Thursday, August 29, 2013

John Ross McCulloch

One of the most notable homes remaining in the central business district of Fort Wayne is John Ross McCulloch’s House at 334 East Berry Street.  In its heyday, from the 1880s to the 1940s, this was the finest home on the east side.

The family name always associated with the house – McCulloch – was itself a prominent feature of the community’s past.  The house, one of the few remaining examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Fort Wayne, was built in 1883 by Charles McCulloch but was intended for his son, John Ross.  Charles McCulloch, the son of Hugh McCulloch, Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Chester A. Arthur, was president of the Hamilton National Bank, the predecessor of National City Bank.

J. Ross McCulloch was born in 1869 and he, too, went into banking.  But the tastes of this McCulloch were often very different from those of his ancestors.  Educated in Washington, D.C., and at the Irving Institute in New York, Ross spent his entire adult life in one half of the duplex on Berry Street.  In later years his partner in the east half of the house was Charles Weatherhogg, an English architect who came to Fort Wayne in 1894 and who, before his death in 1937, designed many of the major early twentieth-century buildings in Fort Wayne.

McCulloch’s other interest lay in the arts.  He served as the president of the Fort Wayne Community Concert Association, which eventually became the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra.  His first love, however, was for the theatre and painting.  Michigan artist Robert Grafton created murals in his home, and Ross became an active member of a local theatre group.


Allen County Historian Tom Castaldi is author of the Wabash & Erie Canal Notebook series; hosts “On the Heritage Trail,” which is broadcast at 6:35 a.m., 8:35 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Mondays on WBOI, 89.1 FM; and “Historia Nostra” heard on WLYV-1450 AM and WRRO 89.9 FM. Enjoy his previously published columns on the History Center’s blog, “Our Stories,” at history Our thanks to Fort Wayne Monthly for allowing us to re-publish articles that have appeared in their magazine.

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