Take a horse-drawn carriage tour of Fort Wayne’s oldest neighborhood

Spend a summer weekend in Fort Wayne surrounded by architecture, art, history, and friends.

The Historic West Central Neighborhood is celebrating its 36th annual Home and Garden Tour & ArtsFest on September 8th and 9th.

While the Home and Garden Tour as many know it began in 1982, its roots go back 150 years to the days of early Fort Wayne when industrial barons and prominent merchants and entrepreneurs opened their mansions and grounds for grand balls and garden parties.

Today, the Home and Garden Tour & ArtsFest remains one of the most popular neighborhood events in Fort Wayne, taking guests on complimentary horse-drawn carriage and pedicab rides from home to home with a $13 ticket purchase.

The 2018 tour offers 10 stops, including: a home designed by Joel Ninde, one of the first female architects in Fort Wayne and Indiana; a home where the actress Carole Lombard was born in 1908; and the GE Club built in 1927 with its members’ gym and bowling alley in pristine condition. (The bowling shoes are still in their slotted places and bowling balls at the ready.)


West Central is the oldest neighborhood in Fort Wayne. As such, it contains virtually every architectural style between 1830 and 1950. Grand turrets adorn Richardsonian Romanesque homes; stately Victorians and Italianates line the boulevards and streets; Colonial Revivals proudly display their columns; Prairie and Craftsman styles sport their durable and sturdy features, and vernacular worker homes and cottages complete an eclectic array. 

Around them, tranquil, colorful gardens of all sizes populate quaint backyards.

Complementing the tour is a one-of-a-kind ArtsFest on Wayne Street between Jackson and Rockhill streets and on Union Street between West Berry Street and West Washington Boulevard.

Here, guests can browse more than 50 art and craft vendors, take home handmade treasures, enjoy snacks from area food vendors, and relax in the performance area. Regional musicians, such as Alicia Pyle, Jess Thrower, the West Central Quartet, and more, will be performing throughout the day.

According to the West Central Home & Garden Tour’s website, proceeds from the event enable the West Central Neighborhood Association (WCNA) to further its neighborhood preservation and improvement efforts.

“We hope that by opening these beautiful, historic homes to the public, we help Fort Wayne and the surrounding area learn about the architecture and interior craftsmanship of our historic homes,” the website says. “We also hope to show the community that it is possible to live a comfortable, fulfilling life in downtown Fort Wayne.”


The West Central Home and Garden Tour & ArtsFest runs from 11 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $13 in advance or $15 on the day of the tour.

The performance stage will be 1:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

Visit www.westcentraltour.org for tickets and more information.

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