A Fragile Capital

Identity and the Early Years of Columbus, Ohio

Hardcover, 292 pages

English language

Published Sept. 10, 2001 by Ohio State University Press.


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In 1812 the Ohio legislature chose the high eastern bank of the Scioto River as the site of the third, and final, state capital. The legislators named the city-to-be Columbus after the boyhood hero of one of the state senators. In A Fragile Capital, Charles C. Cole Jr. uses material from original sources such as letters, diaries, documents, and newspapers to trace the first forty years of the fledgling community.Overall, the book is organized by topic, including business, politics, education, religion, the arts, transportation, and the press. Cole shows how Columbus residents reacted to and reflected the major political, economic, and social trends in the United States at the time. In contrast to earlier accounts that focused primarily on the male, white leadership, this book tries to encompass all economic classes and ethnic and racial groups.

How did the state capital, created before there was even a town in place, …

1 edition


  • Columbus (Ohio) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Ohio -- Capital and capitol.