The Wildwood Park neighborhood has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, local historic preservation organization ARCH announced Monday.
ARCH prepared the National Register nomination on behalf of the Wildwood Park Neighborhood Association, a news release said. The neighborhood on Fort Wayne's near-southwest side officially was added to the register Sept. 18.
Roughly bounded by Ardmore Avenue, Jefferson Boulevard, Portage Boulevard and Freeman Street, Wildwood Park was designed in 1914 by nationally renowned landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff, the news release said.
Shurcliff, a Boston resident, also designed Fort Wayne's Lafayette Place neighborhood in 1915 and the Brookview neighborhood in 1917, The News-Sentinel reported previously. Lafayette Place neighborhood was listed on the National Register on Jan. 9.
Shurcliff also developed master plans for Swinney Park in 1916 and Franke Park in 1924. He is more widely known, however, for leading the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg in the 1930s.
The history of Wildwood Park neighborhood dates back to the early days of what became Fort Wayne.
In frontier days, the American Indian canoe portage connecting the Maumee River system and the Wabash River system led through the neighborhood, The News-Sentinel reported previously. The Wabash and Erie Canal also ran along its southern border.
The the neighborhood reportedly was the first locally — and one of the first in Indiana — laid out so streets and lots followed the contour of the land, the previous story said. Until then, cities and neighborhoods all had been laid out on a square grid pattern.
The neighborhood features rolling terrain, winding streets and a mix of early 1900s architectural styles, ARCH said in its news release.
The decision to use the contour of the land was made by subdivision developer the Wildwood Company, which was headed by Lee J. Ninde and his architect wife, Joel Roberts Ninde, the previous story said.
The Ninde's Wildwood Builders company also specialized in constructing the comfortable and practical “House of Convenience” designed by Joel Ninde and her architectural partner, Grace Crosby.
Construction of the first home in Wildwood Park began in 1916, the previous story said. Because of its distance from downtown Fort Wayne and the Great Depression hitting in 1929, homes were built there slowly over the next two decades.
Building in Wildwood Park resumed quickly after World War II ended in 1945 and continued into the mid-1950s, the News-Sentinel reported. The last home was built in the late 1990s.