Old Aqueduct Club
Formed in 1912 by several citizens who as boys played and swam in the aqueduct that had served the canal and not used for a quarter of a century. A statue was erected in 1927 in Orff Park 900 West Main Street, corner of Rockhill Street & Thieme Drive near the Carole Lombard Memorial Bridge by the members of the unique Fort Wayne civic group that numbered around 500 in the 1930s.
- See John Orff, Orff Mill, or Orff Park.
- Aqueduct Club Monument by ARCH ( Architecture and Community Heritage).
- Old Aqueduct Club Memorialat The Historical Marker Datatbase HMdb.org.
- Old Aqueduct Club Monument, (sculpture) is at the Smithsonian Institution.
- “Old Aqueduct Club” by Tom Castaldi, local historian published October 3, 2013 on the History Center Notes & Queries blog.
- February 7, 2017 discussion on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived group on Facebook.
- Iimage on the right is a 1912 newspaper article Boys of Long Ago Will Meet Again about forming the Old Aqueduct Club in the Saturday 23 Nov 1912 The Fort Wayne Sentinel on Newspapers.com.
On July 16, 1927, a monument in Orff Park was dedicated by the Old Aqueduct Club. It is a statue of two young boys dressed in the coveralls of the 1870s with an inscription that simply reads: “Let’s Go Swimmin.” The Old Aqueduct Club was a unique Fort Wayne group that celebrated childhood memories of the canal era. The aqueduct carried the main channel of the Wabash & Erie Canal across the Saint Mary’s River just north of Main Street. After the canal ceased operation, the aqueduct was abandoned until it finally collapsed during a terrible ice storm in 1883. The Old Aqueduct Club was formed in November 1912 and the rules of the club stated that members had to be male persons forty-five years of age or older who had lived west of Calhoun Street before 1872 and had gone swimming in the old aqueduct. The Club annually held a dinner meeting and by the 1930s there were as many as 500 members who claimed to have met the requirements. Members of the Old Aqueduct Club used the gavel during their annual dinner meetings. By 1955, there were only eleven members left to attend the banquet and the club was dissolved.Copied from a July 16, 2018 post with photos by The History Centeron Facebook.
- Photos labeled Aqueduct Club Holds 'Swim' and Oldest Swimmers are shown on the page Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Scrapbook No. 6 029_Newspaper Clipping (1950.09.15)at Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library.
The Old Aqueduct Clubwas briefly mentioned on page 7 of Fort Wayne Pioneers by Richard T. Blitz presented to the Quest Club on April 26, 1957 and on page 6 of The public art of Fort Wayne, Indiana by Angie Quinn presented to the Quest Club on March 28, 2014 at Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library.
- Was discussed November 24, 2022 on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook with release of new book
Crossroads of History: Strolling through Fort Wayne's Parksby Joshua Schipper.
Old Apple Tree
There is also a 200+ year old Bicentennial Tree with a 1797-1987 plaque on Baker Street in downtown Fort Wayne.
An Old Apple Tree of Fort Wayne Lore (“Along the Heritage Trail with Tom Castaldi” – June 2015, No. 125) published September 13, 2016 on The History Centerblog is a fun read describing the appletree in what is now the Lakeside Neighborhood the birth location of Little Turtle and how it appeared in many publications in the 19th century.
Shown as Stop #51 Tacumwah & the “Old Apple Tree” on the ARCH ( Architecture and Community Heritage) Heritage Trail Kekionga map.
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Copied from page 44 of The pictorial field-book of the war of 1812; or, Illustrations, by pen and pencil, of the history, biography, scenery, relics, and traditions of the last war for American independence by Benson John Lossing, 1813-1891. This apple tree image was discussed May 13, 2015 onthe original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.
about three hundred yards westward from Harmar’s Ford, on the site of the Indian camp, was a venerable apple-tree, full of fruit, its trunk measuring fifteen feet in circumference. Under this tree Chief Richardville, to whom allusion has been made, was born a little more than a hundred years ago. It was a fruit-bearing tree then, and is supposed to have grown from a seed dropped by some French trader among these Twightwees, as the Miamis were called in early times. In the sketch of the apple-tree the city of Fort Wayne is seen in the distance. The spires on the left are those of the Roman Catholic Cathedral.
