Broadway Cemetery - City Cemetery

Location is now McCulloch Park, bodies were supposed to be moved around 1859 to the new Lindenwood Cemetery. Only two gravestones are currently in the park although many bodies and burial locations remain unmarked and are occasionally uncovered when digging occurs. Read more below:

1795 Broadway Street Street View photo from Google map showing Electric Works to the left

An early 19th century cemetery. Near 1701 Broadway, next to the former General Electric complex now under development as the Electric Works complex. May 5, 2021 a story appeared ‘Ancient’ human bones unearthed at Electric Works site published May 5, 2021 on CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15. An update later that day indicates the bones were found along the property line of Electric Works and are likely a part of the this early cemetery. Named McCulloch Park for Hugh McCulloch who was Secretary of the Treasurey under President Abraham Lincoln.

1869 - A Mystery - A Woman Supposed to Have Been Shut up in a Cemetery Vault

Article from May 12, 1869 Fort Wayne Daily Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Fort wayne, Indiana, Cemetery vault, Mystery

1869 - A Mystery - A Woman Supposed to Have Been Shut up in a Cemetery Vault Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Wednesday, May 12, 1869, Page 4. Old cemetery on Bluffton Road. Not clear which cemetery this might be? Is Bluffton Road the Broadway Cemetery?

1869 - Hark, From the Tombs A Doleful Sound

Article from May 13, 1869 Fort Wayne Daily Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Broadway cemetery, Cemetery, Indiana, Fort wayne

1869 - Hark, From the Tombs A Doleful Sound Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Thusday, May 13, 1869, Page 4

1869 - The Old Cemetery - "city of the dead"

Article from May 24, 1869 Fort Wayne Daily Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Fort wayne, Indiana, Cemetery, Broadway cemetery

This old burying ground, in which lie the remains of many who were prominent in the early settlement of Fort Wayne, though but little more than a quater of a century in use, presents the most neglected and dilapidated appearance of any city of the dead it has ever been our lot to witness.1869 - The Old Cemetery - "city of the dead" Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Monday, May 24, 1869, Page 4

1875 - The Record of Life - Condition of the Broadway Cemetery

Article from Jun 15, 1875 Fort Wayne Daily News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Broadway cemetery, Cemetery, Indiana, Fort wayne

1875 - The Record of Life - Condition of the Broadway Cemetery Fort Wayne Daily News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Tuesday, Jun 15, 1875, Page 3

1869 - Resorts of Quacks - old cemetery South Broadway

Article from Jul 27, 1869 Fort Wayne Daily Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Fort wayne, Indiana, Cemetery, Broadway cemetery
1869 - Resorts of Quacks - old cemetery South Broadway Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Tuesday, Jul 27, 1869, Page 4. References the condition of the old cemetery on South Broadway smeared over with advertisements of somebody's Relief Pill and somebody else's Bitters and many other such nostrums and infinitum. .. The fence no doubt needs a coat of paint, but it seems to us that it would look infinitely better if it were all of the same color.

Flood & Erosion Control posted March 22, 2021 by Friends of the Rivers on YouTube.
Around the 25 second mark of the video it discusses moving the bodies and headstones in the overcrowded Broadway Cemetery to Lindenwood Cemetery when it opened in 1859 while showing the 1847 Ewing tombstone and other headstones that were used to stablize the Saint Marys River bank for flood control near Jefferson Boulevard in Swinney Park.

Broadway Cemetery by the Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County, 1954, on Foreword states: The area now comprising McCulloch Park was once the Broadway Cemetery. Used as a burying ground from 1837 to 1885, the cemetery was then closed, and many of the remains were reburied in Lindenwood Cemtery. The small park, however, is still the final resting place of Samuel Bigger, seventh governor of Indiana. The following unsigned letter to the editor appeared in the Fort Wayne Journal on December 10, 1885, when it was first proposed that the Broadway Cemetery be abandoned. The Boards and the Staff of the Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County present this pamphlet in the hope that it will prove interesting to readers. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation have been changed to conform to current usage. It is mentioned in the Lindenwood Cemetery ACPL book on page 44 of copy 2 and page 50 of copy 4.

