Art, Nature, Architecture and Family in Fort Wayne, IN
It had been a while since I traveled to beautiful Fort Wayne. My last trip was with my mom in 2017. Family is at the top of my list of importance. Recently I had the rare opportunity to travel with a family member, my cousin, Carrie Steinweg. Carrie is my Aunt Kathy’s daughter, one of her six children. Aunt Kathy was my mother’s sister. Carrie writes for several publications and is also a book author. We headed out to a writing conference, and I got to go as her guest! Our ultimate destination was Fort Wayne.
What you may not know about this city is that they are famous for their Genealogy Center in the Allen County Public Library. While there, the Curt Witcher and his staff at the Genealogy Center did some digging on all the writers that came to visit. As a guest, they did some digging on me too.
Finds in Fort Wayne
Carrie and I burst their bubble; they were going to unveil that we were related. They were hoping that we did not already know this. While we knew about our familial relationship, they did find some other interesting information. I didn’t know that my grandpa Ralph Disque worked for the WPA, and that my great-great grandpa John Disque came from Ph-Pflaz Germany. I always heard he came from France! Another surprise was that he was a brewer and arrived on the ship Furnessia. When I looked up information about Ph-Pflaz, I learned this is a wine growing area protected by the Pfälzerwald forest. They are famous for Reisling, which I adore!
While they found information on the Pearcy side, my mom is still not sure of some of the data about my great-grandfather. He is a bit of a family mystery. However, they delved deeply and found so much, what a treasure this Genealogy Center is! My sister-in-law who is the Ladage keeper of the family history felt like I had visited the Holy Grail of Genealogical sites.
They are the second largest Genealogy library, Salt Lake is the largest, but I have heard that they in Fort Wayne are the best. If you contact them ahead of time, and provide them with what documentation you have, they can be of marvelous assistance. If you are into Genealogy, you need to come to Fort Wayne.
Carrie and I had great fun pouring over our combined past. She is younger than me by 14 years, so many people in the family she doesn’t remember. It was eye opening to see how much past was lost between our decade plus years.
A Nature Walk
I had been to this lovely City once before and enjoyed my trip, but since my visit, the city has gone through a public art revitalization! There is much to see and do. We stayed at the beautiful Bradley Hotel, created by the famous Vera Bradley of the Bradley purses fame. On a tour of the hotel, the patterns and beauty of the hotel came through!
Cousin Carrie, like me is an early riser and we took part in all the early morning opportunities. Our first option was a sunrise photography tour. We walked to beautiful Promenade Park, which is part of The Landing where we saw sculptures, sat on swings and crossed a beautiful trestle bridge! We took a great walk down by the confluence of river the Saint Joseph River, Saint Mary’s River, and Maumee River. There is a place where you can rent paddle boats nearby and an enjoy an interactive sensory playground.
Farmer’s Market & Public Art & History Walk!
Breakfast at the YNLI Farmer’s Market offered great food and amazing art as well.
The farmer’s market offers vendors a chance to try being entrepreneurs on a small basis without a huge outlay of cash. Although several of the vendors I spoke to had shops of their own as well!
Perhaps my favorite part of my visit to Fort Wayne was the Public Art tour. We saw a variety of public art from sculptures to murals. We met a couple of the local artists and saw some of the Art This Way Projects. These are all art projects done on private property with an eye to improving the walkability and overall experience of Fort Wayne, Indiana. They are very successful at accomplishing their goal!
The history walk was as impressive as the art walk. To see beautiful history, a stop at the lovely Embassy Theatre was mesmerizing. Then a local historian shared the glories of the local architecture and tied in some of the wonderful history about the Erie Canal which thrilled me because I had just learned a bit of this fascinating history in Wabash County, Indiana. This waterway was built to create a navigable route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes Basin.
My favorite building, on the history tour was the Allen County Courthouse. Built in 1897, this amazing building has a beautiful stained-glass skylight and a Lady Liberty weathervane on top!
It took a couple tries to show me how, but I mastered the scooter tour! This is a great way to see the city. While a bike may be a bit more sedate, I enjoyed tacking a new sport!
Tour of the replicated Fort Wayne!
The replicated Fort that we visited was the last one built. According to the Old Fort brochure, “During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the place where the St. Mary’s and St. Josph Rivers join to form the Maumee was one of the most important in the Midwest. There were two French, and three US military forts built along the rivers.
The replicated fort was the one established by the Americans in the fall of 1815-1816 by Major John Whistler, who had served under Anthony Wayne. It was fun to visit and hear the history. We even got to watch a cannon blast!
So much more!
During our stay, we went to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, where my favorite stop was the Butterfly House.
I admired the Rolland Center for Lincoln Research at the Allen County Library. With coming from the Land of Lincoln, this was an astounding find, they have the Lincoln photo albums so any Lincoln fan will want to come here. We had fun visiting numerous dining places and wonderful candy stores like Kilwins Chocolates and DeBrand Chocolates! We also made a stop at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art one night where we had an event, it was quite lovely with a lot of beautiful glass!
So much to see, so little time. Check in with Visit Fort Wayne and plan your trip to this city with your family!