In honor of Black History Month, we want to highlight some extraordinary projects we’ve had the privilege of taking part in. These sites preserve the invaluable legacy of Americans whose experiences and achievements enrich our country, often at great personal sacrifice. Protecting these places enables immersive visitor education and engagement with the past, perpetuating the immeasurable impact these events have on our continued strive for equality.  

Visit this webpage throughout the month of February to explore all of the projects we will be showcasing.

 

Old Courthouse at Gateway Arch National Park

Facing the iconic Gateway Arch along the Mississippi River, the Old Courthouse at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial has been a Midwestern landmark for more than 150 years.  

This site is best known as the setting for the pivotal 1847 and 1850 trials in which Dred Scott, an enslaved African American man, attempted to sue for his freedom. Although the court case was not ruled in their favor, the Scott family did eventually gain their freedom in 1857. Newspaper coverage of this decade-long legal battle raised awareness of slavery in non-slavery states and built support for Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.  

The courthouse is the site of many other important 19th-century trials as well, including Virginia Minor’s historic case for a woman’s right to vote in the 1870s. 

Quinn Evans Architects has supported the National Park Service’s program to protect and preserve this Civil War-era building over the past twenty years, providing surveys, assessments, and repair and restoration recommendations for interior and exterior improvements.

 

Old Courthouse at Gateway Arch National Park.Dred Scott, 1882. Louis Schultze (portrait based on 1857 photograph). Missouri Historical Society.Old Courthouse at Gateway Arch National Park.Gateway Arch National Park.Old Courthouse at Gateway Arch National Park.

Click here to visit the National Park Service webpage for more information on Dred Scott and the Old Courthouse at Gateway Arch National Park.

 
 

 

Pullman National Monument Visitor Center 

From the mid-19th through -20th centuries, the Pullman Company manufactured and operated railroad cars, and founder George Pullman is credited with developing the sleeper car. The company is also associated with the 1894 Pullman Strike; a national railroad worker strike that made its mark on US labor laws.  

The country’s first planned industrial community in the 1880s, Chicago’s Pullman Historic District now includes the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum dedicated to exploring African American labor history. Unionization of African American workers led to the founding of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters by A. Philip Randolph in 1925. At this time, Pullman’s workforce was 45% porters- making them the largest employer of African Americans in the US. In 1937, Pullman and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters reached the first major labor agreement between a company and African American union. A. Philip Randolph continued working for decades as an activist leader in civil rights and labor organization movements.

A Work in Progress

Designated a National Monument by President Obama, work is now underway to establish a visitor experience at this National Park Service site. The Quinn Evans Architects team is guiding the process to ensure that the landscape design meets the Secretary of Interior standards for cultural landscapes while providing visitor access, opportunities for interpretation of the historic transfer pit, workers gate, and front lawn park, and sustainable stormwater solutions.

Pullman Factory Administration Building and Lake Vista, circa 1886. Public Domain.A. Philip Randolph, 1963. John Bottega, New York World-Telegram and Sun Staff Photographer.Pullman Company Sleeping Car Porter at Union Station in Chicago, Illinois, 1943. Public Domain.Pullman Factory Administration Building, 2017.Pullman Factory Rear Erecting Shop Building, 2017.Pullman Factory Administration Building, 2017.Pullman Factory Rear Erecting Shop and Administration Building, 2017.Pullman Factory Front Erecting Shop and Administration Building, 2017.

Click here to visit the National Park Service webpage for more information on the Pullman National Monument.

 
 

 

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site,  
Monroe Elementary School

Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas is a registered National Historic Landmark associated with the breakthrough 1954 US Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education. This case became a cornerstone of the mid-20th-century civil rights movement when the justices unanimously ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This verdict overturned the precedent of the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, which had previously established the flawed concept of “separate but equal” public facilities.  

In commemoration of this event’s 50th anniversary, Quinn Evans Architects renovated the school building's masonry exterior and sensitively rehabilitated the interior, transforming it into a dynamic interpretive visitor center and regional resource for scholars of desegregation.

Click here to visit the National Park Service webpage for more information on the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.