Bank building on Kirkwood designated as notable historic structure by Bloomington city council

Any future modifications of the People’s Bank building at the corner of Kirkwood Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Bloomington will need approval from Bloomington’s historic preservation commission.

On an 8–0 vote, Bloomington’s city council approved the building as a “notable” historic structure in its own historic district. That’s a designation that is higher than “contributing” but not as high as “outstanding” in the four-tiered rating system for historic buildings.

The council’s vote followed the unanimous recommendation of the city’s historic preservation commission (HPC).

The owner of the building, ​​Bailey 8 LLC, had requested demolition of the building, to construct a three- or four-story building that would include apartments. That meant the HPC reviewed the structure under the city’s ordinance on demolition delay. Continue reading “Bank building on Kirkwood designated as notable historic structure by Bloomington city council”

Bloomington city council OKs new conservation district, gets a quick lesson in Black history

When the 1940 U.S. census was taken in Bloomington, Indiana, the enumerator who visited 935 W. 7th Street took down the information about the residents of the house from Ada Deal, a 40-year-old Black woman.

She was born in Kentucky, like her husband, Maceo, who was one year older. The Deals had nine children at that time, ranging from seven-month-old Charlotte to 19-year-old Mary. They owned the house they lived in, which was valued at $1,200.

Maceo Deal, who’s listed as the “head of household,” is described as an “interior decorator” who worked for a department store.

Deal got a mention a couple weeks ago, at the Dec. 4 meeting of Bloomington’s city council. That’s when the council gave unanimous approval to  a new conservation district on the west side of town, where Deal used to live. A conservation district is similar to, but less restrictive than, a historic district.

It was New West Side citizen Betty Bridgwaters, who cited Deal, when she made remarks from the public podium.

Deal’s name came up in connection with some descriptions of local Black history, which left the staff report about the new district “a little skewed,” as Bridgwaters put it. Continue reading “Bloomington city council OKs new conservation district, gets a quick lesson in Black history”