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.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Celebrating Memorial Day

by Nancy McCammon-Hansen

Those of you who have read this blog for awhile know that one of my hobbies is studying history via headstones. So Saturday morning my husband and I ventured over to the Catholic Cemetery on Lake to enjoy the sun and take some photos. I'm sharing some of those photos here as a way to once again encourage you to study history all of your life….and to realize history can be found just about anywhere.

You often find religious symbols on headstones and this is an excellent example. If you visit Normandy in France, you will note that many of the headstones have either crosses or Stars of David on them.

Get out of the car in a cemetery and walk among the graves. The etchings on the headstones can tell  you a great deal about not only the person buried in this spot but also about the times in which they lived.

This headstone commemorates the life of someone who died in 1898.

Obelisks are common in both the Catholic Cemetery and Lindenwood at the end of Main Street and Jefferson Boulevard.

This is the first headstone that I have every seen with a bust of the person--Dr. H.G. Nierman-- who is buried there. This gentleman was quite young when he died and I would love to know more about his life.

This is how the headstone looks in its "neighborhood".

Many of the Poor Handmaids are buried in the Catholic Cemetery and this marker denotes that area.

The markers for the sisters are, for the most part, consistent in size and plain in design.

By contrast, high ranking clergy who are buried across the cemetery street have more intricately designed headstones.

Cemeteries can be extraordinary places to visit, so please remember the real reason for Memorial Day as you celebrate the weekend.  And the next time you have the chance, tour one of Allen County's many beautiful resting places.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Your Summer Reading

by Carmen Doyle

Summer is (almost) here! That means more time to read! Since November, the History Center has gotten in several new books!

The Iron Men of Indiana’s 44th Regiment is two volumes. Part 1: Biographies and Regimental Statistics has mini bios of every soldier who served in the 44th. What’s interesting is the amount of detail included in each biography- a general description of what the soldier looked like (for example, John Deardoff “was 5’10.50” tall, fair complexion, blue eyes, and black hair”) where they fought, and where the soldier was born, the pension certificate number, and places of residence. If you’re looking for info on a specific soldier, this book is awesome. 

There are also small chapters on regimental statistics, which had some good information, such as the nativity of the men in the regiment (mainly German heritage) but it involved far too many numbers for my taste. I had trouble figuring out the difference between enrolled, drafted, recruits and subs.

Part 2: Formation and Photos is full of details such as who would be in a company (each company had two musicians.) What I found intriguing were the court-martial records, which included the transcript for a trial. If you are interested in the nitty-gritty details about Civil War regiments, these books are a great resource. There is so much information, though, that it can be hard for the casual reader to get into. Great for scholars.

Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War takes place in 1812. It is the story of two 12 year old boys, Anikwa and James. Anikwa is a Miami Indian and James lives in the Fort. Their families are good friends, but not everyone else in their communities even trusts one another. The narrative is a series of almost poems, each section alternating between the voice of Anikwa and James, with poems about the importance of salt between them. The book was appealing in the way it tried to describe how each boy heard rumors about a coming war and how their families felt about that. The torn loyalties are easy to understand. The armies- both British and American- look like ignorant bullies or cowards who have no idea what really happens in the communities. This book is short (less than 150 pages) so it is an easy read. It was also nice that the author had a character list and a pronunciation guide for some of the Miami words used. The torn loyalties are what make this book fascinating.

Author Helen Frost and members of the Miami Tribe talked about her book at the History Center a few months ago.
Shopping in Fort Wayne 1848 features the same family from A Trip on the Wabash and Erie Canal. (See the blog post from July 2013.) It takes place about a week after Trip ended, and continues to tell about the adventures of Daniel and his family. This book is about a day in Fort Wayne, where Pa tries to buy everything that the family will need when they move out to their farm. Daniel visits the cooper, the tannery, and the blacksmith shop, and each shop features new vocabulary words and pictures of what the tools mentioned look like. I had no idea what an adze or a croze looked like or what they were used for until I read this!

The History Center got in two cookbooks, Blue and Grey Cookery: Authentic recipes form the Civil War Years and Johnny Apppleseed Cookbook: Favorite apple recipes of our land.

I try to make my family dinner once a week, so I was really interested in seeing if these recipes could be used for that. Blue and Grey Cookery has traditional Civil War recipes, with some equivalencies for modern cooking. Many of the recipes seemed to call for salt pork or shortening. A lot of the recipes seemed complicated to me (but I’m one of those people who often wonder how people managed to cook before Bisquick!) The recipe for sauerkraut was interesting- I didn’t realize it took weeks to make. Germanfest is coming up- maybe I should try and make my own sauerkraut and compare it to the kind I get there. The recipe for noodles looked very easy- just flour, egg, and shortening. It seems like something I not only have the ingredients for, but don’t need any special equipment to make.

I was more intrigued by the Johnny Appleseed cookbook. I’ve gotten apples from the Farmers’ Market before (the Barr Street Market is held at the History Center on Saturdays) and a co-worker recently brought in applesauce cookies, so I was really curious to see what I could make with apples beside my attempts at applesauce. I was happy to see several apple pie recipes as my only complaint at Johnny Appleseed Fest is that no one ever has apple pie, and I can’t think of any better use for an apple. The book has recipes for pie crust as well as the apple filling. Just reading the recipes made me hungry! There is also a recipe for sauerkraut and apples.

I haven’t dared to try any of these recipes yet, so I don’t know in reality how easy or good tasting they are. But many sounded delicious, and easy. Maybe this summer I’ll work up the courage to really expand my cooking abilitie


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fashion in History

by Nancy McCammon-Hansen

For those of us living in this rainy part of the country, an umbrella is something that at certain times of the year is as much a necessity as your car keys or cell phone. Even growing up on the arid Great Plains, I was encouraged as a college freshman to own an umbrella because all the walking I would have to do, in all kinds of weather, necessitated that I purchase said item. We think of umbrellas as utility items but they were once a part of fashion and even more so when they were designed as “parasols”.

