Preserving African American Landmarks in Indiana

Two funds honoring the legacy of a retired Eli Lilly chemist provide grants to organizations working to preserve significant African American landmarks in Indiana.

St. Augustine Episcopal Church, Gary

Answer to a Prayer

Since its construction in 1959, the dramatic curved roof of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church has captured attention in Gary’s Tolleston neighborhood. Chicago architect Edward Dart deliberately designed the church’s roof silhouette to represent hands folded in prayer, working with engineer Richard Johnson, a member of the congregation, on the curved support beams. When it was built, the church represented the first “home of their own” for its African American congregation, who were not allowed to join the established Episcopal church in Gary.

Last year, when water infiltration began damaging the National Register-listed church’s original bowed beams, red cedar ceiling, and oak pews, a $10,000 grant from the Dovie Stewart Cox & Chester A. Cox, Sr. Memorial and Standiford H. Cox funds of the Central Indiana Community Foundation helped with roof and chimney repairs. Indiana Landmarks’ African American Landmarks Committee serves as preservation advisor to the fund, which awarded $135,000 to 15 projects throughout the state in 2020.

People who want to suggest a property that might qualify for grants from the funds in 2021 should contact Indiana Landmarks with recommendations by April 1, 2021 at

Drawing on the expertise of its African American Landmarks Committee, Indiana Landmarks will make initial recommendations to CICF in late May. Sites will be assessed based on criteria including architectural and/or historical significance, opportunities for redevelopment, threat of demolition, and significance to Indiana’s African American heritage. Applicants must be a non-profit organization with active 501(c)3 status.

For additional information, contact Indiana Landmarks at 317-639-4534 or 800-450-4534, or Diane Schussel, senior community leadership officer at CICF,

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