If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a Saturday with your kids, grab your cameras and come to downtown. Get out of the car and walk around, snapping shots of architectural elements on the variety of buildings in this part of Fort Wayne, then head over the Allen County Public Library for a little research on architecture as an art form. Your photos can make an interesting scrap book, art work for greeting cards or framed prints for your home. Plus you’ll learn a little bit about the history of our city along the way. City and county government is now housed in Citizen’s Square with some offices also in the Edwin J. Rousseau Centre at Clinton and Main. But the History Center was once the home to city government and the building we are in has quite a history unto itself.
Michael R. Ormiston, PhD.,writing in “Fort Wayne Law Enforcement and the Old City Hall” (copyright 1985 by the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society), quoted DeWitt C. Goodrich and Charles R. Tutle in “An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana” in 1875. “’The County Court House and County Jail, both located in Fort Wayne, are substantial buildings, well adapted to the purposes sought. There is yet no commodious city hall, nor is any needed at the present day, that would impose a heavy tax upon the city….” W.S. Haymond released this book again in 1879 and agreed. But the people of Fort Wayne did not. The second City Hall, built in 1869, was deemed too small and in 1885, citizens decided a new structure that would bring all city offices together was in order. “A committee was formed to study the details of a new building, and in 1892, after several annual tax levies, the committee provided $69,919.68 to the building construction fund. On April 20, 1893, the third new City Hall was completed, at a cost of $59,385.58, with an additional $10,420.88 spent on furnishings. The lot was expanded in 1893 when the city bought eighteen feet adjoining on the east, paying an additional $2,250.00. The structure was praised by one of the city’s newspapers as ‘…an ornament to the City…the best, most complete, most elegant-appearing, and the most economically constructed City Hall in Indiana or anywhere else.’”