First Christian Church

First Christian Church is a National Historic Landmark designed by Eliel Saarinen, on collaboration with his son, Eero Saarinen in 1942.

Often cited as the first modern style church in the United States, it is the project that also gave rise to the commitment of the community of Columbus, Indiana (pop. 50,000) to become a mecca of modern architecture through the largess of a local benefactor, industrialist, J. Irwin Miller. Its rectangular form and simple lines, punctuated by a 166 feet high clock tower, have become an iconic symbol of the city.

The church is well cared for by an active congregation, but the tower was suffering from deterioration of the masonry until the community and the congregation joined forces to launch a restoration campaign.

The Jeffris Foundation’s commitment of a $500,000 capital campaign challenge grant was instrumental in raising the necessary funds. Today the tower shines brightly as the defining element of the Columbus skyline.

Columbus, Indiana

Columbus is a city in, and the county seat of, Bartholomew County, Indiana, United States. The population was 50,474 at the 2020 census. The city is known for its architectural significance, having commissioned noted works of modern architecture and public art since the mid-20th century; the annual program Exhibit Columbus celebrates this legacy. Located about 40 miles south of Indianapolis, on the east fork of the White River, it is the state’s 20th-largest city.

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