Conference Destination 2018

Columbus Hosts Statewide Conference

Join us in the “Athens on the Prairie,” where internationally-renowned Modernist architecture blends with nineteenth century buildings to create a diverse platform for Preserving Historic Places: Indiana’s Statewide Preservation Conference, April 17-20, 2018.

About Columbus

Indiana’s Statewide Preservation Conference changes location every year in order to showcase Indiana’s historic communities. Our upcoming conference, April 17-20, 2018, explores modern architecture in Columbus, a city internationally-known for its twentieth-century Modernist architecture, including seven National Historic Landmarks.

You’ll see innovative, cutting-edge Modernist designs beside traditional nineteenth century buildings—an unusual, widely admired composition masterminded by J. Irwin Miller, the late philanthropist and former chairman of Cummins, the local industrial powerhouse. Miller strategically set out to make Columbus “…the city in which the smartest, the ablest, the best young families anywhere would like to live…” Today Miller’s vision is embodied not just in the city’s world-class architecture, but in community pride and enthusiasm.

The conference offers you a chance to see Columbus architecture—both distant and recent—and learn how and why the city has won world-wide renown. During conference sessions you’ll discover the economic power of preservation, learn maintenance tips from experts, and swap successes and lessons with fellow preservationists. There’s no way we could visit all the city’s great buildings during the conference, so plan on coming early or staying late to see more.

Conference Location & Parking

First Christian Church, 531 Fifth Street, serves as our conference headquarters and the site of many of our educational and plenary sessions. As the first Modernist building designed in Columbus, it set the stage for what would eventually become the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program. Architect Eliel Saarinen based the design of the 1942 building on the philosophical principles of the congregation, rather than traditional church design.

At First Christian you’ll find free parking, conference registration, our bookstore, and continental breakfast. Additional parking is located in the lot adjacent to the Columbus Area Visitors Center at 506 Fifth Street.

Conference Agenda

We’re planning an educational and entertaining mix of tours, education sessions led by experts, hands-on workshops, lunches with fascinating speakers, and keynote addresses that will inspire and challenge. View the full agenda.


See Hotel Accommodations

Things to Do

The Columbus Area Visitors Center, at the corner of Fifth and Franklin streets offers a wide variety of tour options including City Architecture, Guide by Cell, and Downtown Walking tours. And if you’re not able to visit the Miller House during one of the conference tours, you may schedule one through the Visitors Center, where the gift shop offers a variety of books, accessories, and gifts related to Modern design.

After Hours

4th Street Bar & Grill
4th Street has been serving locals since 1981.  Belly up to the bar, or grab a cozy booth to catch up with old friends.

The Garage Pub and Grill
Don’t miss the pub’s Thursday night Karaoke and other live entertainment options. Fourth and Jackson streets.

Powerhouse Brewing Company’s Columbus Bar
The “CB” has been pouring drinks since 1939. In 2006 Powerhouse Brewing purchased the bar, updating the kitchen, expanding the dining area, and add 20 taps, featuring their own brews alongside many favorite craft brands. 322 Fourth Street.

Upland Columbus Pump House
The 1903 pump house designed by Harrison Albright (also the architect for the West Baden Springs Hotel), offers year-round, seasonal, and specialty beers brewed by Upland. With a patio overlooking White River, the Pump House provides a great setting for an after-conference beer. 148 Lindsey Street.


Three primary partners—Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, Indiana Landmarks, and Indiana University—stage the annual Preserving Historic Places conference. We’re grateful for the essential support the conference receives from generous sponsors.

Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology

Indiana Landmarks

Indiana University

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Columbus Indiana Visitors Center


U.S. Department of the Interior

National Park Service

Cornelius O'Brien Lecture Series

Arsee Engineers, Inc.

artisan foodworks columbus indiana

Bartholomew County History Center

Butler, Fairman, Seufert

 Columbus Pump House


Structural logo

Tony Moravec

Western Specialty Contractors



American Structurepoint, Inc.
Ball State University Foundation
Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf
The Commons
R. E. Dimond & Associates
RATIO Architects
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.


Historic Preservation and Heritage Consulting
The Inn at Irwin Gardens
Louis Joyner Architect


If you have questions about registration, contact the conference registrar, Jessica Kramer, at 800-450-4534 or

If you have questions about sessions or tracks or conference events, contact Suzanne Stanis at Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534 or 800-450-4534,