The Oldest 1800s Known Columbus Business Still Operating 20102421 East 10th Street
Columbus, IndianaCompany: Rust-Unger MonumentsHistorical Locations:
-421 4th Street (starting in 1852) to 1963
-2421 East 10th Street to present 2010Founded:
In 1865 (roots 1852 per note below) CIRCA 1903In the words of Donald & Denise Anderson (owners):
James A. Cavanaugh, a native of Columbus, Indiana, returned from the Civil War and opened a monument company. For more than twenty years, he created marble tombstones. After his death, Michael Unger, a French immigrant and longtime employee of Cavanaugh, purchased the assets of the firm and continued the business under the name "Michael Unger Monument Company".
George W. Unger, Michael's son, bought the "Columbus Monument Works" in 1920 and sometime later merged it with the "Unger Monument Company" creating the "Unger Granite Works".
The "Rust Monument Company" was founded in 1928 when three employees left George W. Unger to form "The Rust-McCoy Monument Works". George continued in the business until 1938 when he passed it on to his son, Donald Unger. In 1963 Donald bought the "Rust Monument Company".
Later, A. Dale and James N. Rust became the sole owners of the company. After Donald Unger bought "The Rust Monument Company" from A. Dale Rust, he merged it with the "Unger Granite Works" and moved the company from 421 Fourth Street to its current location at 2421 East Tenth Street.
Since the 1960's the company has produced marble, granite, and bronze memorials. At one time, "Rust-Unger Monuments" and its predecessors also produced marble tabletops, fireplace surrounds, and even windowsills. The company provided commercial and custom sandblasting services into the mid 1940's.
In the mid 1970's, after finishing four years in the United States Navy, another Columbus native, Donald Anderson came to work for Don Unger. Mr. Unger passed on to Don Anderson the fine art of creating beautiful monuments.
Donald Anderson learned his craft well and in 1982 he and his wife, Denise, purchased "Rust-Unger Monuments" from the retiring Don Unger. "Rust-Unger Monuments" continues to serve Bartholomew and surrounding counties, and is proud to be a historical part of Columbus, Indiana. Note: Denise said this today in emailing
: "Although we claim 1865 as our established date, we believe it is actually earlier. Suzy Jones, a local historian, now deceased, traced our roots back to the "H.J. Godfrey Marble Works", established in Columbus in 1852
, at 421 Fourth Street, half square east of First National Bank. In 1860, we believe that Michael Unger purchased the H.J. Godfrey Monument Works and changed the name to the "Michael Unger Monument Works". Website of Rust-Unger Monuments: rust-ungermonuments.com/About_Us.htmlAdditional Pictures:
There are several additional pictures of the the business over the years and the present facility at the Website above.A Special Thank You:
To Denise Anderson for giving the Columbus Historical Boards permission to post the picture and information. The additional 1852 year, also added to the wonderful history of this Oldest Columbus Indiana business.
: All this information is recognized in the Indiana Historical Society Indianapolis, Indiana, and the Indiana Government Historical Website.