Page 375 of The pictorial history of Fort Wayne, Indiana : a review of two centuries of occupation of the region about the head of the Maumee River by Griswold, B. J. (Bert Joseph), 1873-1927; Taylor, Samuel R., Mrs, Publication date: 1917 on

Samuel Bigger, attorney, who had served as governor of Indiana, elected over General T. A. Howard, on a platform which declared for public improvements, became a resident of Fort Wayne in 1843. Former Governor Bigger died in 1846. His body was interred in the cemetery which is the McCulloch park of today. When the bodies were removed from this place to Lindenwood, Governor Bigger 's remains were left in the original grave. In 1877, Colonel R. S. Robertson made an unsuccessful attempt to secure legislative action to re-inter the body. The grave was covered with a slab of Dayton stone, 3 1/2 by 7 feet in size. A footstone at that time lay upon the ground near by. The headstone, which has since disappeared, was still standing. It bore the inscription, "Samuel Bigger, late Governor of the State, died September 9, 1846, in the forty-fifth year of his age. A Patriot and Christian, he died in the full hope of a glorious immortality."

Page 393

GOVERNOR BIGGER AND HIS GRAVE IN MCULLOCH PARK. An unmarked, horizontal slab In an unfrequented portion of one of Fort Wayne's public recreation spots — McCulIoch park — marks the resting place of the mortal remains of former Governor Samuel Bigger. Bom in Warren county, Ohio, in 1802. Samuel Bigger received his education at Athens university and began his career as a lawyer at Lebanon, Ohio. He removed to Indiana and practiced law in Union and Rush counties. In 1834 he was elected a member of the legislature from the latter county, and at a later date became the president judge of the circuit court, a position he held until his election as governor of Indiana in 1840. He was a strong advocate of public improvements. Following his term in the governor's chair he removed to Fort Wayne and practiced law until his death in 1846. His remains were placed in the city cemetery and were not removed to Lindenwood at the time the cemetery was abandoned and converted into McCulIoch park.

Page 485


In the month of May the timid residents of the town were kept in a state of excitement and anxiety by the rumor that strange cries were heard proceeding from the tomb of a prominent family in the Broadway cemetery, now McCulloch park. Thousands visited the burial place. When the sensation had reached its height the newspapers pleaded with the cool-headed citizens to assist in calming the more excitable among their number. "We would advise all to treat the whole thing as a delusion, cease their visits and assist in ridding the community of a sensation that has been instituted, perhaps, for the sole purpose of casting odium and disrespect upon a worthy family," says the Democrat. It has been stated that the agitation was the result of the activity of a practical .joker, who possessed powers of ventriloqiism. A sensational story involving well-known residents grew from a mere rumor to prominent proportions, but the tale was dispelled with the passage of time and the return of the truth. . . .

Early plat maps indicate two cemeteries; (1) The Public Cemetery and (2) the first burial site of Saint Johannes Lutheran Church. History books indicate many bodies were removed from the Public Site when Lindenwood Cemetery opened in 1860. The ACGSI website has a Broadway Cemetery page with plat maps and Sexton Invoices for some of the early burials.

Broadway Cemetery ACGSi

For a long time the only body marked and thought to remain was Samuel Bigger the 7th Governor of Indiana, from 1840 to 1843. He died September 9, 1845 and his next of kin could not be contacted for permission to move his body. See our Samuel Bigger People section.

Dedication ceremony at the gravesite of Gov. Samuel Bigger, McCulloch Park, summer 1924

Dedication ceremony at the gravesite of Gov. Samuel Bigger, McCulloch Park, summer 1924. (1) is one of four photographs in the Bert J. Griswold Collection of Fort Wayne History in the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library. The others are: , Dedication ceremony at the gravesite of Gov. Samuel Bigger, McCulloch Park, summer 1924 (2), Ceremony at the gravesite of Gov. Samuel Bigger, McCulloch Park, summer 1924, and Ceremony at the grave of Gov. Samuel Bigger, McCulloch Park, summer 1924.

In 2016 for the Indiana Bicentennial, the local DAR and Indiana Bicentennial Commission Legacy Project added a marker for William Polke.

