Columbia Club

Columbia Club
Columbia Club
A front view of the Columbia Club with Monument Circle in the foreground.
Columbia Club is located in Indiana
Location: 121 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, Indiana
Coordinates: 39°46′9″N 86°9′27″W / 39.76917°N 86.1575°W / 39.76917; -86.1575Coordinates: 39°46′9″N 86°9′27″W / 39.76917°N 86.1575°W / 39.76917; -86.1575
Built: 1925
Architect: Rubush & Hunter
Architectural style: Gothic Revival
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference#: 83000063[1]
Added to NRHP: January 27, 1983

The Columbia Club is a private hotel and clubhouse located on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. The current structure was built in 1925 as the third home to a private club of the same name.


Club history

The Columbia Club was originally formed in 1888 by a group of prominent local Republicans as the Harrison Marching Society 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 and largest Republican club in the Midwest.[3] According to the Club, the founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (home of the Indianapolis 500) met there to discuss its construction and secret meetings were held there negotiating the move of the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis.[4]

A strong association with the Republican Party continues to this day, though the club now accepts members of all political affiliations. 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. The Club boasts many famous Indianapolis residents as members, including Hoagie Carmichael and T.C. Steele. Current membership totals over 2200 people.[2][5][6]

Building history

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

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 pieces 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 rival, the Athletic Club, the Columbia Club now boasts fourteen 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]


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