FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Press Release): The Beechwood Historic District is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official list of properties considered worthy of preservation.
The district is located primarily in the Creighton-Home Neighborhood, but it also crosses to the east side of Fairfield Avenue to include small portions of the Williams Woodland Park Neighborhood and the Fairfield Neighborhood.
The Beechwood Historic District, roughly bounded by Fairfield and South Wayne avenues on the east and west, and Pierce Avenue and Beechwood Drive on the north and south, contains homes and churches built between c.1885 and 1964. There are 67 properties in the district, making it a relatively small historic district when considering that it takes in portions of three neighborhoods.
Beechwood contains magnificent churches and large residences along Fairfield Avenue. Within the unique Beechwood plat there are several large residences around a small triangular park. Architectural styles range from Italianate and Queen Anne, built earlier in the district, through typical early 20th century styles built during its heaviest development. These styles include Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Neoclassical, and Prairie Style. A few mid-century styles complete the development into the early 1960s.
Historic churches in the district include the First Church of Christian Scientist (now the Karpeles Museum), First Baptist Church, the Fairfield Avenue Church of the Nazarene (now Wings of Deliverance), and the B’nai Jacob Synagogue (now the Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church). The former synagogue is a rare example of the International Style, designed by the significant Fort Wayne architect Alvin M. Strauss & Associates; it was completed in 1956.
“This National Register designation provides the Creighton Home Neighborhood, and our neighboring neighborhoods, with new opportunities to recognize and capitalize on the collective historic character of the area,” said Dawn Parnin, President of the Creighton Home Neighborhood Association.
The Beechwood Historic District is now one of eight historic districts in the area of the Packard Area Planning Alliance (PAPA), with one additional listed building (Fairfield Manor). Ten more areas have been identified as potential historic districts, or expansions of existing historic districts. PAPA represents 18 neighborhoods south and southwest of downtown Fort Wayne.
The neighborhood associations worked with the Fort Wayne Historic Preservation Commission and the Indiana State Historic Preservation office to nominate the area to the National Register. The project was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund. The Fund is administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. The application was prepared by consultant Kurt West Garner.