The Journal Gazette
 
 
Sunday, September 12, 2021 1:00 am

West Central shows off 11 homes

Van Buren Street house highlights 39th annual tour

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Anyone looking for “adorable” in the West Central neighborhood may want to cast an eye on a meticulously restored home on Van Buren Street. 

One of 11 homes or gardens featured in this year's 39th annual West Central Home and Garden Tour, the “hall and parlor” Mary Rockhill-Tyler home at 918 Van Buren was built around 1840 by her father, William Rockhill. He built homes for his other children as well. 

The one-bedroom home is slated to become a rental owned by ARCH, a local preservation organization. 

To picture West Central at the time Mary Rockhill-Tyler lived there, docent Connie Haas Zuber, ARCH executive director, described the area as working farms with the Wabash and Erie Canal just to the north. 

The former three-bedroom home was occupied by husband and wife, three children and likely two workers, a “different sense of space” to what we have today, Haas Zuber noted. 

Now it has a downstairs parlor and kitchen and one bedroom with two closets and a spacious bathroom upstairs. 

One woman on the tour described the home as a “love nest.” Its main entry just off Van Buren gives it a more private feel, she said.

“What you hope is people can see how to restore a small space and save history,” said Beth Squires, ARCH board member working as a docent inside the home. Starting in 1910, the home was used as a garage until restoration work began in 1999, the tour brochure said. 

Pleasant weather allowed lines to form at every house and plenty of people took advantage of the food trucks and booths along Wayne Street. 

Those who attend today will be able to see a renovation in progress at 903 W. Berry St. on an elaborate 1885 Queen Anne, or “gingerbread,” house, which is currently down to the studs. 

Docent Max Halberstadt was delighted to talk about the home as many admired the stained-glass windows going up the stairs to the second floor and the first floor's fresh new layout. 

“It's been an architectural firm for years, but now it's going back to a single family,” Halberstadt told his listeners. 

One man on the tour remembered the same gutted look two years ago at a home at 1133 Garden St. that was being renovated. Now, it's an inviting home with modern touches including a pull-up counter in the kitchen.  

The tour continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. alongside the ArtsFest on Wayne Street between Jackson and Rockhill streets.

More information is available at westcentralneighborhood.org.

jduffy@jg.net


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