Columbus History Timeline



(v12.06.14)

Note: This is my “work in progress”. Please let me know of any mistakes or omissions which should be added. Email to me: rickyberkey@gmail.com or submit them in the comments section at the bottom of the page. I will add or correct them. I plan to eventually turn this into a multimedia presentation linking to historic pictures.


1800’s:
The Delaware Indians (also known as the Lenni Lenape people) began moving into this area after being displaced by settlers there. They lived along the East Fork White and Driftwood Rivers. The Shawnee lived to the south in the Haw Creek area. The tribes were mainly nomadic with few permanent settlements in this area. They lived by hunting, trapping and fishing. US government reaction to minor Indian uprisings cleared nearly all traces of the tribes from this area prior to the influx of settlers.


1811:
Battle of Tippecanoe fought on Nov 7th between US forces led by Indiana Territory Governor William Henry Harrison and Tecumseh’s Indian confederation. Both General John Tipton and General Joseph Bartholomew were part of the US forces. The Battle was the turning point in opening up the Indiana territory for settlements and eventual statehood.


1813:
General John Tipton and General Joseph Bartholomew crossed the Haw Creek on their way to the pioneer settlement south of Bartholomew County at Vallonia to put down an Indian uprising. They also encountered the Columbus area earlier when they were working with state commissioners to select a state capitol. John Tipton later came back to purchase land in what is now the downtown area.


1816:
Indiana becomes the 19th state in 1816.


1818:
Treaty of St. Mary’s was enacted whereby most Midwestern Indian tribes agreed to give up their land and move to the western regions.


1819:
First settlers in the area were Joseph and Mary Cox who moved here with ten sons and one daughter. Some of the children were already married with families. They were squatting on land near Rocky Ford and Marr Road. When the area opened up for land sales they purchased 1300 acres for $1.25 per acre. Their first cabin was on the NE corner at the intersection of Rocky Ford and Marr roads. A later Cox home was on a hilltop at the SE corner of Rocky Ford and Taylor Road. Joseph Cox built one of the first grist mills along the Haw Creek. Their gravestones can be seen on Middle Road on the left as you head to the airport area just past Rocky Ford Road.


1820:
Land sales were brisk during the “Opening Period” for land sales in 1820-21. Settlers were attracted to the rich potential farmland along the Driftwood, Flatrock and White Rivers and especially to the Haw Creek and “Hawpatch” area. The system of waterways was also desirable as transportation.


1820’s:
After the settlers started arriving, early industries started to develop. Grist mills, woolen mills, saw mills and distilleries were established along the main streams utilizing the flowing water as a source of power. Flatboats were used on the streams to transport goods to southern markets. Flatboats would drift downstream to the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and go as far south as New Orleans. Boatman would then sell their boats as lumber in their southern markets and walk back to Columbus. Early overland routes included the Guthrie Trace and the Madison State Road.


1820:
General John Tipton bought land in the downtown area, 30 acres of which was later either donated or sold to establish the new town.


1821:
Bartholomew County established on Feb 12th (named in honor of General Joseph Bartholomew at the request of General John Tipton). John Tipton was a Democrat serving in the Indiana State legislature and a former military leader in the Indian Wars. Joseph Bartholomew was his friend and colleague from the wars. Both had passed through the area during their military service and both had fought in the Battle of Tippecanoe which was the decisive battle against the Indian uprisings. The first County Courthouse was a log cabin originally owned by Luke Bonsteel on the bank of the White River near the old Senior Center site.


1821:
John Lindsey operated a ferry across the river near the old Senior Center site.


1821:
County seat established as Tiptona on Feb 15th (named by John Tipton himself). Town was established in the current downtown area on land originally owned by John Tipton and Luke Bonsteel.


1821:
Political differences between the newly elected County Commissioners (Whigs) and John Tipton (Democrat) led to the renaming of Tiptona to Columbus on Mar 20th (named in honor of Christopher Columbus). John Tipton was so angered over the name change that he left town vowing never to return.


1829:
First organized school building was the Liberty School and Meeting House. Prior to this neighbors would band together to hire a teacher and provide a space for children’s lessons.


1837:
Columbus was officially incorporated as a town. Trustees were elected by the 34 citizens who showed up to vote.


1838:
The Old Seminary School was established.


1844:
First railroad came to town from Madison arriving on the 4th of July (Madison & Indianapolis Railroad) going through the middle of town across Washington Street. The arrival of the rail line almost immediately made the flatboats obsolete as a form of transportation. Eventually two more rail lines entered Columbus converging on the area where First Christian church now stands known then as Railroad Square.


1846:
Joseph Ireland Irwin arrives in Columbus at the age of 22.


1850’s:
With the arrival of the railroads followed by formal financial institutions and schools, Columbus was quickly transformed from a frontier style village to a regional center for trade.


1850:
Joseph Ireland Irwin opens his own dry goods store.


1850:
Ulrich Block building is built at 4th and Franklin and is one of the oldest commercial buildings in the downtown area. Originally facing Franklin Street, Fredrick Ulrich was a baker who supplied the Union Army with bread during the Civil War. It was remodeled in 1891 to face 4th Street. It has been home to many Columbus businesses including the White Star Meat Market. The exterior has been restored to its 1891 look.


