Columbia Township, founded in 1791, was named after Columbia, the first settlement in the Township which was located on the Ohio River in the vicinity of Lunken Airport. Columbia Township was reduced in size in 1803 when Butler County was established to the north. The establishment of Spencer, Symmes, and Sycamore Townships further reduced the Township’s size. Madisonville, founded in 1809, was the first significant settlement in the Township. Early development in the Township was encouraged by the construction of Wooster Road and Montgomery Road in the 1820’s and by the construction and extension of several railroad lines beginning in the 1840’s. The railroad lines also prompted the founding of two commuter communities, Madeira and Terrace Park.
Prior to 1860, much of Columbia Township was sparsely populated with farming as the predominate economic activity. The Civil War saw the founding of Camp Dennison by the U. S. Army. The camp, which covered over 500 acres, was located next to the Little Miami River and adjacent to the railroad. Over 50,000 soldiers passed through the camp during the war.
Madisonville became the first incorporated village in the Township in 1876 and was followed by Norwood (1881), Pleasant Ridge (1891), and Terrace Park (1893). Housing and businesses grew in these areas with the extension of streetcar lines from 1890 and 1910. Between 1911 and 1914 Madisonville, Pleasant Ridge, Oakley, and Kennedy Heights were annexed by Cincinnati.
The rise of widespread private automobile ownership, starting in the 1920’s, pushed development further out into the Township and made land on steeper terrain accessible. Large areas of farmland were converted to housing, industry, and commercial development. Mariemont, founded in 1922 as a model community, was one of the first communities designed for the automobile.
Columbia Parkway was completed in 1938, which spurred development in the southwest part of the Township. Indian Hill and Mariemont were incorporated as villages in 1941 as part of a strategy taken by both communities to head off annexation by Cincinnati, which further reduced the size of the Township. Fairfax was incorporated in 1951 for the same reason, but chose to remain part of the Township.
By the early 1950’s the area of Columbia Township had been reduced to nearly its current size by annexation by Cincinnati and by the incorporation of numerous suburban communities within its boundaries.
The completion of I-71 in 1974 to downtown Cincinnati marked the beginning of development adjacent to the interchanges within the Township, namely Ridge Road, Red Bank Road, and Stewart Road. This area is now the commercial and business center of Columbia Township.
TOWNSHIP ANNEXATIONS AND REVISIONS -1960 TO 1998
It should be noted that when comparing township level population data from various years, data reflect annexations and boundary changes within the townships. A complete list of township level changes is included below.
1960 to 1970
Annexations: by Cheviot, Mount Healthy, Loveland, Cincinnati, Sharonville, Wyoming, Silverton & Madeira cities and Addyston, Amberly, Harrison and Montgomery villages.
Additional Annexations: Part of Cincinnati detached and annexed by Fairfax village
Other: Blue Ash, Greenhills, Loveland, Madeira, Sharonville and Silverton villages changed to cities, Forest Park city incorporated from part of Springfield township
1970 to 1980
Annexations: Montgomery city annexed into Symmes township, Part of Sycamore township annexed to Deer Park city, Partsof Springfield township annexed to Forest Park, Greenhills, Mount Healthy and Wyoming cities, Part of Symmes township annexed to Loveland city, Parts of Columbia township annexed to Madeira and Silverton cities & Mariemont village
Additional Annexations: by Harrison and Cleves villages
1980 to 1990
Annexations: by Cincinnati city from Green & Springfield townships, Forest park city from Springfield township, Mariemont village from Columbia township, Springdale city from Forest Park city, Woodlawn village from Springfield township, Wyoming city from Springfield township
Additional Annexations: Cleves village and Harrison city
Other: annexation by Fairfield city into Hamilton County, multiple CDP’s deleted
1990 to 1994
Additional Annexations: None