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Fort Wayne Photo-Walk
August 24, 2008
Pete's Pics > Fort Wayne Photo-Walk
 
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The Fort Wayne walk began at the Civic Theater. Freimann park is adjacent and contains this equestrian statue of the 'Mad' General looking to beat up on the Kekionga tribe of the Miami Indians


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A block or two west is "downtown" with the Courthouse, the art nouveau Lincoln building (1929) and the National City Center (1970)


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There is little left of historic downtown in terms of authentic buildings and it is difficult even to define where the town was in its heyday. Fort Wayne, like so many mid-west, previously automotive reliant towns, continues to struggle with its identity with sporadic efforts to reinvent a downtown. Residents and their money have moved to the now annexed but far away suburbs while the city fathers squander their hard earned tax dollars on sundry black-hole projects


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When you "look behind the curtain" of this, or many other Ohio and Indiana cities, investment in infrastructure and vigorous development is not the first thing that strikes you. This shot was taken from beneath the elevated railroad that passes through the city - the passenger station has been closed for many years


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Happily, a classical mid-west style building that remains in pretty good shape - windows and everything!


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In the mid 1920s, the Shriners built this auditorium and banquet facility - by far the largest in the city at the time. Following a checkered existence, including the Shriner bankruptcy in the depression year, the complex is currently owned by the Scottish Rite, a branch of the Freemasons


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Not sure what effect the designer was going for here - is that plaid brickwork or what? One way and another, the struggling enterprise is undergoing a three million dollar renovation but still has to compete with the Memorial Coliseum, the Wayne Center - itself a taxpayer funded boondoggle - the Embassy Theater and the new city folly known as Harrison Square


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Built in 1893, Fire Station #3 is now a Fire Fighters Museum and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places


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Mixed use tenancy represents a laudable effort to keep this building viable. New York Dentists cohabiting with a yuppie eatery and a disco boasting live DJs on Friday and Saturday. Dead ones, I suppose, are used for the rest of the week. Very enterprising


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Incongruously, Fort Wayne sports a Botanical Conservatory amid the fast food joints and general dereliction of its downtown area. This Muse effigy stands outside - I can only guess what the Muse might be saying to her companion


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Fort Wayne is known as the Summit City because it was the highest point on the Wabash-Erie Canal when it existed. It is also informally called the City of Churches (along with dozens of other US cities) possibly due to being the Catholic and the Lutheran center for NE Indiana. This yawn of a church, The First Presbyterian, was built in 1955


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The Plymouth Congregational Church is a stoic little edifice distinguished by its Romanesque tower. Practically every other Fort Wayne church is steepled


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This is the Trinity Episcopal Church built in 1865 and consecrated in 1868 by Bishop Talbot


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Built in 1925, the Trinity English Evangelical Lutheran Church is likely the homeliest church in the city if not the state. This one also made it to the National Registry of Historic Places


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How about that! Fort Wayne has a cathedral - the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Claimed to be the oldest continuous use church structure - why anyone bothers with such claims if they have to be so qualified - the cornerstone was laid in 1859


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Before the demise of canals, Fort Wayne was an important city and enjoyed its greatest growth in the 1840s with large immigrant population from Germany and Poland most of whom were Catholic or Lutheran. Hence, this church, St Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church exists less than half-a-mile from the The English Lutheran Church


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Fort Wayne retains the pretence of a Farmer's Market held on Wayne Street each Saturday. It is unfortunately a pretty sorry affair with few buyers and even less produce. Most of the population now lives so far from downtown it is difficult to see how such an enterprise could be resuscitated


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Back in Freimann Square where the walk started, I found a fig-leaf substitute for my favorite gnome that would cover sufficient territory to render her socially acceptable in almost any circle. She was excited at the prospect
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