1851:
State of Indiana established a public school system.


1852:
2nd Rail line from Jeffersonville arrived.


1852:
B.F. Jones & Co established as one of the first banks in the area


1853:
3rd Rail line established to Shelbyville


1853:
Samuel Harris house built at 522 Franklin (renovated as office space in the 1970 Franklin Square project). The house is in the Federal style of architecture.


1853:
Kentucky Stock Bank established (taking over B.F. Jones & Co.) as the first major financial institution in the area.


1853:
Jonathan Moore dies at the age of 99. Moore was a Revolutionary War soldier who was part of an elite corps of troops acting as bodyguards for George Washington. General Washington was 6’2” and required his bodyguards to be between 5’9’ and 5’10” so as not to possibly appear taller than the General but still be formidable soldiers. He is buried in a small cemetery in Clay Township just north of Clifty Creek. Jonathan Moore Pike was named in his honor.


1855:
4th Rail line established to Greensburg.


1855:
Tabernacle Christian Church (which later becomes First Christian church) is established on property at the back of the current library property.


1858:
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church is established at the corner of 5th and Sycamore (a small wood frame structure was dedicated on July 22nd)


1859:
First all-grade public school built on the site of what is now Central Middle School. Higher Education was available at Hartsville College in Hartsville and the Moravian Center for Young Ladies in Hope which later became the Hope Normal School. In Columbus, formal music education was being led at the Bates Conservatory of Music.


1861:
Civil War begins.


1863:
Mooney Tannery relocated from Ninevah to be near the railroad line. They operated in the Mill Race Park area until the early 60’s. The concrete wall along the parking area to the right as you enter Mill Race Park was part of their flood wall system.


1863:
Griffith’s Bank established as a depository for the federal funds flowing into the area due to the Civil War.


1863:
Morgan’s Raiders burn Salem. Rumors were that he was heading to Columbus.


1864:
Incorporated as a city. First elected Mayor was named Smith Jones.


1864:
Original version of the Joseph Ireland Irwin home is constructed at 5th and Lafayette (Lafayette was formerly known as Mechanics Street). 4 generations of the Irwin-Sweeney-Miller lived in the house with Clementine Tangeman (sister of J. Irwin Miller being the last family resident). Now operating as a B&B: “The Inn at Irwin Gardens”.


1864:
John Vawter Storey built his home at 5th and Franklin (now the front portion of the Visitors Center). Storey came to town as a pharmacist and established a Milling operation at the opposite corner from his home (the Mill burned in the 1880’s and was later the site of Columbus City Hall). He was a school board member and an early philanthropist (when the bank failed in 1871 he paid teacher salaries for several semesters until the school system was able to recover from their losses).


1864:
William McEwen builds the original version of the house that is now the County Historical Society at 524 3rd Street.


1865:
Civil War ends. Columbus prospered economically as mills and new industry sprang up to supply the troops. Although no fighting took place here, Camp Rendezvous was established as an assembly point for Northern troops and supplies.


1865:
Griffith’s Bank becomes First National Bank.


1866:
William Glanton Irwin is born.


1867:
Cerealine Mill building built along Jackson Street (it is now part of the Cummins Corporate HQ building).


1870:
William Hogue house built at 538 Franklin (renovated as office space in the 1970 Franklin Square project). The house is in the Italianate style of architecture.


1871:
McEwen & Sons Bank (formerly Kentucky Stock Bank) fails severely depressing the local economy as depositors received only 6 cents per dollar.


1871:
Irwin’s Bank officially established by Joseph Ireland Irwin. Irwin had been operating a small scale banking operation within his dry goods store and had gained the trust of wary citizens.


1871:
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church builds their 2nd church structure at 5th and Sycamore


1872:
The predecessor of today’s Republic newspaper is first published by Issac Brown (newspaper is still published by the Brown family).


1872:
William McEwen house at 524 3rd Street is expanded/remodeled to its present Italianate look by David and Samuel Samuels (now home to the County Historical Society).


1873:
Dunlap & Co started. Still a major builder/contractor in the Columbus area


1873:
East Columbus established as a town separate from Columbus. Annexed into Columbus in 1949.


1874:
Bartholomew County Courthouse (designed by Isaac Hodgson) is dedicated. Construction had begun in 1871.


1874:
J.R. Gent Mill building is built at 315 Franklin. Now the home of the Columbus Philharmonic, it was for many years the home of Carter Chicken Hatchery.


1875:
The Reeves Brothers (M.O., M.T. and G.L.) moved to Columbus and established the Hoosier Boy Plow Company, the forerunner to Reeves & Company which went on to manufacture other agricultural machinery.


1877:
Original Lincoln School built at 430 2nd Street (Designed by Isaac Hodgson who was also the architect of the County Courthouse). Renovated as office space in 1986, it is now called Lincoln Square.


1879:
Second Baptist Church is established on April 14th, 1879 as one of the oldest traditionally Black churches in Columbus. Its first permanent location was at 5th and Lafayette but later moved to its current location at 1325 10th Street.


1882:
Cerealine Flakes invented (a dried corn product, it was one of the first nationally marketed breakfast cereals). The flakes were also used in baking and beer making.


1883:
John Storey’s mill building at 5th and Franklin burns down. Later becomes the site of the City Hall in 1895.


