John H. Bass Mansion

The Bass Mansion, also known as Brookside, is an administrative building and historic structure at the University of Saint Francis located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The hand-carved, sandstone mansion was the private residence of industrialist John Henry Bass from 1902-1944. The Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration bought the home and more than 65 acres of surrounding landscape from the Bass family in 1944 and relocated their college.[2] Since 1944, the mansion served as library and residence to the college.

John H. Bass Mansion
Front of the house
Location2701 Spring Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Coordinates41°5′15″N 85°10′33″W
Arealess than one acre
ArchitectWing & Mahurin
Architectural styleRomanesque
NRHP reference #82000056[1]
Added to NRHPJune 2, 1982


Brookside, also known as the Bass Mansion, was added, in 1982, to the National Register of Historic Places.[3] In 1889, John Henry Bass (1835–1922), hired local architects Wing and Mahurin to build a Romanesque summer home named Brookside. He improved the landscape's aesthetic value with a man-made lake outlining the north, east and south exposures of the home. In 1902, a gas explosion ignited a basement fire destroying all but a portion of the exterior masonry. By 1903, the resurrected home incorporated a combination of stone, concrete and steel which endure to this day.[4][5]

Preserving History

Restoration efforts began in 2009 and by the end of 2010 the mansion has been completely restored after many years of constant use. Along with the restoration, the university restored the name of the mansion to Brookside, as John Henry Bass originally planned.[6] The restoration of this 1903 Richarsonian Romanesque masterpiece involved historic investigation of the original decorative work. Each diversely themed room presented a unique challenge in terms of existing condition, decorative style and the lack of clues left behind to guide an accurate conservation and restoration of the original decoration. The comprehensive restoration and aggressive homecoming of original and elegant new decoration celebrates and revives the Bass Mansion's unique decorative and cultural legacy.[7] Conrad Schmitt Studios' restoration of the historic Bass Mansion includes, period conservation and replication of the ornate decorative painting and stencil work. Today, mural conservation, stenciling, tromp l'oeil, glazing and gilding adorn the hallowed halls of the restored Bass Mansion.


  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. Brookside Heritage, Brookside Self-Guided Tour, University of Saint Francis, page 2, 2009
  3., Bass, John H., Mansion (added 1982 - Building - #82000056)
  4. Brookside Heritage, Broodside Self-Guided Tour, University of Saint Francis, 2009
  5. "Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD)" (Searchable database). Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Retrieved 2015-07-01. Note: This includes Terence F. Sebright (June 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: John H. Bass Mansion" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-01. and Accompanying photographs
  6. Brookside Heritage, Brookside Self-Guided Tour, University of Saint Francis, page 3, 2009
  7. University of Saint Francis Press Release, ARCHIE Award, Outstanding Restoration, 2010
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