DasFort Media

Commune with Nature at Fox Island

Featured, Real EstateBrad Reuille

by Brad Reuille

Encompassing 605 acres in Southwest Allen County, with 270 acres dedicated as a State Nature Preserve, Fox Island County Park hosts a variety of seasonal attractions for its visitors. 

The park itself contains over seven miles of marked trails, while six miles are available during the winter for cross country skiing. However, the cross skiing course’s availability during this time depends on there being four or more inches of snow.

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Fox Island also hosts many different species of animals and plants. These species thrive in the park in a vast multitude of habitats, including marsh, seasonal ponds, and wetland forests. Also, the park contains a glacial sand dune. The dune, which formed from the retreat of the Wisconsin Glacier over 14,000 years ago, rises forty feet above the marsh located in the park.

The available amenities that the park features includes the Nature Center, which hosts classrooms, a conference room, a gift shop, and education offices. Another amenity available for visitors of the park is Bowman Lake, which features a swimming beach, and at its deepest point is 18 feet deep. Also, there is a beach where visitors can bring their dogs, and they are allowed off leash to go swimming. 

Head on out and experience the wildlife of Fort Wayne!

Keep reading:

Take the Road Less Travelled, It Makes All the Difference

Around the Town with Keri Garcia: Farmers Markets

FoodDasFort

Shooting this little video was a blast, especially as the Barr Street Market/YLNI Farmers Market is one of our absolute favorite things to do on a summer Saturday morning.

Hope you enjoy, and be sure to support the local farmers markets!

"As a realtor, I’m not just helping my clients find the perfect home; I’m helping them settle into a community where they will create memories. My video series, 'Around the Town,' showcases the incredible community of Fort Wayne.

In my last video, I took you to the cheering crowds of the Tin Caps stadium. In this episode of 'Around the Town,' we’ll be exploring the local farmers markets of Fort Wayne. Let’s check out two of my favorites: the first is located at Salomon Farm Park, and the other is downtown at Barr Street, the YLNI Farmer’s Market, hosted by the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana."

Click here for the full text.

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Around the Town with Keri Garcia: Parkview Field

Video produced by DasFort Media 

Around the Town with Keri Garcia: Parkview Field

FeaturedDasFort

Introducing our latest video series with Keri Garcia. Join us as we highlight Fort Wayne's incredible community!

Around the Town

"In my new video series, 'Around the Town,' I’ll take you around the city and show you the incredible community of Fort Wayne. What better place to find community than in a stadium of locals cheering on the TinCaps?! Let’s check it out!

Parkview Field, and the TinCaps, have been great for Fort Wayne since they moved downtown in 2009, contributing to the revitalization of the city. The field was designed to complement the downtown neighborhood, even basing its architecture on the nearby Firefighters’ Museum."

Click here for the full text. 

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Video number two:

Around the Town with Keri Garcia: Farmers Markets

 

 

Video produced by DasFort Media

Keri Garcia: "Helping People Find Homes in a City That I Love" [Video]

BusinessDasFort

Recently, we had a chance to sit down with one of our clients and find out a little more about what she's doing to help the people of Fort Wayne.

Her bright personality, and bubbling energy make her extremely approachable—and quite frankly, a joy to work with. Fort Wayne, many times, is a small "big" city. Networking is crucial, and you'll often be surprised to find out how many people know the same people that you know. 

In this close knit community, word of mouth travels fast, and we're honored to share Keri's mission with you. Hopefully, by spreading the word, even more people will be able to find new homes in a city that we love.

KeriSells4U

Mission: 

"To show people who I am, let them know what I can do for them, and also why they should work with me."

Why did you get into real estate?

"I love to help people transition from one place to another, whether it's making them feel good about leaving the place that they raised their children—or making them feel great about the new chapter in their life."

What's next?

"Well, our new Mike Thomas corporate office is complete, and we'll be moving in this month. We're located off of Coldwater Road and we're super excited about this new building. 

Also, I'll be doing an "Around the Town" video series which will highlight some of my favorite Fort Wayne hotspots; featuring dining, entertainment, and even things to do with the kids." 

