You’ve probably never heard of Columbus, Indiana. That’s right…Indiana, not Ohio. It’s also likely that you haven’t heard of J. Irwin Miller. Perhaps you’ve heard of Cummins or the Cummins diesel engine. Miller was the CEO of Cummins. Their headquarters is located in Columbus, Indiana, a town of about 45,000 people.
After World War II, the baby boom began and there was a shortage of schools. The city of Columbus wanted to build just regular brick and mortar school buildings. When Miller saw the plans for the boring school buildings the government was planning to build, he said something that many people considered ridiculous:
“Every one of us lives and moves all his life within the limitations, sight, and influence of architecture – at home, at school, at church and at work. The influence of architecture with which we are surrounded in our youth affects our lives, our standards, our tastes when we are grown, just as the influence of the parents and teachers with which we are surrounded in our youth affects us as adults. American architecture has never had more creative, imaginative practitioners than it has today. Each of the best of today’s architects can contribute something of lasting value to Columbus.”
Miller then set up a foundation that would pay for all the architectural fees for any public building to be built in Columbus, Indiana. They could hire the finest architects on the planet and Cummins would cheerfully pay for them. The only condition was that they had to build the building that the architects drew for them.
Today, more than 50 of the world’s most beautiful buildings can be found in this little town of 45,000 people. It’s known among architects as “The Athens of the Prairie.” The American Institute of Architects ranks Columbus, Indiana, as the 6th most important city in America for architectural innovation and design, right behind New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, DC.
A man decided that he wanted his little town (at that time it was under 30,000) to be different and better…something special.
It starts with thinking differently. It starts with our God given imagination. You can make yourself think bigger and when you do, it might be scary at first, but just know that it isn’t you who has to bring it to pass. Just believe in the God who is more than enough.
Our next blog, we will show you a video about Columbus Indiana!