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Civil Rights Heritage Center designated a local historic landmark

The Civil Rights Heritage Center at IU South Bend, also known as the Engman Natatorium, has been designated a historic landmark by the Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend and St. Joseph County.

A ceremony was held Tuesday morning to celebrate the designation. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, IU SB Interim Chancellor Jann Joseph and the Director of the South Bend Historic Preservation Commission, along with other community leaders and guests attended the ceremony.

With the historic landmark designation, any physical changes to the building must meet preservation standards set by the commission.

Officials say this designation is important to honor the important history that happened at the center.

The Civil Rights Heritage Center, 1040 West Washington, is open to the community and attracts more than 5,000 visitors a year. It is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and on Tuesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. 

The natatorium was a segregated public swimming pool and denied entry to African Americans for more than 30 years. It was desegregated in 1950 and remained open to all until it closed in 1978.

In addition to the Civil Rights Heritage Center, click here to view an interactive map of the historic districts and buildings in St. Joseph County.

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