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Commons history - pre 1998


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Give Details of Urban Renewal

01-14-1967

Proposed locations were displayed Friday for the first time by the Columbus Redevelopment commission for a 400-car downtown parking garage, a major new department store and a pedestrian mall as the group illustrated its goals for the city’s first urban renewal area.

The redevelopment office began distributing a pamphlet containing the map Friday after word was received that the federal government has completed making a reservation of federal funds totaling $4,139,117 for the project.

To Demolish More Old Buildings

01-29-1971

Plans were approved Thursday night by the Columbus redevelopment commission to demolish 14 additional buildings in the downtown renewal project area, including a house once thought to contain logs from the county’s original courthouse.

While taking the action, the board also delayed until its next meeting, Feb. 11, official authorization of a sale of three parcels of land including the super block area, due to certain technical changes required in the bid documents.

Preliminary Work on Shopping Mall Begins

10-07-1971

Heavy earth moving equipment began work today in the west half of the downtown Columbus renewal property designated for development as a shopping mall in a project preliminary to actual construction, which is scheduled for early spring.

In other developments: A problem involving plans for signalizing the new railroad location was reported worked out as was timing with a contractor over his work schedule in the super block area to avoid conflict with Sesquicentennial celebration plans in the area. Plans for sale of land for parking also were told.

In the work started today, earth in the 2-block area bordered by Third, Fourth, Washington and Brown streets will be excavated to a depth of approximately nine feet and the excavation filled with new dirt, to create a foundation solid enough to support the planned shopping mall building.

Irwin Family Offers $2,000,000 Mall Gift: Concrete Slows Site Work

11-04-1971

Construction crews today were finishing up much of the excavation work in the 2-block renewal parcel adjacent to the courthouse, including the removal of a large block of concrete at the southwest corner of Fourth and Washington streets.

Fill work will continue at a fast pace and be completed by Saturday night—weather permitting—said Norman Curry, job superintendent for Contractors United, Inc. The construction company was hired by Irwin Management company to remove all old debris and building rubble from the area and fill with new dirt to create a solid building foundation.

$318,252.65 Bid for Downtown Land Parcel

11-23-1971

The planners for a downtown commercial development which would include a Sears department store and Civic Mall were the only bidders Monday for purchase of land which is to become the focal point of downtown Columbus renewal.

Bids totaling $318,252.65 were received from the newly formed Columbus Development corporation for purchase of the “super block” parcel and three additional blocks of downtown urban renewal property totaling 555,050 square feet.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

10-25-1972

French artist Jean Tinguely left Columbus this morning promising to return on Feb. 1 and create a kinetic sculpture for the Civic Mall which will be both a Dr. Jekyll and a Mr. Hyde.

The short, dark-featured mustachioed man was here for only approximately 24 hours in a visit to get a better “feel” of the situation here and the environment where his sculpture—Chaos No. 1—will be placed.

During his visit, he met Tuesday night with the Civic Mall board in a meeting also attended by Mr. and Mrs. J. Irwin Miller and Cesar Pelli, architect for the Civic Mall and adjoining Courthouse center shopping mall, both now under construction in downtown Columbus.

Civic Mall Named Commons

07-19-1973

The Civic Mall is now The Commons.

By a unanimous vote early today the former Civic Mall board voted to call the structure fronting on Washington street The Commons, a name which President Owen Hungerford said “gives the flavor of the purpose and activities” planned for the community center.

The board also voted unanimously to seek to change its own official name to “The Board of Directors of The Commons of Columbus, Ind.” and directed its officers to explore any legal problems.

Minnesota Woman Is Named Director for Civic Mall

02-26-1973

A director for the downtown Civic Mall has been named and will assume duties next week.

Susan Anderson of St. Paul, Minn., has been chosen for the executive responsibility of managing the Civic Mall area of the 2-block mall and shopping center complex, it was announced today by Owen Hungerford, president of the Civic Mall board.

Mrs. Anderson is moving to Columbus this week and will begin duties next Monday.

It’ll Be a Little of Everything

03-14-1973

Not since huge steam engines pumped water from White river has the old Columbus pumphouse been such a din of mechanical activity as it has been in recent weeks—this time, in the name of modern art.

