2012 AND EARLIER
U.S. Department of the Interior
- Republic Newspaper Office Named National Historic Landmark
- The U.S. Department of the Interior named The Republic newspaper as the seventh Columbus structure to be named an historic landmark, saying: “The Republic is an exceptional work of modern architecture and one of the best examples of the work of Myron Goldsmith, a general partner in the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and a highly respected architect, architectural theorist, writer, and educator.”
- October 2012
American History Magazine
- As American as Modern Architecture
- In the introduction to the issue, the editors say, “the pity is that thousands of pictures and words are unlikely to communicate the wonder of this place.”
- “Columbus has six registered National Historic Landmarks of only 2,500 in the country. It is as though Columbus had a fabled ball team who happened to be designers, a Field of Dreams for the drafting-board set.”
- by William L. Hamilton, October 2012
NPR Weekend Edition
- Columbus, Indiana: A Midwestern Mecca Of Architecture
- “...this town, in the middle of soybean country, is a mecca of architecture. The greatest designers, I.M. Pei, Eero and Eliel Saarinen, Cesar Pelli, Richard Meijer, Harry Weese, James Polshek, a veritable who’s who of modern masters, have done more than sixty public buildings here. (The American Institute of Architects ranks Columbus) right up there with Chicago, New York, San Francisco, the big guys. Amazing, for a town with just 44,000 residents.
- ...(The Miller House and Garden is) a stunning, light-filled, 1957 house by Eero Saarinen, the white marble and glass house which could be a set for Mad Men,’ but with better ethics.
- ...At a Cummins plant just outside of town, doing better is a theme posted on workstation wall signs. One in the lady’s room says, “Treating people with dignity and respect is a core value at Cummins.”
- by Susan Stamberg, aired on on August 4, 2012
- Hear the NPR audio here.
- Columbus, Indiana, alive with modern architecture
- “There’s no city anywhere quite like Columbus, Indiana...you have a public library designed by I.M. Pei across the street from a church designed by the great Finnish-American architect Eliel Saarinen, a fire station by Philadephia’s Robert Venturi, an elementary school by New York’s Richard Meier, a hospital by Robert A.M. Stern, also of New York, a town hall by Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and the list goes on and on - Eero Saarinen, Kevin Roche, Harry Weese, Edward Larabee Barnes, and many more, all of whom would definitely be hall-of-famers if there were a Cooperstown for architects...Slogans promoting small-town tourism tend to be insipid. But not in Columbus. Their slogan rings totally true: “Columbus, Indiana: Unexpected. Unforgettable.”
- by John Conti, June 23, 2012
Area Development Magazine
- Columbus Ranked First in Nation for Economic & Job Growth
- “Area Development ranked 365 MSAs across 23 economic and workforce growth indicators. In the results we see that even amid the recessionary gloom, there were blooms of prosperity, and there are some places that have gotten back on their feet faster than others.”
- “Ranking 1st among the 100 Leading Locations overall, the small Indiana city of Columbus also led Area Development’s Top 20 Midwest Cities and Top 25 Small Cities rankings. Among small cities, Columbus placed 3rd in “Economic Strength” factors, 4th in “Prime Workforce Growth,” and 5th for its “Recession-Busting” indicators.
- Summer 2012, read the article here
Conde Nast Traveler
- One of the World’s Best Cities for Architecture Lovers
- Columbus is listed alongside fourteen cities in the world, such as Oxford, England and Florence, Italy.
- “These 14 cities—some iconic, others surprising—embody certain eras of architecture so much that they provide travelers with living, breathing (and free) design exhibits . . . Columbus, Indiana has a population of only 44,000, but it’s a surprising trove of Modernism: The town claims more than 70 buildings designed by star architects, including I.M. Pei, Eero Saarinen, and Richard Meier...”
- June 2012
- In Search of Excellence: A trip to Columbus, Indiana reveals the architectural genius of Eero Saarinen
- “Walking in this bucolic place conjured up the reasons that we—who live in big bombastic cities—were drawn here. Whether we were crossing the traditional main street, with its old-fashioned ice cream parlor, or ambling through tree-lined neighborhoods, we encountered buildings by Gunnar Birkerts, I. M. Pei, and Robert Venturi, the stars that now populate our modernist and postmodernist firmament.”
- by Susan S. Szenasy, Editor in Chief, posted June 8, 2012
- One of America’s Best Small Towns for Business
- Jack Shultz, the author of Boomtown, USA and an authority on economic development for rural America, put Columbus, Indiana on his list of the top ten small towns for business in America.
