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Greetings! Thanks, Dan, Talisha, and Chris, and thank you, everyone, for joining in this celebration today--it’s certainly not the first time a toast has been made at the Trojan Horse--but how many of those toasts have been made TO this venerable establishment, and its physical home? 

So today, we raise our proverbial glass TO the Trojan Horse — a stalwart for downtown diners since 1978.  And to this building, whose handsome transformation we are saluting today, holding up this southeastern corner of our courthouse square since the 1850s.  

We note on the Sanborn maps that this building was a grocery in 1883, but it’s been a lot of different things since then, and seen a lot since then--a different courthouse, for starters, and unpaved streets around it.  The replacement of gas lamps with electric ones; and horse-drawn carriages with cars. After the city grew away from its downtown core during the mid-twentieth century, this building witnessed the gradual return of activity to its hub and the revitalization of the courthouse and Fountain Square.   When in 1985 the tradition resumed of lighting the Canopy above the square the night after Thanksgiving, chances are that evening, some of you here had a bite at the Trojan Horse.  

So many memories.  We all know that buildings, without the stories that happen inside them, and the vitality they spark on the sidewalks beside them, remain nothing more than bricks and mortar.   It takes a special synergy, between buildings, and the people who live and work in them, to bring a city to life.  

So  today, we acknowledge everyone who has invested in bringing this corner of our city to life--property owner Dan Oh, restaurant owners Michael and Kristen Shelley, Trojan Horse founder Denny Stalter, who stewarded this establishment for 40 years, and the many, many patrons who have stopped in for a gyro, or a beer, or a piece of baklava. 

And I would like to extend thanks as well to the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association, and Board President Julie Donham.  The BUEA provided matching facade grant funding to bring back the building’s brick exterior and has done the same for many other downtown facade projects. And of course, that’s just a small part of what the BUEA does to stimulate economic development and spur investment in Bloomington, whether 

  • helping to rehab buildings in this downtown Enterprise Zone, 

  • helping businesses thrive here,

  • incentivizing residents to live and work in the Urban Enterprise Zone, 

  • and of course, supporting arts and cultural activities that enhance our quality of life and sense of place. 

Investing in historic preservation is about so much more than bricks and mortar.  It is a vote of confidence in the vitality of our city, a salute to the spirit of this very special place we call home.


 

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