Chatham Arch church among recipients of grants to help preserve historic African American sites

Nine sites significant to Indiana’s African American history are receiving restoration and rehabilitation assistance through two funds established by the late Eli Lilly chemist and preservation champion Standiford “Stan” Cox.

One of those sites – the Allen Chapel AME Church in Chatham Arch – is receiving $17,500 to repoint masonry on the north façade of the 1865 church, restoring sections along the cornice and parapet.

The grants totaling more than $150,000 are being distributed from the Standiford H. Cox Fund and the Dovie Stewart Cox & Chester A. Cox Sr. Memorial Fund to sites across the state.

Stan Cox, who passed away in 2019, joined Eli Lilly and Co. in 1957 as its first Black chemist. He established the two funds with Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) to support the restoration, preservation, operation, and ongoing maintenance of African American historic sites in Indiana.

The other eight organizations receiving grants are listed below, along with a brief description of how the funds will be used:

*African American Historical Society and Museum, Fort Wayne: $7,500 to install a more energy efficient heating system in the c.1909 duplex that houses the museum.

*Friends of Division Street School, Inc., New Albany: $7,500 for structural repairs to the back steps and accessible ramp into the school, built in 1884 for Black students in the city’s east end.

*Indiana Landmarks: $20,000 to aid rehabilitation of houses on Elmer Street constructed in the 1950s in South Bend by the Better Homes of South Bend, an African American building co-operative formed in 1950 by workers from the nearby Studebaker complex.

*Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation, Inc., Gibson County: $40,000 to repair clapboard siding and windows, rebuild the porch, and repaint the c.1900 house built for Joseph Lucas, a principal at Lyles Station.

*Roberts Chapel Homecoming and Burial Association, Inc., Atlanta: $9,250 to repair soffits, foundation, and two damaged pews at the 1858 church, and aid conservation of three gravestones in the adjacent cemetery.

*St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Gary: $14,500 to install a high-efficiency furnace in the 1959 church, designed by Modernist architect Edward Dart.

Stewart Lawn Cemetery, Inc., Vigo County: $14,500 to replace the fence surrounding Stewart Lawn Cemetery and resurface the road traversing the property. The cemetery has a high percentage of African American burial sites; most are descendants of the nearby Lost Creek Settlement.

*Turner Chapel AME Church, Fort Wayne: $20,000 to replace the roof on the 1927 Gothic Revival-style church.

“Partnering with Indiana Landmarks allows us to honor Stan’s legacy by caring for sites that are important to our state’s Black history,” said Brian Payne, president & CEO at the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

“These grants, which we make in conjunction with Central Indiana Community Foundation, continue the visionary work of Stan Cox to protect Indiana’s Black heritage,” said Mark Dollase, vice president of preservation services at Indiana Landmarks.

The Standiford H. Cox Fund supports the restoration, preservation, operation, and ongoing maintenance of African American historic sites in Indiana. The Dovie Stewart Cox & Chester A. Cox Sr. Memorial Fund, which Cox created to honor his parents, provides support for Lost Creek Community Grove at the Lost Creek Settlement near Terre Haute, one of the state’s earliest settlements of free people of color. Indiana Landmarks’ African American Landmarks Committee serves as a preservation advisor to both funds, recommending projects.

Applications for the next round of grants will be due April 1, 2023. People who want to suggest a property that might qualify for grants from the funds should contact Indiana Landmarks at

PHOTO ABOVE: Allen Chapel AME Church is located on 11th Street in Chatham Arch. (Indiana Landmarks photo)