Photography is a great way to entertain your kids AND teach them an appreciation for art, nature, history and architecture!
In Fort Wayne, we are lucky to have the “Heritage Trail”—a walking trail of key parts of Fort Wayne’s history that is guided by either the Heritage Trail map or a more comprehensive guide in the form of a book. Both are available at the Visitor’s Center downtown or the History Center.
One tour begins in Freimann Square at the Anthony Wayne statue. Statues in and of themselves are great for a photo shoot. But today we’re talking about unique buildings in Fort Wayne, and as you look to the southwest from the Wayne statue, you’ll see two important buildings on downtown’s skyline—the Allen County Courthouse and the Lincoln Tower. And across the street directly to your south is the former Journal Gazette Building.
The cornerstone of the current courthouse—our county’s fourth—was laid on November 17, 1897 and building was completed in 1902. You can’t take photos inside the courthouse but there’s plenty to “shoot” outside with all of the carvings on the building.
Across Berry Street is the Lincoln Tower, the first skyscraper in Indiana. Construction began about a month prior to the stock market crash of 1929 and was completed in November, 1930. The interior of the building, now the Old National Bank, is a phenomenal example of art deco.
Churches in Fort Wayne
As you walk another part of the Heritage Trail beginning at the downtown branch of the Allen County Public library and heading west, you’ll see a number of churches such as First Presbyterian, Trinity English Lutheran, and Trinity Episcopal. Church steeples are great for photographing as are architectural elements on the outside of the buildings. And if you have a chance to go inside….stained glass windows, while not the easiest things to photograph, are stunning facets of church architecture.
West Central Architecture
This part of the Heritage Trail also offers up interesting architecture of older homes in the West Central area including the Swinney Homestead. Joel Roberts Ninde, a self-trained female architect, built a number of homes in Fort Wayne under the auspices of the Wildwood Building Company. One of those homes stands on the northwest corner of Berry and Union Street.
Embassy Theatre & St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church
A third part of the Heritage Trail takes you east and south from the Embassy Theater, another architectural marvel. Be sure to also take a look at the outside of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on South Barr. The original structure was built in 1889 but burned to the ground on December 3, 1903. But by April, 1905 the structure we see today was once again standing on the spot with a façade that is beautiful….and very photogenic!
Fort Wayne also has more modern architecture such as the new Ash Brokerage Building downtown. Get out and drive around the city. You’ll be amazed at what you see!
If you ever need camera gear or have a question about photography and cameras on your exploration of Fort Wayne's architecture, make a stop into Sunny Schick Camera Shop. The four staff—Bill, Dave, Andrew and Josh—are all knowledgeable about cameras and willing to help you or your budding photographer discover the camera.
Fort Wayne is lucky in that we’ve been home…and still are…to some talented architects whose work graces our skyline and makes this an interesting city to explore. Get out of the house this spring and summer and walk and drive around town with your cameras. You’ll be glad you did!