Fort Wayne

Coordinates: 41°4′49.62″N 85°8′20.94″W / 41.08045°N 85.13915°W / 41.08045; -85.13915

Fort Wayne is a city in the U.S. state of Indiana and the county seat of Allen County. The population was 253,691 at the 2010 Census making it the 74th largest city in the United States. The municipality is located in northeastern Indiana, approximately 18 miles (29 km) west of the Ohio border and 50 miles (80 km) south of the Michigan border.

Fort Wayne is the principal city of the Fort Wayne Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that encompasses Allen, Wells, and Whitley counties, for an estimated population of 414,315. In addition to those three counties, the Fort Wayne–Huntington–Auburn CSA, a combined statistical area, includes Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, and Noble counties, for a population of 610,015.

Under the direction of American Revolutionary War statesman General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, the United States Army built Fort Wayne last in a series of forts near the Miami Indian village of Kekionga in 1794. Named in Wayne's honor, Fort Wayne established itself at the confluence of the St. Joseph River, St. Marys River, and Maumee River as a trading post for European settlers. The village was platted in 1823 and experienced tremendous growth after completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal.

By the 21st century, Fort Wayne's economy was based on manufacturing, education, insurance, health care, logistics, and defense and security. The city has been an All-America City Award recipient in 1982, 1998, and 2009.

History
Colonial

The Miami nation first established a settlement at the Maumee, St. Joseph, and St. Marys Rivers in the mid-17th century called Kekionga. The village was the traditional capital of the Miami nation and related Algonquian tribes. Historians believe that around 1676, French priests and missionaries visited the Miami on their way back from a mission at Lake Michigan. In 1680, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle sent a letter to the Governor-General of Canada stating he had also stopped there. In the 1680s, French traders established a post at the location because it was the crucial portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. The Maumee River is approximately ten miles (16 kilometers) away from the Little River branch of the Wabash River, which flows, in turn, into the Ohio River.

In 1696, Comte de Frontenac appointed Jean Baptiste Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes as commander of the French outpost in Miami country. The French built the first fort on the site, Fort Miamis, in 1697 as part of a group of forts built between Quebec, Canada, and St. Louis. In 1721, a few years after Bissot's death, Fort Miamis was replaced by Fort St. Philippe des Miamis. The first census, performed in 1744 on the order by the governor of Louisiana, revealed a population of approximately forty Frenchmen and one thousand Miami. Increasing tension between France and the United Kingdom developed over the territory. In 1760, after defeat by British forces in the French and Indian War, the area was ceded to the British Empire. The fort was again renamed, this time to Fort Miami. In 1763, various Native American nations rebelled against British rule and retook the fort as part of Pontiac's Rebellion. The Miami regained control of Kekionga, a rule that lasted for more than thirty years.

In 1790, President George Washington ordered the United States Army to secure Indiana. Three battles were fought in Kekionga against Little Turtle and the Miami Confederacy. Miami warriors annihilated the United States Army in the first two battles. Anthony Wayne led a third expedition, destroying the village while its warriors were away. When the tribe returned to their destroyed village, Little Turtle decided to negotiate peace. After General Wayne refused it, the tribe was advanced to Fallen Timbers where they were defeated on August 20, 1794. On October 22, 1794, the United States army captured the Wabash-Erie portage from the Miami Confederacy and built a new fort at the three rivers, Fort Wayne, in honor of General Wayne.

19th century

Initially a mere frontier outpost, the town was incorporated in 1829 with a population of 300. The arrival of the Wabash and Erie Canal opened links to the Great Lakes, bringing the population to 2,080 when the town was incorporated as the City of Fort Wayne on February 22, 1840.The Summit City as the community became known, was at the zenith of the old portage, which was also the highest point on the canal. The city lost prominence on the demise of the Wabash and Erie Canal in the 1870s. By the 1850s several rail lines soon ran through the city, strengthening transportion in the region and allowing industry to flourish.

Population growth occurred most in the 19th century, with the arrival of a large number of Germans, Irish, and later Poles. Most immigrants were of Catholic or Lutheran faith. Fort Wayne was a hub for recruitment and training during the American Civil War, with new soldiers from nearby counties assembling here before deployment to the battlefields.

