Thompson Lodge

The K.T. Thompson Lodge at Fox Lake is getting a big boost with a restoration grant from the Central Indiana Community Foundation. The Fox Lake Preservation Foundation received a $15,000 grant for the project, which could take a year.

INDIANAPOLIS — Eleven sites significant to Indiana’s African American history — including the Fox Lake Preservation Foundation — are receiving restoration and rehabilitation assistance through a fund established by late Eli Lilly chemist and preservation champion Standiford “Stan” Cox.

Grants totaling $190,000 are being distributed from the Standiford H. Cox Fund to sites across the state.

Stan Cox, who passed away in 2019, joined Eli Lilly and Co. in 1957 as its first Black chemist. He established the two funds with Central Indiana Community Foundation to support the restoration, preservation, operation and ongoing maintenance of African American historic sites in Indiana.

Included in the 11 organizations receiving grants was the Fox Lake Preservation Foundation.

Fox Lake Preservation Foundation will receive $15,000 for rehabilitation of the K.T. Thompson Lodge, which served as clubhouse for the Fox Lake segregated resort community established in 1927. The building was constructed in 1968 and has been in continuous use ever since.

“Basically we’re just bringing the building up to current standards,” said Carol Karst, project director with the Fox Lake Foundation.

The block building is on land donated by the Boyd family. With a local match, the project will come in at $22,500, but Karst said more money might be needed to do all of the desired work.

“It may cost more than that so we might have to do more fundraising,” she said.

Some of the work includes bringing the restroom stalls into compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act standards. A new roof might be added and sidewalk work is possible.

The Thompson Lodge has been used for a variety of purposes over the years, including association meetings and gatherings, use as a bathhouse for the beach, picnics and potlucks, a Buffalo Soldiers demonstration and more, Karst said.

A committee is being formed to plan out the work, which has been on the drawing table form 6-7 years, Karst said. Under provisions of the grant, the project must be complete in a year.

“Partnering with Indiana Landmarks allows us to honor Stan’s legacy by caring for sites that are important to our state’s African American history,” said Tamara Winfrey-Harris, vice president of community leadership and effective philanthropy at CICF.

“These grants that we make in conjunction with Central Indiana Community Foundation will result in brick-and-mortar evidence of Stan Cox’s visionary generosity,” said Mark Dollase, vice president of preservation services at Indiana Landmarks. “His impact on our state is immeasurable.”

The Standiford H. Cox Fund supports the restoration, preservation, operation, and ongoing maintenance of African American historic sites in Indiana. In addition to this fund, Stan Cox also created The Dovie Stewart Cox & Chester A. Cox Sr. Memorial Fund in honor of his parents to provide support for Lost Creek Community Grove at the Lost Creek Settlement near Terre Haute, one of the state’s earliest settlements of free people of color. Indiana Landmarks’ African American Landmarks Committee serves as a preservation advisor to both funds, recommending projects.

Born in Brazil, Ind., Cox was an Indiana University graduate who worked for 32 years for Eli Lilly and Co., beginning as a chemist and holding a variety of positions during his career. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious academic society, he also earned a master’s degree from Butler University. An advocate for academic biochemical research, he endowed the Standiford H. Cox Professorship in Biochemistry at Indiana University in Bloomington.

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