We have been photographing and moving our collection of parasols at the History Center and we thought you would like to see this fashion accessory which, I would venture to say, most women are probably glad has disappeared from view. Parasols were “light and elegant, constantly changing in style and available in a variety of materials and colours”. (A History of the Umbrella by T. S. Crawford, copyright 1970, Taplinger Publishing Co.)

Parasols had their uses as an accessory--shade from the sun and a way to either hide your face from an unwanted admirer or to flirt with someone with whom you were interested in getting to know a little better!

Note the fragility of the fabric due to time and wear.

Much of the time parasols were dangled from the wrist and handles evolved with end rings to accommodate the posture. Parasol designs came and went and “the parasol of the ‘twenties was in much the same category as the Ascot hat, deliberately intended to be outrageous, even ridiculous enough to catch the camera’s eye.” In 1922, parasols for canines became popular and were made for dogs at the Pekingese and French Bulldog Clubs’ exhibitions. Fortunately, this trend did not last long and the demise of the parasol began.
The handles of parasols were often elaborately carved.

The parasol began disappearing in countries where the sun was not excessively strong and where the item had been carried more for appearance than function. Sun tans and sun lotions were in vogue and although parasols made a short comeback in Germany in 1928, the fad was short lived. The English were the slowest to discard parasols and as late as the 1960s they could still be seen in some sections of British society. But for the most part, parasols as a fashion accessory were dead by the early 1930s.

We used to store parasols like this....

...and now they are in special cabinets designed to store delicate items.

Our event coordinator, Steve Toor, and his business partner Mary Ann Dorhman recently presented a program for the guild at my church and so we're including some photos from that presentation in this post because they too show fashion from history and a variety of items.

This particular outfit is "fashioned" from material with an Art Deco design. It is likely from sometime in the 1920s.

This parasol was from the Chicago World's Fair in the 1930s.
 Accessories are always a must have item for any fashion forward woman.

 Steve shows a dress that belonged to his mother that was purchased at Wolf and Dessauer. The dress is c. 1940s.
 This hat also came from W & D.

 Mary Ann models a dress from the 1800s that had mutton sleeves.

This dress weighs 15 pounds, in large part due to the beading on it.

An interesting necklace.

Opera glasses.

Barb Mansfield and Mary Ann stand with Steve before their fashion show. 

A closeup of the cameo Mary Ann is wearing. Note the "sparkles" on her dress....these were very fashion forward for the time.

Dressed for a night on the town in 1920s splendor, Barb models a coat with a rabbit fur collar.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fort Wayne’s First Park

by Tom Castaldi

In 1863, at the height of the Civil War, Fort Wayne created its first public park on the site occupied by the last two American forts.  This small lot - about one-fifth of an acre - was sold to the city by Harry Seymour for $800. An iron fence and flagpole were quickly donated by Henry M. Williams, a Civil War veteran who, with his wife Mary Hamilton, later donated to the city Williams Park on the south side of Fort Wayne.

The present-day monument of a well and “well-sweep” recall the remnants of the old U.S. military garrisons as they appeared in 1838, giving only a pale reflection of the earlier days of the Indian wars.  In 1838, the Wabash and Erie Canal had cut through the northwest half of Major John Whistler’s 1815 fort, leaving only the well, a broken flagpole and the remnants of the officers’ quarters. The last building of the fort was finally taken down in 1852.

The Old Fort Park continued throughout the nineteenth century to serve as a revered monument to all military veterans.  In 1888, the Maumee Valley Monumental Association held its annual gathering in the park; in 1900 the Spanish-American War cannon, located in Swinney Park since 1956, was dedicated in Old Fort Park.

Originally published in Fort Wayne Magazine, “Along the Heritage Trail with Tom Castaldi” May 2005 No.12, p. 32

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Yes, Fort Wayne has a flag!

by Carmen Doyle

One of the comments heard a lot is “I didn’t know Fort Wayne had a flag!” With the distinctive appearance of the flag, it’s surprising that many people have not noticed it.

The flag has a blue background, with three broad white lines that intersect in the middle to form a “Y”. In the middle of the “Y” is a red fort. 

On the left hand side of the flag is a red Indian head, representing the Miami Indians.

On the top right of the flag is a red fleur-de-lis, representing the French forts. 

On the bottom right is a lion, representing the English forts. 
We just got a new Fort Wayne flag for our building so we took the opportunity to shoot a closeup photo.
The flag came about because in 1916 Indiana celebrated its centennial. There were celebrations throughout the area. As part of Fort Wayne’s festivities, the Journal-Gazette held a competition to design a flag that would represent the city. 

The winner was Guy Drewett.  At a centennial pageant, he was among the citizens who were honored for their contribution to Fort Wayne’s celebrations.

His first design was not the same flag seen today. The original design had the white lines, representing the three rivers, but instead of the red icons seen today, the original flag had a star on either side to represent Fort Wayne’s status as Indiana’s second city.

Guy went around Fort Wayne selling the flag to citizens anticipating the centennial, using the slogan that he was the “Guy That Drew It”.

In 1934, the flag was redesigned to better tell Fort Wayne’s history. That flag was officially adopted by the City Council, and is the design we use now.

Guy Drewett was so proud of his accomplishment that his tombstone is engraved “Designed the flag of Fort Wayne-1916”
Now that you know that Fort Wayne does have a flag- see how often you observe it around town. Take a photo and post it on Facebook and tag it with The History Center.

We fly the Fort Wayne flag along with the American flag and state flag at the History Center.