As you drive around Fort Wayne, Indiana you may come across a sign that denotes a historic happening or an important place from our city’s history.
There are a variety of these signs in existence, so we set out to find a few with the idea that parents of students, as well as anyone interested in Allen County history, could turn the discovery of these signs into a great day’s road trip.
How to Locate a Historic Happening
There are about six types of historic markers that you will see around Allen County. There are markers from the Allen County Fort Wayne Historical Society (ARCH), the Indiana Historical Society Markers, and the Mary Penrose Wayne Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revoluation (DAR), which you will see most often around Fort Wayne.
Indiana Historical Society Markers
The first markers that you may see are from the Indiana Historical Society. These signs are typically gold lettering on a blue background. A couple of examples near downtown Fort Wayne are the Wabash and Erie Canal Groundbreaking sign just to the west of the Paula’s on Main parking lot and the Fort Miamis sign by the river on Van Buren, near Guldlin Park. This particular sign was erected by the Indiana Historical Bureau and the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Indiana.
ARCH & DAR Markers
When you see a white marker, it is most often from either the Allen County Fort Wayne Historical Society (ARCH) or the Mary Penrose Wayne Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). DAR markers can also be blue and white or bronze. Markers that have a cement base and a rectangular top have been placed in some locations by ARCH.
If a site has multiple historic significances, you may find more than one sign at that location. This instance is apparent at Guldlin Park, where the DAR once had a bronze plaque on a rock, along with the two other signs. The bronze marker was stolen but a white DAR marker remains, along with an ARCH marker and one from the state level for Fort Miamis.
Historical Markers in Allen County
Below is a list of remaining site markers in Allen County:
Site of Fort Miamis
Location: Guldlin Park Van Buren St Bridge, SW corner, and St Mary's River boat ramp at Michaels Ave, Fort Wayne, IN
The original marker (02.1948.1) is no longer standing, but it has been replaced by 02.2000.1 Fort Miamis
Installed: 1948, Indiana Historical Bureau
ID #: 02.2000.1
Camp Allen 1861-64
Location: SE corner of Center & Huron Streets at playground entrance, Fort Wayne, IN
Installed: 1963, Indiana Civil War Centennial Commission
ID #: 02.1963.1
Home of Philo T. Farnsworth
Location: St. Joseph & E State Boulevards, Fort Wayne, IN
Installed: 1992, Indiana Historical Bureau
ID #: 02.1992.1
Wabash and Erie Canal Groundbreaking
Location: 1716 W Main St at Growth Ave, NE corner, Fort Wayne, IN
Installed: 1992, Indiana Historical Bureau
ID #: 02.1992.2
Gronauer Lock No 2
Location: Harper Rd cul-de-sac, SE of US 24, just beyond E interchange of I-469 bypass, New Haven
Installed: 2003, Indiana Historical Bureau, Canal Society of Indiana & New Haven Kiwanis
ID #: 02.2003.1
"Monuments, Plaques, Markers in City Parks"
In June of 1963, the Historical Society published “Monuments, Plaques, Markers in City Parks” by Bernard J. Reul with photos by Harry Grabner. Grabner was the assistant superintendent in the Department of Recreation and Reul was the captain of the Park Police. At that time the Historic Sites and Markers Committee was comprised of Louis W. Bonsib, Helene Foellinger, J. Calvin Hill, Carl G. Lundell and William T. White, chair.
"X Marks the Spot"
Another booklet that was published by the Historical Society was “X Marks the Spot” in 1964. The Sites and Markers Committee, 1961-1964, lists Albert F. Disernens in addition to the members mentioned above. Illustrated in this booklet are the plaque and markers placed in the city and county by the Society from 1959 through 1963, and made possible by generous gifts from individuals and funds from the County and the Society.
The Committee sincerely thanks the NEWS-SENTINEL, JOURNAL GAZETTE, and their photographers and reporters. In addition, the Committee is especially appreciative of the many residents in the county who helped with research and arranged for the placing of the markers in their communities.
Other Historic Markers
There were also markers placed in Hoagland, Monroeville, Woodburn, Grabill and Harlan. The Fort Wayne Civil War Roundtable erected this sign across the street from the History Center, then the City Hall. The Fraternal Order of Police posted this sign outside the Allen County Court House. While the markers are important, let’s not forget that the Chief Richardville House and the Allen County Courthouse are National Historic Landmarks. This designation does not come without massive amounts of work on the part of a community.
Is there a marker near where you live, work or play? Take a photo and send it to email@example.com and we’ll post it on Facebook.
This post was originally posted in September 2014 and has been updated.