While nowadays it seems a foregone conclusion that the United States capital city is Washington DC, for the first 100 years of the country’s existence it was hardly so defined. The location, ten square miles straddling the Potomac River with portions in both Maryland and Virginia, was established by law in 1790 with the Permanent Seat of Government Act (legislation recently dramatized by the song “The Room Where It Happens” from the musical Hamilton), but this didn’t satisfy all Americans. Over the course of the young country’s first century, the topic of where to locate the capital would come up three more times.
As you drive into the Columbus-Belmont State Park, outside of Columbus, KY, a pair of historic markers greet you. The first says that Columbus was the first town in Kentucky to be picked up and moved. The re-location happened in 1927, when the town was moved further uphill with the floodwaters of the Mississippi nipping at its heels. The second sign, somewhat older looking that the first, proclaims that following the War of 1812 Columbus was one of the locations proposed as the nation’s capitol. It was this claim that piqued my interest.