The Germans and Irish usually gave strong majorities for the Democrats; Fort Wayne was the only Northern city of 50,000 or more carried by Democrat William Jennings Bryan in 1896.

20th century

The highly traditionalistic Germans stoutly resisted the Prohibition and women's suffrage movements that gained strength elsewhere during the Progressive Era.

The city's economy was based substantially on manufacturing, and after 1910, many businesses began manfacturing parts to the automobile industry exploding in nearby Detroit. The Wayne Knitting Mills opened in 1891 to produce the nation's first full-fashioned hosiery. In 1885, Sylvanus F. Bowser introduced self-measuring oil tanks for kerosene; by the 1930s, three Fort Wayne factories made 70 percent of the nation's gasoline pumps. Other factories made railroad car wheels, boilers, tanks, washing machines, medicines, motor trucks, automatic phonographs, display cases, meat-packing products, mining machinery, tents and awnings, and beer. With 10,000 employees, General Electric was the city's largest employer during this period, making radios.

Over 6,000 women and girls worked in factories during 1900-20, chiefly in traditionally female industries such as food preparation and hosiery. They had low wages and little opportunity for advancement, but most women quit when they married. Employers, such as Wayne Knitting Mills and General Electric, built well-appointed dormitories and clubhouses to attract workers. In the 1920s prosperity led to improved conditions, including shorter hours and higher wages.

Like all cities dependent on heavy industry, Fort Wayne was badly hit by the Great Depression beginning in 1929, with most factories cutting their workforce.

When local relief moneys ran out, Fort Wayne turned to the New Deal for help, as the CCC, FERA, WPA, and PWA poured money in, and the AAA helped regional farmers. Several programs helped homeowners pay their mortgages. By summer 1938, as the economy skidded downward again, one in six families in Allen County were on welfare, with 2/3 of the funding coming from the WPA. The Germans had turned hostile to the Democrats in World War I, but the city voted for Roosevelt.

The city provided numerous recreational activities, specially after the Federal WPA began construction projects in 1935. In 1940 the city provided 25 parks totaling 865 acres (350 ha), with 39 horseshoe courts, 67 tennis courts, 27 softball and hardball diamonds, 6 football fields, 2 archery courts, 2 pools, 3 bridle paths, and 12 supervised playgrounds, as well as a municipal golf course that charged 60 cents a round. The city also operated a bathing beach on the St. Joseph River. Downtown included 15 movie theaters, all with one screen and double features; the largest was the Embassy Theatre with 2,500 seats.

The Great Flood of 1913 left six dead and 15,000 homeless; the governor declared martial law until order could be restored and relief services opened.

The costliest disaster in Fort Wayne's history, the Great Flood of 1982, exceeded $56 million in damages and prompted a visit from President Ronald Reagan. In the days following the flood, 9,000 residents were forced to evacuate and over 2,000 residences and businesses were damaged by floodwaters. One brigade of sandbaggers is credited with saving 1,860 homes in the Lakeside neighborhood as clay dikes along the Maumee River began showing signs of failure. The efforts by thousands of volunteers earned Fort Wayne the distinction of The City That Saved Itself. Since this flood, miles of levees and dikes were built or enhanced, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers widened the Maumee River, and Headwaters Park was established near the confluence of the rivers in downtown Fort Wayne, all implemented to alleviate future flooding.

21st century

In recent history, the focus of citizens has been the concern of bolstering business and beautification in the core of Fort Wayne. Within the last decade, the city has improved in this venture, with the renovations and expansions of the Allen County Public Library and Grand Wayne Convention Center, as well as the addition of Headwaters Park. In 2006, the $130 million Harrison Square development was announced, containing a new baseball stadium, parking garage, condominiums, shops, and hotel in downtown Fort Wayne, with construction to begin by 2008. The baseball stadium, Parkview Field, opened in April 2009 and the hotel, a Courtyard by Marriott, opened in September 2010.

