The Fort Wayne Komets are a huge part of the Fort Wayne community! Komet hockey often draws 7,000-8,000 people and several sold out games with over 10,000. The Coliseum is often considered one of the best sporting arenas in the UHL, even by visiting opponents! If you are in town anytime between November and March, try to see one of their games in the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum! You can get Komets gear at Komets Kuarters, which has moved to a new location on Coldwater Road in the shopping center one block north of Coliseum Blvd.
The Historic Fort Wayne
The Historic Fort Wayne is a recreation of the original fort that the city was named after. The replica is the current center of contraversy in the city. The funds aren't there to maintain it and vandals have taken their toll. It lost a lot of authenticity when the surrounding wood fence was dismantled to keep a better eye on vandals. It's rarely open except on special occasions a few times a year. It used to be open all the time for school groups to come through and employees would dress in period costumes and tell stories about how life was at the fort. There is a group currently working to collect funds and update the fort. The fort is best accessed by a short paved trail from Lawton Park or across the pedestrian bridge over the St. Mary River from Headwaters Park.
NOTE: An electrical fire during the night of July 11, 2004 left extensive water and smoke damage in one of the buildings. It is unknown when, or even if, the damage will ever be repaired. This picture was taken on May 29, 2005. Almost a year later, no damage has been repaired.
The Ol' Fort
"Then and Now"
I hate to say it, but it took me 17 years of living there and several extended periods of time in places far removed from this town for me to appreciate Fort Wayne. I hated the humid summers and the cold, cold winters, and the rain, rain, rain. But by now I feel like I know each section of town and its surrounding areas like the back of my hand, and I cannot deny that it is a part of me.
I have since come to appreciate those humid summers as opportunities to swim outdoors and listen to the singing insect chorus that amplifies nocturnally. And the rainy spring and fall I now see as periods of visible dynamic changes in nature-- spring the colorful flowers blooming, and fall the colorful leaves changing. The winter I haven't quite come to terms with, as I get cold so easily, but I suppose it affords more time indoors to be with family and friends ... and sometimes to be stuck with family and friends as when the snowfall exceeds normal limits!
I saw on a huge looming water tower the words "Fort Wayne, All-America City." And I began to wonder how we earned that title and if anyone else really felt that way.
I can say that the size of Fort Wayne, in both population and in geographical dimensions, allows for a person to live in a quiet area and yet have the amenities of a large city without quite all the hassle of living in the middle of one. It truly has just about everything-- including several colleges to further education or your career, a myriad of restaurants to satisfy any appetite, numerous parks and recreation outlets including an extensive rivergreenway trail (quite rare in any town), an ice skating rink (you wouldn't believe how scarce those are in some areas!), an excellent library system, a public transportation system, and let's not forget how many shopping opportunities there are! To be an All-America City does not by any means mean to be a perfect or ideal city. Fort Wayne is fraught with its own problems, as is any city in this nation. But maybe to be All-American means to be well-rounded and well-grounded, where a modest diversity of people and activities creates a sense of balance and of home that, for instance, is hard to find in an extreme city like L.A., where despite its huge population and all-night attractions, a single person can feel more alone than they ever have anywhere else. It is good to have a sense of being not just home, but AT home as well. In Fort Wayne, that is possible.
P.S. For more on the many water towers around town, please refer to my travelogue section.