Last owned by Vernoca L. Michael, President/CEO (Nia Kuumba ran the social service agency at the Blue Horizon)
The Legendary Blue Horizon is located on 1314 Broad St. A block that you’ve probably passed a handful of times as you were on your way to a Temple event. On the right side of the building there is a large mural. The images included Mohammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, and George Foreman in boxing poses. All were great fighters who’ve sparred at least once at the Horizon. The grand steps leading to the front door are wide and beautiful. They open from the left and right, curve around, and meet on the next landing. As soon as you step up to the doors you’ll be greeted with a large sheet of paper taped to the door. The sheet reads “Cease Operations/Stop Work Order”. It will come to explain that The Blue Horizon has been closed since June of 2010 due to “Public Nuisance” and “Operating without proper license” by the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Peering in from the front doors, you’ll be able to see an old fashion ticket booth in the middle of the room. If you’ve never been to the Legendary Blue Horizon, this empty yet amazing image will leave you wondering what it looked like in it’s wonder years. Out front, closer to the streets, there is a sign marking it as a historical site by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. No matter what this building will turn into this sign and possibly the large mural may very well be the only thing that remains constant.
History This historic site didn’t start as the Legendary Blue Horizon. When built in 1865, it’s main purpose was to be a place that wealthy businessmen and their families could call home. Then in 1912, it became headquarters for Moose Lodge, an organization now consisting of 1.6 million members, where they provided home, schooling, and vocational training to members or children of members. It was not until the 1960’s that the world renown Legendary Blue Horizon was brought forth, where it still held the responsibility of being a learning center and a social hall. From this time, it is most remembered as the birth place of many champion fights, like Tim Witherspoon, Bernard Hopkins, and Jeff Chandler to name a few. And before June 2010, it was an arena for boxing matches, a hall for weddings and receptions, and a gathering place for parties, meetings and other events.
If the history of the Legendary Blue Horizon has inspired some part of you, you are in luck! By typing in the address in Google search, you will find plenty of websites offering this architectural beauty for a mere $5 million. Unfortunately, the building doesn’t come with the name. The next time you have the chance to step into this building, it could be a bank, restaurant, café, and/or office.
The Blue Horizon has changed so much from when it was built that it’s historical values are being lost. It’s not remembered for the shelter and knowledge it has given many African Americans but it’s sport that has escalated to be more important. In the early 1800’s, a slave was seen as “lazy” if he or she chose to spend their off time not getting drunk and playing sports, but now, we’ve marked him or her as unimportant. Had the Blue Horizon sustained some historical features outside of boxing and parties it may still have been open to this day. Before it’s closing, if you’ve never been to The Legendary Blue Horizon, even after learning of this historical landmark, this fact will still remain true.