On a unanimous vote by Bloomington’s city council on Wednesday, the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal church was designated as a historic district.
The 1922 church, which sits on the northeast corner of 7th and Rogers streets on the western edge of downtown, was designed in the classical revival Tudor style by John Nichols.
But the church qualifies for historical designation based on more than just its architectural significance. It also qualifies under criteria that include the cultural and historical significance of a site.
During public comment time, Elizabeth Mitchell told the city council, “This is just the beginning for me—a personal journey to make sure that we don’t forget African American sites. This is just one of them.”
Mitchell introduced herself as a historian for Monroe County on African American experience. She also serves on the city’s historic preservation commission. Continue reading “Bethel AME church now historic district, more Bloomington sites key to Black history could be next” →
Bloomington’s Bethel AME church, which sits on the northeast corner of 7th and Rogers streets on the western edge of downtown, is set to receive historic designation from the city council at its meeting next Wednesday (Aug. 17).
The parsonage, which sits to the north of the church, will also receive a vote on its historic designation.
This Wednesday, four members of the city council got a preview of the agenda item at a scheduled committee-of-the-whole meeting. The meeting turned out to be just a gathering, not an official meeting, because a quorum of five was not achieved. Continue reading “Bloomington’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal church set to get historic district OK from city council” →
On the Bloomington city council’s Wednesday agenda for a first reading is an ordinance that would establish a new single-property historic district for the building at 424 1/2 S. Walnut Street.
Consideration of the ordinance could be a chance for the city council and the community to review an episode from Bloomington’s restaurant industry in 1950, which was described this way in a World-Telephone article: “Downtown Bloomington restaurants, closed this week in protest of a campaign to force them to serve Negroes, are to be reopened for business beginning on Thursday of this week, serving customers of all colors.”
The building at 424 1/2 S. Walnut is probably best known for the most recent business that was housed there, which was The Player’s Pub.
Part of the argument for the property’s historic designation is the building’s connection to Henry Boxman, who operated the place as Boxman’s Restaurant” for nearly three decades, from 1929 to 1958.
One of the possible criteria that can qualify a building for historic designation is its association “with a person who played a significant role in local, state, or national history.”
Boxman is described in the report prepared by Conor Herterich, the city’s historic preservation program manager, as “one of Bloomington’s greatest restaurateurs,” who helped found the Indiana Restaurant Association and re-established the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, among other achievements.
Not a part of the report prepared by Herterich is an analysis of where, if anywhere, Boxman’s Restaurant might have fit into the segregationist history of Bloomington’s downtown restaurant scene of the 1950s.
Continue reading “Analysis: Possible historic designation of building a chance to reckon with Bloomington’s racism” →