Back when the Continental Congress was figuring out where to locate the permanent capital, a little town in Pennsylvania called Wright’s Ferry decided to lobby for the gig. Figuring its location along the banks of the mighty Susquehanna River that separates York and Lancaster counties was perfectly located and easy for delegates from the other colonies, Wright’s Ferry challenged for the privilege to be capital.
First things first…
Wright’s Ferry had to do something about its name. It needed something catchy or something that befit a burgeoning nation. Therefore, in 1789 Wright’s Ferry changed its name to Columbia. Perfect, huh? With a name like Columbia, how could the little town on the western edge of Lancaster County go wrong?
People of influence on its side like George Washington? Check.
Name? Done, done, done and done.
Nevertheless, southern states Maryland and Virginia carved out a rectangle of unwanted swamp land along the Anacostia and Potomac rivers not too far from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Next thing the folks in Columbia, Pa. knew the District of Columbia had edged it out by one vote and the rest is history.
Some influence that George Washington had, huh?
Anyway, since it had the name and the location, Columbia attempted to become the capital of Pennsylvania. Again, it had the location, the name but maybe not the influential supporters. Instead, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania went with the more centrally located Harrisburg to be the seat of its government.