City of Columbus Annual Report: 1858-1859




159 years ago, Columbus released its first (as far as I can find) annual report detailing all sorts of information on the state of the city. These reports were issued well into the 1980s, and while the first included mostly financial information such as tax receipts and expenditures, as the years passed, they would grow to incude everything from annexation numbers to weather statistics and crime data. I will occasionally write about some of the more interesting highlights of these historic documents on the city’s past.

Let’s look at some highlights from the report. First up, Columbus’ finances.

Columbus’ treasury numbers between March 1858 and April 1859.

Certainly much has changed in the city’s expenditures, with a budget that now exceeds $1 billion a year.

Next up is a plea from then City Clerk Joseph Dowdall about the need to protect the city’s records.

Dowdall would be the City Clerk through 1861. He would show up in the Columbus records through the early 1880s, when in 1880 he gained a permit to build a 2-story brick addition to a home.

City leaders were paid a *little* less per year than they are now. Interesting that the mayor earned the lowest amount of all. Even with inflation over the years, the $400 salary would only have been about $11,300 in 2017. Clearly public service back then was not a lucrative proposition.

Only 7 years after the land was donated to the city, Goodale Park was still being surveyed.

The now infamous North Graveyard received a few repairs that year. North Graveyard was once on the northern fringes of Downtown, where North Market would eventually rise. Sometime after the graveyard was “moved” in 1872, its original location was all but forgotten. In the early 2000s, utility work at North Market made a grisly discovery a la the Poltergeist movie- bodies. It seems that in the hasty movement of the cemetery, through outright intent, neglect or lost records, many bodies had simply never been moved at all. There has long been the belief that many more remains are still in the ground under the area. The upcoming Market Tower project has a good chance of finding at least some of them.

Some Great Economic News

First,
http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/morning_call/2013/01/columbus-hangs-on-to-no-4-spot-in.html
In this ranking, Columbus was 4th behind OKC, Austin and Houston on the overal “Economic Vitality Index”, a measure that uses 18 catergories to determine the strength of an economy.

Second is this,http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2013/01/15/columbus-only-midwest-city-to-regain.html
This link shows that the Columbus metro is one of only 14 major metros nationally (out of 102) that had gained more jobs through November 2012 than it lost during the Great Recession, meaning it has exceeded a 100% recovery from the downturn. It was also the only Midwestern metro to have achieved this feat.

Stories and rankings like this prove that Columbus has little or nothing in common with its nearby Rust Belt neighbors. It has long had a steady, growing economy that has been able to recover quickly from economic downturns. Say what you will about weather or other factors, but the #1 reason for people to move somewhere has to do with economics. So long as there are jobs available and a decent cost of living, people should continue to flock to that place. In that regard, Columbus definitely seems to have a bright future.

November 2012 Jobs Data

Columbus City
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Unemployment Rate Change since November 2011: -1.1
Civilian Labor Force: 425,900
Civilian Labor Force Change since November 2011: +2,700
Employment: 402,400
Employment Change since November 2011: +7,200
Unemployment: 23,500
Unemployment Change since November 2011: -4,500

Franklin County
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Unemployment Rate Change since November 2011: -1.1
Civilian Labor Force: 622,800
Civilian Labor Force Change since November 2011: +4,200
Employment: 588,600
Employment Change since November 2011: +10,600
Unemployment: 34,300
Unemployment Change since November 2011: -6,300

Columbus Metro Area
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Unemployment Rate Change since November 2011: -1.0
Civilian Labor Force: 966,000
Civilian Labor Force Change since November 2011: +5,800
Employment: 913,200
Employment Change since November 2011: +16,500
Unemployment: 52,900
Unemployment Change since November 2011: -9,500

Ohio Overall
Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Unemployment Rate Change since November 2011: -1.3
Civilian Labor Force: 5,774,000
Civilian Labor Force Change since November 2011: -20,000
Employment: 5,384,000
Employment Change since November 2011: +60,000
Unemployment: 391,000
Unemployment Change since November 2011: -79,000

Is Columbus Getting Younger?

This article: http://www.newgeography.com/content/003351-america-s-baby-boom-and-baby-bust-cities
from New Geography suggests… maybe. It was one of only two Midwestern cities (the other being Indianapolis) that saw its population of people aged 15 and younger grow from 2000-2010, and actually scored at #18 for the best growth in this catergory in the 51 largest metros. The 15 and younger population grew by almost 32,000, or 9.2%. Columbus has long been a young city, especially within Ohio, where the median age is almost 37, higher than the national average. In 2010, Columbus’ median age was just 31.4. Should its young population continue to rise, that median age may actually drop over time. It’s long been established that younger cities tend to do better economically and with growth, while aging cities tend to see sustained decline, so this is good news for Columbus’ future.

Age Demographics for the City of Columbus 2000-2010
Under 5
2000: 52,638 7.4%
2010: 61,122 7.7%
5 to 14
2000: 95,251 13.4%
2010: 99,143 12.6%
15 to 24
2000: 122,768 17.3%
2010: 133,796 16.9%
25 to 34
2000: 139,327 19.6%
2010: 147,584 18.7%
35 to 44
2000: 112,361 15.8%
2010: 110,342 14.0%
45 to 54
2000: 80,668 11.3%
2010: 97,782 12.4%
55 to 64
2000: 45,949 6.5%
2010: 74,265 9.4%
65 to 74
2000: 33,718 4.7%
2010: 35,816 4.5%
75 and Over
2000: 28,964 4.1%
2010: 30,089 3.8%

Age Demographics for the Metropolitan Area 2000-2010
Under 5
2000: 115,002 7.1%
2010: 127,350 6.9%
5 to 14
2000: 233,018 14.4%
2010: 253,211 13.8%
15 to 24
2000: 233,784 14.5%
2010: 264,784 14.4%
25 to 34
2000: 256,992 15.9%
2010: 270,931 14.7%
35 to 44
2000: 270,406 16.8%
2010: 260,069 14.1%
45 to 54
2000: 213,906 13.3%
2010: 265,770 14.4%
55 to 64
2000: 127,707 7.9%
2010: 202,911 11.0%
65 to 74
2000: 89,876 5.6%
2010: 109,390 5.9%
75 and Over
2000: 72,003 4.5%
2010: 86,215 4.7%