The Ambrose Bierce Site



by Steve Block

Since 1987 I have lived in Warsaw, Indiana, in an old Italianate Indiana Brick farmhouse. This house was originally situated on a farm which was platted by land grant in the 1830s. The original structure was replaced by this home sometime around 1880. It is the old Bierce homestead. Bierce ditch (which is now a drainage till) runs along the east side of my property. Here is a relatively recent photo of the current house as it sits. One of these days I would like to see this home restored and listed on the historic register.

I have scanned an image of the original platted farm in Wayne Township, a place called Walnut Creek. It was actually 80 acres. I currently own 2.6 acres, but most of the original land lies still undeveloped and is a mix of agricultural land and Indiana woods.

Click on map to enlarge:

NOTE FROM DON SWAIM: Although Bierce grew up on the Walnut Creek property as a child, obviously he never lived in the house as it now exists. While his folks tilled the farm in Walnut Creek, Bierce worked as a waiter and laborer in Elkhart just prior to enlisting in the Indiana volunteers. During his military service in the Civil War he returned to Walnut Creek occasionally, in particular after his head wound. In the midst of the war his parents sold the farm and moved from Walnut Creek to Elkhart, Indiana. Ambrose never lived in the Elkhart house [see below], but it's thought he visited there at least once.



From the owner, "Dianne," who submitted the photographs in January 2003:

1. Address: 518 West Franklin Street, Elkhart, Indiana 46516, 5th block west of Main Street. The street has recently been called Attorney Alley as many attorney offices are in the area and the court house is a few blocks away.There are other homes in the area undergoing restoration with one other winning awards for improvement in 1996 as did the Bierce property.

2. The property is owned by me and I have run Sunshine Home Health Care out of the property since 1994. I am in the process of closing the business at this time.

3. There have been no additions since the 1917 photo. I believe the original home build was a one story home and a few years later the upper level was added.

The original house in 1917 -- with some obvious additions:

Below. The Elkhart house before restoration and after:

The Realtor handling sale in 2003 wrote: "It's [the house] in the Historic Register and a restoration has been started. Whatever could not be restored due to financial constraints has been conserved. There are two newer furnace and central air units, one up and one down. This owner has a variance for office use and the property is well situated for that. More history on the house is available c/o Homeward Bound, 574-875-9235."

Ambrose Bierce in the News
Ambrose Bierce on the Notion of God
Ambrose Bierce on Terrorism
Ambrose Bierce on Politics
Ambrose Bierce & Pancho Villa
The Wickedest Man in San Francisco, 1870
Love & Kisses: Bierce & Wilde
Bierce Duels with H.L. Mencken
Bierce & Jack London
Ambrose Bierce Resources on the Web

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