Historic Markers Across Georgia

The Fall Line

Marker ID:  
Location: Bay Ave north of 11th St, Columbus, GA
County: Muscogee
Coordinates: N 32° 28.024    W 084° 59.763
  32.46706666    -84.99605
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


The Fall Line

You are standing at the fall line that separates the higher and hilly Piedmont region from the relatively level Coastal Plain. Rivers flowing from the mountains toward the sea always experience a series of rapids or falls as they plunge from the Piedmont to the Coastal Plain. A rich variety of plants and animals existed at the Fall Line because of the convergence of two distinct ecological regions. The abundant resources here tended to attract Indians to the area.

During the 1800s, as Georgians moved westward looking for new cotton lands, the state legislature established towns where major rivers crossed the fall line. Hence, Columbus was established here in 1828, so Georgians could use the navigable Chattahoochee River south of the Fall Line for their steamboats. The new settlers dammed the falls to produce power for manufacturing.

The damming of the free-flowing river affected the unique combination of wildlife at the Fall Line. Shoal Lilies once bloomed in profusion in the rocky area of the Chattahoochee. Now they are restricted to its undisturbed tributaries. The thirty species of native mussels that once thrived here have been replaced largely by the Asiatic Clam whose shells litter the shoreline today. Some animals such as the Gulf Sturgeon have disappeared completely.

Caption: The Falls of Chattahoochee sketched in the 1830s by Francis de la Porte

Pictures of this marker can be view on HMDB.org