Geography

Fort Wayne is located at 41°04′50″N 85°08′21″W / 41.08056°N 85.13917°W / 41.08056; -85.13917 (41.07253, −85.13937). For a regional summit, Fort Wayne lies on fairly flat land, with the exception of few hills and depressions throughout the region. Marshes and wetlands are prevalent in portions of southwest Fort Wayne and Allen County, as well as some quarries. West of the city lies the Tipton Till Plain while land east of the plain is the former Black Swamp. The St. Marys River cuts through the southeast section of Allen County, flowing northward, while the St. Joseph River cuts through the northeast section of the county, flowing southward. Both rivers converge roughly in the center of the county to form the Maumee River, which flow northeastward, eventually emptying into Lake Erie.

The city lies along the St. Lawrence River Continental Divide which separates the Great Lakes Basin from the rest of the Atlantic Ocean watershed.

Climate

According to the Köppen climate classification, Fort Wayne lies in the humid continental climate zone, experiencing four distinct seasons. Typically, summers are hot and humid, and winters are generally cold with frequent snowfall. Precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year.

The National Weather Service reports the highest recorded temperature in the city at 106 °F (41 °C) on July 14, 1936 and June 29, 1988, and the lowest recorded temperature at −24 °F (−31 °C) on January 12, 1918. The wettest month on record was July 1986, with 11.00 inches (279 mm) of precipitation recorded. The greatest 24-hour rainfall was 4.93 inches (125 mm) on August 1, 1926. The average annual precipitation is 36.55 inches (928 mm), recorded at Fort Wayne International. During the winter season, snowfall accumulation averages 32.4 inches (82 cm) per year. Lake effect snow is not rare to the region, but usually appears in the form of light snow flurries. The snowiest month on record was 29.5 inches (75 cm) in January 1982. The greatest 24-hour snowfall was 13.6 inches (35 cm) on March 10, 1964.

Severe weather is not uncommon, particularly in the spring and summer months. The most severe tornado, an EF2, struck portions of northern Fort Wayne on May 26, 2001, causing extensive damage to businesses along the Coliseum Boulevard corridor and a subdivision, but resulting in only three minor injuries. The city was paralyzed in the days following the Great Blizzard of 1978, with snow accumulations in upwards of 24 inches (610 mm) and drifts at 20 feet (6,100 mm) in some places, driven by 55 mile-per-hour wind gusts.

Cityscape
Architecture
  • Allen County Courthouse, Beaux-Arts government building, Brentwood S. Tolan, 1897–1902
  • Canal House, warehouse, 1852
  • Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Gothic-style church, 1860
  • Center School, restored schoolhouse, 1893
  • Commerce Building (now Star Financial Bank Building), Beaux-Arts commercial high-rise, Charles R. Weatherhogg, 1923
  • Concordia Senior College (now Concordia Theological Seminary), Modern-style, Eero Saarinen, 1953
  • Crooks House, Postmodern-style residence, Michael Graves, 1976
  • Embassy Theatre and Indiana Hotel, theater and hotel, Alvin M. Strauss, 1928
  • Engine House #3, fire station, 1893
  • Forest Park Boulevard Historic District, Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival, neighborhood, 1910–1954
  • Fort Wayne City Hall, Richardsonian Romanesque-style government building, John F. Wing and Marshall S. Mahurin, 1893
  • Hanselmann House, Postmodern-style residence, Michael Graves, 1967
  • Hugh McCulloch House, residence, 1834
  • J.B. Franke House, Prairie School-style residence, Francis Barry Byrne, 1914
  • John H. Bass Mansion (Brookside), residence, 1903
  • Lincoln Bank Tower, Art-Deco highrise, Alvin M. Strauss, 1930
  • McCulloch-Weatherhogg House, Victorian Gothic-style residence, Thomas J. Tolan, 1881
  • Oakdale Historic District, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Craftsman, and American Foursquare, neighborhood, 1873–1950
  • Pennsylvania Railroad Station, Craftsman-style train station, 1914
  • Chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville House, Greek Revival residence, 1827
  • Saint Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Gothic-style church, John F. Wing and Marshall S. Mahurin, 1889
  • Snyderman House, Postmodern-style residence, Michael Graves, 1972
  • South Wayne Historic District, Craftsman, Colonial Revival, and American Foursquare, neighborhood, 1893–1940
  • The Landing Historic District, Italianate, Renaissance, and Romanesque commercial lowrises, 1868–1943
  • Thomas W. Swinney House, Federalist-style residence, 1844
  • Trinity English Lutheran Church, church, 1923
  • Wermuth House, residence, Eero Saarinen, 1942
  • West Central Historic District, Greek Revival and Gothic Revival, neighborhood, 1840–1934
  • Williams-Woodland Park Historic District, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival, neighborhood, 1875–1940
Law and government

Fort Wayne has a mayor-council government. Common Council has nine elected members, one representative from each of the city's six council districts and three at-large members, serving four-year terms. The district members represent the constituents living within the boundaries of their jurisdiction, while the at-large members represent the citizens as a whole.

