The Summit City is home to many historic buildings and landmarks. Here is a guide to some of the most well-known and impressive:
- The History Center: The History Center, located in the former Fort Wayne Old City Hall Building, has served as headquarters for the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society since 1980. The sandstone building was built in 1893 in the Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. The History Center has three rooms available to rent for special events including weddings, wedding receptions, business dinners, fund-raisers, class reunions, retirement and anniversary parties, and cocktail receptions.
- Allen County Courthouse: While the exterior is impressive, the inside is what gets national recognition. The interior is a case study in color, decorative details and finishes, especially scagliola. More than 15,000-square feet of scagliola, or faux marble made from plaster, adorns columns, walls, pilasters and moldings. Visitors are encouraged to tour this National Historic Landmark with a trained docent or as a self-guided tour. The informative presentation covers a history of the courthouse, the community leaders behind preservation efforts, interpretation of the artwork and a discussion of the techniques and processes used in restoration. The tour lasts approximately one hour and a donation of $2 per person is recommended. To schedule a tour, contact the Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust office at (260) 449.4246 or email.
- Well Street Bridge: A site on the National Register of Historic Places, the metal Wells Street Bridge is famous for its ornate and decorated Whipple truss style. Allen County boasts several Whipple truss bridges, but this truss style is otherwise a rare and significant design. Upon its completion in 1884 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Co, it was an “artistic and technological marvel,” according to Todd Pelfrey, executive director of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society.
- Chief Richardville House: The Chief Richardville House, at his original site at 5705 Bluffton Road, bears several monikers, including the oldest Native American dwelling in the Midwest, the first Greek Revival Style house in northeast Indiana and the oldest house in northeast Indiana. Perhaps most notable is the fact that it was home to the wealthiest man in Indiana at the time of his death in 1841.
- Embassy Theatre: This Spanish Eclectic style movie palace and hotel was designed by A.M. Strauss with consultation by nationally known theater architect John Eberson. Original interior details of the theater include walls of French marble in the outer lobby, black and white Italian marble in the inner lobby, a marble grand staircase, and motifs in Spanish, Moorish, Indian and Oriental designs. Restoration work completed in the 1990s recreated the original carpet, lace curtains, and light fixtures. The lobby of the hotel, closed since the 1960s, was also returned to its original grandeur. Most of the hotel space was also used to make way for an improved stage system. Also housed at the Embassy is a Grande Page Organ.
- Engine House No. 3: This Romanesque Revival style fire house was designed by the architectural firm of Wing & Mahurin. Noteable details include arched doorways and stall openings in brick, and a stone belt course above a row of brick dentils on the main façade. At one time, it was the largest and best-equipped fire station in town, and also served as a testing site for new equipment and firefighting methods. It was last used as a fire station in 1972. It currently houses the Fort Wayne Firefighter’s Museum and the Old No. 3 Firehouse Café.
Hungry for more? Stop by the Visitors Center, and request a Heritage Trail Map. There are many treasures waiting to be discovered!