While chatting with some locals while we were in Louisville, the topic came up that we were heading for Columbus , Indiana next and the question was why. What's in Columbus? Joel had seen a segment on T.V. featuring the Architecture of Columbus a while back and it stuck in his mind, so off we went.
The city slogan/motto for Columbus is: Columbus, Unexpected, Unforgettable. I wasn't sure what to expect but after spending some time here I sure wasn't disappointed. Our first stop was at the visitor center. Once in the visitor center you realize that Columbus is not any ordinary small town. Not only is there inspiring architecture and landscapes there are wonderful original sculptures and murals. Where else would you find a Chihuly chandelier sculpture, not on loan, but permanently installed?
Or find a real original Henry Moore sculpture gracing the front of the public library, donated by the sculpture himself.
Enos (in Greek mythology its the goddess of the dawn).provides a powerful greeting to the downtown area. The sculpture was created by a student curating an exhibit while in Columbus. There was a contest and the student won. Two young people from Cummins Engine (I'll talk about that later) started a grass roots movement for donations so the sculpture could be purchased for the town.
Part of Mill Race Park (below). There are 19 miles of "people trails" within the park. What makes this park so unique is that the land was located in a flood plane and subject to springs floods and architect Michael Van Valkenburgh chose materials that would withstand the floods. Much of the construction and materials were donated by local business men and contractors. The land was basically a "waste" land that has been turned into a beautiful park for the community.
Joel is getting a little exercise on the special outdoor gym at Mill Race Park
The river has a few fun looking rapids. There is a launching area for kayaks and canoes.
One of the focal points is the sculpture called Chaos. It has constantly moving parts .
One of the long hallways in The Commons. Note how the walls curve in and out.
Across the street from The Commons is the "Kids Commons". Note the small door for kids.
Next we visited an old fashioned ice cream parlor and museum with and old fashioned soda fountain. Zaharakos dates back to 1900 and was recently fully restored. You can still sit at the counter and order a soda or sundae. I remember the old soda fountain at the drug store where I grew up in Pacific Grove, but it wasn't as fancy as this.
I mentioned Cummins Engine earlier in this blog. Cummins Engine is the heart of Columbus and the corporate headquarters are located here. Cummins Engines were not very unprofitable in the early 1900s and a young man by the name of Irwin Mills with no business experience took over the company. Within three years he turned the company around was making a profit. Commins Engines has continued to grow into a billion dollar company but that is not the end of the story. Mr. Mills felt education was very important and Columbus needed a new school. He offered to pay architectural fees if the school board would chose an architect from an approved panel. He also provided the architect fees for the post office, the first privately funded post office design in the U.S. as well numerous other projects. Mills believe in quality and that a building should last a long time. His philosophy shows in all the different projects he has been involved in around Columbus.
This is just the entry way to the reception area and museum.
The focal point in the reception area museum is the "exploding engine " sculpture. Parts of the diesel engine are suspended from the ceiling.
No town is complete without a designer parking garage:)
I could go on and on about this little community. There was a real since of community spirit and pride and the people were very friendly and obviously very proud of their community.
We left Columbus and headed north towards Goshen, Indiana on Monday. We stopped overnight at Indianapolis and decided we had had enough of cities and continued on to Goshen to the Moose Lodge. The Moose Lodge in Goshen charges a $$fee for dry camping so we continued on to Elkhart (RV capital of the US )and landed at the Moose Lodge. There is plenty of dry camping here and the membership is very friendly.