June 28, 2016 post by the Mary Penrose Wayne Chapter, NSDAR on Facebook:

The Mary Penrose Wayne Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution participated in a ceremony Monday, June 27, 2016 at McCulloch Park to honor William Polke one of Indiana's Founders. William was a delegate to the Indiana state constitutional convention that led to Indiana becoming a state in 1816. William was also recognized for his many other contributions to the state throughout his life. This ceremony is just one of many ceremonies being conducted around the state as part of Indiana's Bicentennial celebration

  1. Headstone dedicated to IN delegate from 1816 with video by WANE staff reports published November 12, 2016 on CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15.
  2. State founder gets marker Burial site of man that signed Indiana Constitution located in McCulloch Park by Sherry Slater with photos published November 13, 2016 in The Journal Gazette newspaper archived on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
  3. LOOKING FOR WM POLKE’S FINAL RESTING PLACE – Voice Of The Township January 15, 2016 Richard A. Stevenson - Wayne Township Trustee on The Waynedale was discussed February 9, 2016 on the ACGSI Facebook page with links to several more articles about this cemetery.

June 23, 2016 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook:

Learn about the man who served as 1816 Constitutional Convention Delegate and conductor of the Potawatomi's removal via the tragic “Trail of Death:" Judge William Polke: Constitutional Convention Delegate and Conductor of the “Trail of Death”

For information about the June 27 commemoration of Judge William Polke's constitutional work, see: 1816 State Constitutional Delegate Memorial Ceremonies

In 2016, State Archivist Jim Corridan confirmed William Polke, born in 1775 Virginia, died in 1843 Fort Wayne, one of 43 men who wrote the Indiana State Constitution in 1816, remains are also buried here, even though other remains were moved in 1860. A public memorial event for the Indiana Bicentennial on June 27, 2016 had a keynote address by Indiana Senate President Pro-Term David Long honoring his service founding Indiana. Bicentennial salute for early bigwig was published June 13, 2016 and Early Hoosier pioneer buried in city honored June 28, 2016 in The Journal Gazette newspaper is now on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

September 3, 2015 post by the Friends of the Indiana State Archives on Facebook:

State Archivist Jim Corridan has helped to solve a 172 year old mystery! Read a copy of the article by Allen County historian Tom Castaldi, originally published in the Fort Wayne Magazine, about William Polke and the search for his grave here.

Visit the magazines Facebook page here

McCulloch Park’s past It used to be Broadway Cemetary by Tom Castaldi, local historian published April 14, 2017 in Fort

Several mausoleum stones were put into the river to shore up the bank after they were demolished when bodies were moved from what is now McCulloch Park to the then newly opened Lindenwood Cemetery, according to Sweet Breeze canal boat tour guide Dan Wire. Copied from Canal boat offers up-close view of pre-developed riverfront by Lisa Esquivel Long published July 23, 2017 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.

May 5, 2021 post by WANE 15 on Facebook:

Police think the bones had been buried in a cemetery that had been built over by General Electric more than 100 years ago.

Human bones unearthed near Electric Works site posted: May 5, 2021 on CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15 .

May 9, 2021 post byHistoric 07 District - Fort Wayne on Facebook:

This past week WANE 15 reported human remains well over 100 years old were discovered near the Electric Works construction site. They were discovered at the far north end of McCulloch Park, near an entrance to the campus. While there are some unknowns, there is no doubt that what is now known as McCulloch Park was once a cemetery.

In 1837, Hugh McCulloch purchased four acres of land from Judge Hanna for the purpose of building a public burial ground. Until 1860, this served as a public cemetery in Fort Wayne. That same year, Lindenwood Cemetery was formed. McCulloch was an American financier who played a central role in financing the American Civil War. He served two non-consecutive terms as U.S. Treasury Secretary under three presidents (Lincoln, Johnson, and Arthur).

In 1860, the bodies were moved to Lindenwood Cemetery. With little use for the land, McCulloch donated it to the City of Fort Wayne in 1886 for the purpose of turning it into a park. The park still contains the memorial grave site of Indiana's seventh governor, Samuel Bigger. Governor Bigger remains in his original resting place because he had no family to authorize a reburial. The headstone was removed and the gravesite of the former governor was forgotten until many years later.

Picture #1 – 1898 photo of McCulloch Park fountain

Picture #2 – 1924 photo of dedication of the Samuel Bigger gravesite

Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library

More ‘buried concerns’: Losing graves has happened fairly frequently in Fort Wayne’s history by Joshua Schipper posted December 15, 2021 in Input Fort Wayne. Discusses Chief Little Turtle burial location, Johnny Appleseed and Archer Cemetery, the Broadway Cemetery now McCulloch Park, Chief Richardville burial location.

Go to: Broadway Cemetery formerly McCulloch Park - Final Resting Place for Samuel Bigger on Child of the Fort blog, DAR tombstone photos, Find-A-Grave, or Google map

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