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Old Posted Apr 11, 2009, 10:43 PM
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My Town Overlooked - Fort Wayne, Indiana

Boxing the Compass
An Overview of Fort Wayne - April 8, 2009

All photos copyright © 2009 by Robert E Pence

Thanks to Stephen L. Parker of Around Fort Wayne for inviting me to accompany him to the open-air deck on the 23rd level at the top of Fort Wayne's historic, beautiful, Art Deco Lincoln Tower.

A vintage postcard view of the tower at night.














The 312-foot tower was designed by local architect A.M. Strauss with Cleveland, Ohio, firm Walker & Weeks, and was completed in 1930. It was Indiana's tallest building until 1962, and Fort Wayne's tallest until construction of the present National City Center in 1970. It was acquired and extensively refurbished in 1998 by Tippmann Properties and is home to Tower Bank.

Starting looking North, we'll move clockwise for an overview of downtown Fort Wayne.
North



1986
I wonder why there are no pigeons on the courthouse dome in the 1986 photos, and in 2009 any time of day, any time of year, it's covered with hundreds of them.
The black pattern on the top of the dome resulted from an attempt to seal leaks. A contractor had used silicone caulk to seal the dome, apparently unaware that silicone caulk does not hold up under exposure to direct sunlight, and the caulk failed. Sometime around 1990 the dome was overlaid with copper panels shown in the later photos.






Allen County Courthouse and Plaza.






In the middle distance, the former site of the New York Central Fourth Street Yard. More recently it was a scrap-metal recycling facility, and has been considered for purchase by the city for redevelopment. The circular paths mark Headwaters Park, a former light-industrial and warehouse area in the flood plain, cleared to provide space for floodwater.


In the foreground, the Old Fort. In the distance, Memorial Coliseum.


Northeast
On the left, Freimann Square. Going east from there, the 1973 Arts United Center designed by Louis Kahn, the Art Museum, and across the railroad the two towers are Three Rivers Apartments


1986


The complex with the red tile roofs, partially obscured by Three Rivers North, is the water purification plant.


1986


Events pavilion in Headwaters Park. The excavating machinery on the right is being used to mitigate soil contamination from a plant that once produced gas from coal on the site.


East

The Romanesque sandstone building is the former City Hall, designed by Fort Wayne architects Wing & Mahurin. It now houses The History Center. Across the street is the GTE building; the brick cladding conceals a handsome WWI-era brick building. The building in the lower right is Renaissance Square, built by Wolf & Dessaur department store about 1960, and then stripped to columns and floors and reconstructed as a modern office building with a five-story atrium in the 1980s. It housed the corporate offices of Lincoln Financial Corporation before the move to Philadelphia, and until recently, the Lincoln Museum.


1986


The brick house with the carriage barn, beyond the History Center, is the McCulloch-Weatherhogg house. To the immediate south of the carriage barn and facing on Lafayette Street, the small old brick house was the home of Alexander Rankin, pastor of First Presbyterian Church at its founding in 1837. Alexander was the brother of Ohio abolitionist John Rankin, and it's thought that Alexander probably harbored fugitive slaves in his house.


Southeast

The building with the parking garage with helix ramp was built around 1960 or 1961 for Indiana Bank. Now it's home to offices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne and South Bend and the Cathedral Museum. The building with the columns is the Masonic Temple, and the YMCA is immediately on its east. Farther east, the garishly painted tower is a hotel. It was built as a Sheraton and was closed for some years following a fire, and then reopened as a Holiday Inn, which it is no longer. The church in the upper right is St. Paul's Lutheran, Missouri Synod. It's the site of the meeting that organized the Missouri Synod. On the left in the center distance, the modernist church is Wayne Street Methodist.


1986








Just beyond St. Paul's Lutheran is Anthis Career Center, a vocational high school. It formerly was Central High School. The large, flat-roofed building beyond that is the U.S. Post Office, and beyond that is the elevated right-of-way of the former Pennsylvania and Wabash Railroads, now CSX and Norfolk Southern, respectively.