Our new building is almost complete. More details here! #FortWayne

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We're excited to be a part of Keri's upcoming "Around the Town" video series and can't wait to spread Fort Wayne awareness to all corners of the digital world. 

With Northeast Indiana's "Road to One Million" initiative underway, the plan is to increase the population of the region from about 780,00 to one million residents by the year 2031. The number one goal is to attract population growth and talent, and of course, these new people need places to live.

We have a vision of becoming a region of 1 million people by developing the quality of life needed to attract top talent and expand our business landscape.
— Road to One Million, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
We're number one!

We're number one!

Earlier this year, Fort Wayne was ranked as the number one place to raise a family. This is not the only list Fort Wayne has made in terms of housing. Fort Wayne ranked in the top ten for both places "where millennials are buying homes," and "cities with the biggest housing shortages." 

But don't worry, this is a fantastic time to buy or sell, and yes, Keri can sell for you. 

 

Follow along with Keri on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

Photos and videos by Tony Frantz

Freshii—Your New Favorite Place [Video]

FoodDasFort

If you're looking for a healthy restaurant to try in the downtown Fort Wayne area, Freshii is a must! Serving up fresh salads, wraps, bowls, burritos, juices and more, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Specializing in natural ingredients, Freshii caters to all ways of eating from vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and meat eaters too.  

Locally owned by the Hay family (Christina and her two sons, Kelly and Kevin), Freshii is also an eco-conscious dining option with biodegradable containers and dining utensils.

We caught up with Kevin Hay to find out a little more about the restaurant and what they offer. 

"My name is Kevin Hay, and my family and I opened this Freshii location in the Harrison, Fort Wayne last year on February 1, 2016.

We first heard about Freshii when my brother and my mom were on a shopping trip down in Indianapolis at the Keystone Fashion Mall; they have a Freshii there as well. They tried it out and liked the uniqueness of the brand, the fact it caters to everybody—vegetarians, vegans, meat eaters—just everybody as a whole. They liked the quality of the food and the health benefits associated with it, and just fell in love with the whole concept.

We offer salads, bowls, burritos, and wraps. As far as the bowls, the Pangoa is pretty popular—it’s got brown rice, corn, black beans, avocado, cheese, and tomatoes. It’s something that is more popular with people who are giving this a first-time type of try. You are always surprised by the knowledge other people have, and a lot of times it will be people who come from out of town, and they say, 'Oh this is great this is here, this is what we do in our city as well. You remind me a lot of a certain restaurant in my hometown.'  

Here in Fort Wayne as well, people are always commenting, 'It’s great you guys use these bags, I’ve never seen them used before. I see that you guys are trying to minimize your waste and your energy, that’s excellent ... and taking care of the environment—that’s awesome.'  

It’s a daily thing that new people come in, and even people that have come in before, say, 'I can’t stress enough how thankful I am to see a restaurant like yours that is conscious of the environment.'"

Freshii is located at 301 W Jefferson Blvd, open Monday-Friday from 11-8 and Saturday 11-4.

10/10 👍🏽👏🏽

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March Photo Contest Winner & Honorable Mentions

The ArtsDasFort

This month, we were happy to have Specialized Printed Products as a Fort Wayne photo contest sponsor. The guidelines? Fort Wayne photos tagged with #DasFort.

The prize? An oversized custom canvas print, 24 x 36 inches—a $150 value. 

Once again, we were honored and amazed by all your beautiful snapshots of the city. It was hard to pick just one winner, so we decided to include a post with all of our favorites.

The winner of the March contest is another small business, @TheTinyShedFW. We just love the sunlight through the trees, the size of the little shed, and—especially on this snowy Saint Patrick's Day—the bright green grass.

First runner-up, although not a photo of the actual city, was taken in Fort Wayne by a previous contest winner, guest Instagram take-over professional, and #LightUpTheFort instigator, @MollieShutt. We are simply in love with her black balloon series: "Gerascophobia: The Fear of Growing Up."

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Second runner-up is man about town, @BrettGauger. The lines, the mysteriousness, the shadows—there's still new views to be found in the Fort. 

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The rest are in no particular order, but all deserve some recognition.

Just when we thought spring was almost here (only 3 days away!), Fort Wayne was blessed with ... more snow. Beautifully captured by @EmilyKayRichardson.

Talk about vibrant colors and beautiful murals! @NativeOfTheFort's downtown shot is picture perfect.

Who doesn't enjoy a little long exposure? Night lights and the courthouse captured by @RyanBurson.

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That bike riding shadow though! Perfectly timed capture by @JonathanWKaufman.

And, finally, what's a Fort Wayne photo contest without a skyline shot? Love the dreamy twilight hues by @EmKBrowning.

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Thanks again to everyone who participated, we appreciate you!

Stay tuned for more contests and giveaways.

 

But wait! Are you a business, or business professional located in Fort Wayne? Consider joining our DasFort.Guide—an online directory of all things Fort Wayne. Registration is free.

 

Check out previous winners from: Photo Contest Fusion: Yoga + Fort Wayne

 

Inside the Fort Wayne Indoor Skatepark [Video]

Social GoodDasFort
The Fort Wayne Indoor

The Fort Wayne Indoor

Once summer has faded away, many outdoor activities end, leaving limited options for physical exercise. This is especially true for bikers and skateboarders, as snow makes these sports almost impossible in the winter. The only one of its kind in the surrounding area, Fort Wayne's indoor BMX and skateboard park is truly a special place—a safe and warm haven for kids of all ages to wait out the cold. We caught up with The Fort Wayne Indoor's BMX director Rich Hoppe to learn a little more about this unique institution.

Our mission is to provide a safe, legal, and positive recreational opportunity for multi-aged locals to grow their BMX/Skating skills, while building self-confidence and enriching their lives by becoming a part of a unique community. — The Fort Wayne Indoor

Open seven days a week, October - April, the skatepark has been around for five years, originally as a church youth group extension known as New Republic Skate Park. Over time, all the volunteers disappeared except for Hoppe and skateboard director Dan Butler. They were able to raise $10,000 via a GoFundMe over 21 days in 2014 "to keep the spirit alive," and rebranded as a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit. After that, they ripped everything down and rebuilt, essentially creating a $200k park all with donated labor and wood. 

An entirely volunteer and community based skatepark, there are events every other weekend throughout the winter. Although broken bones come with the territory, Hoppe views these setbacks as time off, and assured us that it's still "10,000 times more fun than injury." Guests are required to sign a liability waver and ride at their own risk, with available lessons for both skateboarding and BMX. There's a designated area for beginners, and the minimum age requirement is eight years old, unless accompanied by parents and depending on how busy it is. With cameras in the building, there's always a watchful eye and never any fights. 

Skateboard director Dan Butler

Skateboard director Dan Butler

"The highlight of the park is just having it exist, it's a very difficult thing to keep open," Hoppe said. "We're a regional hub at this point, there's literally not another skatepark till Cleveland, a BMX park in South Bend and small skateboard park in Kokomo. Indianapolis and Chicago have no indoor parks." The combination of both groups at The Fort Wayne Indoor brings even more people in from the surrounding areas. 

Skateboarders outnumber BMX riders almost five to one in the city, so they get a little more time at The Fort Wayne Indoor. Usually the time is split between the two groups, with a mixed session on Sundays. While skateboarders have Lawton Park, it is against the rules for bikes to be there. Franke Park has a BMX track although there is no freestyle, just racing. Still, once the weather turns, everyone heads outside.

BMX specifically has allowed Hoppe to travel around the country as a stunt rider and announcer. Growing up, he was off his bike all winter long because there was nothing around, so he would go to racetracks instead. Today kids have more options—all ages of kids. It's really a passion project for Rich, as he fell in love with BMX and can't get enough. From shows at schools (mainly Midwest), public speaking gigs, to a specialty podcast (The Bill & Rich Oddcast B.R.O.A.D.D.C.A.S.T.), Hoppe lives and breathes BMX. 

On January 7th, The Battle for Midwest BMX begins with the first stop of the contest series at The Fort Wayne Indoor, then Detroit, South Bend, and Butler, Ohio. All levels are welcome, and the winner gets a free week at Ohio Dreams Action Sports Camp. This the fourth year for the contest hosted by Hoppe. 