1885:
First Presbyterian Church built at 7th and Franklin.


1887:
St. Peter’s Lutheran builds their 1st dedicated school building next to the church along 5th Street.

1888:
Reeves Pulley Company founded by the Reeves brothers. They manufactured pulleys and variable speed transmission systems for factory power setups


1888:
Clessie Cummins is born.


1889:
James and Mary Marr retire from their farm to the McEwen/Samuels house at 524 3rd Street (now home to the County Historical Society).


1890:
Orinoco Furniture Company founded by the two Rohminger Brothers from Hartsville. Later owned by William Harvey Lincoln, Orinoco manufactured very high-end European style furniture such as dining room suites and bedroom furniture. The Orinoco factory was in the building at 17th Street and Orinoco Avenue.


1891:
The Prall Home is built at the corner of 5th and Lafayette by Dr. Will J. Prall. The Queen Anne Style house was designed by Charles F. Sparrell.


1892:
Northside School built (later renamed as McKinley Elementary). The building was designed by Charles F. Sparrell. An addition was added in 1941. Building is still standing and is now being used as apartments.


1895:
Columbus City Hall is constructed at 5th and Franklin. Designed by Charles F. Sparrell. This corner was formally the site of John Storey’s milling business which had been lost in a fire. It contained the police station, city offices and a farmers market in the basement. The 2nd floor ballroom was also used as a gymnasium until they built one at Columbus High School.


1896:
Maple Grove School built (designed by Charles F. Sparrell). Later to become Garfield elementary. Was remodeled as Arvin Corporate HQ in 1989. Now the BCSC Administrative building.


1897:
Post Office building is built at 546 Washington (designed by Charles F. Sparrell). Building is now home to Viewpoint Book with condo’s above.


1891:
Odd Fellows lodge building is built at 601 Washington (designed by Charles F. Sparrel).


1899:
Booker T. Washington School was established at 14th and Union Street as a separate school for Black children in grades 1-7. It existed until 1922. The site is now marked by an official state historical marker.


1900:
Zaharako’s confectionary opens. Originally a candy store, it later added a soda fountain area. Locals long referred to the business as “The Greeks”.


1901:
City Power House constructed (designed by Harrison Albright who was also the architect of the West Baden Springs Hotel). Remodeled in 1976 as the Senior Center.


1903:
Original Carnegie Library built at 5th and Lafayette.


1904:
St. Peter’s Lutheran dedicated their 3rd church home at 5th and Sycamore on June 19th.

1905:
Clessie Cummins quits school at the age of 16. Went to work for the Reeves Brothers.


1905:
Columbus High School is built on 7th Street (later becomes Central Middle School). Torn down in 2006.


1905:
Zaharakos Confectionary added a soda fountain area (much of the equipment came from the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair including the Mexican Onyx soda fountains and the dark mahogany back bar decorated with mirrors, stained glass and lighting).


1905:The Knights of Pythias (KOP) Lodge building was built in 1905 along 5th Street directly behind what is now Indiana Bank and Trust on Washington Street. The center space in the rear was originally known as the Orpheum and later as the Crystal Theatre. It was remodeled and expanded as the American Theatre in the 1920′s. The building was remodeled as the Rio Theatre in 1939 with the upper level apartments upgraded as well. The building was later demolished to make room for a drive-up bank and is now a parking lot.


1908:
Zaharakos added the Welte Orchestron (a self-playing 185 pipe musical instrument made in Germany).


1908:
Clessie Cummins becomes W.G. Irwin’s chauffeur and mechanic.


1908:
Commercial Park is built on the former Railroad Square property where First Christian church now sits.


1909:
J. Irwin Miller is born.


1910:
Extensive remodeling completed to the Joseph Ireland Irwin home at 5th and Lafayette (formerly Mechanics Street). Designed by Henry A. Phillips, it included a formal garden patterned after the ruins of a garden the family had encountered in Pompeii, Italy which was preserved in ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.


1910:
Joseph Ireland Irwin dies at the age of 86. (J. Irwin Miller was his great-grandson).


1910:
Post Office built at 7th and Washington.


1911:
Zaharakos adds the 40’ counter made of Mexican onyx and Italian marble and a Tiffany stained glass lighting fixture/water dispenser.


1913:
Lincoln Chair Company founded by William Harvey Lincoln to manufacture chairs, accent tables and upholstered furniture to compliment the dining room and bedroom suites manufactured by Orinoco furniture.


1917:
The first high school basketball sectional in Columbus was played on the 2nd floor of the old City Hall building at 5th and Franklin.


1917:
Original County Hospital was built on the current site alongside Haw Creek.


1919:
Cummins Engine Company founded by Clessie Cummins and William Glanton Irwin (Clessie Cummins was originally the chauffeur for the Irwin family).


1925:
The Evening Republican (later The Republic) builds a new building at the NW corner of 5th and Franklin. This building is now home to the chamber of Commerce.


1925:
Armory Building built at 7th and Franklin.


1919:
Arvin Industries founded by Q.C. Noblitt, Frank Sparks and Al Redmond in Indianapolis as the Indianapolis Air Pump Co. Would later move to Columbus as Noblitt-Sparks Co and later Arvin Industries.


