The Columbus Iron Works was located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in the Columbus Historic District. Organized in 1853, it was built near the steamboat landing in the heart of the growing community. Today the buildings are a local landmark in the downtown area and houses the Columbus Georgia Convention and Trade Center. Nearby are first-class sleeping accommodations, restaurants, and entertainment facilities.
The Columbus Iron Works produced a variety of equipment on this site for over a century. Aside from farming implements and mechanical gears used by local textile businesses, it produced firearms for the Confederacy during the Civil War. It also produced machinery to drive at least fourteen naval vessels in the Confederate fleet.
In the early 1970’s the company had substantially outgrown the old buildings and moved to new facilities on the outskirts of town. In 1975 the City of Columbus became involved with the buildings. Plans were formulated for a downtown convention center and this building has potential to serve in that capacity. Through a careful blending of the old and new, the Columbus Georgia Convention and Trade Center was created.
The massive structures of the Iron Works appear little changed from the last century. The old brick walls, huge timbers and exposed ceilings, representing the best of 19th century craftsmanship, create an ambience unknown to modern construction.
The building has over 182,000 square feet of floor space with the 17 meeting rooms satisfying a variety of needs and seating as many as 500 or as few as 20. All spaces provide the most modern lighting, and staging equipment are also available. The Trade Center houses a new state-of-the art on-site kitchen with the capacity and staff to prepare up to 4,000 meals at a time. There is also a concession area available for trade shows, located between the exhibit halls.
Loading dock facilities allow an easy entrance to the exhibit halls for booth setups. Ramps and elevators also make the Trade Center accessible to persons with disabilities.
Sheltered access is provided to both levels of the complex from a 426 car, multi-level garage. In addition to the garage, ground level parking lots are located around the complex perimeter.