Democrat Tom Henry has been Fort Wayne's mayor since 2008. Elizabeth Malloy was appointed to the position of Deputy Mayor in 2010.Sandra Kennedy has held the city clerk position since 1983.

Under the Unigov provision of Indiana Law, City-County consolidation would have been automatic when Fort Wayne's population exceeded 250,000 and became a first class city in Indiana. Fort Wayne nearly met the state requirements for first class city designation on January 1, 2006 when 12.8 square miles (33 km2) of neighboring Aboite Township (and a small section of Wayne Township) including 25,094 people were annexed. However, a 2004 legislative change raised the population requirements from 250,000 to 600,000, which ensured Indianapolis' status as the only first class city in Indiana.

Municipal and State laws are enforced by the Fort Wayne Police Department, an organization of 460 officers. In 2006, Fort Wayne's crime rate was 5104.1 per 100,000 people, slightly above the national average of 4479.3. There were 18 murders, 404 robberies, and 2,128 burglaries in 2006.

Sister cities

Fort Wayne has three sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International:

  • Gera, Germany (since 1992)
  • Płock, Poland (since 1990)
  • Takaoka, Japan (since 1977)
Demographics

The first census was performed in 1744 on the order by the governor of Louisiana, revealed a population of approximately forty Frenchmen and one thousand Miami.

According to the 2010 Census, there were 253,691 people and 113,541 households. The racial makeup of the city is 73.62% White, 15.41% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 3.30% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.72% from other races, and 3.52% from two or more races. 7.96% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

According to the census of 2000, there are 90,915 housing units at an average density of 1,151.5 per square mile (444.6/km²). There are 83,333 households out of which 31.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% are married couples living together, 14.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% are non-families. 32.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.41 and the average family size is 3.08.

In the city the population is spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years of age. For every 100 females there are 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $36,518, and the median income for a family is $45,040. Males have a median income of $34,704 versus $25,062 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,517. 12.5% of the population and 9.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 17.5% of those under the age of 18 and 7.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Fort Wayne is cited as having the highest Burmese American population in the United States, with estimates near 6,000.

Religion

Besides its Summit City nickname, Fort Wayne is also informally referred to as the City of Churches, a nickname that stretches back to the late-19th century when the city was the hub of regional Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopal faiths.

The Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church was constituted in Saint Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, then known as Saint Pauls Evangelisch-Lutheranische Gemeinde, once founded in 1837 as Fort Wayne's first Lutheran church. The Episcopal Church moved into Fort Wayne in 1839, attracting settlers from New England and New York, along with English, Irish, and Canadian immigrants. Trinity Episcopal Church, in downtown Fort Wayne, is the center for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana. Fort Wayne is the principal city of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend which covers northeastern and north central Indiana. The principal cathedral of the diocese is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, also located downtown.

As of May 2006, three national Christian denominations were headquartered in Fort Wayne: the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship Association, Missionary Church, Inc., and the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches. Fort Wayne's Jewish population is served by Congregation Achduth Vesholom, the oldest Jewish congregation in Indiana and second oldest Reform congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains, founded in 1848. There is also an increasing religious minority found among Fort Wayne's immigrant communities, which include Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism.

Economy

A major manufacturing center in the Midwest by the mid-20th century, Fort Wayne included such employers as General Electric, Magnavox, Westinghouse, and International Harvester. Also vital employers, Phelps Dodge, Rea Magnet Wire, and Essex Wire comprised the largest concentration of copper wire production globally during World War II. As the century came to close, advancements in technology and the reduction of manufacturing jobs nationally led Fort Wayne to be counted among other cities in the Rust Belt.