1928:
Irwin-Union Bank is formed after a merger between Irwin’s Bank and Union Trust.


1931:
A Cummins diesel-powered race car finished 12th at the Indy 500 completing the entire race with no pit stops.


1931:
Noblitt-Sparks Company moves to Columbus from Indianapolis (later to be renamed as Arvin Industries).


1931:
J. Irwin Miller graduates from Yale.


1933:
J. Irwin Miller earns his Masters degree from Oxford.


1934:
J. Irwin Miller becomes General Manager at Cummins Engine Co.


1935:
Columbus Specialties Company was founded by B.F. Hamilton and Sons, later becoming Hamilton Cosco Inc. It is still operating today as a part of the Dorel Juvenile Group.


1935:
Stadler Packing Co. formed by three of the Stadler brothers.


1937:
Cummins records their first profitable quarter since their founding in 1919.


1939:
The American Theatre on 5th Street is remodeled and expanded becoming the Rio Theatre. The apartments on the upper level were upgraded as well and were considered luxury living.


1939:
WW2 begins on Sept 1


1940:
Army begins planning for Camp Atterbury.


1940:
Buildings, fixtures, machinery and remaining stock of Orinoco Furniture and Lincoln Chair Co. are liquidated at public auction.


1941:
Indiana University began offering classes in Columbus.


1941:
St. Peters Lutheran completes a new school building next to their church at 5th and Sycamore.


1941:
An addition was added to McKinley Elementary (formerly known as Northside School). Architects for the addition were McGuire & Shook. Building is still standing and is now being used as apartments.


1941:
Fire Station #1 relocated to corner of 11th and Washington. The building is a very stylish art deco design by Leighton Bowers.


1941:
Japan attacks Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th


1941:
Camp Atterbury construction begins shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a major Army center during the war with a large army hospital on the site. It was also used as a POW camp for captured German and Italian soldiers. Building Atterbury swallowed up a lot of private land including Ninevah Township and the former town of Kansas.


1942:
Atterbury Army Air Field constructed. Used during the war for training of glider pilots as well as one of the training grounds for the Tuskegee Airmen (the groundbreaking group of Black pilots). Building of the Atterbury Air Base like Camp Atterbury consumed many private homes and farms. Tenants of the properties were given very short notice to be off the premises because of the intensity of the effort to tool up for the war.


1942:
Purdue University began offering classes in Columbus.


1942:
First Christian Church built at 531 5th Street (designed by Eliel Saarinen). Started the modern era of architecture in Columbus and is one of the first modern churches in the United States. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2000.


1942:
Pinball machines are banned as gambling devices. (they were not “officially” allowed until 1976 when a video arcade opened in Courthouse Center Mall).


1943:
William Glanton Irwin dies at the age of 77, he was a bachelor. His estate goes to Hugh Th. Miller (the father of J. Irwin Miller). W.G. Irwin was the great-uncle of J. Irwin Miller.


1944:
The Tuskegee Airmen (the groundbreaking group of Black pilots) trained at the Atterbury Air Corp base in Columbus from 28 July 1944 untill 2 March 1945. Their training flights here used the B-25 Mitchell bomber. There is a memorial on Bakalar Green on what is now Columbus Municpal Airport property honoring them for their WW2 service.


1944:
J. Irwin Miller becomes executive vice president of Cummins Engine Co.


1945:
WW2 ends with the surrender of Japan.


1945:
Clessie Cummins moves to California after selling most of his Cummins stock. He remained on the Cummins payroll as a consultant.


1947:
J. Irwin Miller becomes president of Irwin-Union Bank upon the death of his father, Hugh Th. Miller.


1949:
The then separate town of East Columbus is annexed into Columbus.


1950:
The Columbus Drive-In movie theatre opens on what is now called Indianapolis Road (then 31A). First show was a Walt Disney feature entitled “So Dear to my Heart” opening on 3 August 1950.


1950:
St. Peter’s Lutheran builds an addition to their 1941 school building.


1951:
A train ride called the “Columbus Zephyr” made its debut for the second season of the Columbus Drive-In movie theatre with 2200 feet of track and a 50 foot tunnel.


1953:
Bartholomew County Courthouse is remodeled. Original slate in the mansard roof is covered with copper and the windows in the roof are removed.


1954:
Irwin Union-Bank opens new building on Washington Street (designed by Eero Saarinen, original landscaping by Dan Kiley). This building sets new trends in bank buildings across the country with its open glass wall construction. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2000.


1954:
Atterbury Army Air Field which was closed after WW2 re-opens as Atterbury Air Force Base (later renamed as Bakalar Air Force base). Lt. Bakalar was a pilot shot down over France in WW2.


1954:
Community fund drive builds Memorial Gymnasium at Columbus North High School.


1954:
Cummins Foundation is established by J. Irwin Miller as a part of Cummins Engine Co.


1956: Former Columbus newspaper reporter Will Marsh published his fascinating yet controversial “eye witness” account of Columbus history.


1957:
Lillian C. Schmitt Elementary School is built on 27th Street (designed by Harry Weese). First building in Columbus using funds from the Cummins Foundation to pay the architect design fees.


1957:
Formal Architecture Program set up within the Cummins Foundation to pay architecture design fees for Columbus schools. It was later expanded to include other public buildings.