South
Tallest building in Fort Wayne and tallest reinforced concrete building in Indiana, 442-foot One Summit Square was designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates and completed in 1982. Principal tenants are Indiana Michigan Power Company and regional headquarters of JP Morgan Chase.


1986




Southwest


1986


The large gray building in the center is the Grand Wayne Center, Fort Wayne's convention center. It extends to the left and connects with the Hilton Hotel on Calhoun Street. On the right, a corner and the main entrance of the Allen County Public Library can be seen, and in the center distance is Parkview Field, Fort Wayne's new downtown ballpark and home to the Tin Caps.


The Allen County Public Library is in the center, and on the right is First Presbyterian Church's fourth building, built 1956. Beyond the library, the stone church is Trinity English Lutheran. Its original congregation bought First Presbyterian's original 1837 building in 1846, and the present building's bell tower holds the bell from that first building.


1986


In the large brick factory complex General Electric once employed thousands of people manufacturing motors and transformers, before the company's much-lauded-until-recently former CEO decided in the 1980s that the company's assets and resources could be better utilized speculating in financial abstractions.


Wayne Street at Harrison Street. The storefront next to the alley houses the Double Dragon. I think the food's pretty good, especially the spicy stuff. JK O'Donnel's Irish Pub is a relative newcomer downtown and very popular, and across the street from it is Toscani's Pizzeria, another place I like. The brick four-storey building on the corner was once Patterson-Fletcher, a department store that carried good-quality clothing.






1986






West

Looking west on Berry Street, the building in the middle right with the nice cornices was home to Fort Wayne National Bank prior to construction of what is now National City Building. The most distant brick building on the right side of Berry Street is St. Joseph's Hospital, known throughout the area for its burn center.


1986


Looking down at Berry & Calhoun Streets.


1986


Northwest

National City Center was completed in 1970 for Fort Wayne National Bank and designed by Kelly Marshall Architects. On Emporis I found five other buildings designed by that firm, and only one, in Lafayette, Indiana, doesn't look like a carbon copy of all the others.


1986




The street running west from Calhoun Street, just a short block this side of the railroad, is Columbia Street. From here the street into the 1960s continued eastward all the way to the Columbia Street Bridge; its former right of way now is occupied by the City-County Building, Arts United Center, Museum of Art, and main fire station. The canopied platforms on the railroad elevation behind Columbia Street are where passenger trains on the Nickel Plate Railroad once stopped.




Top of the tower in back-and-white from 1986




Street Level
A short walk north on Calhoun Street, starting at Wayne Street




Approaching Berry Street


Beauty ...


... and at Main Street, the Beast


The parking garage matches.


Riegel's is a long-time Fort Wayne retailer. Prior to the late sixties, they were on the corner across the street, where the City-County Building stands now.






In the wee hours of the morning, when you really need a friend ...




The building on the right replaced an older building where baking powder was invented, and where a young Thomas Edison once roomed while working as a railroad telegrapher. There was no official explanation for the collapse of the original building, which was being extensively reworked for conversion to a pub/restaurant. After the debris was removed it appeared that excavation to deepen the basement had gone lower than the level of the foundation footers. Nothing was holding the bottom of the foundation wall against the pressure of the soil on the outside, and it had pushed inward letting everything come down in a heap. The collapse occurred moments after the 9pm bus lineup passed by.


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Last edited by Robert Pence; May 15, 2009 at 8:09 PM.
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Old Posted Apr 11, 2009, 11:08 PM
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wait, maybe I missed something, but did you forget a picture of the actual building you were up in?

Either way, I guess these photos were okay...
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Old Posted Apr 11, 2009, 11:54 PM
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Enjoyed your tour Rob.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 12:32 AM
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Pretty nice lookin town you have there Rob. Love the baseball team name... Do the Tin Caps ever play the Toledo Mud Hens? Tin Caps Vs. Mud Hens... love it.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MobyLL View Post
Pretty nice lookin town you have there Rob. Love the baseball team name... Do the Tin Caps ever play the Toledo Mud Hens? Tin Caps Vs. Mud Hens... love it.
Probably not considering the Tin Caps are class A while the Mud Hens are Triple A.

