Magnificent churches and stately homes stand out in newly designated Beechwood Historic District

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Magnificent churches and stately residences along Fairfield Avenue are found in Beechwood Historic District, the newest area to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Fort Wayne, the city said today.

The historic district bounded by Fairfield and South Wayne avenues features 67 properties built between 1885 and 1964, and is one of eight historic districts in the Packard Area Planning Alliance, a group of 18 neighborhoods. Fort Wayne has 15 historic districts, Creager Smith, the city’s historic preservation planner, said Tuesday.

“Fairfield was once very large houses, kind of an exclusive street,”  Smith said. One city document refers to it as “mansion row.”

Most of newest historic district is the Creighton-Home neighborhood, Smith said. Two buildings are in Williams Woodland Park and a small area is in the northwest corner of the Fairfield neighborhood. The district lies in the 46807 ZIP Code.

Architectural students should take note of the Karpeles Museum, originally the First Church of Christian Scientists at 2410 Fairfield, built in 1927 and the Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church circa 1956, next door to the museum, that was the former B’nai Jacob Synagogue. First Baptist Church, across the street, was built in 1949 and the Fairfield Avenue Church of the Nazarene, now Wings of Deliverance, was constructed in 1964.

“The former synagogue is a rare example of the International Style designed by the significant Fort Wayne architect Alvin M. Strauss & Associates, completed in 1956,” Angelica Pickens, city spokeswoman, said in a news release.

The Strauss architectural firm also designed the Lincoln Tower downtown and the Embassy Theatre on Jefferson Boulevard, Smith said.

The diverse range of styles and ages of structures in this district really makes it unique among some of the other designated historic areas,” Kody Tinnel, spokesman for the Packard Area Planning Alliance, said Tuesday. Tinnel said he lives in the Foster Park neighborhood.

The historic designation is a way honoring the culture, history and architecture of an area that could increase property values, Tinnel said. It brings a neighborhood together and is “sort of branding it in a way that sort of sets it apart,” Tinnel added.

Smith said with this designation, two years in the making, residents are eligible for grants through the state homeowner rehabilitation tax credits. Projects typically must be $10,000 or more to qualify, according to the Indiana District of Natural Resources website.

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