1957:
J. Irwin Miller family home completed (designed by Eero Saarinen). Designated as a National Historical Landmark in 2000.


1958:
Hamilton Center Ice Arena is built in Lincoln Park with funds donated by the Hamilton family (founders of COSCO). Originally two outdoor ice skating rinks with an indoor facility designed by Harry Weese.


1958:
New 4-H Fairground opens.


1959:
Zaharakos modernizes their front façade entrance after a car crashed through the front windows.


1959:
St Paul’s Episcopal church is built at 2651 California Street.


1960:
Eastbrook Plaza Shopping Center opens at the corner of 25th and National Road.


1960:
Mabel McDowell Adult Elementary School is built at 2700 McKinley Avenue (designed by John Carl Warnecke). It is now an adult education center. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2000.


1961:
Eastbrook Plaza Branch of Irwin-Union Bank opens at 25th and National Road on September 11. It was the 1st branch to open outside of the downtown area (designed by Harry Weese).


1961:
An “Aunt Jemima” impersonator from Quaker Oats helped make the pancakes at the annual Kiwanis Pancake breakfast. Up until the late 60’s the makers of Aunt Jemima pancake mix had a series of women portraying Aunt Jemima making appearances around the country. I believe it was actually Aylene Lewis who was in Columbus. The program was eventually abandoned due to the racial connotations.


1961:
Columbus native Don Barbour (of the Four Freshman vocal group) died in a California automobile crash on October 5th. He was only 34.


1961:
Northside Junior High School opens (designed by Harry Weese). Dedication and open house on November 5th.


1961:
Direct dial telephone service debuts on Nov 19th. Customers now dial 7 numeric digits instead of the DR2-xxxx format and can make most long distance calls unassisted.


1961:
The original east side branch of Irwin-Union Bank opens at State & Mapleton on December 5th. It was the 2nd branch to open outside of the downtown area (designed by Harry Weese).


1962:
Parkside Elementary School is built (designed by Norman Fletcher).


1962:
Major renovation/addition to the COSCO building at 2525 State Street (designed by Harry Weese, landscaping by Dan Kiley).


1962:
Interstate 65 opens on the west side of Columbus (the section of interstate from Seymour to Taylorsville officially opened on October 9th, 1962). You had to get off at Taylorsville and take US 31 the rest of the way to Indianapolis.


1963:
BCSC administration building built at 2650 Home Avenue (designed by Norman Fletcher). Still contains school offices but no longer functions as the admin building.


1963:
Area around State Road 46 West annexed into the city.


1964:
North Christian Church is built (designed by Eero Saarinen, landscaping by Dan Kiley). Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2000.


1964:
Memorial Hall is dedicated in March on the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church property at 5th and Chestnut. It contained school classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria, kitchen and church offices.


1964:
Otter Creek Clubhouse and Golf Course built. Golf course by Robert Trent Jones. Clubhouse designed by Harry Weese. Landscaping by Dan Kiley.


1965:
Mill Race Park emerges along the downtown riverfront encompassing the former “Death Valley” housing area and the former Mooney Tannery site. Work is largely a volunteer grass-roots effort led by Carl Miske and the “River Rats”. Mill Race Park took its name from the man-made channel that was cut between 2nd and 12th Streets near the river area to provide water power to the mills and factories built alongside it. The river water was funneled thru the narrower race making it flow faster to power the water wheels.


1965:
First Baptist Church built at 3300 Fairlawn Avenue (designed by Harry Weese). Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2000.


1965:
Taylorsville Branch of Irwin-Union Bank built (designed by Fisher and Spillman Architects).


1965:
W.D. Richards Elementary School built at 3311 Fairlawn Avenue (designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, landscaping by Dan Kiley).


1965:
Alexander Girard develops a plan to repaint/restore Washington Street buildings to enhance their historical character.


1967:
Lincoln Elementary School is built at 750 Fifth Street (designed by Gunnar Birkerts). Now Columbus Signature Academy. This replaced the historic former Lincoln School at 2nd and Franklin.


1967:
Fire Station #4 is built at 4730 e. 25th Street (designed by Robert Venturi).


1967:
Four Seasons Retirement Center built at 1901 Taylor Road (designed by Norman Fletcher).


1968:
Clessie Cummins dies at his home in California (he was buried in Columbus City Cemetery).


1968:
Ivy Tech Vocational School opens in the old National Guard Armory at 7th and Franklin.


1968:
Cummins Engine Technical Center built at 1900 McKinley Avenue (designed by Harry Weese, landscaping by Dan Kiley.).


1969:
Cleo Rogers Memorial Library (designed by I.M. Pei) built at 536 5th Street. Cleo Rogers was the county librarian from 1936-1964.


1969:
L. Frances Smith Elementary School built at 4505 Waycross Drive (designed by John M. Johansen).


1969:
Southside Middle School built (designed by Eliot Noyes). Now an elementary school.


1970:
IUPUI Columbus is established. Classes were offered at various locations.


1971:
IUPUI Columbus moved into a former Air Force building at Bakalar Municipal Airport.


1970:
Franklin Square: two historic houses renovated as office space (522 Franklin and 538 Franklin).


1970:
Columbus Post Office built at 450 Jackson Street (designed by Kevin Roche).

