The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 1:00 am

Home recommended as historic

Architecture cited in proposal before City Council

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

An old home on DeWald Street could soon gain new significance.

A resolution will be introduced at today's City Council meeting that would designate the Diffenderfer House, 215 W. DeWald St., a local historic district.

The Historic Preservation Commission recommended the Diffenderfer House for approval, describing it as “an outstanding local example of the Queen Anne style with influence of the Shingle Style,” according to the city staff's report. It was built about 1886 and is attributed to prominent Fort Wayne architects John F. Wing and Marshall S. Mahurin, based on their designs.

An “unusual” red brick chimney that is centered at the front of the house served as the “diagnostic element” that leads experts to attribute the architecture to the Wing & Mahurin firm, the report states. The chimney has a corbeled brick design with a circle between the first and second floors. Within the corbeled circle, the current owners Steve and Yolande Black have placed a large “B” for their last initial.

The home, which is across from St. Patrick's Catholic Church, features various wall surfaces including wood siding, semi-rough-cut shingles and smooth fish-scale siding. It also has asymmetrical massing with a cross gable roof and a prominent gabled dormer on the fašade.

“The Diffenderfer House retains excellent historic integrity and reflects these architectural trends and the outstanding work of Wing & Mahurin,” the report states.

In March, Yolande Black submitted the application to recognize her home's architectural significance. Other reasons buildings can be made local historic districts include being associated with historical events, historically significant people or having yielded information important to history, according to the report.

The property also includes a detached garage that was built about 1980. After the Diffenderfers owned the home for about 30 years, it was owned by Christian and Ida Schwarze from 1919 to 1971, and it has been the Blacks' property since 1976.

The local historic designation was created as a tool for residents to monitor changes in historic areas. Owners then have to obtain a certificate of appropriateness from the commission before getting building permits or making exterior changes to the building.

Creager Smith, the city's historic preservation planner, asked the council in a letter to approve the designation “in recognition of its historic value of the property and to afford its protection for future generations.”

The resolution will be introduced at today's meeting atá5:30 p.m. in Citizens Square, rooms 30 and 35. Discussion and action will happen at a future meeting.

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