The Swiss motion sculptor, Jean Tinguely, and a young assistant Josef Imhof, also from Switzerland, are there banging, welding and bolting together the sculpture that is planned as the focal point of the Civic Mall now under construction in downtown Columbus.

But It May Become Taverna Magna, Antrium, Phoenix …

07-13-1973

And the winner is … Washington Plaza!

Well, if it had been an election, that might have happened, but it was a suggestion program, with no guaranteed winner, that the Civic Mall board sponsored recently. Decision on the name has not been made.

Nearly 200 persons submitted names to the mall-board for the structure on Washington street, many on coupons printed in The Republic.

Washington Plaza with 24 entries was the most popular choice. Other frequently suggested names were Washington Square (eight suggestions), People’s Place (seven suggestions) and The Courtyard and Courthouse Mall (six suggestions each).

On its coupon, the board proposed eight names, including Washington Plaza, The Courtyard and two others, Columbus Commons and Civic Mall (with four suggestions each).

‘Common Place’ Will Show Art in Commons Gallery

09-20-1973

“Common Place” is the new name for the arts and craft shop to be operated by the Columbus Service league in The Commons.

Co-sponsored by the league and The Commons board, the shop will be located at the top of the escalator on the uppermost of the three exhibition galleries between the mezzanine and the main floor in the civic structure on Washington street.

Common Place will serve as a retail sales outlet and as an art educational medium, while sponsoring and encouraging regional artists, according to a statement by the league.

Artisan First to Lease Kiosk Area in Commons

05-01-1974

The Artisan, an import store currently located at 724 Franklin, will become the first business to lease one of two kiosks in The Commons, The Commons board announced Tuesday night. The kiosks are the two round areas jutting into the Washington street sidewalk.

The board’s quarterly public meeting was its first in the building that will open formally May 30 with the May Faire celebration. “This is an exciting and historic occasion for us,” President Owen Hungerford emphasized.

Thousands See Commons, ‘Faire’

06-03-1974

A maintenance man vacuumed the bright green artificial turf in the playground. Workmen began welding a railing in place. Balloons rested against the ceiling, slowly leaking helium.

May Faire—the 4-day opening celebration—was over.

Several thousand persons, organizers estimate, toured the civic structure in downtown Columbus during the fete, watching artisans at work, puppets at play, Chaos I at work and at rest.

Commons Apple Tree Opened

06-29-1974

The Apple Tree snack bar has opened in The Commons.

Owned and operated by Gene’s cafeteria, which has restaurants in Eastbrook Plaza shopping center and upstairs in The Commons, the snack bar features sandwiches, salads, soups and light desserts.

Hundreds Nominated for ‘Fairest Mother of All’

04-25-1975

Mothers are pretty special, according to the several hundred entries received by the judges for the “Fairest Mother of Them All” contest. Six semi-finalists have been chosen to reign over May Faire activities May 9, 10 and 11.

The queen will be selected and crowned at 9 p.m., May 9 during a ballroom dance at The Commons.

Dinner and Auction Planned at Commons

11-25-1975

The first annual benefit auction entitled “unCommon Cause” has been planned for Feb. 13 and 14. The auction will support programs at The Commons and the Columbus branch of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Public Farm Market Place to Open Soon at Commons

06-13-1975

If you’re one of those home gardeners who always ends up with too many onions and too few radishes or too many zucchini squash and not enough beans, then The Commons at 302 Washington has a solution to your problem.

The first Farmers Market for the Columbus area will open at noon July 3 on the main floor of The Commons.

Farmers Market will be held every Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. throughout the growing season.

500 Attend Benefit Ball at The Commons Saturday

10-20-1975

Over 500 persons attended the first benefit ball, “Yesterday’s Autumn,” at The Commons Saturday night. Don Glasser and his band of Chicago and New York played for dancing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday. The Commons was closed to the public at 8 p.m.

Proceeds will be used by The Commons to provide programs, exhibits, entertainment and other events free to the public at The Commons.

