The Bradford house

This establishment was owned and operated by Mr. John Bradford and his wife Mrs Bradford, better known as Madame Bohee. Madame Bohee along with her mother Madame Hyers were popular vaudeville performers and concert singers who travelled across North America preforming their routine. They were also often joined by another daughter, Chonita on their musical tours.

* * *

Established in 1917, here they rented rooms, as a boarding house. Though the town of Chatham had a large Black population, much of the town remained segregated, so many boarding houses were found throughout Chatham’s east side to service those visitors who would be turned away from the downtown hotels. Some of the earlier boarding houses in the area included the Griffin/Griffith House and the Weaver House.
The Bradford House was also known to serve meals and their speciality was their homemade ice cream. Wedding receptions were also held here. There is also evidence that suggest an early hair salon was housed in this building for some time.
Upon the death of Madam Bohee just days before her 42nd birthday she left the property to her sister Chonita. Their mother had passed away a few months prior to her daughter in 1920. Chonita lived in the residence with her husband Moses and they both taught in one of the area’s schools.
Peter Jenkins in his youth worked at the Bradford House, where he would manually crank the ice cream machines for the evening customers after school.