Sion Bass (1827-1862) had come to Fort Wayne in 1848 from Salem, Kentucky, and worked for the Ewing fur-trading enterprise. He was joined by his younger brother, John, in 1853. Together the Bass brothers founded an iron works company, which they eventually sold to the railroad and then founded a second iron and machine works. This company, under the direction of John Bass, became the great Bass Foundry that dominated Fort Wayne industry until after the turn of the century.

When the Civil War broke out, Sion Bass volunteered and helped organize the Thirtieth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers – “The Bloody Thirtieth”. Bass was elected Colonel and commanding officer by the men. In the regiment’s first action at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee in April 1862, Sion Bass led his men in several charges during the second day of bloody fighting. He was severely wounded and died seven days later. His body was returned to Fort Wayne where a state funeral was held to honor the city’s first fallen hero. Colonel Bass was laid to rest in Lindenwood Cemetery on April 14, 1862. A memorial to the Colonel was erected by his regiment and friends.

The Sion Bass House was built by John Grimes in 1842, who purchased the lot from Charles Ewing for $125.00, which was paid in carpenters and joiners work, and erected a house on the lot.[1] On March 13, 1854, John Grimes’ heirs sold the home the home to Sion Bass and his wife Eliza.[2] The Sion Bass House is located in the West Central Neighborhood Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house was built in a transitional Italianate design. Architecturally, the house was ahead of its time, because the Italianate style did not become popular in Fort Wayne until a few years after the house was built.[3]  The Sion Bass House is significant to our history because it was the home Sion lived in until his death. Bass’ wife, Eliza, lived in the home until 1878, when she sold the house to Patrick Keegan. The Keegan family owned the house until 1961. Today the home is part of the Lasalle Bed and Breakfast, along with its neighboring house.[4]

[1] Dreielbiss Abstract of Title Company, “Abstract of Title to: Lot 2. Block 31 in Ewing’s Addition to the City of Fort Wayne, According to the Recorded Plat Thereof,” ARCH, Inc. Archive.

[2] Ibid.

[3]  “National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form: Sion Bass House,” National Park Service.

[4] The Bicentennial Heritage Trail Committee, On the Heritage Trail: A Walking Guidebook to the Fort Wayne Heritage Trail (Fort Wayne: ARCH, Inc., 1994):164-165.