City of Columbus, Texas

City of Columbus, Texas

Historic Old Stafford Opera House in the City of Columbus, Texas. Photograph by Jim Evans.

Columbus, the county seat and largest city of Colorado County, is at the junction of Interstate Highway 10 and State Highway 71, sixty-five miles west of Houston, on a small rise south and west of a lazy horseshoe bend in the Colorado River. It is on the site of the legendary Indian village of Montezuma. Members of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred began arriving in the area in 1821; in late December Robert H. Kuykendall, his brother Joseph, and Daniel Gilleland moved from a newly established settlement on the Brazos River, later known as Washington-on-the-Brazos, to a site on the Colorado River near that of present Columbus. By 1823 a small community had developed. It became known as Beeson's Ferry or Beeson's Ford, named for Benjamin Beeson, one of the original settlers, who operated a ferry across the Colorado River. In 1835 it was renamed Columbus, allegedly at the suggestion of a former resident of Columbus, Ohio. The town began as a river crossing and became the seat of local government in 1822, when Austin's colony was divided into two autonomous districts by Mexican governor José F. Trespalacios. Trespalacios had the Baron de Bastrop travel to the Colorado River District to supervise local elections. Gathering at Beason's Crossing, the residents elected John J. Tumlinson, Sr., alcalde, Robert Kuykendall captain, and Moses Morrison lieutenant. Austin had intended to locate his headquarters here and even laid out a town the following year, but finally opted for a more promising location on the Brazos River. No doubt the frequent Indian attacks in the Colorado River District and poor drainage influenced his decision to relocate his headquarters.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Place type

Columbus is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Beason's)
  • (Montezuma)


  • Latitude

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Columbus by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
3,715 2019 Texas Demographic Center
3,655 2010 Texas Demographic Center
3,916 2000 Texas Demographic Center
3,367 1990 Texas Demographic Center
3,923 1980 Texas Demographic Center
3,342 1970 Texas Demographic Center
3,656 1960 Texas Demographic Center
2,878 1950 Texas Demographic Center
2,422 1940 Texas Demographic Center
2,054 1930 Texas Demographic Center
1,959 1880 Texas Demographic Center