Great photos, rob! I enjoyed viewing them.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 1:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the pope View Post
wait, maybe I missed something, but did you forget a picture of the actual building you were up in?

Either way, I guess these photos were okay...
Golly! I'm awful sorry. I fixed that oversight for now. I hope you'll forgive me, and I hope you won't lose sleep over it, because I know I will.



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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 2:11 AM
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Fantastic overview of the city. Was going to do a thread when I go there in June, but looks like you covered it. I see so many similar buildings down here in Dayton!
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 2:35 AM
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Fort Wayne looks like a pretty interesting city. The big GE factory and the magnificent court house stood out to me. Nice crisp photos, thanks!
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 3:32 AM
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I see so many similar buildings down here in Dayton!
Yup.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 3:34 AM
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Probably not considering the Tin Caps are class A while the Mud Hens are Triple A.
yeah I guess that would be a problem... thanks for crushing my dreams OhioGuy.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 4:14 AM
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Originally Posted by flar View Post
Fort Wayne looks like a pretty interesting city. The big GE factory and the magnificent court house stood out to me. Nice crisp photos, thanks!
Thanks. When you say "crisp" I take that as high praise. Your stuff is pretty much the gold standard for crisp. Funny thing is, I'd been shooting with a Nikon 24-120 VR zoom and usually couldn't get photos as sharp as I thought they ought to be. Then, I picked up an old, used Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 at my favorite local shop for $100, and I think it may be the sharpest lens I've owned.

I suggest you check out the interior of the courthouse here. I want to re-shoot that interior because I've come a long way both with hardware and skills since I took those in 2004, but they give a pretty good idea of how lavish it is.

Since I took those, the judges have banned cameras and cell phones in the building during business hours, so I'll have to make arrangements for access after hours or on a weekend. Fortunately I know who's in charge of that.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 3:03 PM
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Nice tour!! You see FW from a different perspective when you're in the air!! Thanks!!

wait, maybe I missed something, but did you forget a picture of the actual building you were up in?


He had the best seat in the house!!

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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 3:37 PM
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Nice shots of South Bend's big brother.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 4:54 PM
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Nice shots of South Bend's big brother.
Yes. Despite that Fort Wayne has always had a larger population, I think downtown South Bend has more large buildings. Before Urban Renewal it had a very strong big-city vibe, and it still has some real assets like the Michiana Regional Transportation Center (airport) combining air, passenger rail connections to Chicago, and intercity bus in one terminal building. The Century Center takes advantage of a great river setting and completely kicks butt for its lobby view, the East Race is a great place to hang out on summer late afternoons, and the historic sites like the Oliver Mansion and Tippecanoe Place are first-rate.

Downtown South Bend's biggest liability IMO is the abundance of arterial streets with capacity that is far in excess of contemporary needs. Some, I think, have four lanes of traffic with a lane of parking on each side, and they're one-way. Visually they are density-killers, and it's not possible even for a fairly nimble pedestrian to make it across in the stoplight cycle time without running or at least trotting.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 7:14 PM
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Fort Wayne seems pleasant. For some reason, I get a good vibe from its pictures.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 8:39 PM
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Nice stuff, thanks!
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2009, 11:31 PM
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Great pics and perspective. Interesting info too. I enjoyed the tour, and I love the Lincoln Tower. Thanks Rob.
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Old Posted Apr 14, 2009, 12:01 AM
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Very nice!
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Old Posted Apr 14, 2009, 12:11 AM
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Fort Wayne seems pleasant. For some reason, I get a good vibe from its pictures.
I spent a weekend in Fort Wayne a couple years ago and can attest that the city does have a nice vibe. I was expecting a nice little city, but was really surprised at all the cultural amenities, including one of the best used bookstores around.

Great thread!
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Old Posted Apr 14, 2009, 12:18 AM
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Quaint and nice city. Thanks.
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