Fort Wayne Municipal Beach

1950 aerial view Fort Wayne Municipal Beach

Page 4 of the 1950 Newcomers key to Fort Wayne ISL_IND_Pam_AllenCo08_02 in the Indiana Historical Print Collection in the Indiana State Library Digital Collection. Aerial view is from the East side of the St. Joseph River. Farm field looking area lower left is where Zollner Stadium is now located. Baseball diamond with light poles on top West side became the Carrington Field for many years but is now shown as Camp Caine Members Only between the parking lot of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum and the St. Joseph River. The curving road top left is named Cadet Drive today shown below in the Google Aerial Map. Notice today's North Anthony Boulevard appears to be a dead-end road that ends in a low spot with trees and vegetation at the bottom right in the photo. The dam completed in 1933 is only known as St. Joseph River (In-Channel) Dam (Allen County, IN) on this IndyStar webpage.

Current Municipal Beach Dam area
1935 map of Muncipal Beach area

Municipal Beach is NOT shown in this 1935 map where the current Coliseum Boulevard is above 25 then called California Road and stopping shortly east of Parnell Avenue before a bridge was built over the St. Jospeh River south of what looks like a shaded wetland area in this map. The State of Indiana land is where the dam crosses the river to what is now the Zollner Stadium area and the northern section was part of the history of the Indiana School for Feeble Minded Youth. You can also see the road curving east below the 26 acre Hayden land is now St. Joe River Drive. Allen County, Indiana Description: This is a 1935 map of Allen County showing property owners. Lists of the county officials are listed along the top. From the Indiana State Library Digital Collection. FEEDER is the location of the former feeder canal for the Wabash & Erie Canal.

1940-1949 Municipal Beach Zollner Stadium area

The name Municipal Beach is cut off as MUNI on this 1940-1949 map with Zollner Stadium visible across the St. Joseph River. The short curved Drive off St. Joe River-Springfield Ave is named Cadet Drive in modern maps. Street Map of the City of Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana at the History Center Digital Collection on the mDON mastodon Digital Object Network. 1940-1949, Description: Street map of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society dates map as 1940s.

2024 Aerial View from Google Maps

Current Aerial View from Google Maps shows the Municipal Beach area now labeled Camp Caine Members Only East of the coliseum parking lots and north of Johnny Appleseed Park. Notice California Road is north of East Coliseum Blvd. leading to the Mastodon Alumni Center. Zollner Stadium is East across the St. Joseph River and the drive with the curve now labeled Cadet Drive goes North around Concordia Lutheran High School connecting with North Anthony Blvd. at Zollner Stadium.

First 8 seconds is of the beach in this Fort Wayne Municipal Beach & old Fort Wayne Speedway circa 1950
by stevengolfs published on March 14, 2015 YouTube. The video and more was discussed December 4, 2017 on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.

Fort Wayne Municipal Beach photos in the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library.

When looking at these photos realize from the maps above there was no bridge near the beach to easily go from one side of the St. Joseph River to the other side. Although it does appear pedestrians could walk across the dam in 1936, current Street View photos from Google Maps shows the dam is fenced. The Johnny Appleseed Bridge was not built until 1947 from information on our Johnny Appleseed Burial page.

Saint Joseph Pathway Street View photos from Google Maps shows the dam is currently fenced to prevent pedestrian crossing.
Street View photos from the East side of the dam also show the dam is fenced from the public.
The 1936 photos below appear to show people were able to cross over the dam.

7-18-1936 horses plowing the Municipal Beach

Fort Wayne Municipal Beach, alternate view, 1936 shows horses plowing the beach

7-18-1936  Municipal Swimming Beach

Fort Wayne Municipal Beach, 1936 Municipal Swimming Beach

Municipal Beach opposite dam

Fort Wayne Municipal Beach, view opposite dam, 1936

Municipal Beach opposite dam

Municipal Beach Description: Municipal Beach, Fort Wayne: now city utilities, showing swimmers, 1930s, west of St. Joseph River dam, with dam and utilities building in background.

1982 Municipal Beach from Zollner Stadium side of St. Joseph River

St. Joseph River Dam 1982 from opposite side of St. Joseph River. Description: Looking up river at the Dam on North Anthony Blvd by Zollner Stadium. St. Joseph River and Municipal Beach

Municipal Beach Park

Municipal Beach Park Description: Swimming at Municipal Beach Park, Fort Wayne, 1930s.

1930s Municipal Beach long shot

Muncipal Beach Park Description: Swimming at Municipal Beach Park, Fort Wayne, 1930s, long shot.

Baseball at Municipal Beach

Baseball at Municipal Beach Park - Description: Municipal Beach Park, Fort Wayne (now city utilities), baseball diamond during a game.

1950 Municipal Beach Bus Carries Children to Firehouses

Municipal Beach Bus Carries Children to Firehouses Description: Visits to engine houses by school children. Children's Municipal Beach Bus. Photo is from a Fire Prevention Book made in 1950.

Photos from a search for Municipal Beach from the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library. The beach was on the St. Joseph River at Johnny Appleseed Park across the parking lot from the current Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. It was popular from the 1920's through the late 1940's polio scare.

