Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Letters to the Editor

September 23, 2013

READER POINT OF VIEW: Coming to Terms with Goshen’s ‘Sundown Town’ History


Hotel Elkhart vs. Hotel Goshen

The Hotel Elkhart clearly had higher-quality accommodations in 1958 than either of the Goshen hotels: the Hotel Hattle on East Lincoln Avenue or the Hotel Goshen at Main and Clinton streets (where First State Bank now has a branch). But a 24-year-old student at Goshen Biblical Seminary (then based at GC) named Victor Stoltzfus was troubled by rumors among GC students that Marian Anderson had to go to Elkhart for her lodging.

So a few days after Anderson’s performance, he personally went downtown and spoke with the manager of the Hotel Goshen. In the 2012 GC report, Stoltzfus says, “‘I asked why an artist of the stature of Marian Anderson would not be welcome in a Goshen motel or hotel. He told me that several investors put their life savings into the hotel he managed. He also said that salesmen and others coming to Goshen would avoid a hotel in which a black person had slept. He really feared loss of business.’”

Stoltzfus, who would go on to serve as president of Goshen College from 1984 to 1996, told me recently that the manager “had an anguished look on his face as I talked to him—and he was really trying to persuade me that he was being a reasonable person.”

So, regardless of the accommodations quality question, it appears that in the 1950s GC officials “knew better” than to even ask Goshen hotel owners or managers to provide lodging for their distinguished African American guests.

Goshen News poll in 1961

A few years later the Goshen News conducted a poll of the town’s two hotels and four other overnight establishments; the article appeared February 7, 1961. Under the headline “Negroes Not Exactly Welcome Here As Overnight Guests, Poll Reveals,” the first sentence reads: “Goshen residents have been pointing an accusing finger at the South for its integration inadequacies but a poll of Goshen motels and hotels today revealed that Negroes aren’t exactly welcome as overnight guests in the city of Goshen.”

The News reported that just one manager (of the Hattle) had recently provided overnight lodging to an African American. The other five were either forthright about their denial of accommodations to African Americans or declined to disclose their policies.

In response to that article, Ray Keim, pastor of East Goshen Mennonite Church at the time, wrote the following letter that appeared in the News on Valentine’s Day 1961: “This is to commend you for your bravery in releasing the facts about the attitude of hotel and motel owners in Goshen relative to accepting Negroes as overnight guests. I believe that a gentle but persistent pressure such as you applied in that report will help awaken consciences without causing violent reactions that only do harm. God bless you for your stand.” Keim of Goshen died this past April.

Text Only
Letters to the Editor
  • Pence not supporting Ritz We don’t envy the box Gov. Mike Pence has put himself in. Less than a year ago, he personally voiced a “willingness” to work with Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, acknowledging again the desire of a majority of Hoosier voters to see

    July 20, 2014

  • Time for a change in soccer Time for a change in soccerIn 1978, as an attempt was being made to establish professional soccer in the United States, I had a letter in Sports Illustrated saying soccer’s biggest downside was its lack of scoring.In that letter I also said there was

    July 19, 2014

  • Chaos defines the State Board of Education It has been my pleasure for the past year to serve as the newest member of the Indiana State Board of Education. I bring a fresh perspective to the board as an attorney and business executive who served as director of economic development under forme

    July 18, 2014

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 12, 2014: There’s only one aspect of marriage There’s only one aspect of marriageIt saddens me when many so-called Christians interpret the word of God incorrectly by using their own reasoning without seeking the Holy Spirit’s true word given to us according to John 14:16,17 and 26. And it bothe

    July 12, 2014

  • OPN GN140613 Coats_Dan_Senator OFFICIAL POINT OF VIEW: Stand for religious freedom The Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that marked an important development in the ongoing national debate on religious freedom.In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the contraception coverage mandate, imposed by the Obama Administration under

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 10, 2014: Obama is no honest Abe Obama is no honest AbeIn regard to Charles Mumaw’s letter to the editor (The Goshen News, July 3), lets see, what did the president say about Obamacare?1. “If you like your insurance you can keep it,” and2. “If you like your doctor you can keep him.”

    July 10, 2014

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 9, 2014: Columnist’s arguments don’t hold water Columnist’s arguments don’t hold waterI question the reasoning of Denise Fedorow in her recent column (The Goshen News, July 5). First, her sweeping generalization that “those of us who are Christian … believe it” (that “God established marriage and

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller phot POINT OF VIEW: Indiana attorney general obligated to defend state law Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo. As the attorney who represents state governm

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 3, 2014: Don’t besmirch a person’s good reputation Don’t besmirch a person’s good reputationI’m writing in response to the recent article about the atheist who had a problem with the Middlebury schools administration regarding the way he was treated (The Goshen News, June 15). The reason I noted this

    July 3, 2014

  • GN140702 Carlin Yoder mug READER POINT OF VIEW: Battle against meth will continue Methamphetamine is a drug epidemic spreading throughout the Midwest at an alarming rate. In 2013, Indiana led the nation in meth lab seizures with a total of 1,797 busts.Meth production is changing. Today, a typical Indiana meth lab is not a lab at a

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results