As The History Centerblog at the beginning of this section on the apple tree discusses is how popular it was in the literature of the time. My first encounter was in the 1990s when I (Stan Follis) read about this large apple tree on page 616 in the book Genealogical records of the Royer family in America published in 1928. There seems to be some question about the correct parents and age of George Royer and conflicts whether his age was 90 or almost 100 from different newspaper obituaries raising the question whether this appletree story was even true, and if not why was it in the book at all? As The History Centerblog An Old Apple Tree of Fort Wayne Lore indicates this appletree was a popular topic of folklore for the time indicating that perhaps George Royer was a story teller and maybe why it was included in this Royer family history book.
Old City Hall
Old City Hall is an individual local historic district. The Fort Wayne City Building - was built in 1840 on land donated to the city by Samuel Hanna at Barr and Berry Streets. The sandstone building was built in 1893 in the Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. In 1977, the city of Fort Wayne committed a Federal Grant to rehabilitate the Old City Hall for use as a historical museum that is now the home of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society known as the The History Center. The Old City Hall / History Center Stop #7 on the Central Downtown Trail 19 stops on the Heritage Trail by ARCH ( Architecture and Community Heritage). The Old City Hall marker photos with Google maps Street View image, and more at The Historical Marker Datatbase HMdb.org. Celebrating the "Hapsburg Horror" by Nancy McCammon-Hansen posted May 9, 2012 and Fort Wayne’s Old City Hall by Tom Castaldi published August 14, 2014 on History Center Notes & Queries blog. DAR honors Historical Society for Shields Room renovation June 20, 2013 on CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15. Historical society honored for restoration June 22, 2013 by Julie Crothers of The Journal Gazette newspaper.
Old Crown Brewing Corporation
25015 Spy Run Avenue, was founded as The French Brewery in 1862 by Charles L. Centlivre (a French immigrant), at 2501 to 2531 North Spy Run Avenue. Wikipedia has this Advertisement from 1905
If You Want to be Well drink beer that is pure and healthful. Our Special ExportBeer is absolutely pure, properly aged and fermented, and is made from the best materials money can buy. We spare neither care, cash nor brains in the brewing of this perfect beer, and the rich, inimitable flavor is the natural consequence. Drink Special Export - the beer that tells. C L Centlivre Brewing Co. Phone 62, Made in Ft. Wayne. The last of the brewery was demolished in 1989. IndianaBeer.com has more photos and information on local breweries at A Brief History of Brewing in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Short video posted in a March 31, 2017 discussion on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.
Old Drug Building
Said to be the birthplace of baking powder and the oldest commercial structure still standing in the city. Housed the city’s first drugstore, established in 1848 by Col. Hugh B. Reed. From October 21, 1980 article in The News-Sentinel newspaper. Discussed March 9, 2017 including photo in Comments on Allen County Genealogical Society of Indianaon Facebook.
Old Fort Park
See our Old Fort Park section of Forts of Fort Wayne.
Old Gas House
Gas House circa 1913 Don Hall's photo
Photo of the Gas House Circa. 1913 from Photos for Don Hall's Old Gas House on Yelp.com was posted and discussed July 9, 2018 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived group on Facebook. Since 1955 the location has been Hall's Gas House restaurant on Superior Street of the local Don Hall's restaurant chain. It was the Fort Wayne Gas Light Company for producing gas from coal in the 1850s. See Under the Gas Lights by Tom Castaldi published May 23, 2013 in the History Center Notes & Queries blog. Coal tar residue from coal processing into gas over a century ago is considered a hazardous waste site near the rivers requiring cleanup - NIPSCO planning for coal tar cleanup this fall in St. Marys River The work will require temporary use of the large grassy area on the Old Fort grounds by Kevin Kilbane published March 9, 2017 in The News-Sentinel newspaper now on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
Old Methodist College - OMC
Was once the center of education in northeast Indiana. In 1893 it moved to Upland, IN and became Taylor University. A photo of a marker at its location by the river and very close to the turn for Wayne Street is shown on A short historical tour of central Fort Wayneby Nancy McCammon-Hansen published June 28, 2013 on History Center Notes & Queries blog.
Lewis and Hanna Streets in early 1900s. 1905 photo in the October 23, 1965 The News-Sentinel newspaperand discussion September 24, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived group on Facebook.
One Summit Square
Built on the old 1960 Wolf & Desauer location. Indiana Michigan Power Center on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Discussion October 22, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived group on Facebook.
Photo and discussion of thier upside down sign July 17, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived group on Facebook.
