The Nat – A Clouded Past but a Bright Future

by Nick Molnar on August 14, 2006

The South Bend Heritage Foundation has begun restoration of the abandoned Engman Natatorium at 1044 West Washington St. When complete, it will house IUSB’s new civil rights museum. “The Nat” was built in 1921 and excluded African Americans except for one day per week or month until 1950. It has been empty since it closed in 1978. Cheers to everyone supporting projects such as this.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa August 14, 2006 at 5:05 pm

What a great use for a historical building, hopefully more projects like this one are in the works.


Joe August 29, 2006 at 3:10 pm

I grew up around the corner from the “Nat”. I spent many a hot saturday afternoon playing the chlorine saturated water. It was so strong that I am certain no germ could have survived. My eyes would be red for days afterwarrds and my swimming trunks would fade beyond recognizing the original color. For some reason I remember a footbath pool we had to walk through to clean our feet before getting to the pool. That water was always ice cold and everyone hated having to go through it.


Monica Tetzlaff October 11, 2006 at 11:19 am

We at the Civil Rights Heritage Center at IU South Bend are very excited about opening a branch of the Center at the Natatorium. We hope to make it a place where everyone can learn the Civil Rights History of South Bend and a base for the collection of more that history.
– Monica Tetzlaff
Director, Civil Rights Heritage Center and Associate Professor of History


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