- June 2012
League of American Bicyclists
- Bike-Friendly City Recognition
- Columbus was cited as one of Indiana’s seven bike-friendly communities by The League of American Bicyclists. The Bicycle Friendly America program recognizes communities that actively support bicycling.
- May 2012
- One of America’s Prettiest Towns
- “Described as the ‘Athens of the Prairie,’ Columbus, Indiana, is an unexpected municipal gem. The Midwestern town is home to a dizzying selection of public buildings and sculptures wrought by icons such as I.M. Pei, Eero Saarinen and Richard Meier...”
- “Considering that it’s such a small town, it’s an amazing place to visit,” says Don Wildman, host of Off Limits and Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel. “It’s an incredible architectural town, and the whole place has that kind of vibe to it.”
- March 29, 2012
- Columbus, Indiana Rediscovered
- “Unlike the obvious architectural hubs in the United States, such as Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., Columbus has a ‘have-to-see-it-to-believe-it’ quality.”
- “Artists came, too (and continue to come). Dale Chihuly designed not one, but two amazing pieces. Most recently, he created the Sun Garden Panels in Suspended Circle for the Columbus Learning Center.”
- by Judi Ketteler, posted December 14, 2011
AARP The Magazine
- 10 Affordable Cities for Retirement
- “Never heard of Columbus? That’s fine - residents love this little city’s under-the-radar charm. Less than an hour south of Indianapolis and east of Bloomington, Columbus has it all: design cognoscenti say the city’s innovative architecture ranks right up there with Chicago’s and San Francisco’s.”
- Sept./Oct. 2011
House & Garden UK
- Modern Arcadia
- “The sleekly minimalist garden by Dan Kiley at the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana is...the landscape equivalent of the architecture world’s Farnsworth House in Illinois, the celebrated glass-walled building by Mies van der Rohe.”
- “The result of his first flush of enthusiasm is perhaps the purest expression of landscape modernism in existence.”
- “The simplicity of these spaces and the basic palette of different greens - in the grass, the trees, and the boundary hedge of clipped arbor vitae - create an intense, Arcadian atmosphere of rationality and calm.”
- by Tim Richardson, November 2010
- Columbus is an Architectural Treasure
- “Though we saw numerous public and private buildings, all of superior design, the highlight of the tour for me was seeing several incredible examples of the partnership between Eero Saarinen and modern landscape architect Dan Kiley. This powerful design team should ring a bell with St. Louisans — Saarinen and Kiley worked together to design the Gateway Arch and surrounding grounds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. They also worked together on the Irwin Union Bank in downtown Columbus, completed in 1954. With original furniture by George Nelson, another father of modernist design, the building remains a functional piece of art.
- by Amy Burger, August 8, 2010
- Columbus, Ind. — Glitter Amid the Rust
- “In the heart of the so-called Rust Belt lies an extraordinary example of what vision and open-mindedness did for a central Indiana industrial town set amid farm fields . . . Columbus, however, is a town that lifts your spirits. It is a community enhanced by modern architecture that dates from the 1950s to present, designed by notable names such as Eliel Saarinen and his son Eero, Harry Weese, I.M. Pei, Cesar Pelli, Richard Meier and Robert Venturi. Some 60 architectural gems — schools, a library, churches, banks, a post office, fire stations, a newspaper and offices — make you ooh and aah.”
- by Alfred Borcover, March 22, 2010
New York Post
- 50 states in 50 weeks: Columbus selected as Indiana’s destination city
- “It’s all so quaint and, well...typically Midwestern. But Columbus is also, in fact, wonderfully atypical. It’s a design mecca, with more than 60 important Modernist buildings - seven of them designated National Historic Landmarks - by a who’s-who of architectural heavies...” She goes on to describe some of the people she met here:
- “What made Columbus so appealing to me - important architecture notwithstanding - were the people. Like the bartender at the 4th Street Bar, who recalled my name and my drink after serving me just once. Or the owner of Zaharakos, who proudly demonstrated the restaurant’s restored orchestrions (automated organs). Or the incredibly knowledgeable tour guides who volunteered their time showing off the town’s architectural gems. And even the Hotel Indigo’s resident dog, Miles, who greeted me with a furiously wagging tail. They were hardworking, friendly...and well, Midwestern.”
