Your Town Friday: Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ind. -- Columbus, forty miles south of Indianapolis, looks like any other place in many ways, but something sets it apart.

"Architecture in the town is pretty amazing," said longtime resident David Doty. "Always has been!"

Columbus was established in 1820 under the name Tiptonia, in honor of the man who owned the land, John Tipton. The city was renamed Columbus in 1821.

Many call it a mecca of mid-century modern architecture, and J. Irwin Miller led the charge.

Miller was born in Columbus in 1909 and joined Cummins, the family business, in 1934. Twenty years later he established The Cummins Foundation and made an offer the city couldn't refuse. The Foundation would pay the architect's fees for new public buildings. And so this small Midwestern city has work by some of the "who's who" in architecture and art. And  now his family home, which is art in itself, is open to the public. (Click here for more on touring the home and other architectural gems in the city.)

Photo of Miller House and Garden, northern exposure, by Thomas R. Schiff

 

David, owner of Days of Old Antique Shoppe, has some of Miller's personal items. The Miller family's china collection sits at the front of his store.

"I’ve been interested in antiques most of my adult life."

And his kids can attest to that! His son Nick Doty said, "I had to kind of create a pathway in our basement!"

But David, a heating and cooling man by trade, really started collecting ten years ago. So two years ago he took a risk and opened a 650 square foot shop. Soon after, he moved to 1,800 square feet. And now he has 15,000!

"It’s been a ride, but it’s been a good one. We had about 51 empty booths when we took over this building. We have about one or two left right now."

What is David's personal favorite find? "I’m a huge Elvis fan. Just a huge Elvis fan. Elvis Presley. There’s nobody like him."

In fact, this is his garage door at home.

 

"And I do have some items that he owned and wore on stage, too."

 

And to make shopping fun for the kids, he's hidden Elvis pictures several places around the store for the little ones to find.

"The people here are great. I just can’t imagine being anywhere else. There’s a lot of stuff to see if you come to this town!"

A lot of successful people have roots in Columbus. Vice-President Mike Pence was born there in 1959, and he graduated from Columbus North High School.

Race car driver Tony Stewart graduated from there, too.

And famous basketball player Chuck Taylor also went to high school in Columbus. He was then hired as a salesman for the Converse Shoe Company and went on to design the Chuck Taylor All Stars, which are still popular today.

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