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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Columbus in Muscogee County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Horace King

Master Builder

 
 
Horace King Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, December 25, 2017
1. Horace King Marker
Inscription.

Horace King
Master Builder
(1807-1887)
Born a slave in Chesterfield District, S.C., Horace King came to Columbus in 1832 with his master, John Godwin, to construct the first bridge between Columbus and Girard, Alabama. After the completion of their covered bridge (called “Dillingham Bridge”), the two men worked together successfully on other building projects. King’s ability and loyalty led Godwin in 1846 to petition the Alabama General Assembly for his black friend’s freedom. Even after his freedom was granted, King continued to work in partnership with the man with whom he had to come to this region of the country. Upon Godwin’s death in 1859, King erected a marble monument over his grave in what is now Phenix City bearing the inscription, “This stone was placed here by Horace King in lasting remembrance of the love and gratitude he felt for his lost friend and former master.”

Although he refused to campaign for the office, King was elected to the Alabama Legislature in 1868 as a representative from Russell County and served with distinction for two terms. A contemporary writer referred to him as “the noblest work of God, an honest man.”

King’s achievements as a master builder are legendary, and include the spectacular circular stairway in the
Horace King Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, December 25, 2017
2. Horace King Marker
The marker can be seen here to the left directly underneath the Dillingham Bridge, with the monument to Columbus and to John Beverly Amos in the distance to the south along the Chattahoochee Riverwalk.
present Alabama State Capitol. However, he is best remembered as the builder of covered wooden bridges, six of which were located in Columbus: two at Fourteenth Street and three which spanned the river here at Dillingham Street. The brick wall visible above is a remnant of the foundation of one of these bridges. He also built the Mobile and Girard Railroad Bridge (1870), visible immediately downstream from this spot, and the Muscogee Railroad Bridge (1855), which crosses the river near the end of Sixteenth Street.

The first bridge that brought Godwin and King to this area was built on this site using Town Lattice trusses and was completed in 1833 at a cost of $14,000. In March 1841, as a result of the “Harrison Freshet,” the bridge floated down river for eight miles and was deposited intact in a cotton field on the Woolfolk Plantation. King was in charge of the crew that constructed the replacement bridge at a cost of $15,100. This bridge remained in use until it was burned by Confederate defenders on April 16, 1865 to prevent its capture by the Union forces approaching from the west. King was in charge again when the bridge was rebuilt a second time in 1867.

About 1872, King moved to LaGrange, Georgia, where he lived until his death on May 28, 1887. During his years in that city, he restored the LaGrange Female College, which had burned a few years earlier,
Horace King Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, December 25, 2017
3. Horace King Marker
The marker is here to the right in this view to the north along the Chattahoochee Riverwalk.
and rebuilt several college and church buildings and other covered bridges. His remarkable career is widely recorded. On July 29, 1989 King was among the first inductees into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in Tuscaloosa.
October 11, 1993
 
Erected 1993.
 
Location. 32° 27.812′ N, 84° 59.818′ W. Marker is in Columbus, Georgia, in Muscogee County. Marker is on Chattahoochee Riverwalk, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. The marker is along the Chattahoochee Riverwalk directly under the modern Dillingham Bridge in Columbus, Georgia. Marker is in this post office area: Columbus GA 31901, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Columbus Steamboat Wharf (within shouting distance of this marker); Military Service Walk (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); River Commerce (about 500 feet away); Columbus Iron Works (about 500 feet away); The Chattahoochee River (about 500 feet away); Confederates Set Fire To Lower Bridge (about 700 feet away in Alabama); POW ✯ MIA Monument (about 800 feet away in Alabama); Coweta and Northeastern Russell County: (about 800 feet away in Alabama). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbus.
 
Categories. African AmericansBridges & ViaductsIndustry & Commerce
 
Bust of John Amos, co-founder of AFLAC (American Family Life Assurance Company) image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, December 25, 2017
4. Bust of John Amos, co-founder of AFLAC (American Family Life Assurance Company)
The Horace King marker can be seen in the distance on the left. The small marker on this monument reads:
John Beverly Amos
June 2, 1924 – August 13, 1990
He lived a happy life and hoped he made a difference to his fellowman
Columbus Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, December 25, 2017
5. Columbus Marker
A few steps south of the Horace King marker is this additional marker, near a statue representing the life of Christopher Columbus. It reads:
Columbus
The Story in Four Images of the Man
Christopher Columbus, 1448-1510, was a Genovese mariner in the service of the great Spanish Empire of 500 years ago whose vision of a world connected across uncharted seas led to his arrival in the new world in 1492. Returning from the first voyage (1492-93) and marching in triumph from Palos to the court in Madrid, Columbus bore a parrot on his wrist as the symbol of his discovery, as the phoenix was the bird of renewal in the classical world, and the dove the voice of the medieval world, the vision of Columbus is symbolized by the multicolored, exotic symbol of the western world. The young Columbus staggers before the certainty of a greater world, which, with his navigational skill, he will ultimately traverse. He explains to the skeptical powers that the world is spherical and small and the sea to him is as the land is to them. As he placed his foot upon the rich earth of the new world, Columbus set in motion ripples that continue to affect the lives of modern men and women around the globe. Despite the depth of his vision, Columbus returned to Spain a man broken of spirit and bound by the society in which he had once flourished. The visions that make men great are as timeless as we are timebound, where there is no vision, the people perish. Vision is our consolation. Why do mountains, rivers, nations, cities all over the world remember this man's name? As history weighed more heavily in the old world, he saw a vision of a new world, may we too, in our communities and our time, share this renewing vision.
Nearby Columbus statue, "Discovery" and "Persuasion" image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, December 25, 2017
6. Nearby Columbus statue, "Discovery" and "Persuasion"
Another view of the nearby Columbus statue, "Vision" and "Chains" image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, December 25, 2017
7. Another view of the nearby Columbus statue, "Vision" and "Chains"
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 25, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 8, 2018, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page has been viewed 87 times since then. Last updated on February 10, 2018, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 8, 2018, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on February 9, 2018, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.
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