Saturday, February 2, 2008

Joel Roberts Ninde, Indiana's First Female Architect

I. Introduction
Joel Roberts Ninde, Fort Wayne, Indiana’s first female architect, left an amazing legacy of comfortable, artistic and affordable houses. Soon after her October 1900 marriage in Indianapolis, the couple moved to the Fort Wayne community to make their home. Unable to find a suitable dwelling and unwilling to move into her in-laws house, Joel decided to design her dream house and thus launched a successful architectural career in the Fort Wayne area. Joel believed that her “house of convenience designs” needed to be a blend of economical building materials, construction durability and eye appeal for the homemaker. The cost of the house, with landscaping, should be appropriately priced for both the average and upper income homeowner. Joel had a vision, and she had the drive necessary to succeed in a field dominated by men. Individualism in house design was a requirement; no two houses should look alike. Because of her unique ability to design houses, Joel was able to fill a needed niche in the housing market.[i]

ENDNOTES[i] Nancy Venderely, “Ninde Homes a Vision of Turn-of-Century,” Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, People Section, Southwest, October 21, 1997, n.p.

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