joy magnetism: Columbus. Unexpected. Unforgettable.




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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Columbus. Unexpected. Unforgettable.

Magnet #572 - Cummins Headquarters, Columbus, IN

Oh, yeah. Now we gots a theme going on up in here.

How's this for random? My sister forwarded me the Columbus, IN, visitors site last year, after having learned that the town was deemed a "Jewel of the Region" by National Geographic. Why? Because it's considered essential to American architecture, a veritable hotbed of cool buildings and art. Really!

And, when I saw the site, I dimly thought, huh. Lovely place. But, honestly, when's the next time I'll be in the heartland of America?

Fast forward about eight months - as our Chicago roadtrip turned into a desperate search for a Chinese restaurant for my dad's discerning palette which then devolved into a desperate search for just any place to sit down and eat, we found ourselves in a rather dilapidated Denny's.

Don't get me wrong. I love Denny's. But sometimes, when you're looking for Chinese, a semi-congealed Grand Slam breakfast sandwich at 2 in the afternoon isn't always what you're lookin' for. But, I digress.

So we're sitting there in Denny's wondering why we passed a wayfinder sign saying, "Architectural Tour." And suddenly, like a bolt of lightning, DC Sister and I realized we were in the hotbed of architecture! A little magic on the Blackberry landed us in the pretty busy visitors center.

The town proper is terrific. But what I loved was that wherever you turned on the city grid, you saw folks walking around...with the same map in hand. The maps that told us where the Saarinens were, along with the Pei, the Meier, and even the Dale Chihuly. Eeeee! It was like a scavenger hunt!

This magnet (purchased at the sweet little shop shop with the nicest ladies ever) is of Pritzker Prize-winning Kevin Roche's Cummins Corporate Headquarters. This place was one of my absolute favorites in town. So neat, I took the same picture, without realizing I had the matching magnet, from this more-to-come-of-course magnet set.

Don't know Cummins? They're one of the largest manufacturers of diesel engines - with the funnest corporate history I've seen in a while. Ya'll have to check out the videos in that link. I'm half in love with their founder now.

This guy, Cleesie Cummins, used to take cross-country trips like no one's business, back in the 1930s. He was one of the first folks to put diesel engines in buses. To prove it would work, he drove one cross-country, with two reporters in tow - all told, using 365 gallons for the price of $21.90. He was also one of the first to put a diesel engine in a cool passenger car - an auburn convertible. He then drove that to LA - 3,774 miles for the grand total of $7.63. Annnnd, don't get me started on his many race cars on the racing circuit.

Hee, what a fun (for me) post! C'mon. Where else are you gonna get architecture, Denny's, roadtrips, industrial magnates setting world records - all in one fell magnetpost?
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