Although Columbus harbors a population shy of 45,000 residents, it has propelled its way to the upper echelon of beautiful American cityscapes. Rivaling large cities like Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., Columbus was ranked sixth in the United States in architectural innovation by the American Institute of Architects— a stunning achievement for a small, midwestern community.
You may be wondering why a city so modest in size would boast one of the nation's most interesting skylines. The reason is J. Irwin Miller.
As co-founder and president of Cummins Inc., the Columbus headquartered diesel engine manufacturer, Miller instituted the Cummins Foundation in 1954. This program offered to subsidize the costs of architectural projects in order to attract world-class architects to beautify the city, creating a unique environment that would encourage young professionals to move to Columbus.
The plan was initiated with public schools and was so successful that Miller subsidized the costs of fire stations, public housing and other community structures. The result was a burgeoning landscape with so many notable public buildings and sculptures that Columbus eventually earned the nickname "Athens of the Prairie."
The work of internationally noted names such as I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Richard Meier, Harry Weese, Dale Chihuly and Henry Moore bring a charm and grandeur to the city that make it shine like a diamond in the vast prairie of southern Indiana.
To see and learn more about the beautiful city of Columbus, Indiana, visit www.columbus.in.us.