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Columbus, Indiana is a typical Midwestern town with a unique feature: A 1950’s endowment from J. Irwin Miller, the owner of diesel engine giant Cummins Engine Company paid the fees to bring in renowned architects of the day to design local buildings. The result is a virtual museum of modern and postmodern architecture, with over 50 noted architect-designed facilities mainly in the downtown area. Buildings, from public schools to fire stations to churches and banks by the likes of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Ceasar Pelli, I. M. Pei, Richard Meier, and others provide visual surprises among mostly restored older buildings in its fairly typical Midwestern town layout.
Cummins Engine is still the largest employer and powers the economy, and a number of smaller businesses have arrived, but employment statistics aren’t that strong. The proximity to Indianapolis for businesses seeking access to this market and for some commuters is a plus. A recent decision by Honda Motor to locate a plant in Greensburg 18 miles east will also give a boost to the area. The cost of living and housing are reasonable. The enclosed downtown Commons Mall is a local destination. Brown County State Park, the college town of Bloomington and Lake Monroe to the west provide entertainment that may be somewhat lacking locally. Those looking for city life and amenities have Indy and even Cincinnati, OH 70 miles east.
The terrain is mainly flat becoming gently rolling to the west and is mostly agricultural. The climate is typical transition-zone continental with warm, humid summers and highly variable winters. Precipitation occurs throughout the year with some periods of strong thunderstorms in spring and early summer. Snowfalls are light to moderate, but snow cover can be persistent in some winters. First freeze is mid- to late October, last is late April.