However, the city's economy has diversified with time to include education, insurance, health care, and defense and security. The service and hospitality sector has also grown recently, with 5.4 million tourists spending more than $415 million in Fort Wayne in 2006. In 2009, Forbes ranked the Fort Wayne metropolitan area 67th on its list of 200 metropolitan areas in its annual "Best Places For Business And Careers" report. Individually, the city was ranked 5th in cost of living and 12th in cost of doing business.

Fort Wayne is headquarters for such companies as Genteq, Medical Protective, North American Van Lines (Sirva), Rea Magnet Wire, Steel Dynamics, Sweetwater Sound, and Vera Bradley. Steel Dynamics is the city's only Fortune 500 company, ranking 318th.

Fort Wayne's ten largest non-government employers:

Culture
Festivals
  • BBQ RibFest is a four-day event held in mid-June at Headwaters Park, showcasing barbecue rib cooks and vendors, as well as musical performances from across the nation.
  • Fort4Fitness debuted in 2008 as a way to motivate residents to take steps in creating healthier lifestyles. The festival includes a certified half-marathon, 4-mile (6.4 km) run/walk, health fair, and healthy food expo.
  • Germanfest, first celebrated in 1981, commemorates Fort Wayne's largest ethnic group with such events as the Germanfest Bake Off and National Weiner Dog Finals. German cuisine, dance, and fashion are showcased in the eight-day celebration, held in the first week of June at Headwaters Park.
  • Greek Fest is a four-day event held at the end of June at Headwaters Park. The festival, which originated in 1980, celebrates Fort Wayne's local Greek population and heritage, through Greek food, music, culture, and dancing.
  • HolidayFest begins the day before Thanksgiving with the lighting of the PNC Santa and Reindeer light display, the Wells Fargo Holiday Display, and the Indiana Michigan Power Christmas Wreath, ending with a fireworks finale at Parkview Field. Other events through the season include the Festival of Gingerbread at The History Center, the Festival of Trees at the Embassy Theatre, the Reindeer Romp 5K, and the Headwaters Park Ice Rink.
  • IPFW Riverfest is a one day festival held at IPFW along the St. Joseph River. The festival debuted on June 26, 2010. It's estimated that 10,000 people attended the inaugural event.
  • Johnny Appleseed Festival is a two-day festival held in the third week of September at Johnny Appleseed Park, where American folklore legend John Chapman is believed to be buried. Developers of Fort Wayne, Indiana's Canterbury Green apartment complex and golf course claim his grave is there, marked by a rock. That is where the Worth cabin in which he died sat. Traditionally, the festival features food, crafts, and historical demonstrations recalling the era of Johnny Appleseed.
  • National Soccer Festival is staged at IPFW's Hefner Soccer Complex where 20 collegiate soccer programs, including all Big Ten Conference schools, compete over four days near the end of August. Other activities include youth games, live entertainment, and food vendors.
  • Three Rivers Festival is the paramount of northeast Indiana festivals, annually attracting an estimated 400,000 event-goers. The festival annually spans nine days in mid-July, featuring over 200 events, including a community parade through downtown, a midway, food alley, hot dog eating contest, bed race, arts fair, and fireworks spectacular.
Performing arts

The John and Ruth Rhinehart Music Center opened in 2007 on the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne campus to hold community concerts and university events. The 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2) auditorium includes 1,600 seats. Located downtown, Cinema Center features independent, foreign, classic, and documentary films.

Arts United Center, located adjacent to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, houses the Fort Wayne Civic Theater and Fort Wayne Youtheatre, with seating for 663. The Scottish Rite Center contains a 2,086-seat auditorium and a 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) Valencia Ballroom. Foellinger Outdoor Theatre, in Franke Park near the zoo, offers seasonal acts and movies during warmer months.

The Embassy Theatre, located across from the Grand Wayne Center, presents shows ranging from concert tours, Broadway musicals, dance, community events, and lectures, serving over 200,000 patrons annually. The Embassy is also home to the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra. The Grand Wayne Center, though used mainly for exhibitions and conventions, also plays host to dance or choir productions, such as the annual FAME Festival (The Foundation for Art and Music in Elementary Education), which showcases local school choirs and dancers.

