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City of Bloomington, Indiana

Fairview Historic District was listed in 1999 and is Bloomington's smallest district with only 10 resources. It surrounds the Elias Able House, listed as a single site in 1975, and one of the first local landmarks to be designated. Fairview Historic District represents a small part of the larger Near West Side National Register District. The neighborhood's rich history includes several African American landmarks.

 

Preamble to the Fairview Historic District Guidelines:

The historical foundation of the Near West Side Neighborhood is diversity. From the very beginning, this neighborhood has been racially integrated. The neighborhood continues to this day to contain a widely diverse mix of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, educations, interests, economic levels and political views. We value and want to protect this rich mosaic. We also recognize and appreciate that our neighborhood is a living, growing, changing collective. We want to allow and encourage ecologically sound energy technologies. In recent years, the near west side has attracted many artists and creative people of all kinds. We want to ensure that the spirit-lifting joy of artistic expression and creativity continue to flourish in our neighborhood. We do not intend for these guidelines to inhibit that expression. While we understand that the purpose of a historic district is to preserve the architectural and historic fabric of a neighborhood and we support that purpose, we intend that the interpretation of these guidelines be flexible enough to permit the historic presence of artists and their creations to be welcome in our neighborhood.

The proposed Fairview Historic District is located within the Near West Side National Register District which was listed on February 14, 1997. It contains 10 contributing residential structures, built circa 1890 through 1927. The properties are located along Fairview Street and its extension, and 7th Street. This area was appropriately named "Fairview" because it is situated on a hill overlooking the Courthouse Square. Prospect Hill, a complementary residential area to the south, was also located on a knoll. The apex of the topography is located at 702 West 8th& Street, within the proposed district.

The larger area is also the location of several important institutions and architectural landmarks. These include the Fairview School (1928, and 1953) and Fairview Methodist Church (1923) both of which were relocated and rebuilt in several locations on the West Side solidifying their connection to the neighborhood. Also significant was the construction of Second Baptist Church at the corner of 8th and Rogers, which illustrates the important contribution of Bloomington's ethnic community to the development of the area. The church was locally designated in 1976 (HD-55-76). The proximity of these educational and religious landmarks creates an important node in the residential development of the Near West Side. Other landmarks within a block of the proposed district include the Bethel AME Church, The Johnson Creamery, the Elias Abel House (HD-33-76) and the Cochran House (HD-31-75).

The area also boasts a significant community investment in historic preservation. The Elias Abel House, encompassed by the district but previously listed, received Community Development Block Grant Funds in the amount of $19,850 for its initial restoration in 1981. Bloomington Restorations, Inc. and Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana loaned over $140,000 to homes in within the proposed district including the Flanigan House 714 West 7th ($50,000 loan), Griffin House 621 West 7th ($62,000), and Elias Abel House 317 North Fairview ($24, 500). Private investment was used to restore the Cochran Helton Lindley House. The Second Baptist Church underwent an exterior restoration in 1996. The Bethel AME Church was restored in 1997.

The district encompasses residential fabric, which ranges in style from the omnipresent gabled-ell vernacular form to more elaborate multi-gabled Queen Anne houses. The pair at 714 and 708 West 7th Street are matching 2-story ells with Queen Anne carpentry flourishes placed on adjacent lots. One house is restored, the other is covered with siding, but is in restorable condition. Another example at 621 West Seventh shows the complex massing characteristic of this style as well. The house at 702 West 7th is a later style called the American Four Square built in second decade of the 20th century. There are two bungalow forms in the proposed district, at 208 North Fairview and 627 West Seventh. The latter example has an unusual hipped bell cast roof. These buildings express the forms common in the Near West Side generally. They are modest, moderately elaborated styles lived in by ordinary working class people. Employers like Hoadley, Field Glove, Showers and Johnson Creamery are representative of the kinds of nearby industry that fueled the west side expansion. Residents of these homes were employed nearby.

The house at 319 North Fairview is historically significant for its linkage with the Fairview Methodist Church. When the Church was located at the northeast corner of the 7th and Fairview, a parsonage was built nearby. It stayed there until the fire of 1921, which destroyed the limestone church edifice that was built in 1913. This parsonage was relocated across the street and is now proposed as part of the district. The house at 627 West 7th was also associated with the history of Fairview Methodist Church. Members held meetings there after the fire, to plan the reconstruction of the brick church on 6thStreet. The district also encompasses the Elias Able House, one of the earliest homes in Bloomington, which was previously locally designated.

The National Register district on the west side is large, with 398 contributing structures. This core area of residential structures, with one of the most representative streetscapes, was proposed as a local district because of its unique location, architectural styles and its illustration of Near West Side development patterns. Characteristic of the area is the placement of homes on smaller lots adjacent to alleys and side streets as exemplified by 309 North Fairview which faces an unimproved alley that is actually an extension of Fairview street running south of 7th. These smaller lots and houses, which face side streets, create a rhythm of steps and porches characteristic of the neighborhood as a whole. The Fairview Historic District was the first multiple resource local designation in the Near West Side.