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Panel OKs Centlivre historic designation

December 18, 2018

The Fort Wayne Historic Preservation Commission on Monday unanimously approved a local historic district designation for the Charles F. and Mollie Centlivre House on Spy Run Avenue. 

“This has been a really fun local historic designation project to work on,” said Creager Smith, a historic preservation planner. 

The local designation covers properties at 2417 and 2419 Spy Run Ave., including the Victorian-era Queen Anne-style mansion, which is one of three surviving buildings on the property. The designation was requested by N&M Centlivre LLC and its agent, Marianne Centlivre.

The home was built in 1886, and a carriage house was added several years later, Smith said. An 11-bay garage is also on the property, just north of East State Boulevard.

The house was designed by architects Wing & Mahuran, who also designed the John H. Bass Mansion on what is now the University of Saint Francis campus. The firm also designed Fort Wayne’s former city hall, now The History Center.

The property is associated with the C.L. Centlivre Brewing Co., which was part of one of Fort Wayne’s most important industries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, application documents said. 

“I speak just of the joy and the love, the architect, the history and everything (the home) represents,” Marianne Centlivre said. “I hate to see anything torn down that was built for love, sweat, tears. Nobody knew that it was going to be such a wonderful building, and people all over the country love beer.”

Centlivre said the historic designation will help not only preserve the historic home but will also help carry forward the Centlivre family name.

Local historic designations differ from inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Under the city’s designation, any noticeable exterior changes to the building must be reviewed and approved by the Historic Preservation Commission before work can take place. The national designation does not require a review of day-to-day changes to the building.

Monday’s approval will be reviewed by the Fort Wayne City Council early next year. If the City Council rejects the commission’s decision, the designation won’t take effect.

dgong@jg.net

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