The Converting Community

May 5, 2019


Restrictions for the Gorham Subdivision; Goshen, Indiana;

Recorded October 24, 1946 at ten o’clock AM.

The following restrictions are incorporated into the Plat and are to be recorded as an integral part thereof, and the said plat is subject thereto. 

  1. All lots in the tracts shall be known and described as residential lots. . . . And no structure shall be erected on any residential building plot other than one detached single family dwelling not to exceed two stories in height, and a one- or two-car garage.
  2. No building shall be erected on any residential building plot nearer than thirty-five feet to nor farther than forty from the front line. Nor shall any building be erected nearer than sixty-eight feet from the center line of any street or highway nor nearer than fifteen feet from any side lot line.
  3. No residential lot shall be subdivided into building plots having less than 9,900 square feet of area nor a frontage of less than seventy-five feet.
  4. No noxious or offensive trade shall be carried on upon any lot nor shall anything be done thereon which may be or become an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood.
  5. No person of any race other than the white race shall use or occupy any building or any lot, except that this covenant shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of a different race domiciled with an owner or tenant.

You heard me right. Buried right in the midst of outbuilding restrictions, sewer disposal rules, and utility easements is this clause banning non-white people from the neighborhood, with an exception for domestic servants. Not too long ago, a clause like this one was just stipulation letter “f” in a legal document with thirteen stipulations.

Our family lives in the Gorham subdivision. Now, I didn’t even know that this document existed until years after we moved to Goshen.  These restrictions are no longer in effect, and racist clauses like the one in this agreement are not even legal.  But here’s the thing that troubles me.  Although these restrictions are no longer in effect, right now, in our neighborhood, the reality is that “No person of any race other than the white race uses or occupies any building.”

Bible References

  • Acts 9:1 - 6