Columbus, Indiana: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

City of Columbus
—  City  —
Nickname(s): Athens of the Prairie
Location in the state of Indiana
Coordinates: 39°12′50″N 85°54′40″W / 39.21389°N 85.91111°W / 39.21389; -85.91111
Country United States
State Indiana
County Bartholomew
 - Mayor Fred L. Armstrong (D)
 - Total 26.4 sq mi (68.3 km2)
 - Land 25.9 sq mi (67.2 km2)
 - Water 0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)
Elevation 630 ft (192 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 39,059
 Density 1,505/sq mi (581.1/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 47201-47203
Area code(s) 812
FIPS code 18-14734[1]
GNIS feature ID 0432826[2]
Columbus City Hall

Columbus (pronounced /kəˈlʌmbəs/) is a city in and the county seat of Bartholomew County, Indiana, United States. The population was 39,059 at the 2000 census. The current mayor is Fred Armstrong. It is located approximately 40 miles (64 km) south of Indianapolis,[3] on the east fork of the White River. It is the state's 20th largest city. It is also the principal city of the Columbus, Indiana, metropolitan statistical area which encompasses all of Bartholomew County.

Columbus is currently ranked eleventh in the U.S. on the list of safest cities per population. In 2006, Columbus won the national contest "America in Bloom." In 2004 it was named as one of "The Ten Most Playful Towns" by Nick Jr. Family Magazine. The July 2005 edition of "GQ Magazine" named Columbus one of the "62 Reasons to Love Your Country." Columbus is the headquarters of the engine company Cummins Inc.



In 1820, the land which is now Columbus was bought by General John Tipton and Luke Bonesteel. General Tipton built a log cabin on Mt. Tipton, a small hill overlooking White River and the surrounding flat, heavily forested, swampy valley. The town was known as Tiptonia, named in honor of General John Tipton. On 20 March 1821, the town's name was changed to Columbus. General Tipton was very upset by the change of names, and he moved from Columbus. Later in life, General John Tipton became the Highway Commissioner for the State of Indiana, and was given the job of building a highway from Indianapolis, Indiana to Louisville, Kentucky. Upon reaching Columbus, he constructed the first bypass road ever built. Mauxferry Road detoured south around the west side of Columbus on its way to Seymour.

Joseph McKinney was the first to plot the town of Columbus. No date of this plot was recorded by Mr. McKinney.

For years, it was recorded in the local history books that the land on which Columbus sits was donated by General Tipton. However, a deed purporting to show a sale of the land was acquired by the Historic Columbus Indiana website in 2003 which indicated General Tipton actually sold the land.

A ferry was established in order to avoid crossing both the Flat Rock and Driftwood rivers, which join only a short distance above the site of the ferry. This became a village of three or four log cabins and in 1821, the first store was added. In the same year, Bartholomew County was organized by an act of the State Legislature and named after the famous Indian fighter, General Joseph Bartholomew. Columbus, Indiana was incorporated as a city on 28 June 1864.

In 1844, the first railroad in Indiana reached Columbus from Madison, Indiana. This was known as the Madison branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The railroad caused the community to grow into one of the larger communities of the State of Indiana. By 1850, three more railroads came into the city.

Columbus is host to the oldest theater in the State of Indiana: the Crump Theatre, which was built in 1889 by John Crump. Today, the building is a historical landmark and is also an all-ages venue where bands perform occasionally. Columbus is also host to the formerly oldest continually operated bookstore in the State of Indiana: Cummins Bookstore first began its operations in 1892 and ended in late 2007.

The Irwin Union Bank building was built in 1954. It was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 2001 because of its architecture.

The building consists of a one-story bank structure adjacent to a three-story office annex. A portion of the office annex was built along with the banking hall in 1954. The remaining, much larger portion, designed by Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Associates, was built in 1973.

Eero Saarinen designed the bank building with its glazed hall to be set off against the blank background of its three-story brick annex. Two steel and glass vestibule connectors lead from the north side of this structure to the annex.

The building was designed to distance the Irwin Union Bank from traditional banking architecture, which mostly echoed imposing, neoclassical style buildings of brick or stone. Tellers were behind iron bars and removed from their customers. Saarinen worked to develop a building that would welcome customers rather than intimidate them.

Columbus has been home to many manufacturing companies, including Noblitt-Sparks Industries (which built radios under the Arvin brand in the 1930s),[4] Arvin Industries, now ArvinMeritor Industries. After merging with Meritor Automotive on July 10, 2000, the headquarters of ArvinMeritor Industries was moved to Troy, Michigan.

Cummins Inc. is by far the region's largest employer with ArvinMeritor the second. In addition, the Infotech Park accounts for a sizable number of research jobs in Columbus proper. Other notable industries include architecture, a discipline for which Columbus is famous worldwide. The late J. Irwin Miller (then president and chairman of Cummins Engine Company) launched the Cummins Foundation, a charitable program which helps subsidize a large number of architectural projects throughout the city by up-and-coming engineers and architects.