BMX director Rich Hoppe

BMX director Rich Hoppe

What lies ahead for The Fort Wayne Indoor? The goal is to get things going even more, gain a stronger foothold in the community, make it a training facility, and hold summer camps. This is not currently possible because of size constraints. Hoppe and Butler hope to grow, save some money, and move to a new building.

If you'd like to support the park, you can donate here, or attend the annual summer fundraiser, an action sports and music festival in downtown Fort Wayne called: "Rock The Ramp" (est. 2015).

Up Next:

Friday Night: BMX 6-10pm - ALL NIGHT SKATE 10pm-6am
Saturday: BMX 2-6pm - CLOSED SATURDAY NIGHT

Sunday: 12pm-4pm

($10 one time fee per year, $10 for each 4 hour session, 7 days a week)

Looking for something to do with a good cause on NYE? Consider a fundraiser for The Fort Wayne Indoor hosted by Skeletunes Lounge which will include live music, prize raffles, and snacks:

Riding in the New Years for The Fort Wayne Indoor

 

There's other ways to help the community as well, check out:

Lutheran Social Services of Indiana

 

 

Photos & video by Tony Frantz

Banh Mi Barista: Bringing Pho to the People

FoodDasFort
Banh Mi Barista (BMB) is a locally owned family cafe that focuses on integrating Vietnamese food, and culture to our community. Food is not only something to fill the appetite, but it is also a way to learn about different cultures and countries. Our menu not only provides products that will soothe your cravings, but will help you experience some of the delicacies of the Vietnamese culture.

Mission:
At BMB, we are committed to providing exceptional food and hospitality to every guest while embracing a fun, creative, and innovative working environment for our associates.
— BMB

Bubble tea, banh mi, and pho—what more do you need to know? How about the background to one of Fort Wayne's most delicious Vietnamese restaurants. 

Banh Mi Barista (BMB) opened in October 2012, as a family business run by owner Will Le, his sister, and niece. The idea was that they could create a healthier option for the city, as there aren't that many Vietnamese restaurants in the area. (There are four Vietnamese restaurants listed on Google, with BMB earning 4.6 stars, and four on Yelp, with BMB at 4.5 stars. BMB ties with Saigon Restaurant on Zomato with 4.2 stars.)

Did you know that there is no processed food at BMB? Everything is made from scratch; handmade with love. A hands on owner, Will does almost everything himself although he delegates when necessary. "I want to do the best that I can, whatever I do. I think that when people eat the food, something I made, I should put some love into doing it instead of just a quick thing," Will told us.

Having worked in the restaurant business growing up, Will always wanted to run his own place one day. Although his sister and niece helped him at the beginning, it's just Will at the helm now that the business is off and running. "I always grew up cooking, I liked cooking when I was younger, always trying something new. My first job in the restaurant industry was as a cook at the Gas House. I cooked there for three years, and really grew to love the process."

"I have been going here for years for the Pho. I've never had a bad experience. Pho is extremely good, veggies are always fresh, service excellent. A true Fort Wayne restaurant gem!"                — 5 Stars by Ryan (Zomato)

Before opening BMB, Will managed a Fort Wayne Panda Express and travelled. Originally from Vietnam, Will came here with his family in 1991. Why Fort Wayne? "It's a peaceful town to grow up in, that's what my family looked at. My mom said it's a good environment to grow up in, and that's why we're here."

His mother is also the person who's influenced him most in life. She was a very optimistic and open minded individual, and liked to learn new things. She was a role model to look up to, always telling him no matter how hard things get, don't give up!

Over the years, Will's biggest teacher have been his mistakes. When BMB first opened, things weren't always done effectively or efficiently—things took longer and were more labor intensive. As the store has grown however, things have gotten easier, and a system is in place to make sure everything runs as efficiently as possible.

One of the most memorable days at BMB? "When we first opened up—we weren't quite ready—and didn't know what to expect. There were people lining up, and we ran out of everything we'd prepared the day before. Everyone was running around trying to keep up with the customers. It was a fun day and it's hard to forget because we ran out of everything, although we gave out coupons to the people so they'd come back when we restocked."