1971:
“Large Arch” sculpture (by Henry Moore) is installed in the library plaza. (a gift from Mr and Mrs Miller).


1971:
Republic Newspaper building built at 333 2nd Street (designed by Myron Goldsmith/SOM).


1972:
Bakalar Air Force Base is turned over to the city and becomes Bakalar Municipal Airport. Space is set aside for an industrial park as well as space for institutions of higher education.


1972:
Miss Elsie Sweeney dies. Her father was Z.T, Sweeney, pastor of the Tabernacle Christian Church. She was the granddaughter of Joseph Ireland Irwin.


1972:
Mental Health Center is built spanning Haw Creek adjacent to the Hospital and Lincoln Park. Now the Columbus Regional Hospital Mental Health Center (formerly called Quinco). Designed by James Stewart Polshek.


1972:
Par 3 Golf Course built (clubhouse designed by Bruce Adams).


1972:
Sandy Hook United Methodist Church built at 1610 Taylor Road (designed by David Partenheimer).


1972:
Columbus East High School is built (designed by Mitchell-Giurgola).


1972:
Mt. Healthy Elementary School built (designed by Hardy, Holzman and Pfeiffer Associates).


1973:
Cummins Midrange Engine Plant built at Walesboro (designed by Kevin Roche).


1973:
Arcade and addition added to the downtown Irwin-Union Bank at 5th and Washington (designed by Kevin Roche).


1973:
Commons and Courthouse Mall opens (designed by Cesar Pelli).


1973:
Visitors Center opens in the renovated John Storey house. Adaptive reuse of this historic building was designed by Bruce Adams. This building had formerly been the lodge hall for the Improved Order of Red Men (IORM) and the Boys Club as well as various other uses.


1973:
COHA (Cummins Occupational Health Association) built at 605 Cottage Avenue. Designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates.


1973:
Bartholomew County Historical Society opens museum in the McEwen/Samuels/Marr home at 524 3rd Street.


1973:
Bartholomew County Home for the Aged moves to their new building at 2525 Illinois Street (designed by Harry Weese). It is now part of the Salvation Army complex.


1973:
Fodrea Community School built at 2775 Illinois Street (designed by Paul Kennon).


1974:
A major tornado hit the Columbus area on April 3, 1974.


1974:
IUPUI Columbus moves into a former Air Force building at Bakalar Municipal Airport.


1974:
A new State Street branch of Irwin-Union Bank is built replacing the original Harry Weese building across the street (designed by Paul Kennon).


1976:
The 2 outdoor skating rinks at the Hamilton Center Ice Arena are replaced and enclosed for year round skating (addition designed by Koster & Associates).


1976:
Senior Center opens in the old City Power House (adaptive reuse designed by Jim Paris).


1976:
Heritage Fund Community Foundation founded.


1978:
Indiana Bell Telephone Switching Station building built at 700 Franklin (designed by Paul Kennon). Now AT&T.


1978:
A winter storm resulted in the heaviest snowfall in recorded Columbus disrupting normal life for several days. People still remember where they were and the circumstances they faced in the “Blizzard of 78.”


1981:
Bakalar Municipal Airport is renamed as Columbus Municipal Airport.


1981:
Columbus City Hall is built at 2nd and Washington (designed by Edward Charles Bassett/SOM).


1982:
Sycamore Place Apartments built at 222 Sycamore (designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates). HUD subsidized elderly housing.


1982:
Clifty Creek Elementary School built (designed by Richard Meier).


1982:
Ceraland Recreation Center built (designed by Roth and Moore Architects).


1983:
Cummins Corporate Office Building (COB) built at 500 Jackson Street (designed by Kevin Roche, landscaping by Jack Curtiss).


1983:
Fire Station #3 is built at 80 S. Gladstone Avenue (designed by William Burd).


1984:
Pence Place Apartments built on Pence Street (designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates). HUD subsidized public housing for families


1985:
The Prall House at 5th and Lafayette was restored to its original look by Clementine Tangeman using old photographs as a guide.


1986:
Original Lincoln School at 430 2nd Street is renovated as office space. Now called Lincoln Square.


1986:
The Columbus Inn opens in the old City Hall building as a bed and brekfast hotel.


1987:
Addition to the library is built (designed by Jim Paris).


1987:
Fire Station #5 built on Goeller Road (designed by Susana Torre).


1987:
McKinley Elementary (formerly known as Northside School) was remodeled into apartments. Now known as McKinley Apartments. Conversion designed by architect Mark Daugherty.


1988:
St. Peters Lutheran Church builds new sanctuary on Fifth Street (designed by Gunnar Birkerts). It is their 4th church home.


1988:
Dorel Juvenile Group acquires Cosco. Their manufacturing facility remains in Columbus.


1989:
Cummins Engine Co. avoids a hostile takeover when J. Irwin Miller and sister Clementine Tangeman buy back $72 million in Cummins shares at $5 million over the market price.


1989:
Addition and remodeling built at the former Garfield Elementary School to become corporate HQ for Arvin Industries (adaptive reuse and addition designed by Ratio Architects/William Browne). Now the Administrative Building for BCSC.


1990:
“Streetscape” transforms downtown Washington Street (designed by Paul Kennon and Michael Van Valkenburgh.


