In the next edition of Fort Wayne facts, we delve into an author who once called Fort Wayne home, and you can learn more about the growth of Fort Wayne! If you missed the first part of the series, discover more about Fort Wayne's history here.
Famous Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne has been the home of various authors over the years and one name you may recognize from literature classes: Hamilton. Edith Hamilton was the author of "Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes" aka "Hamilton's Mythology", a work first published in 1942.
Fort Wayne also celebrates the life of another famous individual, Johnny Appleseed. Johnny Appleseed is buried in Fort Wayne just south of the Memorial Coliseum and in the fall, a festival is held on the site around the grave to mark the beginning of the harvest season. John Chapman, his given name, traveled throughout this area, planting apple seeds to create orchards, one of which still stands behind the Swinney Homestead on West Jefferson.
Fort Wayne Arts
Literature isn't the only art form Fort Wayne is known for. We have a number of art galleries in addition to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, two history museums, concerts of all types of music and live theater. In fact, after the Civil War, Fort Wayne was known as a city of theaters. And we mustn't forget the Fort Wayne Ballet! Our professional dancers from all over the country are in the midst of the 59th year of the ballet's history. You can watch classes at the Auer Center at the corner of Main and Lafayette and be sure to take in their performances throughout the year.
Fort Wayne's Growth
Transportation has been an integral part of Fort Wayne's growth. As a portage spot between the Three Rivers - the St. Marys, Maumee, and St. Joe - to the Wabash and thus on to the Gulf of Mexico, Chief Richardville and his mother turned transporting "stuff" into a fortune. The Chief was at one time the richest man in Allen County.
You can follow the section of the Wabash and Erie Canal that flowed through Fort Wayne by looking at the elevated railroad tracks built on the canal's former site along The Landing at Columbia Street. This area will soon be part of a major entertainment corridor for downtown.
The first locomotive arrived in Fort Wayne via canal boat in 1854, and the city became known as the "Altoona of the West" because of its key position in the Pennsylvania Railroad. The railroad helped to bring a large number of immigrants to the city and their creation of a new and growing industrial Fort Wayne. The Rev. George Mather artfully wove this facet of Fort Wayne history into his book "Frontier Faith" which chronicles how immigrants from many nations built up The City of Churches.
That diversity of churches is also reflected in the depth of ethnic restaurants and grocery stores in our city. Beyond the typical Mexican, Italian and Chinese fare, you can enjoy Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Indian, Ethiopian, Cuban, Greek, Irish, Japanese, Salvadoran, Korean, Brazilian, and Cajun, as well as enough burgers, pizza and Indiana's best rib joint-Shigs in Pit-to keep you full.