"First time going a couple days ago; it was FANTASTIC. I went there initially looking for good bubble tea, which IS really good btw, and I was very happy with my find. They have so many options and milk tea combinations to choose from; I went with the avocado milk tea with lychee popping boba. Really nice combo. The service was super friendly and helpful, and the beef pho was delicious. Now I'm no expert with beef pho, but this tasted pretty darn good. Fresh herbs, good broth, tender beef, awesome. Definitely coming back for both that and the bubble tea."     — 5 Stars by Emma Hayden (Google)
Dancing bubble teas!

Dancing bubble teas!

What about the name? "Banh mi is the Vietnamese sandwich, and barista is all the drinks we make. Boba tea was just getting popular, it was new in town, so I thought it was a good thing to call it. Especially since it'd be the first of its kind in the city."

After four years in business, what is Will's personal glimpse of wisdom into the industry? "I believe in adding value to people, for the money they spend. When I go out and eat, I make sure I get the value for the money I spend. If I can enhance the value that people experience when they eat here, it will make them remember that it's worth spending the money on."

Strongest asset: Love and passion for food and a love of cooking. Will truly appreciates making things for other people to try.

His personal favorite at BMB? "My personal favorite would be the beef pho, and the Viet special banh mi."

What's next for Banh Mi Barista? Another store, tentatively named PBMB—for Pho Banh Mi Barista. Close to down town the store is slated for a spring opening next year. "The plan is to just keep growing, I've always wanted to grow, maybe even into a chain." The new store will have a few more food options on the expanded menu. 

Tips to growing your own restaurant business? "Focus on what you do within your four walls, and do it really well. Just do what you do, but do it better than everyone else."

Will's go to spot for food in Fort Wayne? Wu's Fine Chinese Cuisine.

In his free time, Will enjoys hiking, bicycling, and canoeing. He also finds inspiration from watching Iron Chef, and reading lots of cookbooks.

"Best Vietnamese I have found in Ft. Wayne or Indy for Bahn Mi and vermicelli bowls. Try the Korean BBQ banh mi with extra veggies and the noodle bowl with beef and add an egg roll (which has way more meat than usual). Daughter tried lychee bubble tea which was very sweet but much more lychee flavor than I expected."  5 Stars by Craig E. (Yelp)
BMB Korean BBQ banh mi sandwich (Tony Frantz) 

BMB Korean BBQ banh mi sandwich (Tony Frantz

Earlier this year, DasFort Media made a new website for BMB, and it was a pleasure to work with one of our favorite spots. You can check it out here: Banh Mi Barista.

We not only build websites, we help populate them with unique photography. It has been our pleasure to help local businesses build their brands online. Although we specialize in SquareSpace sites, we are also adept with WordPress and Magento. Take a look at some of our other sites: http://www.dasfort.com/studio (scroll to the second half for client gallery).

The LaSalle Inn Downtown Fort Wayne: Preservation in Progress

Business, Real EstateDasFort
The LaSalle Inn includes the main house (middle building, aka, the Thomas Snook house), and the Sion Bass house (far left)

The LaSalle Inn includes the main house (middle building, aka, the Thomas Snook house), and the Sion Bass house (far left)

You've probably driven past them, two buildings sitting on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Fairfield Avenue. A large elevated deck behind the LaSalle Bed & Breakfast Inn sits directly behind the downtown Starbucks, the Salvation Army is across Fairfield. Sitting at a red light, you may have looked over, contemplated the deck, or noticed the scrolling LED sign advertising jazz cabaret at the boutique hotel.

Other than intrigue concerning the downtown deck, our previous knowledge about the LaSalle Inn was superfluous at best. After contact via Instagram, DasFort was invited to the Inn to take some photos, and learn about Fort Wayne's only downtown bed and breakfast inn.

It was exciting to park, get out, and experience the buildings with a pair of fresh eyes. The entrance involves walking under a red canopy, and up a set of wooden stairs to the upstairs reception area. As we ascended, it became clear that this was no ordinary bed and breakfast. Carefully curated European decor adds ambiance to the historic setting, making it almost like an overnight stay at a boutique museum. 

The elevated deck behind the LaSalle Inn (there's a hot tub in the corner)

The elevated deck behind the LaSalle Inn (there's a hot tub in the corner)

We were greeted by our Instagram contact, a friendly IPFW student completing her internship at the LaSalle. She gave us some preliminary details and information, and led us on a tour. Along the way, the owner, Clack Butler joined us and filled in the rest of the details.