In 2010, the Voices of Unity choir traveled to Shaoxing, China to participate in the 2010 World Choir Games. Directed by Marshall White, the choir won two gold medals, including the overall champions in the Gospel and Spiritual category.

Museums

The African/African–American Historical Museum, which opened near downtown in 2000, contains two floors and ten exhibits relating to slavery in the United States, the Underground Railroad, African–American inventors, and the history of the local African–American community. The Greater Fort Wayne Aviation Museum, located at Fort Wayne International Airport, highlights aviation history in Fort Wayne and displays memorabilia relating to historical aviation figures, such as Fort Wayne's own Art Smith and World War I Ace Paul Baer.

The Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum, located at Engine House #3 in downtown Fort Wayne, exhibits artifacts from the Fort Wayne Fire Department, dating back to 1839, as well as showcasing four early previously-used fire engines. Established in 1921, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art contains 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of exhibition space, along with an auditorium. The FWMoA reopened in the spring of 2010 after undergoing a 10,000 square feet (930 m2) addition and refurbishment.

The Harold W. McMillen Center for Health Education utilizes interactive programs and displays to educate youth to make decisions that promote physical, emotional, and social well-being. The History Center, located in Fort Wayne's Old City Hall, manages a collection of more than 23,000 artifacts recalling the history of Fort Wayne and Allen County. The center is overseen by the Allen County–Fort Wayne Historical Society, which also maintains the Chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville House. Opened in 1995, Science Central is an interactive museum geared toward children. Located in Lawton Park just north of downtown Fort Wayne, the center contains permanent displays as well as temporary exhibitions.

Sports

Fort Wayne is currently home to seven minor league sports franchises. These include Fort Wayne Fever of soccer's Premier Development League, Fort Wayne Flash of the Women's Football Alliance, Fort Wayne Firehawks of the Continental Indoor Football League, Fort Wayne Komets of the Central Hockey League, Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, and Fort Wayne TinCaps of baseball's Midwest League. Intercollegiate sports in the city include IPFW in the NCAA's Division I Summit League as well as NAIA schools Indiana Tech and University of Saint Francis.

The city has formerly been home to three professional sports franchises. These include the NBA's Fort Wayne Pistons (now in Detroit), the Fort Wayne Daisies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and the Fort Wayne Kekiongas of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (an early predecessor to the current MLB).

Fort Wayne has been home to a few sports firsts; the first professional baseball game was played May 4, 1871 between the Fort Wayne Kekiongas and the Cleveland Forest Citys. It was rained-out in the top of the ninth inning, with the Kekiongas ahead 2–0. On June 2, 1883, Fort Wayne hosted the Quincy Professionals for one of the first lighted baseball games ever recorded. Fort Wayne has been credited for being the birthplace of the NBA when Fort Wayne Pistons owner Fred Zollner brokered the merger of the BAA and the NBL in 1949 from his kitchen table. Also, on March 10, 1961, Wilt Chamberlain became the first player in the NBA to reach 3,000 points in a single season while competing at Memorial Coliseum.

Fort Wayne was ranked as the "Best Place in the Country for Minor League Sports" in a 2007 issue of Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, dropping to second place in 2009.

Media

The city's two major newspapers are The Journal Gazette and Pulitzer Prize-winning The News-Sentinel. Both independent dailies have separate editorial departments, but under a joint operating agreement, printing, advertising, and circulation are handled by Fort Wayne Newspapers, Inc. The city is also served by several free weekly and monthly alternative and neighborhood newspapers, including Aboite & About, Dupont Valley Times, Frost Illustrated, Ink, The Macedonian Tribune (the oldest and largest Macedonian language publication produced outside of the Balkans), St. Joe Times, whatzup Entertainment Newspaper, and The Waynedale News. The Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, a newspaper dedicated to covering local and regional business news, debuted on March 14, 2005. It serves Fort Wayne and the 15-county region.

