Places in Allen County, Indiana

Franke Park

3411 Sherman Boulevard, Street View photo from Google maps

339.4 acres, established 1921 from Franke Park at City of Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation.

In August 1921, John Bohn Franke (1866-1927), president of the Perfection Biscuit Company, purchased an 80-acre tract known as the Kraeger-Wallace woods to protect it from subdivision and development. The land was just north of the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Fort Wayne. The land included “picturesque Spy Run creek,” said to be “one of the most beautiful Spots in Fort Wayne,” and had been used for picnics and gatherings for several years. John B. Franke and his wife, Amelia A. (Schmidt) Franke (1865-1928), lived in the Forest Park neighborhood, east of the St. Joseph River. The Frankes’ Prairie Style house at 2131 Forest Park Boulevard, was designed by prominent Chicago architect Barry Byrne and built in 1914. During the 1920s, they became major philanthropists in the Fort Wayne community. In December 1921, Franke donated the 80-acre property to the City of Fort Wayne, stipulating that it “be forever used as a public park, free to all the people.” copied from Franke Park Master Plan at

January 22, 2014 post by Hofer and Davis, Inc. Land Surveyors on Facebook, then shared January 22, 2023 on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook generating several comments:

Back by popular demand!!!!!!!!! The Hofer and Davis,Inc. LAND SURVEYORS "Riddle of the Month" The pond at Franke Park did not always look like it does today. Thanks to a large donation and vision by Fred B. Shoaff (see article below), A.K. Hofer was hired by the Board of Park Commissioners of the City of Fort Wayne to design plans and specifications for the construction, turning an almost useless swamp area into the pond as we know it today. What year was the pond completed?

In 1939 a small man-made lake was created. It was used for ice skating, ice skating derby, and the Fort Wayne figure skating club in the 1940’s. copied from Franke Park History at City of Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation.

January 23, 2014 post by Hofer and Davis, Inc. Land Surveyors on Facebook:

We had several guesses of 1938 and 1939, which is when a "small" pond was made for fishing and skating as found in the Parks Department website. The key to the answer of this "ROTM" is when was the "present day" pond completed. This is the letter to A.K. Hofer hiring him to prepare the plans and coordinate the construction bidding for the present day pond in 1946. The pond was completed in 1948 by May Construction Corporation, excavating 67,185 cubic yards of dirt, laying about 1/4 mile of drainage tile and installing a spillway and headwall for about 55,000 dollars!

September 8, 2014 post by the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook:

Does anybody remember this at Franke?

Soap Box Derby at Franke Parke, 1978 Mar 27, 2020 Indiana Historical Society on YouTube
Description This film documents a soap box derby event that took place at Franke Park, Fort Wayne in 1978. This film is part of the WKJG-TV collection. WKJG-TV was formed in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on November 21, 1953. WKJG was the first television station in Fort Wayne. The station was originally owned by William Kunkle, who owned several other television and radio stations. WKJG-TV, an NBC affiliate, had several other owners during its existence, including Thirty Three Inc., Joseph R. Cloutier Co., and the Corporation for General Trade. In 2003 the new owners, New Vision Television, changed the call letters to WISE-TV. WISE-TV, channel 33, remains an NBC affiliate.

Title Soap Box Derby at Franke Parke Owning Institution Indiana Historical Society

Use Statement This image may be printed or downloaded by individuals, schools or libraries for study, research or classroom teaching without permission. For other uses contact:

Required Credit Line Use must be accompanied with the attribution: Indiana Historical Society. Item ID P0504_REEL12_SOAP_BOX_DERBY.mp4

Subject Fort Wayne (Ind.) Sports & recreation facilities Sports Soap box derbies Racetracks Races Racing Creator WKJG-TV Date 1978-07-15 Time Period 1970s (1970-1979) Geographic Location Indiana--Allen County--Ft. Wayne Source Collection Name WKJG-TV COLLECTION Source Collection Number P0504 Digital Collection Name Indiana Historical Society Moving Image Collection Digital Collection Number dc127 Format of Original 16 MM Digital Format MP4 Film Length 22 Min. 58 Sec. File Size 833 MB

Type Moving Image Language English Audio Yes - Intermittent

Notes This collection was digitized with grant funding made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Indiana State Library.

Copyright Notice Digital Image 2020 Indiana Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.

April 11, 2023 post by WANE 15 on Facebook:

Phase 1 consists of adding a new entrance to the park off Goshen Avenue and adding a new central pavilion that could hold up to 400 people.  Franke Park master plan unveiled by Ethan Dahlen, posted Apr 11, 2023.

April 19, 2023 post by The Journal Gazette on Facebook:

The Journal Gazette's editorial board comments on the first phase of a facelift for Fort Wayne's Franke Park.

Park's 'Renaissance' should prepare it for next 100 year

June 28, 2023 post by City of Fort Wayne Governmenton Facebook:

Earlier today, a ground breaking ceremony was held to celebrate the future of Franke Park.


June 28, 2023 post by Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation on Facebook:

Mayor Tom Henry, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Director Steve McDaniel, community leaders, funding partners, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDR) and Great Lakes Commission representatives celebrated the beginning of phase one of the Franke Park Renaissance Master Plan with a ground-breaking ceremony.

The groundbreaking follows five years of planning and fundraising with an Advisory Group of major park stakeholders and robust public input. Phase one will include the following highlights:

• New winding, tree-lined entrance from Goshen Road.

• New bridge over Spy Run Creek.

• New enclosed, state-of-the-art, rentable pavilion with capacity for 400 people with parking.

• Paved multi-use trail, thoughtful vehicular circulation and connection to residential neighborhoods in SW corner of the park.

• Improvements to the mountain bike and hiking trails.

This project coincides with Phase Two of the Spy Run Creek Streambank Restoration with design and construction support from the INDR and funding support from the Great Lakes Commission through the Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program, provided by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

January 11, 2024 post by The History Center on Facebook:

In 1964, the Jack D. Diehm Museum of Natural History was donated and constructed in Franke Park. Belen and Violet Diehm created the museum to honor their son, Jack, who died in 1959 at the age of 21 due to an automobile accident. The museum educated and entertained the citizens of Fort Wayne until 1975, when the original museum was destroyed by arson. In 1981, a new Diehm Museum opened to public after six years of fundraising. The new displays featured murals created by artists with the Fort Wayne Artists Guild. The museum offered a variety of mounted fish, fowl and other mammals which provided an excellent educational space for nature study. In 2011, after educating the people of Fort Wayne for over 40 years, the Diehm Museum was officially closed. #sociallyhistory

Such a great video to introduce the awesome Franke Park MTB trails - a real gem in our community! The 11th annual Trees...

Posted by Trees Indiana on Monday, March 18, 2024

Monday, March 18, 2024 shared video post by Trees Indiana on Facebook:

[ Even though it won't play here it is worth watching on Facebook! ]

Such a great video to introduce the awesome Franke Park MTB trails - a real gem in our community! The 11th annual Trees Trail Challenge features a MTB race (beginner to expert), taking place November 3rd on these trails. Circle it on your calendar✍️

Original Monday, March 18, 2024 video post by Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation

How will you enjoy the weather this weekend? Here's a look at the Mountain Bike Trail at Franke Park for some inspiration produced by a local trail user. To see the MTB trail, click Map of Franke Parke Trails [ Trails maintained by Three Rivers Velo Sport ]

Back to top

Page updated: