Brookview Neighborhood Threatened by Potential Development


Brookview Neighborhood Threatened by Potential Development

Brookview Neighborhood Threatened by Potential Development
Apr 19, 2011
Julie Donnell


The garden suburb of Brookview is one of three residential developments in Fort Wayne designed by architect Arthur Shurcliff between 1914 and 1917.

Shurcliff was commissioned to design the neighborhoods as part of a spate of development which began after George Kessler’s 1911 design of a park and boulevard plan for the city. The Brookview community is now facing threats caused by potential development, including road enhancement and flood control projects and a four-lane road which would bisect the community.


Spurred by the City Beautiful movement which rose in popularity in the late 1800s, Fort Wayne launched a citywide development and improvement initiative beginning in the early 1900s. As part of this initiative, Charles Mulford Robinson was responsible for a city improvement and beautification plan in 1909 and, in 1911, landscape architect George Kessler designed a park and boulevard system, setting the stage for further development.

Brookview Street

Brookview Path

Once a part of Jacobs Farm, the Wildwood Company commissioned in 1917 the Brookview development as one of the first planned neighborhoods in Fort Wayne. Boston-based landscape architect, Arthur Asahel Shurcliff, previously an architect with the Olmsted Brothers firm who was later known for his restoration work at Colonial Williamsburg, was hired to design the neighborhood along with the Lafayette Place and Wildwood Park subdivisions. Built along Spy Run Creek, Brookview is an integral part of the riverine city of Fort Wayne. The creek is a character-defining feature of the neighborhood as well as Vesey Park and Franke Park to the north. Shurcliff’s naturalistic design used the creek and hilly topography to create a scenic setting for homes along the water, some of which are set along hillsides facing the creek, taking advantage of natural viewsheds and vistas.

Spy Run Creek runs north to south and is bisected by State Boulevard, one of Kessler’s planned streets. The boulevard narrows and curves, crossing the water over an old bridge, nestling into the neighborhood briefly before emerging and straightening and widening on either side.

Westbrook Drive and Eastbrook Drive run along the west and east sides of the creek and cross State Boulevard. Houses along these two curvilinear drives maintain views of the creek and its attendant linear park. Smaller planned park areas are interspersed throughout the neighborhood, while the creek and Westbrook Drive connect the neighborhood with the larger Vesey Park. Brookview Parkway, a long slender park, runs along both banks of Spy Run creek. Clinton Street, a one-way, multi-lane, arterial state highway runs just east of the neighborhood. It crosses State Boulevard and angles across the meandering Spy Run Creek at the downstream end of Brookview.

On March 21, 2011, the Brookview neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Brookview-Irvington Park Historic District. The listing includes the neighborhoods of Brookview and Irvington Park, as well as Vesey Park. State Boulevard is also in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Fort Wayne Park and Boulevard listing. This listing highlights the significance of Brookview as one of the earliest planned communities in Fort Wayne.

Brookview Housing

Brookview Bridge


The Brookview neighborhood is threatened by four separate proposed roadway and flood control projects. The existing State Boulevard bridge will have to be replaced. As the road narrows and curves as it runs through Brookview, traffic engineers plan to replace the bridge and, at the same time, widen and straighten State Boulevard. This will alter the character of the neighborhood significantly and may lead to the destruction of many houses that date to the district’s historic period (circa 1906 to1965). Several houses have already been removed as a flood control measure. A final project is the improvement of the Clinton Street Bridge which will cause the height of State Boulevard to be elevated in order to connect with Clinton properly.

A Section 106 review is currently underway for the community. Detailed plans of the community are being prepared by a group of engineers. The citizen committee involved in the project is concerned that the project lacks the direction and expertise of contracted landscape architects, who up to now have only been involved in the project on a volunteer basis. Despite the ongoing Section 106 review, the city council has approved a $1 million expenditure for development plans.

Get Involved

The City Council has the power to intervene to stop development in the Brookview neighborhood. To help, please write an email in support to:

Tom Henry, Mayor of Fort Wayne
Deputy Mayor, Beth Malloy
CC: Molly McCray, Legislative Affairs Administrator Fort Wayne City Council

One Main Street, Room 290
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Tel. 260.427.1445 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            260.427.1445      end_of_the_skype_highlighting; Fax 260.427.2979

All images courtesy the author.