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Last updated: Fri. Jun. 20, 2014 - 06:09 am EDT

Section of North Anthony Boulevard being considered for National Register designation

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North Anthony Boulevard, from Lake Avenue to Crescent Avenue, could be the next residential area in Fort Wayne to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Indiana Historic Preservation Review Board will consider approving the nomination during a hearing at 1:30 p.m. July 23 at the Indiana Government Conference Center in Indianapolis.

"We wanted to instill a little bit of pride in neighborhood residents and more or less give ourselves an identity," said Mike Vorndran, president of the North Anthony Neighborhood Association, which supports the nomination.

The North Anthony association, which includes about 1,000 homes, is bordered roughly by Anthony on the west, Randallia Drive and Woodward Avenue on the east, Crescent on the north and the Maumee River on the south, Vorndran said.

The City of Fort Wayne contracted with local historic preservation group ARCH to research and submit the application for the proposed North Anthony Boulevard Historic District, said Michael Galbraith, ARCH executive director. Several city neighborhoods already are listed on the National Register.

The city received money to make the North Anthony application through a grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, Galbraith said.

If approved by the state Historic Preservation Review Board, the application will go to the National Park Service for a final decision, Galbraith said. It typically takes the park service six to eight weeks to issue a decision, which is announced in the Federal Register.

If the North Anthony district is added to the National Register, the biggest benefit for residents will be that they get input before the start of any major transportation project in the neighborhood which uses federal funds, Galbraith said.

National Register status doesn't restrict what homeowners do with their homes, unlike a city local historic district designation, he added.

ARCH started work on the National Register application early last fall and recently completed it, Galbraith said.

The proposed National Register district includes nearly 100 homes, he said. That includes the large home at the northwest corner of Anthony and Forest Avenue, whose owners also are pursuing listing the home individually on the National Register.

Most homes in the proposed historic district were built from 1912 to 1940, Galbraith said. They include Craftsman, Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival architectural styles.

That stretch of north Anthony represents possibly Fort Wayne's best example of the "City Beautiful" movement, an approach to urban planning that became popular during the early 1900s. Here, the concept focused on using wide, tree-lined boulevards to connect Fort Wayne's major parks.

North Anthony was "the most fully realized section of the plan" and "created this lovely place for people to walk," Galbraith said.

The area also represents a good example of the three-tiered, home building used by developers during a time of significant population growth in the city, he said.

The wealthiest residents — many of whom were business owners — lived a block away on Forest Park Boulevard, Galbraith said. Business vice presidents, managers, professionals and foremen lived on North Anthony and Kensington boulevards, while workers lived slightly farther from Anthony.

"This was a really intriguing time in Fort Wayne history," he added.

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