First National Bank of Columbia

The Columbia Bridge Company was formed in 1811 and began to raise money for a bridge between Columbia and Wrightsville. This business, founded by Steven Smith and William Whipple, two African Americans, served as the first bank in the community, and by 1814 had used its profits to build the first Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge. By the time a flood destroyed it in 1832, the bridge had grown all but indispensable and was quickly replaced by the longest wooden covered bridge in the world, financed by the Columbia National Bank. As the only bridge crossing the Susquehanna between Harrisburg and the Mason-Dixon Line, it attracted canals and railroad lines to Columbia. It also drew the attention of the Confederate Army, which invaded Pennsylvania in June 1863. As the Rebels approached the bridge on June 28, Union troops torched it. A newspaper published the following statement: The burning of the bridge has given rise to a rumor that its loss would have the effect of impairing the credit of the Columbia Bank. This now seems will not be the case, as the structure was destroyed by order of the military authorities, thus making the Government responsible for all loss. The bank was never reimbursed for its claim of $100,000.