In response to the July 20 letter submitted by a visitor from St. Louis who was dismayed with how little our community has historically marked our history, it would be perhaps beneficial if we had his mailing address to send him a copy of the freely distributed “Fort Wayne Bicentennial Heritage Trail Guide Map.” It sets forth the richness of the crossroads that is Fort Wayne's heritage. Clearly marked are the sites of the first French fort (1722- 47); second French and first British fort (French in 1750 and British in 1760); two U.S. forts built in 1800 and 1815, respectively; and Anthony Wayne's fort dedicated on Oct. 22, 1794. Plans began in 1966 to erect a replica fort on Spy Run Avenue – and the subject of the letter – which is well located on the map but has no historical marker per se installed as do each of the above-mentioned authentically located garrisons.
Many area youngsters once experienced overnight visits to the fort to learn of the importance of our area in early American history. For the last 12 years the History Center's “Heritage Education Fund” has made possible free tours to schoolchildren for a learning experience in its museum. ARCH has enhanced the central downtown portion of the Heritage Trail with QR capability for specific markers as well as being able to listen to selected podcasts of the site made available through the generosity of 89.1 FM, Northeastern Indiana Public Radio's “On the Heritage Trail” weekly broadcasts. Still another source is the “Along the Heritage Trail” feature that appears regularly in Fort Wayne Monthly magazine with past installments posted weekly on the History Center's blog Our Stories.
For only few dollars, “On The Heritage Trail” A Walking Guidebook to the Fort Wayne Heritage Trail” is available. It offers an exhaustive review of all the markers as well as the notable sites located between them. It can be a helpful aid along with the free guide map available from ARCH, the History Center and the Fort Wayne Visitors Bureau. We'd welcome the writer to revisit our city – and with our Heritage Trail map in hand enjoy the full experience of the proud legacy that is our Three Rivers Region.
Allen County historian