Columbus area industries, which have produced items ranging from cola to cannons, have played a vital role in the region’s economy and helped form its identity as a Deep South industrial town. Numerous other business establishments have equally contributed to the city’s character and shaped its development, including Golden’s Foundry, Pekor Ironworks, the Schwobilt Company, Tom’s Foods Incorporated, the Royal Crown Cola Company, and the W.C. Bradley Company. Coca-Cola even got its start in Columbus, when pharmacist John Pemberton created the first version of the famous drink in his downtown drugstore while seeking relief from wounds sustained in the Battle of Columbus in 1865.
Steamboats also played a significant role in the region’s emergence as an industrial center. The steamboat era in Chattahoochee River history began with the 1827-28 voyage of the Fanny from Apalachicola, Florida to Columbus. In the 120 years that followed, more than 200 boats would ply the river’s waters. Transporting people and connecting the region to world markets, steamboats profoundly influenced the growth and development of the area.