Last weekend was our annual West Central Neighborhood Home Tour showcasing a number of historic homes, businesses, and a garden located in the city’s first historic district – West Central. Friday evening the owners of Klaehn, Fahl, and Melton Funeral Home hosted our annual pre-tour party. The generous hosts provided snacks, beverages, and a wonderful and tasty variety of cheesecakes.

Klaehn, Fahl & Melton Funeral Home


West Central residents and guests enjoying the hospitality of Klaehn, Fahl & Felton


I was scheduled to work on Sunday at the mission-style home just three doors east of my home. I woke Saturday to a beautiful day – mild, clear, and just perfect for a house tour. I had to finish some weeding at the Nelson Street side of my home, so I dressed, made my coffee, and hurried outside to beat the tourists.

As I knelt along the curbside to pull the weeds, I chatted with passersby who were on their way around the neighborhood. I was pleased with their compliments about my flowers, but I was even more delighted to tell them about Thieme Drive and the early entrepreneur for whom it was named, Theodore F. Thieme.

After I finished my weeding, I worked on the front porch – actually it was more like dallying so I could pick up on the comments as tourists strolled down the sidewalk and around the corner at my home. Many times I heard them say, “it is so peaceful down here.” Of course that is something that I have known for years and something that drives me to work to protect Thieme Drive from destruction.

As I picked wilted blossoms from my hanging baskets and potted plants and swept my front porch, I kept my ears open for the clip clop of the carriages coming down West Berry Street. Once a year, at the time of the house tour, carriage rides around the house tour route are provided free. What a wonderful sound as the horses approached – their hooves breaking the quiet of the morning and the peacefulness of the street. The first day of the tour was a huge success.

Horse and carriage sitting in front of 1229 West Berry Street


Sunday morning of the second day, however, broke with rain and a dreary sky. As I gazed outside, I thought this would surely discourage a good crowd. I was completely wrong. As the morning hours passed, the greyness and rain disappeared to be replaced with sunshine and balmy temperatures. By late morning, the sun was out, the tourists returned, and the horses and carriages once again lazily rolled through the neighborhood.

I was to work at the mission-style home located at 1229 West Berry Street – pretty handy since I lived three houses to the west. I walked down to the home a little early and sat on the front porch cement railing greeting guests until my shift started. I was stationed just inside the front door in the living room.

1229 West Berry Street – Mission-style home on tour


The mission-style of home – originating in California – was built around 1910 for Theodore F. Thieme. Mr. Thieme had traveled to California on business for his company, Wayne Knitting Mills, and returned with the idea of building a mission-style home in Fort Wayne. Although built for Mr. Thieme, he never occupied the home.

From 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., I provided instructions on touring the home. The line seemed never-ending at times, and I couldn’t help but think that this had to be one of the busiest tours ever. The day was gorgeous, and at 5:00 p.m., as the stream of visitors slowed, I was tired.

At 5:00 p.m., I picked up my camera and walked the short distance back to my home. I felt such a sense of accomplishment even though my part had been so small. As I walked home – to my own little corner of West Central – the heat of the afternoon fading away, I gazed over at Thieme Drive and the St. Marys River, and I truly understood how fortunate I have been.

It had, indeed, been a beautiful day – make that two days – in the West Central Neighborhood.

1229 West Berry Street, looking from living room into dining room – original hardwood floors



About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Fort Wayne, West Central Neighborhood and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. kent strock says:

    It is all very nice..who doesn’t appreciate architecture.

    Neighborhoodness is a great idea except when it ignores other stuff about cities….

    Someone needs to ask some more important questions…

    This is my experience as a bus rider since the route cuts. I started riding the buses in 2004. The day after the cuts it took me 3.5 hours to get from Ivy Tech to my apartment in the West Central neighborhood. I teach at Ivy Tech and this bus problem directly affects my classes. This route also serves Northside HS, Park Center and its handicapped clients, Ivy Tech, IPFW and Canterbury.

    There were half hour buses but those were cut. Now things are in complete chaos. After waiting at Ivy tech for an hour, I walked to the Firefly because the bus didn’t show up and to get a cup of coffee. The bus never showed up and to be able to catch one I had to stand at the bus stop continuously. While waiting a downpour came up in the 95 degree heat. A double amputee in a wheel chair got tired of waiting for the bus and started down N. Anthony Street because the sidewalks are so shitty and there are NO bus shelters on N. Anthony. A driver did stop and give him an umbrella. He kept going down the street. I guess he thought that if the bus didn’t come he would at least getting closer to his house. We eventually made it downtown, but missed the buses and had to wait another HOUR for the next buses.

