Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Journal-Gazette Building

by Tom Castaldi

Across the street from Freimann Square, south of the grand statue of Mad Anthony Wayne astride his great war horse, and east of the Allen County Courthouse Green, stands the Journal-Gazette Building at Main and Clinton streets. An Italianate style, it was originally constructed in 1871 for industrialist John Bass.

When Clinton Street was widened by twenty feet, this structure was extensively remodeled in 1927 by local architect Charles Weatherhogg, and in 1982 the building was again renovated. The Journal-Gazette Building has been the home of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, a newspaper that traces its beginnings to the Civil War era.

          The Fort Wayne Gazette was established in 1863 as a pro-Lincoln newspaper that supported the administration's policy in conducting the war. Throughout the nineteenth century the newspaper was owned by numerous publishers who vigorously supported the Republican Party.

A separate paper taking the name Fort Wayne Journal began in 1868 as a weekly rival to the Gazette in its support of the Republican Party.  In 1880, however, Democrat state senator Thomas Foster purchased the Journal and changed it to a Democrat newspaper.  On June 14th, 1899, the Journal bought the Gazette, creating the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette as the community's leading morning publication. 

The newspaper leased the south end of the original building in 1908, and in 1927 it purchased and remodeled the property as the Journal-Gazette Building.  It was Lewis Ellingham, a first generation English immigrant, who served as the publisher of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette from 1916 to 1934 and guided the newspaper into its new facilities at the corner of Main and Clinton streets.

In 1950, the Journal-Gazette and the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel entered into a joint operating agreement to share common printing and other business activities.  The newspapers' operations moved to a new facility on West Main Street in 1958. Executive offices of the Journal Gazette Company remained in the remodeled space of the old building.  Publisher Richard Inskeep renovated and restored the old building to its original grandeur in 1982, and it earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places late that year.

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