The Fort Wayne radio market is the 83rd-largest in the nation, according to Arbitron. Beginning broadcasting in 1925, Fort Wayne's second radio station, WOWO, is now an independent news/talk radio station, featuring local and network news talkshows. Two National Public Radio stations, WBNI and WBOI, are based in the city. Fort Wayne is the 107th-largest television media market in the nation. Broadcast network affiliates include WANE-TV (CBS), WFFT-TV (Fox), WISE-TV (NBC), WPTA (ABC), and WFWA (PBS). Religious broadcasters include WINM and W07CL. The CW Network and My Network TV do not have primary affiliates in Fort Wayne; they are broadcast in standard definition on subchannels of WPTA and WISE-TV respectively.

Recreation

Fort Wayne's first park (and smallest), the 0.2 acre (800 m²) Old Fort Park, was established in 1863. The newest developed park includes Buckner Park, established in 2004. Franke Park is Fort Wayne's most extensive park, at 316.4 acres (1.3 km²), also the home of the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo (ranked fifth best zoo in the nation by Parents magazine in 2009). Downtown Fort Wayne is home to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory and the 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) Lawton Skatepark. As of 2007, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation maintained 84 parks and dozens of smaller community parks and playgrounds, covering 2,805 acres (8.9 km²). Allen County Parks include Cook's Landing County Park, Fox Island County Park, Metea County Park, and Payton County Park, all four of which cover nearly 900 acres (3.6 km²). Northeast of Fort Wayne, near Grabill, is Hurshtown Reservoir, the largest body of water in Allen County, at 240 acres (0.97 km2).

Fort Wayne is also making efforts in restoring natural wetlands to the region. In southwest Allen County, the Little River Wetlands Project's Eagle Marsh contains 705 acres (285.30 ha) of protected wetlands, making it one of the largest wetland restorations in the state of Indiana. Nearby Arrowhead Marsh is also in the process of restoration. Many species of turtles, herons, and cranes have been reported of making a resurgence in the wetlands.

In recent decades, Fort Wayne has developed new paths and paved walking trails along the riverbanks, known as the Rivergreenway, not only to beautify the riverfronts, but to also promote healthier living habits for residents around the community. The Rivergreenway encompasses 23 miles (37 km) throughout Allen County. The Rivergreenway was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2009.

It was announced November 2007, that the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) had awarded the City of Fort Wayne nearly $1 million to aid in construction that will soon begin on a new extension of the Fort Wayne Trail Network, called the Pufferbelly Trail, that will eventually link the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo in Franke Park and the northern suburbs of Fort Wayne with the rest of the trail system. The final plan includes joining Pokagon State Park near Angola, Indiana in the north, and Ouabache State Park in the south near Bluffton, Indiana.

In the spring of 2008, ABC affiliate WPTA-TV received $10,000 in seed money from the reality television series Oprah's Big Give which was then received by Aboite New Trails, Fort Wayne Trails, Greenway Consortium, and Northwest Allen Trails, four organizations in Fort Wayne. The donations topped $1 million April 12, 2008 at a community celebration named Oprah's Big Give: Fort Wayne Trails in Headwaters Park with Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy and players in attendance. On April 21, 2008, Fort Wayne was featured on a segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show in recognition for raising the most money of the ninety participating cities in the country. The final total rounded-out to $1.2 million.

In March 2009, Mayor Tom Henry announced plans for the placement of three bicycle lanes on streets throughout the city in response to a survey conducted in the fall of 2008 in which thousands answered regarding the need for such lanes in the community.

Infrastructure
Education

Fort Wayne is home to Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), with an enrollment of 14,190, it is the fifth-largest public university campus in Indiana. The city also holds the main campus of the Northeast Region of Ivy Tech Community College, the second-largest public community college campus in Indiana. Indiana University maintains the third public higher educational facility in the city with the Fort Wayne Center for Medical Education, a branch of the IU School of Medicine.

Religious-affiliated schools in the city include the University of Saint Francis (Roman Catholic), Concordia Theological Seminary (Lutheran), and Indiana Wesleyan University (Wesleyan Church). Business and technical schools include Indiana Institute of Technology (IIT) as well as regional branches of Trine University, MedTech College, Brown Mackie College, Harrison College, ITT Technical Institute, and International Business College.

