West of downtown Fort Wayne at the north end of Thieme Drive on the east bank of the Saint Mary’s River stands a barely noticeable river overlook. It is easily accessed near the southeast corner of the Main Street Bridge. Thieme Drive took its name in 1911 from the founder of the Wayne Knitting Mills. In the late 1800s, the Mills employed hundreds and became famous across America for its “Wayne Knit” line of fine hosiery. Each day, Theodore F. Thieme, founder of the mill operations, walked from his home on the corner of Rockhill and Berry streets crossing over the Main Street Bridge west to his office.
South on Thieme Drive once stood the old Methodist College founded in 1846. Today the spot is marked with a plaque on a large stone standing between the street and the river. Over on the west bank of the river is Camp Allen Drive which leads to a park that was once the site where young recruits rendezvoused at the behest of Abe Lincoln before marching off to contest a Civil War.
Originally published in Fort Wayne Monthly “Along the Heritage Trail with Tom Castaldi” – July 2011