1990:
Bartholomew County Jail is built at 543 2nd Street (designed by Don Hisaka).


1990
Major addition to Fire Station #1 at 11th and Washington (addition designed by Jim Paris and Nolan Bingham).


1991
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) ranked Columbus 6th in the nation in a survey ranking US cities for architectural design quality and innovation.


1991:
Addition to Lillian Schmitt Elementary built (designed by Leers, Weinzapfel & Associates). This addition and the one they did later at Northside Middle school proved to be very controversial in the community because they were so different from the original structures.


1992:
Mill Race Park is extensively upgraded as a Columbus Quincentennial project in honor of the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Christopher Columbus (Landscape architecture by Michael Van Valkenburgh with structures designed by Stanley Saitowitz).


1992:
Columbus Regional Hospital is built on the site of the original 1917 building remodeling certain older portions with new buildings added (designed by Robert A.M. Stern).


1992:
Addition to Northside Middle School built (designed by Leers, Weinzapfel & Associates). This addition and the one earlier at Schmitt Elementary proved very controversial because they were so different from the original buildings.


1992:
The Columbus Drive-in Movie theatre on Indianapolis road closes after 42 years. It was sold to a developer but the property still remains empty.


1994:
Columbus receives the All-America City Award.


1994:
Lincoln Central Neighborhood Family Center (LCNFC) established.


1995:
A major addition and remodeling of the Visitors Center at 5th and Franklin. A very complementary addition designed by Kevin Roche was added to the historic 1864 John Storey house.


1995:
The Dale Chihuly sculpture “Yellow Neon Chandelier and Persians” is installed in the
expanded Visitors Center. (a gift from Mr and Mrs Miller).


1995:
Breeden Realty building built at 7th and Washington (Designed by Thomas Beeby.


1996:
IUPUI Columbus officially becomes IUPUC.


1996:
The Olympic torch passes through Columbus enroute to the Atlanta games with local runners selected to carry it through Bartholomew County.


1996:
Clementine Tangeman dies (she was the sister of J. Irwin Miller).


1996:
Landscaping ordinance adopted by the city mandating a minimum level of landscaping that must be planned before a new development can proceed.


1997:
Signage ordinance adopted by the city setting limits on the size and height of signage on new developments.


1997:
Gateway Arch Bridge opens at the I65/SR 46 interchange. Part of the Front Door project improving traffic flow and bringing the special character of Columbus out to the Interstate area. Bridge designed by J. Muller International.


1997:
Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans is built on the Courthouse lawn (designed by Maryann Thompson and Charles Rose).


1997:
The Republic Printing Center built near Walesboro along I65 (designed by GSI Architects).


1998:
Bernar Venet sculpture (“Two Arcs de 212.5”) is installed outside the Commons on April 25th, 1998. A gift from Mr and Mrs J. Irwin Miller in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Commons.


1998:
Major addition/renovation to Cummins “Plant 1” on Central Avenue. Addition designed by Kevin Roche, Jack Curtis updated/enhanced the existing Dan Kiley landscaping.


1998:
“Friendship Alley” (between 4th and 5th on the Jackson side of Washington) is enhanced with landscaping, a lighted sculpture and brick pavers with the names of our friends from Miyoshi, Japan.


1998:
Foundation for Youth building built at 405 Hope Avenue (designed by Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum).


1998:
Fire Station #6 built in Walesboro (designed by William Rawn).


1998:
Hoosier Pro Wrestling (HPW) begins offering professional wrestling shows in the Columbus area hosted by promoter Jerry Wilson.


1999:
The Second street bridge opens improving traffic flow through Columbus on St Rd 46 (part of the Front Door project). Bridge designed by J. Muller International.


2000:
6 buildings in Columbus designated as National Historic Landmarks.


2000:
Cummins announced that they were extending company benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of employees causing a great deal of controversy in the community.


2000:
Addition to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church built at 2651 California Street (designed by Thomas Beeby).


2001:
Cummins Child Development Center (daycare) built along Central Avenue. Designed by Carlos Jimenez, landscaping by Jack Curtis. Closed for several years after the 2008 flood but has reopened.


2002:
In the tradition of the old WPA Post Office murals, a work by local artist Betty Boyle was unveiled in April. Her work entitled “Generations” honors the tradition of architecture in Columbus with a 5 panel, 25 foot mural showing the progression of local architecture from the 1901 Post Office to the present day.


2002:
First Christian Church is expanded (addition designed by Nolan Bingham).


2002:
Addition to Mt. Healthy Elementary School is constructed (designed by Nolan Bingham).


2002:
New St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church is built merging the St Columba and St Bartholomew congregations (designed by Ratio Architects: William Browne Jr. and Steve Risting).


2003:
St Peters Lutheran Church builds an addition to their school (designed by David Force).


2003:
Arvin-Meritor Data Center built in the Info-Tech park area opposite Columbus Learning Center (designed by Robert Carrington/Ghafari Associates). Now the computer center for Columbus Regional Hospital.


2004:
J. Irwin Miller dies at the age of 95.


2004:
Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives (CIAA) is reorganized to protect documents, blueprints and models relating to Columbus architecture.


2004:
Hospice Center opens next to the hospital. Funds were raised from donations and fundraisers such as the annual Labor Day Concerts in Mill Race Park.


