City begins demolition of historic Fairfield-Nestel Mansion

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) After a lengthy battle, Fort Wayne’s historic Fairfield-Nestel mansion is being razed. Demolition work began Monday, according to city spokesman John Perlich.

The home, located at 813 and 815 W. Creighton Ave., was built in the 1850s by Captain Asa Fairfield. It was later purchased by the Nestels, a family famous for their involvement in the circus.

The first order to demolish the home was issued in 1998 and the second in 2005. Both times, Neighborhood Code allowed the orders to expire in order to provide more time for the property owner to make repairs, according to Cindy Joyner of the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department.

A before-and-after photo shows Fort Wayne’s historic Fairfield-Nestle Mansion in June 2017 (left) and August 2017 (right).

The home was recommended for demolition again before Fort Wayne realtor Joe Leksich bought the house from the previous owner in January 2016. Still, Leksich had hoped to save the home.

Leksich presented his plan to rehabilitate the house to city officials and participated in multiple court hearings over the last year. Leksich told Newschannel 15 in June that his plan may have been ambitious, and although progress was made, it wasn’t enough to save the mansion.

Joyner said previously that demolishing the home was necessary for the safety of nearby residents and to help the neighborhood maintain property values. ARCH, a historic preservation advocacy group, has agreed demolition is the right move.