Historic architecture and neighborliness on display at Williams Woodland Park Holiday Home Tour
It wasn’t just the architecture of the historic homes that sold Abby Tracy and Grant Neuhaus on buying their home in the Williams Woodland Park neighborhood.
“I had been on some past tours and saw the neighborhood was really tight-knit,” Tracy said of the area south of downtown Fort Wayne.
About a year ago, they bought a circa-1890 Queen Anne-style home in the 2400 block of South Harrison Street that already had been renovated, with modern touches added to the kitchen and bathrooms and other improvements. They moved in shortly before their son, Ezra, was born last December.
It has worked out well, said Neuhaus, noting the house has been great and the neighbors have been kind and welcoming.
Their home will be one of those featured on the annual Williams Woodland Park Holiday Home Tour 5-9 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
The tour includes 10 stops – eight are homes – and 11 structures, because the large carriage house at one residence will serve as a warming station and the site of an artisans market. Two homes are on the tour for the first time.
Tickets are $10 in advance at www.williamswoodlandpark.com or on Eventbrite.com, or $12 on the day of the tour at the first tour stop, Getsemani/Simpson United Methodist Church, 2501 S. Calhoun St. Ages 10 and younger are free.
The tour originally seems to have been started to let the community know about the “awesome” homes in the neighborhood, said Marlene Fenstermacher, home tour committee chairperson. The tour also helped diffuse the perception that Fort Wayne’s south side was not a good place to live.
“We want to say it is a good place to be,” Fenstermacher said.
The home tour brochure said Williams Woodland Park was Fort Wayne’s first planned subdivision and was built at the end of the Beltline streetcar line that traveled south down Calhoun Street and west across Creighton Avenue.
The neighborhood is bounded roughly by Creighton Avenue on the north, Harrison Street on the east, Pontiac Street on the south and Fairfield Avenue on the west, Fenstermacher said. The area includes about 200 homes and the Fairfield Manor apartment building.
The original homes in the neighborhood were built from 1875 to 1940 in architectural styles including Colonial Revival, Prairie and Queen Anne, the home tour brochure said.
The city of Fort Wayne made the neighborhood a local historic district in 1985 and it was added in 1991 to the National Register of Historic Places.
Money raised from Holiday Home Tour admissions goes to a variety of uses, Fenstermacher said:
• About 10 percent is given to a local charity.
• Some of the proceeds are set aside to provide small grants to help neighborhood residents pay for exterior improvement projects.
• Remaining funds go to support the neighborhood association and the many programs and fun activities it organizes for neighborhood residents.
1. Getsemani/Simpson United Methodist Church, 2501 S. Calhoun St.
The church dates to 1910 at its present location, while the congregation was founded in 1866.
You can buy tour tickets here or catch the free horse-drawn carriage rides through the neighborhood.
2. 2401 S. Harrison St.
Colonial Revival home built in 1900 for electrical genius Edward Barnes, who worked for Fort Wayne Electric Works and General Electric after it bought the local company.
3. 2402 S. Harrison St.
Queen Anne home built about 1890 by Anthony Arnold, a cabinet maker at the then-nearby Packard Piano Company.
4. 343 W. Taber St.
Colonial Revival home built about 1915 and includes a symmetrical façade design including
a centered entry door with flanking side lights and a porch stretching the full width of the house.
5. Fairfield Apartments, 2301 Fairfield, Apt. 201
Built between 1927 and 1928, the Beaux Arts-style building designed by noted local architect Charles Weatherhogg was Fort Wayne’s first high-rise, luxury apartment building.
6.351 W. Woodland Ave.
The Queen Anne/Free Classic house was built in 1903 by Henry Beadell, a London native who became a leading Fort Wayne businessman.
The two-story brick carriage house on the property, which serves as the home tour warming station and artisans market, includes a balcony salvaged from the old Aveline Hotel downtown after it burned in 1908.
7. 2516 S. Harrison St.
The Queen Anne home was built in the 1890s for Henry Rippe, a stenographer with the Pennsylvania Railroad. It includes a unique built-in corner cupboard in the dining room.
8. 218 W. Suttenfield Ave.
The Dutch Colonial Revival home was built in 1928 for an engineer for the Pennsylvania Railroad and includes a sun room and other extra architectural features.
9. 2504 S. Webster St.
This Colonial Revival home was built in the early 1900s after being designed by noted architect Guy Mahurin. The original owners were Leland and Eva Johnson; she was the daughter of local industrialist Sylvanus F. Bowser of Bowser Pump Co.
10. 321 W. Suttenfield Ave.
This Colonial Revival home was built about 1900 and includes features that make it an early form of the American Foursquare architectural design. It originally was owned by Harry M. Williams, who served as editor of both The News-Sentinel and Journal Gazette at various times and also was elected in 1930 to the Indiana Senate.