Clark and his wife, French born Rose-Aimée, bought the main house (517 W Washington) in 1990. Originally intended for use as a dance studio, after Rose-Aimée became Youth Director of the Fort Wayne Ballet, they opened the LaSalle Inn in 2003 "as a way to share the history of the home as well as pay for some of its restoration." Clark, who was a professor of philosophy at IPFW up until last year, is an accomplished author with ten published books. Rose-Aimée is currently in Strasbourg, France where the couple have a second residence. Together they've lived and traveled around the world, read their full bio here.

Dining room where guests can eat (Thomas Snook House)

Dining room where guests can eat (Thomas Snook House)

The Hollywood Suite (Thomas Snook House)

The Hollywood Suite (Thomas Snook House)

The LaSalle Bed & Breakfast Inn includes the Sion Bass House and the Thomas Snook House, which sit beside each other at 509 and 517 West Washington Boulevard in downtown Fort Wayne.

The Butlers also rent out a studio in the Montparnasse District of Paris. Clark plans on heading back to France to join Rose-Aimée and continue his human rights ethics research once business arrangements with the LaSalle Inn are in order. To read about future plans for the inn from Clark himself, scroll to (almost) the bottom of the page. 

509 W Washington, the historic Sion Bass House has a hard to miss purple door and sits to the left of the LaSalle

509 W Washington, the historic Sion Bass House has a hard to miss purple door and sits to the left of the LaSalle

Opt for the finest amenities of any downtown hotel when you stay at the 1842 built Sion Bass House—a stand-alone historically protected building, home to Fort Wayne’s most celebrated Civil War hero.

For more details on the Sion Bass House, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Walls lined with historic photographs (Sion Bass House)

Walls lined with historic photographs (Sion Bass House)

The David Foster Suite (Sion Bass House)

The David Foster Suite (Sion Bass House)

The Eliza George Suite where we stayed (Sion Bass House) 

The Eliza George Suite where we stayed (Sion Bass House) 

Our room for the night was the Eliza George Suite. The bed was particularly cozy, and in combination with the decor, it brought to mind memories of overnights at my grandmother's. 

The Eliza George Suite: 

This first floor room is named for Eliza “Mother” George, mother-in-law of Sion Bass and famous Civil War nurse. You’ll rest on the comforting queen bed with a high, golden oak Victorian headboard. Your bathroom features a double jacuzzi with spa shower. Room are located in the Sion Bass House.

(You can take a virtual tour and hear Clark and Rose-Aimée describe the history and decorations right here.)

Each of the Sion Bass House suites are named after a historic figure, each with their description outlined along with photos on the website. The rooms in the Thomas Snook house (built in 1901) have names as well, but are mostly location based, like the African and Hollywood Suites.

The Sion Bass Room (Sion Bass House)

The Sion Bass Room (Sion Bass House)

The African Suite (Thomas Snook House)

The African Suite (Thomas Snook House)

The Lincoln Room (Sion Bass House)

The Lincoln Room (Sion Bass House)

The fireplace in the photo above is a pre Civil War fireplace, of the same make, model, and vintage as the fireplace that was in the room Abraham Lincoln died in. Only slightly macabre for an overnight stay! The desk clerk joked with us that her mother would not stay in the LaSalle because she was afraid it was haunted. When I asked Clark about ghosts, we happened to be in the basement, checking out the winter kitchen from the 19th century original inhabitants. Although he does not believe in them, he mentioned that they'd had a guest who claimed to be able to talk to a ghost in the Sion Bass House. I've never met a ghost personally, so I can't say I believe or not, but either way, our stay was blissfully ghost free. 

The whole experience was very special, educational, and just so cozy. We shared a bottle of champagne and a riveting conversation with Clark before we retired to our room, walking next door to the Sion Bass House. Every corner contains an intricate detail with a story behind it, and the LaSalle Bed & Breakfast Inn is all about the people, and the details.

10/10 would stay again.

