Bing Rooming House
Bing Rooming House and Seminole Restaurant.
The Bing Rooming House Museum is named after the late Mrs. Janie Wheeler Bing. The structure was built in 1928 as a rooming house to provide overnight accommodations to blacks that visited Plant City. The Seminole Restaurant was later added on the south side of the property in 1931.
Ms. Janie Wheeler Bing (deceased)Janie Wheeler Bing was born December 2, 1889 in Rochelle Florida. She was one of thirteen children. She was married to Elijah Bing and had three children. Janie Bing died August 16, 1984.
Mr. Elijah Lutrell Bing (deceased)- Known as Mr. E.L. Bing Jr.
Son of Janie Wheeler Bing. A distinguished educator, principal and administrator in Hillsborough County. Elijah Lutrell Bing, was a distinguished educator in Hillsborough County. Mr. Bing was principal of Glover Elementary and Junior High Schools in Plant City from 1949-1954 and Marshall High School from 1954-1967. He was Director of Special Projects from 1967-1971, and Assistant Superintendent for Supportive Service for Hillsborough County Schools from 1972-1978. Upon his retirement in 1978, he became Provost of Hillsborough Community College, Ybor City Campus.
This former hay farmer built a 48-year career as a civil rights and education pioneer in Hillsborough County until his retirement. Bing grew up with his two younger sisters in Plant City during the Depression. His mother was a school teacher, and his father owned restaurant and dry cleaning businesses.
Bing knew how to read before he started school, but blacks then could go only as far as the sixth grade in Plant City. He and his sisters were sent to an aunt's house in Jacksonville to attend junior high. After junior high, Bing moved back to Plant City. But his hometown had no high school for blacks, so he attended one in Lakeland.
He served four years in World War II, and then went to Florida A&M University, graduating with a degree in biology. Then he went to Columbia University graduate school in New York, where he got a master's degree in education, with the help of a state tuition subsidy.
Bing came back to Florida because he wanted to change things in his home town where his parents still lived. He took a principal's job at Glover school, an all-black elementary and junior high school. Five years later, he became principal at Marshall, another all-black school for grades 1-12.
Bing's friends and co-workers used the same words to describe him: keen mind; good common sense; strong organizational skills; deep-seated sense of fairness.
Raymond Shelton. Hillsborough County's superintendent of schools during Bing's tenure, recalled that Bing helped write the proposal for federal grants to implement the desegregation plan.
Jimmy Washington (deceased) -
Grandson of Janie Wheeler Bing, son of Mildred Washington Majors and donor (deeded structure to the Improvement League to restore).Mr. Washtingon was born and raised in the former rooming house until his passing. He is credited with having the vision to preserve the structure as a African American Museum in recognition of his grandmother's accomplishments as a business owner.