July 17, 2014
By TINA LENDER | Hartford Courant
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: Settled in the late 17th century as part of Lebanon, Columbia was incorporated in 1804. At the time, Columbia ("Land of Columbus') was the poetic name for the United States, as well as a female symbol of the country, with her likeness appearing in propaganda posters and political cartoons. The symbol fell out of common use about a century ago, as the Statue of Liberty supplanted Columbia as the nation's female personification. The area was previously called the North Parish of Lebanon and the Second Society of Lebanon.
HISTORIC GREEN: Columbia's town green is part of the town's historic district, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Of the 42 major buildings listed, the Eleazar Wheelock House, circa 1735, is the oldest. Wheelock was the Congregational minister in the North Parish of Lebanon for 35 years and a prominent figure in the Great Awakening," an evangelical revival movement that swept through the Congregational Church in the 18th century. Wheelock founded Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., in 1769.
NOTABLE NATIVE: Dwight Loomis, U.S. representative from Connecticut (1859-1863), and state Supreme Court justice (1875-1891).
SOURCES: Hartford Courant; CT Place Names; Federal Bureau of Investigation; The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 1866