In 1888, a contingent of Indianapolis’ most distinguished residents united their efforts to help elect Benjamin Harrison as the nation’s 23rd president, the only Hoosier to occupy the White House.
This group, dubbed the Harrison Marching Society, welcomed all dignitaries and delegations visiting Indianapolis during the campaign. The enthusiastic members of the Marching Society decided to secure a clubhouse and increase their numbers from 150 to 400. At the suggestion of Harry S. New, one of the club’s original subscribers and future U.S. Senator and postmaster general, the club was renamed “Columbia” after the popular patriotic synonym for the United States.
With history and tradition as its birthright, The Columbia Club was formally organized on February 13, 1889. Because of its privacy and prestige, The Columbia Club has been the gracious host for distinguished visitors from political figures to celebrities. Presidents Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and both Bushes have visited the clubhouse, as well as Charles Lindbergh, Queen Marie of Romania, and the famous Hoagy Carmichael, who was even a member of the club.
In 2012, The Columbia Club was selected as a Platinum Club of America, making it one of the 35 top-ranked city clubs in the nation and a premier club in the Midwest. In 2014, the club celebrated its 125th anniversary with special events throughout the year. The celebrations began in March with the 125th Anniversary Gala, a reenactment of the Harrison Marching Society, celebration of Harrison’s birthday, and an extravagant New Year’s Eve party celebrating the music of the last 125 years.
The current clubhouse is the club’s third home, a beautiful ten-story architectural showpiece located on Monument Circle. It was dedicated in October of 1925. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in January of 1983.
The exterior of the building follows the guidelines proposed by architect William Earl Russ to complement the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. The façade of the club utilizes Bedford limestone carved by Alexander Sangernebo, a local sculptor.
Inside, members and guests are welcomed into the impressive space full of rich wood and cool marble. In order to ensure a modern experience while still retaining the history and tradition of the club, the nearly 90-year-old clubhouse is going through continuous updates and improvements to meet current and future member needs.
Members enjoy the club’s 25,000 square feet of fully-equipped meeting and event space, 86 en-suite guest rooms, and 6 dining rooms on Monument Circle. One of member’s secret retreats has always been the library on the second floor, a perfect place to relax with a book or have a private meeting with colleagues. With the additions of concierge services, free wi-fi throughout the club, in-house coffee bar, and fitness center, membership at the Columbia Club has never looked more compelling.