- by Jennifer Ceaser, December 2009
Ralph Lauren Magazine
- Modernist Mecca
- “There’s something different about Columbus, Indiana, and it’s immediately apparent as you approach the town from the I-65 interchange. Rising out of the rolling fields of soybeans, a triangular red suspension bridge slung across the White River announces the departure from the norm. Somewhat improbably, this small city of 39,000—hometown to basketball great Chuck Taylor—happens to house 60-odd gems of 20th-century architecture. As such, the town that Lady Bird Johnson dubbed “the Athens of the prairie” makes an ideal day trip or weekend getaway for A-and-D buffs.” (Footnote: Columbus’ population is currently 45,000)
- by Sarah P. Hanson, 2009, Vol. 11, Issue 3
- Hot Fudge and History
- “In this small southern Indiana town famous for modern architecture, the newest attraction is actually quite old.”
- “There’s nothing like this in the country today,” Moravec said about Zaharakos, where the original maple floors from the 1890s are the stage for a slew of antiques. The shop’s 1908 Welte orchestrion, a self-playing organ that sounds like an orchestra, is all tuned up and ready to roll. The 50-foot-long double backbar of mahogany, marble and mirrors looks good as new, even though it’s nearly a century old.
- “Back in the ‘40s, Zaharakos is where (J. Irwin) Miller used to talk about modern design with the likes of Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames over ice cream. This also happens to be where a pretty little soda jerk caught Miller’s eye. “He met his wife here in Zaharakos,” Moravec said. “She served him his first banana split.”
- June 3, 2009
AOL.COM / travel.AOL.COM
- Top 10 Things to See Before You Die
- Travel writer Jordan Simon listed Columbus, Indiana among his “Top 10 Things to See in the U.S. Before You Die” on Aol.com. Columbus was listed alongside the likes of Charleston, S.C., the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone National Park.
- “For a small city, Columbus is a major repository of modern architecture, with works by luminaries like Eero Saarinen, Cesar Pelli, and Richard Meier. This destination says design from the get go...”
- Columbus was selected as one of three Indiana cities for Relocate-America’s Top 100 Places to Live in 2009, which noted the frequent accolades the city receives “aren’t without good reason with the city’s impeccable art, lush landscaping, a first-rate park system, and of course, the outstanding architecture.”
Columbus Chamber Named 2009 Chamber of the Year
- In July 2009, in Raleigh, North Carolina, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) awarded the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce the 2009 Chamber of the Year. The award recognizes excellence in operations, member services, and community leadership.
- The Chamber has been focusing on three critical areas: building on the power of place and the region’s economic strengths, creating a sense of community, and fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
- In 2008, The Columbus Chamber also received the Indiana Chamber of the Year Award.
Fortune Small Business Magazine
- Columbus was selected as one of America’s Top 100 best places to live and launch a business.
- May 2008
National Geographic Traveler
- Ranked Number 1 of all U.S. destinations
- Columbus is ranked 11th out of 109 historic destinations worldwide by National Geographic Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations, higher than any other U.S. destination. The magazine says Columbus has “a world-class collection of modern architecture by master architects...it is authentic, unique, and unspoiled...this town is truly part of America’s architectural heritage.”
- Nov/Dec 2008
American Institute of Architects
- Sixth in the nation for architectural innovation and design
- Columbus, Indiana (population 44,000) is ranked sixth in the nation for architectural innovation and design by the American Institute of Architects, right behind Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C.
National Register of Historic Places
- Most of the downtown is listed with the National Register of Historic Places. In a highly unusual move, the even more exclusive National Historic Landmarks program honored the city by accepting six locations simultaneously.
- Columbus was named one of the nation’s “most walkable” communities in April 2008 by Dan Burden, Executive Director of Walkable Communities, after a visit to the city.
- He has given the title to just 100 of the 2,500 cities he has visited, and noted that Columbus has the cleanest alleys of any city he has visited, and said “that shows you pay attention to detail.”
United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA)
- The National Association of Sports Commissions named the Columbus Visitors Center its 2008 “Member of the Year” in recognition of the tremendous growth of its sports tourism efforts. Since 2003, the number of major amateur sporting events in Columbus has more than doubled.
- The Columbus Area Visitors Center received the “Distinguished Service Award” from the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) at their 2008 national meeting. The award was presented in recognition of the Visitor Center’s “Outstanding and Continuous Support to the USSSA Program” during the past five years. Columbus was the only visitor bureau recognized by USSSA during the annual meeting.
The New York Times
- Columbus “just happens to have the most incredible collection of modern architecture in the Midwest (outside of Chicago…).”
- June 12, 2007
100 Best Communities for Young People
- Bartholomew County was named one of 2007’s 100 Best Communities for Young People by America’s Promise - The Alliance for Youth.
- The award recognizes communities that provide children with exposure to caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education, and opportunities to help others.