    Once we got to the downtown station, there were about 75 people waiting for buses that they didn’t know when they would come. There were 6 older people in wheelchairs or with walkers and 6 toodlers waiting for buses. It was 95 degrees and an Ozone action day. I understand that the city gets fined by the EPA for ozone infractions. There are no waterfountains, pop machines or bathrooms at the “station”. We did have a city cop at the station to observe the riders and make sure nobody smoked in the wrong place. I have never seen any activity that required a cop in the last 5 years.

    By this time a thunderstorm came up and the people waiting for buses were exposed to lightning etc. because nobody knew when the buses were coming. Would it be impossible for local media to issue alerts to people who ride buses? We get all kinds of Amber alerts that affect almost anybody. Nobody in the media actually thinks about these people. Instead it is easy to cater to the “fears” of the middleclass.

    On the sunny side with the thunderstorm the sewer system ….

    What is amazing is that NOBODY was pissed off…they accepted it-they know how they are to be treated. The same thing happened the next several days and even yesterday. It is chaoes, so it isn’t that Citilink is figuring it out…and it isn’t their fault.

    With this chaos people were late for work, class and appointments, and couldn’t pick kids up at daycare or their babysitter/husband had to go to work leaving kids behind. How is this good government… good management? How this city can’t come up with the money to help people get to minimum wage jobs, classes or their kids is beyond me.

    Henry is a complete JOKE… would he oppose or actively promote a one dollar tax to restore bus service? Between the colleges in town, Park Center, foundations and businesses it makes no sense that 200K couldn’t be raised…it is just a lack of caring. The increase would allow students to get to classes and family to not to have to worry where their handicapped family member is.

    It is also beyond me that nobody has noticed this problem–ok it isn’t that surprising, they are marginal people. Some people are aware of this problem, but nothing is done. The JG and the TV stations know. I mean hell we have to have the lowest property taxes in the country…that is what it is about-right?

  2. My point exactly Kent! It is my fault. The Mayors fault. The Govenors fault. The presidents fault. Raise our taxes. The govt will still let you down. I ask a serious question, could you have walked home faster? Could you have relied on govt less and gotten farther? In 3.5 hours I could walk probably 20 miles. Doesnt make sence to ride the bus at that point. God bless the Ivy Tech students who could figure this out in no time at all!

  3. Judith says:


    This is an inspiring and informative post. I am happy to know more about the West Central Neighborhood and about the Thieme legacy.

    Could you include a way of contacting you without adding a comment to a post that is completely different from a concern? Then you could decide if that is a topic about which you would want to research and post?

    For instance, I am interested in knowing how earmarks from the federal government have benefited us? I know our airport, universities (local and Notre Dame), helath facilities and the Auburn Museum of History have received such funds. But not all federal dollars come from earmarks? Our Veterans Hospital, and yes, public transportation such as Citilink, and many other projects have federal dollars in them, but I don’t think they were “earmark” projects?

    This is a concern because of the attention given to Alaska’s earmarks. Sarah Palin said she did not request earmarks for Alaska recently, but then admitted that funds were sought under “open requests” for university research. I think most “earmarks” have been for valid expenditures, and that when John McCain says he never requested an earmark for Arizona some parts of Arizona were let down. I’m guessing that the Representative from Arizona were not so adverse to receiving “earmarks”.

    So please forgive me for raising this concern under the uplifting post about the West Central Neighborhood. I admire your research ability and your concise way of arranging facts so that they are understood. I hope that you would find this topic worthy of your skills?

  4. Kent:

    What on earth did my post have to do with Citilink or public transportation? I teach at a college also, and many of our students use public transportation.

    However, that was not the topic of this post.

    Everything in the world doesn’t have to be negative.

    So, Kent, I will ask you again, what did my post possibly have to do with your tirade about public transportation?

  5. kent strock says:

    Good question…it had nothing and everything to do with it. Of course not everything in the world doesn’t have to be negative…but ignoring it doesn’t do anybody doesn’t do anybody any good. I guess you can call my post a tirade, and I thank you for not deleting it, but it does have some facts that I guess are “depressing”.

  6. Andy says:

    Whee! I’m Andy, the person who lives in that house. It is a beautiful house, and thank for the showcase. I’ll see you around the neighborhood.

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