City monument moving to new spot in smallest Columbus park

A monument that features the faces of Columbus’ founder and the man after which Bartholomew County is named is moving to a new location — slightly.

In the process, the smallest park in Columbus, at only one-tenth of an acre, will undergo big renovations just in time for next year’s Indiana bicentennial.

The Tipton-Bartholomew monument was dedicated in the fall of 1962 in honor of Gen. Joseph Bartholomew and Gen. John Tipton, and is located near Third and Lindsey streets.

However, the monument isn’t leaving the property, city spokesman Mike Nolting said.

The Columbus Parks Board voted to level out what is left of a mound once called “Tipton Knoll.” The mound is currently too close to both an active railroad track and streets, which has raised concerns about the visibility of those walking, running, bicycling or playing in the tiny park, Nolting said. After half of the grading work is completed, the monument will be moved closer to the street corner, he added.

The monument was recently crated for protection during the process.

Following the move, workers will reseed the land, do additional landscaping and erect a fence that will be appropriate for the setting, Nolting said.

When the proposal was first brought up for consideration, some members of the Columbus Parks Board were concerned that state laws that forbid altering a historic site might be broken.

But in a written statement, Bartholomew County Historian Harry McCawley assured the board that while the monument commemorates history, it is not of any legally-recognized historical significance in itself, Nolting said.

Taxpayers won’t be asked to foot the bill for the work near Third and Lindsey streets, Nolting said. The bill is being picked up by Moravec Realty LLC and developer Tony Moravec, who purchased the nearby Pump House, located along East Fork White River, from the city for $285,000 in July, Nolting said.

Moravec, who plans to turn the former Senior Center building into an Upland Brewing Co. pub, has stated he wants to improve public visibility of both his future business and the monument, Nolting said.

The Tipton-Bartholomew monument made headlines in July 2014 after the bronze plaque on it was reported stolen.

It was bolted to the limestone and would have required at least two people to lift it, Columbus Parks director Mark Jones said. The plaque, valued at about $10,000, was not insured and has not been recovered, he added.

However, a new plaque that will be identical to the one stolen last year will be created and attached to the monument, Nolting said.

About the monument

What: Tipton-Bartholomew Monument

Where: Near Third and Lindsey streets, Columbus

Dedicated: 1962, in honor of Gen. John Tipton, who founded Columbus, and Gen. Joseph Bartholomew, after whom Bartholomew County is named.

About the men: Tipton (1786 – 1839) was a U.S. Senator who became a war hero after the Battle of Tippecanoe near Lafayette in 1811. Locally, he is best remembered for providing the first 30 acres of land to create what is now Columbus, although it was first named Tiptonia. Joseph Bartholomew (1766 – 1840) was a general in the Indiana Militia and served in numerous military conflicts, including the Battle of Tippecanoe. He also worked as a farmer, hunter, trapper, self-taught surveyor and member of the Indiana Legislature.

Type of stone: Indiana limestone

Weight: Six tons

Size: 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.