  1. 1940-1949 Municipal Beach
    Municipal Beach, on the current site of Johnny Appleseed Park in Fort Wayne, was a hot spot in the summertime from 1940-1949: IN THE SHADOW OF WAR Popular pastimes took minds off war worries in the Fort Wayne History Stories About Time Periods in I Remember History online tour of Summit City history from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper
  2. March 23, 1952 postcard

    Municipal Bathing Beach postcard postmarked March 23, 1952 at was a birthday card from Larry Lantz to Leona Lunk using 3 cents postage.

    The same postcard not mailed is listed as Vintage Postcard 1930's Municipal Bathing Beach Fort Wayne Indiana IND and 1940s Municipal Bathing Beach Fort Wayne Indiana linen Tech postcard 8814 at

  3. There is a concrete retaining wall with four stair areas built into the structure allowing for access to the river which is a remnant from the Municipal beach. Line from Johnny Appleseed Park Features on page 46 of 280-page National Register of Historic Places Fort Wayne Parks and Boulevard System Historic District Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana at City of Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation.
  4. 3 different views of the Fort Wayne Municipal Beach on the St. Joseph River near what is now the Johnny Appleseed Park and St. Joseph River Dam in 1936 photos are in the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library.
  5. 1964 Municipal Beach area

    Municipal Beach area in the Chart of navigation routes for Fort Wayne, Indiana established following the 1964 river cleanup program. Fort Wayne, Indiana, Navigation Chart & Historical Sites in the History Center Digital Collection on the mDON mastodon Digital Object Network.

  6. The first day of summer initiates the beginning of heat and humidity in northeast Indiana, and sees the Fort Wayne...

    Posted by The History Center on Friday, June 21, 2019


    Friday, June 21, 2019 post by The History Center on Facebook:

    The first day of summer initiates the beginning of heat and humidity in northeast Indiana, and sees the Fort Wayne families looking for ways to cool down. The people of Fort Wayne found that swimming was one of the best ways to beat the heat. City officials recognized the need and established two swimming pools at Lawton and Swinney Parks in 1918 and 1922, respectively. As the demand for supervised swimming facilities grew, the inadequacy of the local pools became apparent. In 1936, in response to the demand, Mayor Harry Baals established the Municipal Beach, just south of the Saint Joseph River Dam. A popular summer attraction, the Municipal Beach was closed by the Board of Health in 1949 due to the polio scare. On this first day of summer we look back at the local swimming holes and beachwear from years gone by. Be safe and have fun swimming this summer! #sociallyhistory

  7. Several Fort Wayne Municipal Beach photos on Google
  8. Fort Wayne, IN: Municipal Beach on Towns and Nature blog has compiled several photos and discussions from various online sources.
  9. The beach opened to the public in July 1936, and more than 7,000 people supposedly utilized the beach during that first summer. The riverbanks were graded, and sand was trucked in. Swimmers were watched over by lifeguards and floodlights, and diving boards were later installed. During the next several years, other attractions were added near the beach, including boxing rings and softball diamonds. Although there was some initial concern over the purity of the river water near the beach, tests in 1936 indicated swimming at the beach was perfectly safe. Within 10 years, however, fears of pollution grew and beach use declined. Today, just a few crumbling concrete steps and corroded handrails are left to remind visitors of what was once a most popular recreation spot.Area swimmers once flocked to the St. Joe River by Kevin Leininger August 15, 1981 from the Cityscapes from the Archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  10. July 11, 1939 Fort Wayne has a municipal beach thronged by thousands daily during the warm weather and 37 other parks.

  11. 1944, Aug 02, Fort Wayne Softball Tourney Municipal Beach Zollners

    Article from Aug 2, 1944 Palladium-Item (Richmond, Indiana) Municipal beach, Fort wayne, Softball tourney, Zollners

    August 02, 1944 Fort Wayne Site of State Tourney Finals at Municipal Beach Park, defending champion Fort Wayne Zollners.

  12. Fort Wayne Municipal Beach, drowning, Paul Gombert

    Article from Aug 8, 1947 Muncie Evening Press (Muncie, Indiana) Fort wayne, Beach, Drowning, Indiana, Heat wave

    August 8, 1947 during a heat wave, Paul Gombert, 40, drowned while swimming at Fort Wayne's municipal beach.

  13. About 70 years ago, Fort Wayne's civic leaders thought it would be a good idea to build not just an arena as a tribute to those who had served their country in the military, but that arena would be the first of a three-phased project with a giant swimming pool and a 3,500-seat auditorium. The arena got built – and stands today as Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Phases 2 and 3 – well, those ideas fell by the wayside, and it turned out it wasn't a bad thing that they did. Copied from Brown: Coliseum keeps adapting Booking acts gets more difficult as other venues open Rosa Salter Rodriquez December 5, 2017 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. Another article no longer online stated: An educated guess is the pool was probably meant to replace the municipal beach that closed a few years before the coliseum opened. Various public pools in city parks and a few housing subdivisions opened in the 1960s likely negated the success of a giant swimming pool at the coliseum.
  14. THIS DAY IN HISTORY: July 13 in photos July 13, 2018 by The News-Sentinel newspaper photo caption: 1936 - In July 1936, the city opened a pool, complete with Red Cross lifeguards, in the St. Joseph River below the Waterworks Dam on Anthony Boulevard. So many swimmers rushed to the pool that planned improvements to the municipal beach and the river bed became impossible - and the board of works announced a preferred route for the public to travel there.
  15. Over 50 comments to a July 13, 2022 post with photos then over 140 comments on a November 13, 2022 post with photo on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook.

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