A front view of the Columbia Club with Monument Circle in the foreground.
|Location||121 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Architect||Rubush & Hunter|
|Architectural style||Gothic Revival|
|NRHP Reference #||83000063|
|Added to NRHP||January 27, 1983|
The Columbia Club was originally formed in 1889 by a group of prominent local Republicans as the Harrison Marching Society in an effort to support the presidential campaign of Benjamin Harrison. After the election, the Society acquired a clubhouse on Monument Circle and changed its name to the Columbia Club to continue operation as a private club. Quickly growing its membership, the Club evolved into the premier private club in Indianapolis. The Club is no longer partisan and now numbers in its ranks a great many Democrats and members of other parties. According to the Club, the founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (home of the Indianapolis 500) met there to discuss its construction. In 1984, secret meetings were held there to negotiate the move of the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis.
The Club has hosted every Republican president since Benjamin Harrison while in office or as a candidate and serves as temporary living quarters for many Indiana state legislators during the legislative session. In addition to the thousands of business leaders and politicians who have been members, the Club has also included many artists and musicians including Hoagy Carmichael and T.C. Steele.
The current home of the Columbia Club was built on Monument Circle in 1925 by famed local architecture firm Rubush & Hunter. The Club razed their five-story home built in 1898 for the current ten-story structure to accommodate their growing membership and popularity. A smaller club had existed on the site from 1889 to 1898. As one of the most prominent and architecturally significant buildings in downtown Indianapolis, the Columbia Club was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
The Columbia Club showcases many hallmarks of the Gothic Revival style, including a multi-story oriel window, as well as Tudor influences seen in the window arches. The building also features relief panels carved in Indiana Limestone by Alexander Sangernebo, who made limestone carvings for other historic buildings on Monument Circle.
Inside the Columbia Club are numerous works of Hoosier art and historic artifact, including items from the Benjamin Harrison presidential campaign and part of the Lincoln family china collection. After a 2004 acquisition of paintings from longtime friendly rival, the Indianapolis Athletic Club, the Columbia Club added to its existing collection and now boasts a particularly large gallery of works by members of the Hoosier Group of painters, including T.C. Steele. According to Club lore, Steele would at times pay for his membership dues with paintings.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "Brief History of the Columbia Club" (PDF). Historic Business Register. Indiana Historical Society. February 2006. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "Interesting Historical Facts About the Columbia Club". Columbia Club. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
- "History". Columbia Club. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
- "Columbia Club". Indianapolis. National Park Service. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
- Poshadlo, Gabrielle. "Join the Club", Indianapolis Monthly, pg. 44, May 2007, accessed May 5, 2011.