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City of Bloomington, Indiana

Explore architecture from the 1890s through 1930s including much of the Showers brothers' history

This is a new tour brochure, revised from the 1988 template to include new information on the history and revitalization of the North Washington Street National Register District. Research on Bloomington's local history is ongoing and, in particular, much has been discovered about the work of the J.L. Nichols architectural firm and the activities of the Showers family in the development of this area.

Developed by W.N. and J.D Showers for their friends and family, the North Washington Street Historic District developed near the brothers' grand homes on Walnut Street, both of which are demolished. For his daughters Nellie and Jennie, William Showers built two homes with identical floor plans and similar elaborate Queen Anne decoration.Although the neighborhood is memorable for its Victorian atmosphere, it also boasts a large number of Free Classic style homes, which would have appeared refreshingly "modern" in those days. Dr. Harris built the incredible craftsman style bungalow in 1915. Its massive scale and multiple gables illustrate the influence of Greene and Greene on this style.

Also found in the neighborhood are artifacts from the Victorian era like the carved limestone rails that connect houses elevated above the grade to the sidewalk below. These same curvilinear rails were common along North Walnut Street as well, although most of these homes have been lost.