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Three places in history from South Bend’s West Washington Street

Photo of Hank Hill, owner of Hank's Pool Hall. Photo courtesy of South Bend's Civil Right's Heritage Center.

Photo of a congregation at St. Augustine's Catholic Church. Photo courtesy of South Bend's Civil Right's Heritage Center.

Rendering of 'The Lake' in South Bend. Photo courtesy of South Bend's Civil Right's Heritage Center.

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Take a step back in time with three historical locations from South Bend’s West Washington Street.

Hank’s Pool Hall, 1429 W. Washington St.

Hank Hill’s pool hall was used for a lot more than just pool from the 1930s through the 1960s. The Sanhedrin Club met upstairs from the pool hall.

The club organized political leaders, voters, and pushed for jobs for African Americans.

St. Augustine Catholic Church, 1501 W. Washington St.

A Holy Cross priest, Father George O’Connor, founded a parish in 1928 to meet a need for a place for African American families to worship in South Bend, after facing exclusion from area Catholic churches.

The congregation found a permanent home two years later on West Washington Street, which still operates today.

On June 15, 1941, in a sermon, Archbishop John Noll dedicated the church, inviting that the 103 member church would not be segregated by color.

‘The Lake’ – La Salle Park, 3419 W. Washington St.

For many years during 1900s, “The Lake,” was the only place where African American families could purchase land.

The Bendix company, and others, used the land as a dump for toxic chemicals.

Residents fought the practice and even in 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the area still needs a cleanup.  

All three of these South Bend locations are featured in the Civil Rights Heritage Center's African American Landmark Tour


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