“Nature, assisted by the hand of man, has done much for Illsley Place,” developer W.E. Doud proclaimed in 1923 at the time the neighborhood was originally plotted. Through a partnership between ARCH and the Illsley Place Neighborhood Association, the public will soon have an opportunity to step-back-in-time to visit and admire many of the homes in the neighborhood.
On June 23, the public is invited to the 2018 ARCH Home and Garden Tour, which features a tour through 9 of the historic homes in Illsley Place, as well as three near-by businesses located in historic buildings; ’07 Pub, Modern Mill and CookSpring Shared Kitchen. Guests will also receive a brochure with a picture and brief history of each home on the tour as well as the history of the neighborhood itself.
“Most homes built today are constructed with very similar styles, in a ‘cookie-cutter’ format. This event presents an opportunity to experience a truly beautiful, historic neighborhood. No home on the tour is quite like the previous. The craftsmanship in the woodwork and other fine details from the original construction of the homes are incredible.” Shawna Nicelley, ARCH Board Member and Event Chair, commented about Illsley Place.
Near Foster Park, Illsley Place has gained recognition including being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood contains outstanding examples of many architectural housing styles including Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Spanish Eclectic, French Eclectic, and Italianate. Named after Frank Illsley Brown, a land owner before the development of the area, advertisements to build a home in the neighborhood boasted it as an “exclusive district,” near Chief Richardville’s home. The district was also the first in Fort Wayne to plan space for extra-wide streets and homes set far enough off the road to allow for sidewalks with grass easements.
The Neighborhood Association and ARCH have been planning the tour for about a year. Since then, homeowners began sprucing up their houses, some even planning somewhat major renovations to be completed before the tour. Emily Fitzgerald, Vice President of Illsley Place Neighborhood Association commented, “There’s nothing like 600 people walking through your home to inspire renovations and improvements. Some homeowners have been working on their homes for months. However, it’s an honor and source of pride for homeowners and the association.”
The last time Illsley Place was chosen to host the tour was in 2005. However, the ARCH Home and Garden Tour is held annually, featuring historic neighborhoods throughout Fort Wayne. “ARCH works to protect architecture in our community. Proceeds are split between the neighborhood and ARCH, which help to fund the organization’s preservation and restoration efforts in the community.” Shawna Nicelley commented.
Tickets can be purchased online in advance of the June 23 event for $12 or on the day of for $14 at CookSpring Shared Kitchen, 1025 W Rudisill Blvd. 46807. Advance tickets and more information can be found on ARCH’s website: archfw.org/event/illsley-place-home-garden-tour/