- A top-rated public golf course
- Otter Creek Golf Course made Golfweek magazine’s top ten list for Indiana’s public access courses. The course, which features 18 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and nine holes designed by Rees Jones, ranked 5th among Indiana courses.
- (In June 2006, Otter Creek Golf Course was voted the number one public course in the state by the Indiana Golf Association. Otter Creek was “head and shoulders above the rest,” said the director of the IGA-PGA.)
- March 2007
America in Bloom winner
- Columbus won the competitive 2006 America in Bloom national competition for the population category 25,001-50,000. Eight core categories were judged, such as heritage, urban forestry, and floral displays.
- The city won on its first attempt, a rare achievement. It was also chosen “Best of the Best” for landscape design, citing Irwin Gardens, its national landscape design awards, and its park and trail system.
- Columbus Explored
- “ (the new branch of Irwin Union bank designed by architect Deborah Berke is) a study in precise minimalism...” as well as “one of the simplest and most sublime structures to have been built in the U.S. in recent memory.”
- “Decades before Richard Florida began touting the gospel of the creative class, (J. Irwin) Miller understood the wisdom of nurturing a well-rounded community where intelligent people wouldn’t mind settling down.”
- “In fact, Columbus is one of the last remaining footholds of an architecture that, while often fabulous, just doesn’t quite fit in anywhere else.”
- “It’s this domino effect, with quality buildings attracting more quality buildings, which Deborah Berke argues, sets Columbus’s experience apart from the flash-in-the-pan ‘Bilbao Effect’ that so many other towns find when they turn to sensational architecture in search of economic salvation.”
- “Columbus has become a town that invites architectural tourism without fetishising architecture, that warrants closer attention without requiring excessing analysis.”
- by John King, July/Aug 2006
- Best in the Midwest
- “...the people of Columbus live, breathe and use their architecture, constantly aware of what it does for them without stepping into self-conscious territory.”
- “...Columbus, nestled amid corn and soybean fields halfway between Indianapolis and Louisville, is a veritable museum of modern architecture.
- by Eva Hagberg, Aug. 2006
- By Design
- “Columbus, says Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin, is a ‘small-town architectural mecca.’”
- “In downtown Columbus, the telephone switching station looks playful with its heating and air conditioning units encased in giant crayon-colored pipes. It is the work of Paul Kennon, whose son Kevin recently designed a local community college building. ‘I grew up imbued with the mythology of Columbus,’ says Kevin Kennon.”
- by Clay Risen, Dec. 2005
- The Economy of Modernism
- “...the people of Columbus fell in love with modern architecture, and modern architecture in turn fell in love with Columbus.”“What’s remarkable about Columbus is not so much the astonishing fact that this small town has 65 buildings by world-class modern architects as that it wears them so well.”
- “I feel a great big ‘aha!’ coming on as I drive around town. This is what modernism is supposed to feel like.”“Columbus is the nation’s finest example of how enlightened corporate titans and local citizens have discovered that the place of art is at the root of, not just the expression of, economic vitality.”
- Hillary Johnson, July/August 2005
And still more accolades...
- The December, 2005 issue of Smithsonian magazine called Columbus a “veritable museum of modern architecture.”
- Columbus was named to the 2005 list of U.S. Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Columbus was the only Indiana city featured in the June 3, 2005 issue of USA Today in the article “Ten Great Places to Discover Midwest Charm.”
- Columbus was cited in the “62 Reasons to Love Your Country” in the July 2005 issue of GQ Magazine.
- Columbus was selected in 2004 as one of the Ten Most Playful Towns in America by Nick Jr. Family magazine.
- Columbus is featured in the book “1,000 Places To See in the USA and Canada Before You Die,” published by Workman Publishing Company.
- Columbus was ranked as one of the country’s safest metropolitan areas (6th out of 339) by America’s Safest (and Most Dangerous) Cities for 2005.
- Columbus was ranked 56th in The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America by John Villani, published in 1996.
- Demographics Daily, an on-line newsletter published by American City Business Journals, used 20 sets of statistics to rate the quality of life in 632 small cities. Columbus scored 98.8 out of a hundred and ranked 4th in the US in cities of 10,000-50,000. Published September, 2000.
- The New Rating Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities (Prometheus Books, 1997) ranked small cities that they labeled “micropolitans,” with populations of 15,000-50,000, on 10 qualities.
- In the May 5, 1994 Chicago Tribune, Blair Kamin called Columbus a "small-town architectural mecca" that "features an extraordinary ensemble of modern architecture."