National Geographic : 1953 Mar
283 Soldiers 16 Abreast Pack Columbia's Main Street, Marching Toward the State Capitol A political compromise led to the founding of Columbia in 1786. Prior to that time seaside Charleston was South Carolina's capital, but voters in the interior demanded a central seat of government (map, page 284). Unable to agree on an existing town, legislators bought farmlands and established Columbia. The city burned in 1865; 1,386 buildings were destroyed. Today the capital is a spacious, attractive community of 86,914 people. Here, on Armed Forces Day, troops from near-by Fort Jackson march toward the columned State House. The building, only partly completed at the time of the fire, was not harmed.