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Orange House Restaurant
Four photos from 1955 posted on The Indiana Album from July 6, 2017 post on Facebook. Photo and discussion October 23, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived group on Facebook.
Page 338 top image shows
the Edsall (Orff) mill on the St. Mary's river and other industries were operated by water power from the canal. The two principal basins of the canal were those at Harrison street and at Lafayette street. from the book 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 Archive.org.
The opening of the Wabash and Erie canal brought hundreds of pioneers to the thriving young city. Among these were John Hough, Jr. (born in Middlebury, Vermont, in 1818), attorney and leader in many public enterprises; John Orff (born in Bavaria, in 1821), merchant and miller; Nathaniel P. Stockbridge (born in Freeport, Maine, in 1821), who purchased the D. W. Burroughs book store and continued in business for thirty-eight years ; Horace Durvey, who founded the hardware house which later became the establishment of Morgan and Beach ; Josiah King (born in Quebec, in 1834), John Jones (born in Wales, in 1835), W. B. Felt (born in New York, in 1823), Peter Bobay (born in France, in 1838), George W. Linden (born in New York, in 1828), and Thomas Tiernan (born in Waddington, New York, in 1828), who entered earnestly into the life of the town, and Dr. Lewis Beeeher, physician and druggist. . . . Among the industrial and commercial enterprises launched during 1843 were the tannery of Henry Work and Samuel Hanna on the north side of the canal west of Barr street ; the flouring mill of Hamilton and Wines, on the canal ; the linseed oil mill of Henry Rudisill and Henry Wolke; the large flouring and grist mill of Samuel Edsall, on the St. Mary's river, and the canal, known also as the Empire or "stone mill," and later as the Orff mill, and the cooper shop of Ball and Johnson. . . . W. S. Edsall was named as register of the canal land office. . . .
St. Rochus's hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis was established with the pur chase of the John Orff home on West Main street ; it has been conducted in connection with St. Joseph hospital.
XXXII. ORFF'S MILL - (Known also as the Edsall Mill, Empire Mill, and The Old Stone Mill) of the water-powered mills located on the Wabash and Erie Canal in Fort Wayne, were erected in the period from 1841 to 1845. Orff’s Mill was located on the right bank of the St. Marys River immediately north of the present West Main Street Bridge and derived its power from the canal.
When the Wabash and Erie Canal was constructed through Fort Wayne, a considerable amount of land in the western part of the town was owned by William Rockhill, who deeded to the canal company a right-of-way through his land for the canal. He, in turn, received from the company a lease for water rights.
In the years 1842 and 1843, Mr. Rockhill and his partner, Samuel Edsall, erected two saw mills. In July, 1843, Mr. Rockhill withdrew from the partnership and Mr. Edsall started construction on a large grist mill, which was completed two years later. A few rods north of the mill, the waters of the canal were conveyed over the St. Marys River by means of a long covered acqueduct, which for several reasons became the rendezvous for hundreds of young swimmers in the western part of town. The memory of this acqueduct has been perpetuated by the formation in 1912 of the "Old Aqueduct Club,” whose membership is composed of those men who, as boys, swam and "chawed beef” within the acqueduct’s protective walls. In 1927, a memorial was erected to these young swimmers in nearby Orff Park. Mr. Calvin K. Reimen, of Fort Wayne, now heads this group, whose ranks are rapidly thinning.
Changes of ownership of many of these early mills was frequent and this mill was no exception. Shortly after the erection of the grist mill, Mr. Edsall admitted Millford Smith as a partner, the firm being designated as Smith and Edsall. In 1856, the property was offered for sale and was purchased by a group under the name of Orff, Armstrong & Lacy. Mr. Lacy died shortly after the forma- tion of this partnership. The firm then operated under the title of Orff & Armstrong. John Orff acquired Mr. Armstrong’s interests in 1858 and continued as ihe sole owner of the business. A number of years later, the business passed to John Orff’s sons, John, Jr., C. E., and Montgomery Orff. The mill was badly damaged by fire in 1888 and on September 11, of the same year, the property was purchased at sheriff’s sale by John Orff.
In 1872 Mr. Orff equipped the mill for steam operation, which permitted the use of water or steam for power, until the abandonment of the canal cut off the water supply. The mill’s water lease expired in 188. John Orff, Sr., died in 1896, and the mill quit business in 1897. The Orff homestead is now occupied by the Jim Eby Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and is located at the end of West Main Street adjacent to Lindenwood Cemetery.
