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Fairbanks Flats Now Townhomes For Low- To Moderate-Income Families

BELOIT, Wis. — A fascinating piece of history remains somewhat intact in Beloit as developers kept an eye on the past while revealing the final renovations on a former World War I segregated housing facility.

The grand opening of the Fairbanks Flats showcased 16 remodeled, rent-to-own townhomes for low- to moderate-income families. The original buildings had 24 units.

The four buildings maintain the look and feel of the historic design from the early 1900s, when Fairbanks Flats existed as the only known company housing built exclusively for African-American workers in Wisconsin.

New Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, a native of Beloit, was on hand for the grand opening.

“I wouldn’t have my wife of 32 years had it not been for this place,” said Caldwell, “because her family actually originated and started here. So, it’s been a great thing all around for me.”

The Madison-based housing group Gorman and Company renovated the flats.

“Buildings are more than buildings,” said Gorman & Company, Inc. chief operating officer Tom Capp. “They’re symbols in communities. They really are something you could not replace, as far as showing children and the next generation what was important in Beloit.”

“To come by here and see those windows all boarded up, it was just like somebody had died to me,” said former Fairbanks Flats resident Lula Belle Brown at Saturday’s opening. “And I was so happy to know that they were trying to get these places renovated. That’s why I’m so happy to be here today.”

The Fairbanks Flats, now offering two- and three-bedroom designs, are listed on both the National Register of Historical Places as well as the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places.