C.B. and Annie Mims came to Eugene in the mid 1940s. Due to exclusionary laws, the Mims were not legally able to purchase land. However, they were able to purchase the property we now know as the Mims House with the assistance of a sympathetic employer.
Some of their story is told on the plaque in front of these historic houses on High Street. The Mims House at 330 High Street is now home to the Eugene/Springfield chapter of the NAACP.
“In 1942, the Mims moved from Texas to Vancouver, Wash., to work in the World War II shipyards. After the war, C.B., a skilled millwright, moved his family to Eugene to work in the booming lumber industry but instead found deep-rooted racism. In the 1940s and beyond, early exclusionary laws established a practice that prohibited most African Americans from residing within the Eugene City Limits. As a result, the Mims Family became squatters among a collection of makeshift dwellings on EWEB’s flood prone wood lot across the Ferry Street Bridge, known as ‘Tent City’ and referred to previously as the Ferry Street Community.
C.B. became a busboy at the Osborn Hotel. In 1948, under the name of his sympathetic employer Joe E. Earley Sr. (Osborn Hotel Owner), the Mims purchased the High Street property. The Mims houses became both home and boarding houses for African Americans seeking to settle or passing through Eugene; other accommodations were invariably “white-only”. This pertained to both famous and non-famous Blacks, and many University of Oregon students. The houses were dilapidated when purchased, and traditional financing for home improvement was not an option for Blacks. Fortunately, in 1980, historical preservation funds enabled the Mims to restore both houses, which are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”
330 High St.: Gothic revival-style architecture, built about 1867. It is believed to be the second oldest house in Eugene.
336/334 High St.: Vernacular gothic style, built about 1870. It is the oldest historical house in Eugene standing on its original site.Read More
Directions to the next stop
From the Mims Houses, travel south along High Street, turn right onto 5th Ave., then turn left onto Oak St. The Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza is located on the NE corner of Oak and 8th.