates the Confederate general Leonidas Polk's attempt to maintain a large anchor chain across the entire Mississippi at Columbus, then the northernmost spur on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, as well as the Union response, General Ulysses S Grant's victory at Belmont on the Missouri shore. The engagement was Grant's first direct combat during the war.

In 1878, the American railroad legend Casey Jones got his railroad first job here, working as a telegrapher for the Mobile and Ohio at the age of 15.

In 1927,[1] a flood deluged the city. The town was reëstablished upon higher ground above the flood plain. Some of the original houses were saved and moved inland.[6]


Columbus is located at 36°45′37″N 89°6′10″W / 36.76028°N 89.10278°W / 36.76028; -89.10278 (36.760176, -89.102840).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015160[8]−5.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 229 people, 95 households, and 60 families residing in the city. The population density was 558.6 people per square mile (215.7/km²). There were 110 housing units at an average density of 268.3 per square mile (103.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.29% White, 17.90% Black or African American, 2.18% from other races, and 2.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.80% of the population.

There were 95 households out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.8% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 13.5% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 102.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,313, and the median income for a family was $29,844. Males had a median income of $21,667 versus $14,500 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,766. About 5.1% of families and 9.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.5% of those under the age of eighteen and 8.3% of those sixty five or over.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Columbus has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[11]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Rennick, Robert M. Kentucky Place Names. The University Press of Kentucky (Lexington), 1988. ISBN 0-8131-0179-4.
  3. Bailey, Bill (1995). "Columbus-Belmont State Park". Kentucky State Parks. Saginaw, Michigan: Glovebox Guidebooks of America. ISBN 1-881139-13-1.
  4. Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Columbus". Accessed 14 Jul 2013.
  5. John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 42
  6. "The History of Columbus, Kentucky". The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  7. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  9. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  11. "Columbus, Kentucky Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
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