Mrs. M. E. Howard's Tourist Home

One of the only two lodgings for Black travelers during Jim Crow Era Murfreesboro

Boarding house listed in famous "Green Book" Guidebook

This two-story, single-family home was listed as a "Tourist Home" run by Mrs. Minnie Ester Howland in The Negro Motorist Green-Book from 1947-1960. The "Green Book" was a travel guide published between 1936 and 1966 that listed hotels, restaurants, bars, gas stations, etc. where Black travelers would be welcomed during the Jim Crow era.

Deed research indicates that on November 25, 1938, Elbert Howland and his wife, Minnie Ester Howland, paid $950 in cash to Bruce H. Elrod and his wife Mabel Elrod for the lot “fronting 54 feet of East State Street and running back between parallel lines 160 feet more or less” in Murfreesboro. Yet The Green Book lists Mrs. F. Hoover at this address from 1939-1941. Was Mrs. F. Hoover a family member, an original resident of the home, or a renter? Did the Howlands originally buy the property as an investment? We do not have those answers.

The Sanborn Map for 1931-1945 shows that this “boarding house” was well-positioned for travelers, as there were two “filling stations” in close proximity on South Maney St. Murfreesboro City Directories listed Elbert (1908-1976) as a “diner waiter” for the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad (later the L&N). As a widow in 1977, Minnie Howland (1909-2004) sold the parcel to Willie Chaney and Jimmy Chaney for $9,500 in cash.



439 E. State St, Murfreesboro, TN 37130