Early in the 20th Century, Columbus was also home to a number of pioneering car manufacturers, including Reeves, which produced the unusual four-axle Octoauto and the twin rear axle Sextoauto, both around 1911.[5]

Because Columbus is far enough away from Indianapolis, it benefits tremendously from nearby commuters who recognize Columbus as a major city in its own right. During the day, nearly 19,000 workers commute into the city from the surrounding townships and villages.

In recent years, city officials have looked for ways to revitalize the city and return Columbus to the days when Miller's architectural innovation made it one of the most envied cities in the United States. Economic development, widespread beautification innovations, various tax incentives, and increased law enforcement have helped Columbus overcome what some considered a slump during the 1980s and 1990s.

Architecture and art

Fountain in front of the Commons-Courthouse Center

Columbus is a city known for its architecture. J. Irwin Miller, Co-Founder of the Cummins Engine Company, a local concern manufacturing diesel engines, instituted a program in which Cummins would pay the architects' fee on any building if the client selected a firm from a list they compiled. The plan was initiated with public schools. It was so successful that Miller went on to defray the design costs of fire stations, public housing and other community structures. Columbus has come to have a high number of notable public buildings and sculptures designed by such individuals as Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Robert Venturi, Cesar Pelli, Richard Meier and others. Six of its buildings, built between 1942 and 1965, are National Historic Landmarks, and 60 other buildings sustain the Bartholomew County seat's reputation as a showcase of modern architecture. National Geographic Magazine once devoted an entire article to the town's architecture.

The National Historical Landmarks are:

Eero Saarinen's North Christian Church is an example of modern architecture in Columbus.

Other notable buildings include:

Henry Moore's Large Arch

Notable sculptures include:


Columbus is located at 39°12′50″N 85°54′40″W / 39.21389°N 85.91111°W / 39.21389; -85.91111 (39.213998, -85.911056).[7] The Driftwood and Flatrock Rivers join at Columbus to form the East Fork of the White River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.4 square miles (68.3 km²), of which, 26.0 square miles (67.2 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.1 km²) of it (1.59%) is water.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1850 1,008
1860 1,840 82.5%
1870 3,359 82.6%
1880 4,813 43.3%
1890 6,719 39.6%
1900 8,130 21.0%
1910 8,813 8.4%
1920 8,990 2.0%
1930 9,935 10.5%
1940 11,738 18.1%
1950 18,370 56.5%
1960 20,778 13.1%
1970 26,457 27.3%
1980 30,614 15.7%
1990 31,802 3.9%
2000 39,059 22.8%
Source: US Census Bureau

In 1900, 8,130 people lived in Columbus, Indiana; in 1910, 8,813; and in 1940, 11,738. As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 39,059 people, 15,985 households, and 10,566 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,505.3 people per square mile (581.1/km²). There were 17,162 housing units at an average density of 661.4/sq mi (255.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.32% White, 2.71% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 3.23% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.39% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. 2.81% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.



There were 15,985 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.9% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.94.


In the city the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.


The median income for a household in the city was $41,723, and the median income for a family was $52,296. Males had a median income of $40,367 versus $24,446 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,055. About 6.5% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.7% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.


There is currently one mainstream movie theatre, Kerasotes Showplace 12, which shows new movies. In addition, the Yes! Cinema shows independent, older, and foreign films from its location downtown. The landmark Crump Theatre features occasional local performances such as comedy and aspiring local rock or punk bands.

Famous natives and residents


  • Illustrated Historical Atlas Of Bartholomew County, Indiana, 1879 (reprinted by the Bartholomew County Historical Society, 1978)
  • 2003 History Of Bartholomew County, Indiana, Volume II, copyright 2003, by the Bartholomew County Historical Society

Further reading

  • Columbus Indiana In Vintage Postcards, by Tamara Stone Iorio, copyright 2005 by Tamara Stone Iorio, published by Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 0-7385-3449-8
  • "Have you Seen my Town?" by Pamela Dinsmore
  • "Images of America: Columbus" by Patricia Mote
  • "I Discover Columbus" by William Marsh
  • "The Diesel Odyssey of Clessie Cummins" by Lyle Cummins
  • "The Engine that Could" by Jeffrey L. Cruikshank and David B. Sicilia
  • "Columbus Indiana" by Balthazar Korab
  • "A Look at Architecture: Columbus Indiana" by the Visitor's Center
  • "People and Places in my Town, Columbus Indiana" by Sylvia Whorton


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ McMahon, Morgan E. A Flick of the Switch 1930–1950 (Antiques Electronics Supply, 1990), pp.58-9.
  5. ^ Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925. (New York: Bonanza, 1950), p.122-4.
  6. ^ Large Arch by Henry Moore
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links

Coordinates: 39°12′50″N 85°54′40″W / 39.213998°N 85.911056°W / 39.213998; -85.911056

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Simple English

Columbus is a city in the state of Indiana, in the United States.


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