Mastadons on Parade
Alright, I'll admit, it's not a new concept, but it's still fun! Designers and sponsers from around Fort Wayne have created 102 very decorative mastadons and spread them around town! While the majority of them are in the downtown area, you can find some at Jefferson Pointe and other locales around town. But why a mastadon you ask? Well, it's the mascot for IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne). Unfortuantely, vandals exist. Some have taken the vandalism in good humor though. One mastadon was given a giant get well card, another was outfitted with a crutch. And out of 102, only 3 have been vandalized to the point they need repair work. I think that's pretty good.
For best viewing, head down to Headwaters Park downtown. Many of the mastadons line Clinton Street on both sides, plus a short stroll brings you to more at Freiman Square, the Lincoln Museum, The History Center, and many other places downtown.
Headwaters Park encompasses the area in what is called "the thumb." It is a bend in the St. Mary River where the river curves north before making a big U and heading south. The park is located just north of downtown Fort Wayne. Clinton Street splits the park in two but an underpass along the river and pedestrian traffic light allow for easy crossing. Plenty of paved walking paths are provided here. Stroll along what I call Momument Circle (my tribute to downtown Indianapolis), a paved trail lined with monuments and plaques telling about the history of Fort Wayne and the surrounding area. The trail starts and ends at the fountain and passes by a statue of Cheif Little Turtle. The most popular activity is for families to come out on a hot summer day and play in the fountain! The views of the Fort Wayne skyline are excellent! This is also where the huge Three Rivers Festival is held for 10-days every year in July. Fort Wayne is a party town and almost every weekend in summer there is a festival going on. Your best bet for finding them is at Headwaters park. During the winter months, enjoy the covered outdoor ice skating rink. So don your skates and head downtown! Well, maybe you should wait until you get there to put them on.
"Fort Wayne in 1990"
OK, I admit it. I am really stretching with this page. The last time I was here was for a 4th grade trip to see the history of Fort Wayne. We had a great time - we visited Historic Fort Wayne and got a good look at life on the frontier, a magnet school where my teacher, Mrs. Hickman, once taught (she was a cool teacher, by the way), and a mall where my class went ice skating.
Fort Wayne now has a population of over 220,000 and is the 2nd largest city in Indiana. Since it has been so long since my last trip (I was only 10 years old and remember barely anything), I will try to visit here sometime in 2005 to see what the city has to offer.
"History of Fort Wayne"
Historically, Fort Wayne was a very strategic area for the French, then British, then Americans. The reason was because of 2 major rivers (St. Joseph's & St. Mary's)converging here to form the Maumee River, and the nearby location of the Wabash River which leads to the Ohio River.
Native Americans ruled the area before European settlers arrived. Chief Little Turtle of the Miami people was one of the most successful warriors in ambushing American forces to keep settlers out, and defeated them on numerous occasions, but President George Washington sent General "Mad" Anthony Wayne to the area to stabilize it. Eventually Wayne won many battles against the Indians. A fort was built and named Fort Wayne in the General's honor. Later, Chief Little Turtle began signing treaties and became an advocate for peaceful relations between the Miami and Americans.
Fort Wayne came under seige by the British and Potowatomi Indians during the War of 1812, but held on. Had it been captured, the British and Indians would have gained control of the strategic area and the war may very well have had a different outcome.