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Discover notable natives from Columbus, Indiana

Many know Columbus for its world-famous architecture and as the site of the global headquarters for Cummins Inc, a manufacturer of diesel engines, but it is also the home the notable natives listed below.

  • Susan Brackney was raised in Columbus and has written books on an artist's guide to life, organic gardening, and bees and bee-keeping. Visit her website here.
  • Tim Grimm went to Hollywood to be in movies and on TV, landing roles alongside Harrison Ford, Russell Crowe, F. Murray Abraham, Dennis Quaid, Mark Harmon, and Tim Allen, but returned to his roots in Columbus to raise his family. He organizes the Americana Music Series, featuring folk artists from all over, writes music, and performs his folk music throughout the U.S. and Europe. Visit his website.
  • Marja and Chasten Harmon, two sisters who grew up in Columbus and have been enjoying the limelight on Broadway and in national and international tour companies. Aida, The Lion King, Les Misérables, and Hair are just a few of the elite productions the Harmon sisters can tally on their resumes. Visit Marja's website, read an interview with Chasten here.
  • Jamie Hyneman, co-host of the popular show Mythbusters, graduated from Columbus North High School in 1974. He owned and operated the Fur, Fin, and Feather Pet Center on Central Avenue in Columbus for three years before attending Indiana University. Learn more about Jamie on The Discovery Channel website.
  • Ken Maynard became a movie star cowboy in the early days of film making, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Read more about his connections to Columbus here.
  • Governor Mike Pence was born and raised in Columbus, along with three brothers and two sisters. He graduated from Columbus North High School, went on to graduate from Hanover College in 1981, and earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law in 1986. Pence was elected to Congress in 2000 and served six terms as Indiana’s 6th district Repersentative before running for and winning the Indiana gubernatorial race in 2012. 
  • Tim Solso, former chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., was named one of only five "CEOs of the Decade," by MarketWatch, a subsidiary of Dow Jones & Co., in December 2010. The other finalists were Apple's Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Starbuck's chief Howard Schultz, and Google's Eric Schmidt. Read about this award here.
  • Stephen Sprouse grew up in Columbus and went on to become an influential fashion designer. In the early 80s, Stephen "pioneered that decade's revolutionary idea of mixing uptown sophistication in clothing with a downtown punk and pop sensibility," according to The New York Times. "Sprouse wedded downtown cool with uptown luxury and space-age fabrics," according to New York magazine. Stephen worked with Halston, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and Blondie's Debbie Harry, among others. Read a feature article about Sprouse in Interview magazine here.
  • Tony Stewart, winner of so many high-profile racing events, credits his return to his hometown for his renewed success on the NASCAR circuit. Tony Caraviello of Nascar.com said, "Sometimes, we forget how immensely talented Stewart is," and we couldn't agree more! See a mural of Tony at the downtown Dairy Queen, where the owner was an early Tony fan and sponsor. Visit Tony's website.
  • Chuck Taylor, for whom the Converse All Star is named, was a basketball player, salesman, and shoe endorser from Columbus. He played on the Columbus High School Bulldogs team from 1914 to 1918. Until the mid-1970s, the beloved shoe design, nicknamed "Chuck's," comprised fifty percent of the athletic shoe market. Learn more about Chuck Taylor here.

Columbus Connections

  • Colonel Sanders lived and worked in Columbus for a time before he founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. Among many jobs he had between the ages of fifteen and forty, he "worked as the secretary of the Columbus, Indiana, Chamber of Commerce" and "manufactured acetylene lighting systems for farmers, in Columbus," as noted in a February 1970 New Yorker magazine article.


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