Public education is offered in the four districts of East Allen County Schools, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Northwest Allen County Schools, and Southwest Allen County Schools. By means of private education, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend operate 13 schools within Allen County, while Lutheran Schools of Indiana operate 14 schools within the county. In addition, Blackhawk Christian School and Canterbury School offer private K-12 education in Fort Wayne, while Amish Parochial Schools of Indiana has schools through eighth grade in rural eastern Allen County.

Fort Wayne and Allen County residents have been served by the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) and its 14 branches since its founding in 1895 as the Fort Wayne Public Library. The entire library system began an $84.1 million overhaul of its branches in 2002, finishing work by 2007. The centerpiece, the Main Library Branch, now covers 367,000 square feet (34,100 m2), featuring an art gallery, underground parking garage, bookstore, café, and community auditorium. According to 2009 data, over 7.4 million materials were borrowed by patrons, and over 3 million visits were made throughout the library system. The Fred J. Reynolds Historical Genealogy Department, located in the Main Library Branch, is the largest public genealogy department in the United States, home to more than 350,000 printed volumes and 513,000 items of microfilm and microfiche.

In 1997, Places Rated Almanac recognized Fort Wayne as having the highest reading quotient of any place in North America, due in part to the city's quality library system.

Transportation

Fort Wayne International Airport is the state's third-busiest airport behind Indianapolis International Airport and South Bend Regional Airport, serving almost 600,000 passengers in 2008. Fort Wayne International shares the distinction with O'Hare International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport as one of three Midwest commercial airports containing a 12,000-foot (3,700 m) runway. Fort Wayne International is also homebase for the 122d Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard.Smith Field, in northern Fort Wayne, is used primarily for small aircraft and pilot education and training.

Until November 10, 1990, Fort Wayne was served by Amtrak's Broadway Limited (Chicago—Pittsburgh—New York). Conrail's proposed abandonment of a line between Gary, Indiana and Valparaiso, Indiana forced Amtrak to re-route the train further north through Nappanee, Indiana. Amtrak's nearest station to Fort Wayne is in Waterloo, located some 25 miles (40 km) to the north. Thruway Motorcoach, a dedicated bus service between Fort Wayne and Waterloo, ended in 1994. Recently, there has been momentum to bring passenger rail service back to the city in the form of Amtrak or other high-speed rail service.

  • Interstate 69 runs south to Indianapolis and north to Port Huron, Michigan, straddling the west and north fringes of Fort Wayne
  • Interstate 469 (Ronald Reagan Expressway) completes a beltway around Fort Wayne and New Haven's southern and eastern outskirts
  • US 24
  • US 27
  • US 30
  • US 33
  • SR 1
  • SR 3
  • SR 14
  • SR 37
  • SR 930

Airport Expressway, a four-lane divided highway, provides direct access to Fort Wayne International Airport from Interstate 69.

Fort Wayne's mass transit system is managed by the Fort Wayne Public Transportation Corporation. Citilink provides bus service via twelve routes through the cities of Fort Wayne and New Haven.CampusLink, which debuted in 2009, is a free shuttle service for students, faculty, and the general public to travel between Ivy Tech's Coliseum and North campuses, IPFW and its student housing on the Waterfield Campus, and shopping and residential areas. The system's annual ridership is 2.2 million.

Fort Wayne is served by two intercity bus providers: Greyhound Lines (Indianapolis—Toledo—Detroit) and Lakefront Lines (Chicago—Columbus—Akron).

Health care

Fort Wayne is served by six hospitals; Parkview Hospital, Lutheran Hospital of Indiana, St. Joseph Hospital, Dupont Hospital, Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, and Parkview North Hospital, encompassing over 1,300 patient beds. These six hospitals belong to either of the two health networks serving the region: Parkview Health System or Lutheran Health Network.

Utilities

Electricity is provided to Fort Wayne residents by Indiana Michigan Power.Northern Indiana Public Service Company provides residents with natural gas. The City of Fort Wayne supplies residents with 72 million gallons of water per day via the Three Rivers Water Filtration Plant and Saint Joseph River. Hurshtown Reservoir, in northeast Allen County, contains 1.8 billion gallons of water to be rationed in the event of a major drought or disaster at the three rivers. The City of Fort Wayne also provides residents with sewage treatment and offers a full waste collection service.

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