A significant senior living community in Columbus is marking a milestone this weekend.

Four Seasons Retirement Center, 1901 Taylor Road, will celebrate its 50th anniversary Saturday with free refreshments and a open house from 2 to 4 p.m.

With its main building and iconic A-frame chapel, Four Seasons has long been recognized as one of Columbus’ world-class buildings. But also significantly, the 33-acre complex has been home to more than 7,500 Columbus residents since its 1967 opening.

That includes two former Cummins Inc. executives who were present when the idea of the retirement center was born. One is Four Seasons resident Randy Tucker, who was serving as secretary of the Cummins Foundation in the early to mid 1960s.

It was former Cummins president E. Don Tull (1906-1982) who first approached his chairman of the board, J. Irwin Miller (1909-2005) about the housing idea, Tucker said.

“It wasn’t much more than Don telling Irwin the community needed a decent place for assisted living,” Tucker said. “They had been friends for several years, so there was no debate.”

Miller and Tull wanted the same Cambridge, Massachusetts architect the Cummins Foundation had paid through its architecture program to design Parkside Elementary School earlier in the decade: Norman Fletcher (1917-2007).

The Cummins Architecture Program, which started in 1957, paid the architecture fees for public buildings if an architect was selected from a provided list.

A member of the First Baptist Church of Columbus, Tull was instrumental in recruiting Baptist Homes and Hospitals, Inc., a church-related charitable and religious organization, to oversee the center’s construction and management, according to 1966 news accounts.

Although there was concern expressed by foundation members about paying the architectural fees for a non-public facility, “if Don and Irwin wanted to do something, it got done,” Tucker said.

Any resistance to paying Fletcher’s architectural fees diminished after assurances were received that the retirement center would accept residents of all faiths and denominations, he said.

Groundbreaking at the site, which was outside the city limits at the time, was held May 21, 1966. Four Seasons Retirement Center opened its doors 16 months later on Sept. 19, 1967.

Satisfied with the results, Tull was the other Cummins executive who chose to live at Four Seasons during the twilight years of his life.

In 1986, Baptist Homes and Hospitals, Inc. developed a separate charity called the BHI Foundation, established exclusively to enhance the endeavors of senior living communities such Four Seasons. Besides Columbus, BHI Senior Living also manages retirement communities in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Frankfort.

In 1990, the Taylor Road facility became one of the first retirement centers in Indiana to earn national accreditation from the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission.

Today, Four Seasons has licensed residential apartments for independent and assisted living, as well as operating a five-star Medicare-certified health center for comprehensive and skilled nursing care and rehabilitative services.

Four Seasons open house Saturday

Four Seasons Retirement Center, 1901 Taylor Road, will celebrate its 50th anniversary Saturday with free refreshments and a open house from 2 to 4 p.m.

The event, open to the public, will feature a live jazz combo consisting of Brenda Williams on vocals, Indianapolis Jazz Foundation Hall of Fame trumpeter Clifford Ratliff, bassist Bill Myers and drummer Brett Hawkins.

To RSVP, call 812-372-8481.

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