Commons Plans Festival of Trees

12-06-1979

Talented persons from the Columbus area will be featured during the annual Festival of the Trees Friday and Saturday at The Commons.

Also featured in the two-day celebration will be two performances Friday by the Traveling Smiles Children’s Theater Group from Manchester, Mich., and a performance Saturday night by the Indiana University Music Department’s Tuba-Santas.

Beaux Arts Ball is Planned New Year’s Eve at Commons

11-26-1980

Plans for the Beaux Arts Ball, gala New Year’s Even party at The Commons, are taking shape.

Tickets at $9 a person go on sale Friday at the Driftwood Valley Arts Council desk and Common Place Shop, both in The Commons, and Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Local Garden, Patio Show Set

03-05-1982

“Landscape for Living—1982” will be featured March 18-21 at The Commons.

The Commons is a “beautiful space to do something like this,” said Tom Stephens of The Landscape Specialist, who has been “thinking about doing it since I came here eight years ago.”

Sponsored by The Commons and the Columbus Area Landscape Association, the event will include a transformation of the downtown facility into a garden paradise. Lectures are also planned. The event is free and open to the public.

Commons sliding into future

03-21-1992

A new spiral slide for children will replace a long-closed fire pole as part of a renovation at The Commons playground this summer and fall.

Columbus Parks and Recreation Director Chuck Wilt said the project will improve safety, while new signage and other changes will make the indoor playground “a little jazzier.”

The fire pole has been closed several years because of concern about the possibility of injury and liability.

Crowds rise to the occasions

02-05-1992

In a year of recessionary belt-tightening, attendance for 1991 events at The Commons was the highest in recent history. Nearly 88,000 people attended the 188 programs and events available, many of which are free.

Stan Davis, Columbus Area Arts Council associate director, released results of attendance since 1982 during Tuesday’s CAAC meeting.

Commons art plans shown

12-04-1992

The Columbus Area Arts Council and Columbus Parks and Recreation Department unveiled plans Thursday for the renovation of public space on the second level of The Commons.

The nearly 7,000-square-foot project, a gift of Xenia S. Miller and Clementine M. Tangeman, includes office and conference space for the Arts Council and its member agencies, a conference room for art education classes and public use, a catering kitchen and banquet area.

The renovation is being done in conjunction with construction of the Indianapolis Museum of Art-Columbus gallery. That project, a gift from Mrs. Miller, will include a 2,272-square-foot gallery and a 328-square-foot exhibition hall.

‘Dinomite’ family fare: Arts council series to fight winter doldrums

12-22-1994

Looking for something to help your family ease those post-Christmas blues lurking just around the corner? Columbus Area Arts Council officials think they have just the tonic you need.

The ‘Dinomite Kids Series’ will feature encore performances by some of Columbus’ favorite kids performers plus new adventures on four Friday nights in January and February at The Commons.

Arts Council gallery opening in Columbus

11-17-1994

The Columbus Area Arts Council and The Commons Mall have unveiled plans for Artifacts, a new community arts and exhibits gallery opening Tuesday in The Commons mall.

The two-room gallery will feature inaugural exhibits by the Bartholomew County Historical Society and mother-daughter artists Marilyn and Susan Brackney.

Stark to guide Commons, Arts Council celebration

06-18-1996

Local coordinators have begun planning programs to mark the 25th anniversary of the Columbus Area Arts Council and The Commons.

The Arts Council was incorporated in July 1972 and The Commons opened in March 1973.

According to Alice Leonard, president of the Arts Council, it is extraordinary that these two community cultural landmarks occurred nearly simultaneously, although independently, and that subsequently The Commons and Driftwood Valley Arts Council merged into the present Columbus Area Arts Council.

Museum set for $1 million move

08-18-1992

Fueled by a $1 million gift from one of its founders, Indianapolis Museum of Art-Columbus has set in motion its long-discussed plans to move to The Commons.

“The impact will be enormous,” said Karen Berman, Columbus Associations of the Indianapolis Museum of Art president. “It will be a boon for the community in terms of quality of life.”

The project will increase IMAC’s total space by more than 2,500 square feet—from 2,164 to 4,693.

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