When lists of the best neighborhoods in Indiana are made, Fort Wayne’s West Central Neighborhood routinely ranks at, or near, the top. Known for its rich history and unique architecture, the West Central Neighborhood is a true diamond in a city full of gems.
To help show off their neighborhood, the residents of West Central got together three and a half decades ago and began opening up their houses on an annual basis, allowing the rest of us to catch a glimpse into how the city’s forefathers may have lived and to learn about the architecture and interior craftsmanship of those historic homes. Now a full-on fall tradition, the event takes place Setpemer 8-9 this year.
For those not “in the know,” the West Central area encompasses all of downtown west of Calhoun Street, but the real showcase lies in its residential area, originally developed in the 1830s. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a Local Historic District, this community was where many of the Summit City’s most prominent families built large, stylish homes during the city’s infancy. A dozen or so of those homes are on display during the West Central Neighborhood Association’s Home & Garden Tour.
In addition to the home tour, an Artsfest is located on West Wayne Street between Jackson and Rockhill and on Union Street between West Berry Street and West Washington Street. The Artsfest presents an exciting array of local artists, musicians, and food vendors for tourists to enjoy. Musicians booked for the two-day event include Jess Thrower, David Todoran & The Mobile Homewreckers, Rosalind & The Way, D Ferren & The Sad Bastards, Alicia Pyle Quartet, Blue Wave, Random Change, and the West Central Jazz Quartet. And if that’s not enough, free horse-drawn carriage and pedicab rides are provided along the tour route for those that would like to take a load off their feet between stops.
All proceeds from the tour benefit the preservation and improvement of the area, including saving homes and continued expansion of the historic district.