September 14, 2011

It's All About the Architecture

I couldn’t leave Santa Claus, Indiana, this morning without photographing the town hall and welcome sign for “America’s Christmas Hometown.”  Thank goodness I’m not collecting Christmas ornaments on this trip.  Although the town was way too hokey for my taste, I might have been tempted to shop.

Welcome to Santa Claus, Indiana

Town Hall at Santa Claus, Indiana

Our focus again today was on architecture.  It’s pretty amazing how much southern Indiana has to offer.

Jane and I had both wanted to visit the historic West Baden Springs Hotel in West Baden Springs, Indiana, ever since hearing about its remarkable restoration from near-ruin.  Constructed in 1902, the hotel is a magnificent piece of architecture, and its restoration has won numerous historic preservation awards.  The hotel’s massive dome houses an amazing atrium that took my breath away. 

Atrium at the West Baden Springs Hotel
Dome and Atrium at the West Baden Springs Hotel
Fireplace at the West Baden Springs Hotel
On the way out of town, we made a stop for lunch at the Little Twirl Dairy Bar in Livonia, Indiana.  The blackberry cobbler topped with soft vanilla ice cream was superb.  We hope to sample pies and cobblers across the country and vote for our favorites.

Blackberry Cobbler
Columbus, Indiana, was the main destination for the day.  The town has also been on my bucket list for some time.  Columbus is a small, historic town of 44,000 people, but is world-renowned for its modern architecture.  The history of modern architecture in Columbus began in 1942 when the First Christian Church dedicated its new building designed by Eliel Saarinen.  Other modern buildings soon followed.  

First Christian Church, Eliel Sarinen, 1942

First Financial Bank Downtown, Eero Saarinen, 1954
The local Cummins Engine Foundation recognized that architecture is a major component of a quality community and offered to pay the architect’s fee for buildings designed by an architect selected by the Foundation.  Other companies and organizations also sought out nationally and internationally-known architects to design their facilities.  The American Institute of Architects has since ranked Columbus sixth in the country for architectural innovation.  Public art is also an important component of the built environment.

Cummins Inc. Worldwide Headquarters, Kevin Roche, 1983

Chaos I, Jean Tinguely, 1974
Jane and I stayed in another private campground in Columbus.  The last two campgrounds have been quite nice, and not the “parking lot” variety that I have often seen.  While we were sitting at the picnic table, Jane remarked “I don’t see an RV in my future, but this isn’t half bad.”


  1. Wasn't there a request to see the riders in bonnets? Can't wait to see the present riders in these!!!! NF

  2. That cobbler looks fabulous! Yum! Any other must "food stops" yet?