As we begin 2022, the Columbus Area Bicentennial Commission is looking back on the many successes of a year-long celebration of community and common ground. From virtual events early in the year to standout initiatives like the 1821 Trail and 200 Years Together, the commission brought together all corners of the community in honor of Columbus and Bartholomew County’s past, present, and future.

As in-person gatherings remained limited in 2021, online connections played a key role in the yearlong celebration. The site garnered impressive engagement metrics in just 12 months. These included:

● 14,000 visits

● 30,000 pageviews

● 192,013 likes, shares, and comments on Facebook & Instagram

The Bicentennial Commission supported dozens of celebrations across the county all year long, including 59 endorsed events brought to life by 62 organizations and over 100 volunteers. These events provided opportunities for every community member to engage in the Bicentennial in some way throughout the year.

One of the most memorable events related to the bicentennial was 200 Years Together: Our Stories Illuminated on Fourth Street. Several thousand community members and visitors gathered to witness stunning historical storytelling through engaging visuals projected on the Ulrich building along Fourth Street downtown. 200 Years Together was produced by Blockhouse Studios and made possible by numerous sponsors, including Old National Bank as Presenting Sponsor.

In addition to events, the Bicentennial Commission hosted its own essay contest for all ages, titled Bartholomew County: Your Vision Our Future. Selected from over 200 entries, winners across divisions included Valeria Cortes (Elementary Student), Samantha Sparks (Secondary Student), and An Cao in the (Adult). Winners received cash prizes, a commemorative brick on the 1821 Trail, and had the honor of participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for the 1821 Trail as well.

Contest winners and community leaders broke ground on the 1821 Trail on December 28, 2021. The trail will be an extension of the Columbus People Trail in honor of the city’s bicentennial, complete with personalized bricks inscribed with names, families, and businesses in our community. Bricks will be sold throughout the first part of 2022 to ensure all have a chance to purchase one. Bricks can be purchased here.

Of course, none of these successes could be achieved without the combined efforts of dozens of contributors from Bartholomew County. Learn more about the people who gave their time and talents to make it happen on our Contributors webpage. In the final act of the Commission, an archiving process will be used on the webpage and social media to preserve all content for historical purposes. The webpage will be archived starting in January 2022 and the social media accounts will be entrusted to the Bartholomew County Historical Society for final documentation.