Thomas Snook House

Thomas Snook House

Thomas Snook House

Thomas Snook House

A few words from the owner of the LaSalle Bed & Breakfast Inn, Clark Butler:

"The LaSalle resulted from the 1990 purchase of the neo-classical 517 West Washington Blvd. in Fort Wayne by Clark and Rose-Aimée Butler for her ballet school. When Rose-Aimée was hired in 1991 by the Fort Wayne Ballet full-time, they continued to restore the house and became accidental innkeepers with the LaSalle BB in 2003. 

When Clark became a Purdue University Philosophy Emeritus in 2015 and moved to Rose-Aimée's native France as promised when they married, a business model change began for the LaSalle—the only BB in the city among four to have survived the Great Recession. It became a historical boutique hotel.

Rose-Aimée had been hostess, but Clark used his administrative experience at the IPFW campus to professionalize the inn as an independent hotel capable of creating a full livelihood. The LaSalle solo jazz cabaret venue was added in 2014, which now operates with the IPFW Music Department.

The plan is to establish solo jazz performance downtown, open a traditional restaurant with a reduced beverage license in the new Riverfront/Downtown Dining District, develop use of 517 West Washington's basement to its full legal use for the inn, and research doubling the number of units by contemporary shipping container construction of hotel rooms through a Dutch company.

To do this, Clark is recruiting an onsite partner as he remakes his life in human rights research and philosophy in the university city of Montpellier, France, on the Mediterranean. The couple is collaborating with Parisian jazz vocalist Guylenn Delassus and with French chef Nicolas Demidorff to open a jazz cabaret venue there, the LaSalle East."

 

Sion Bass House

Sion Bass House

David Foster Suite (Sion Bass House)

David Foster Suite (Sion Bass House)

Colonel Sion Bass House: 509 W Washington Blvd. 

"Built c.1855, this brick Italianate house was owned by Colonel Sion Bass and his wife Eliza from c.1855 to 1878. Over the years, the house endured the addition and demolition of wings and porches, but the present appearance is very close to that when originally built. A wide cornice with bands of decorative moldingssurround the house, and a band of dentils is punctuated by decorative scroll brackets that also surround the house. The bay window on the east side has a flat roof along with a cornice consisting of dentils and brackets. Shaped and carved limestone is used for some lintels and window sills, particularly on the front, while other window and door openings have brick segmental arches.  Rubble stone makes up some portions of the foundation. The one-over-one double hung windows on the front, sides and in the east bay window are likely early replacement windows, but many of the original four-over-four double hung windows on the sides and back of the house remain. The front door is surrounded by decorative moldings and is topped by a transom while the two rear doors have segmental arches and transoms.  

Sion S. Bass was born in 1827 near Salem, Kentucky. He came to Fort Wayne in 1848 or 1849, and first worked as a clerk for fur traders Ewing, Chute and Company. In 1853, he formed a successful iron works firm called Jones, Bass and Company with W.H. Jones and John Hough, Jr. The foundry and machine shops were located near the new Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, and Chicago Railroad line. The manufacturing facility, which later would become the Pennsylvania Railroad Shops, was sold to the railroad in 1857. Sion and Jones then formed Jones and Bass and developed a new foundry and machine shop on the south side of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, and Chicago line with access to the new Wabash Railroad line. In 1859, the new plant was purchased by the Fort Wayne Machine Works.  In 1862, Sion’s brother, John H. Bass, became sole owner of the plant which eventually became the Bass Foundry and Machine Works, Fort Wayne’s largest factory and employer.

As the Civil War loomed, Sion became interested in politics. He helped to organize the 30th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers (“The Bloody Thirtieth”) at Camp Allen in Fort Wayne. He was elected Colonel and commanding officer in September of 1861, and by October of the same year, was in training in Indianapolis. His regiment marched through Kentucky and Tennessee until 1862. Sion was wounded while leading a charge at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee. He was taken to Paducah, Kentucky for care, but died April 14, 1862. He is buried in Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne. 

National Register (West Central Historic District) - 1984              

Local Historic District (Individual) - 2001"   — Via westcentralneighborhood.org

The LaSalle Inn

The LaSalle Inn

 

We also attended the live Jazz Cabaret the following Friday evening. Video coming soon!

Photos by Tony Frantz

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