MidTown Characters MidTown History
Why We Love MidTown!
“I loved my home with its garden and the old familiar furniture…..on the whole, Columbus gave me that same tranquility and calm that was so necessary to my work.” Carson McCullers from her unfinished autobiography, Illumination and Night Glare
“We live in MidTown because of the neighbors, trees, sidewalks, and houses with character, unique historic settings, and the convenience of location. For 41 years we have lived in only two houses—both in MidTown.” Mary Sue Polleys
“MidTown boasts great culture, wonderful family communities and a deep history that we love.” Thomas G.O. Forsberg
“We live in MidTown because it has a personality!” K. Blair Carnahan, Overlook
MidTown’s history extends back to shortly after the founding of Columbus in 1828…
When residents began to look just beyond the original city limits to build large, suburban estates and gardens. The gentle hills of what is now MidTown were attractive to those looking to escape the mosquitoes of the lower-lying Chattahoochee riverbanks. While many of the owners had working plantations in other areas, these new estates were for their urban businesses like law, commerce and manufacturing. With the early movement of wealth to this area also came laborers, artisans, shopkeepers, builders, teachers and other professionals. MidTown’s diversity dates to its earliest residents.
After the Civil War, the invention of the streetcar made suburban life possible for increasing numbers of citizens across America. In 1887, John Francis Flournoy and Louis F. Garrard purchased the Columbus Railroad Company and created the Belt Line trolley, “a coke-burning, steam-powered dummy engine [that] pulled one or two cars eastward from downtown out 10th Street up the hill into Wynnton, turning north at Wynnton School, circling around the northern edge of the new Wildwood Park and returning to downtown on 18th Street.” In that same year, the two partners formed the Muscogee Real Estate Company and began to subdivide lots for residential development.
Many factors contributed to the boom of development that occurred in MidTown in the early part of the twentieth century. Population increases, national trends, a growing middle class, and a fire that destroyed one and a half blocks of houses in downtown Columbus, pushed residents outside the city limits. After World War I and the founding of Fort Benning, MidTown flourished and development accelerated. Other Columbus entrepreneurs followed Flournoy’s lead and began carving neighborhoods from rural land. In 1925, the completion of the 13th Street viaduct made automobile access easier; in that same year, Columbus’s city limits extended to include the rapidly developing Wynnton/MidTown area.
MidTown today is a vibrant, diverse, in-town community with park-like settings, civic and cultural amenities, schools, businesses and retail. Its twenty-four neighborhoods include six National Register Historic Districts, one of the largest contiguous historic districts in the country.