2004:
Columbus was named as one of the “10 Most Playful Towns in America” by Nick Jr. Family Magazine.


2005:
Columbus was named as one of America’s “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


2005:
Columbus Learning Center building built between IUPUC and Ivy Tech (designed by Kevin Kennon).


2006:
Columbus Sculptural Invitational installs numerous new sculptures all over the downtown area. They are on a temporary loan from the artists.


2006:
Creekview Branch of Irwin-Union Bank is built at 707 Creekview Drive adjacent to the Walmart and Kohls shopping area (designed by Deborah Berke).


2006:
Freedom Field playground opens behind Parkside Elementary School. Features play equipment accessible to children of all physical abilities.


2007:
Central Middle School built (new building designed by Ralph Johnson / Perkins & Will).


2007: The “old” Commons officially closed on New Years Eve with a community celebration.


2008:
Xenia Miller dies at the age of 91 (she was the widow of J. Irwin Miller).


2008:
Columbus Inn closes with all contents auctioned later in the year.


2008:
Addition to the Bartholomew County Jail is built (designed by RQAW architects).


2008:
Fire Station #2 on Central Avenue relocated to the Airport area (designed by William Burd). Former fire station sold to Columbus Regional Hospital for ambulance service.


2008:
A major flood on June 7th, 2008 was the worst in recorded Columbus History. Many people were left stranded and homeless. Columbus Regional Hospital had to be evacuated and was closed for nearly 6 months.


2009:
Commons Office Building built for Cummins Inc. on part of the former Commons Mall. (designed by Koetter & Kim in association with CSO Architects).


2009:
4th Street Parking Garage built at 4th and Jackson (designed by Koetter & Kim in association with CSO Architects).


2009: Irwin-Union Bank is closed on Friday, September 18, 2009 by the FDIC in the midst of the economic crisis. All accounts are protected and preserved opening the next day under control of First Financial Bank.


2011:
The Mill Race Center: a Community Center for “Active Adults” opened (this is the new Senior Center). Note the name change, the aging baby-boom generation has shown resistance to the word “Senior” and similar organizations around the country are quietly changing their terminology to serve this emerging demographic. Designed by William Rawn Associates.


2011:
The “new” Commons was opened in May. A rebuilding of the Cesar Pelli downtown community center: it includes a new indoor playground, space for performing arts and community events as well as new retail/restaurant space. Designed by Koetter Kim & Associates in conjunction with CSO architects.


2011:
Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AMCE) opened on the Learning Center Campus (designed by Cesar Pelli who was here for the groundbreaking as well as the grand opening). Architects are Pelli Clarke Pelli in conjunction with Ratio Architects.


2011:
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church tears down their former sanctuary building built in 1904 due to deteriorating conditions.


2013:
The Columbus Marathon is staged for its first year on 28 September. Over 4500 entries are signed up prior to the race. The 26 mile course begins and ends in the heart of downtown and passes many Columbus landmarks along the way.


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Comments

Columbus History Timeline — 10 Comments

  1. THESE ARE VERY NICE AND INFORMATIVE I AM JDHINKLE AND POST ON THE HISTORICAL OLUMBUS MSG BOARD I NOTICED IN THE TIME LINE MENTION OF GARFIELD , I WENT TO MCKINLEY/NORTHSIDE IT WAS BUILT IN 1892 BY SAME GUY AS GARFIELD REMODELED IN 41

    IM A LITTLE PREDUDICE BUT A TIMELINE IS HARD TO SATISFY EVERYONE NICE JOB

  2. Looking for pictures of the Joseph and Mary Cox home that was on (at the end of) Taylor Road and corner of Rockyford before the 1970’s when it was demolished. Joseph and Mary Cox were the first settlers of Columbus, Indiana. Their last home was built at the end of Taylor Road and Rockyford. I remember their home as the “ghost home” we kids use to go look at it when it was falling down. I hope you can find a picture of it. Thank you.

  3. I have enjoyed reading some of columbus history. I was one of the kids that walked from old Old Lincoln school in 1967. to our new lincoln school. columbus has change so much. I was born in columbus . i was hoping to see som e old pictures from the school . my mother and uncles and aunts also went to old liyncoln school. thank you.

  4. Why wasn’t the 1978 Blizzard Mentioned? What about the person who wired most of the homes in the 1950’s? What about the home of Joseph and Mary Cox, first settlers in Columbus. Someone has to have pictures of their home.

  5. 1976:
    The 2 outdoor skating rinks at the Hamilton Center Ice Arena are replaced and enclosed for year round skating (addition designed by Koster & Associates). Wasn’t this done in the 1960’s. I thought it was enclosed in the late 1960’s. Who were the guards at this skating rink through out the years?

  6. Sarah: I have now added an entry about the blizard of 1978. I’m curious about your comment about the man who wired most of the homes in the 50’s? Was it a family member of yours?

  7. I loved this timeline. I am looking information for my students about Columbus and this is very well done. Could you add some information about the Crump family?

  8. rickey I am a decendant of the founders of the wertz memorial united brethren church I have post several items on hist col msg board the church start 15th union 1893 move to 19th elm, 1923 moved to 17th and home before moving to sandy hook in 72 thought this might add suff

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