Columbia Club

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Columbia Club
Columbia Club, Indy.JPG
A front view of the Columbia Club with Monument Circle in the foreground.
Columbia Club is located in Indianapolis
Columbia Club
Columbia Club is located in Indianapolis
Columbia Club
Columbia Club is located in Indiana
Columbia Club
Columbia Club is located in the US
Columbia Club
Location 121 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, Indiana
Coordinates 39°46′9″N 86°9′27″W / 39.76917°N 86.15750°W / 39.76917; -86.15750Coordinates: 39°46′9″N 86°9′27″W / 39.76917°N 86.15750°W / 39.76917; -86.15750
Built 1925
Architect Rubush & Hunter
Architectural style Gothic Revival
NRHP Reference # 83000063[1]
Added to NRHP January 27, 1983

The Columbia Club is a private club located on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. The current structure was built in 1925 as the club's third home on the same site.

Club history[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[2][5][6] It is located in the Washington Street-Monument Circle Historic District.

Building history[edit]

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.[1][6]

Architectural features[edit]

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.[6]

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.[7]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Brief History of the Columbia Club" (PDF). Historic Business Register. Indiana Historical Society. February 2006. Retrieved 2011-05-05. 
  3. ^ John Hillman, John Murphy (2009). Indianapolis Social Clubs. Arcadia Publishing. 
  4. ^ "Interesting Historical Facts About the Columbia Club". Columbia Club. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  5. ^ "History". Columbia Club. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  6. ^ a b c "Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD)" (Searchable database). Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Retrieved 2016-08-01.  Note: This includes Mary Ellen Gadski and James A. Glass (August 1982). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Columbia Club" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-01.  and Accompanying photographs
  7. ^ Poshadlo, Gabrielle. "Join the Club", Indianapolis Monthly, pg. 44, May 2007, accessed May 5, 2011.