The Kingman Brothers’ History of Allen County, Indiana, published in 1880, [EMPIRE MILLS page 117] gives the following account of the mill’s equipment at that time: "Until recently, the power has been derived from an overshot wheel. In 1862-63, Mr. Orff built a grain warehouse, immediately east and adjoining the mill, with six bins, with a capacity of 5000 bushels per bin. In 1872, Mr. Orff added a steam engine and such additional machinery as the change required. He did not, however, dispense with the water wheel. He now uses steam or water, as the circumstances may require. In 1876, he built a very commodious office adjoining the grain warehouse. Under the old process, this mill turned out 175 barrels per 24 hours. Under the new, minimum capacity is 175 per 24 hours. The following is an exhibit of the size, capacity and business of this mill: Mill (stone) four and one half stories, 50 feet by 60 feet; Grain Warehouse, first story stone, two stories plank, 40 feet by 45 feet; Grain Warehouse storage capacity 30,000 bushels; number of run of stone, five size of stone, one three foot, four, four and one-half; Number of hands employed, twelve; amount of flour manufactured in 24 hours, 175 barrels; horse power of engine, 100; horse power of wheels, 110; capital invested, $40,000." Copied from page 22-23 of the The water-powered mills of Allen County, Indiana by Bates, Roy M.on Archive.org.
Orff Park, 0.02 acres, since 1892. See Old Aqueduct Club.
Orff Park is located at the intersection of Main and Rockhill and is close to the scenic Rivergreenway.
For more detailed location information, check out the General Park Map or Orff Park Map.
History: Orff Park was purchased from John Orff in 1892 and is our smallest park. It was once larger, but two-thirds of its original area was allocated to the West Main Street Bridge. The park features "Let's Go Swimming", an Old Aqueduct Club memorial. Copied from Orff Park at City of Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation .
ACTIVITIES OF 1892 - The city purchased from John Orff a piece of ground on the east bank of the St. Mary's river for the relocation of West Main street when the present iron bridge was built. This ground, and the triangular piece which was given the name of Orff park, was valued at $5,550. Copied from the book 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 Archive.org.
Orf Park discussed November 24, 2022 on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook with release of new book
Crossroads of History: Strolling through Fort Wayne's Parks by Joshua Schipper.
Started in the 1850s when orphans and destitute street children from the east coast were put on trains headed west. Most children were placed with farm families who needed their labor and would treat them as their own. By the the 1930s, as many as 200,000 boys and girls had been relocated, from New York, Boston and other Eastern cities. “The largest number came to Indiana,” says Templeton, 69. “Apparently, the railroad that runs from Fort Wayne and comes to Huntington and Wabash was a main line for bringing the kids west.” Read about "Michael Young, 61, of Columbia City recalls his grandmother, Ethyle Gale Young, telling him the story of her father, Henry Gale. Even as a child, he says, he knew the story was remarkable. Gale came to Indiana from upstate New York on an orphan train in 1864." in Boy arrived at 7, became farmhand and more in Untraveled history Indiana was top stop for ‘orphan trains’ both stories by Rosa Salter Rodriguez of The Journal Gazette September 20, 2012. Alfred James Pembrook, born in 1884, came west on a train with his sister Ida Pembrook, born in 1881, around 1890. He lived in Fort Wayne, then moved to St. Petersburg, Florida according to Laura Plato Pembrook Children under Pembrook Childrenon Indiana Orphans Train Project.
1409 South Calhoun at Montgomery, 1915 photo posted November 22, 2014 onthe original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook. Discussed with postcards September 26, 2015 and night time photo added October 3, 2015 on You know you've lived in Fort Wayne too long when... Private Facebook group.
O'Reilly Office Supply Co., Inc.
Now doing business as A.M.O. Office Supply
Go AMO. 90th anniversary was on January 1, 2013
The original saloon first opened at 1830 South Calhoun in the summer of 1888. The proprietor was the honorable Ferdinand Oetting. Two years later, in 1890, a fireman for the Pennsylvania Railroad, W.T. Harvey, purchased the saloon. W.T. hired a bartender by the name of Joseph J. Schnee. In 1894 Joseph purchased the saloon, thus beginning the longest family ownership of the establishment. Rosina and Joseph lived above the saloon until approximately 1910.First two sentences copied from a fairly long The Oyster Bar History at the The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
- Page 352, Oetting F D, 354 Calhoun in the 1888 Fort Wayne City Directory on Archive.org
- Page 363, Oettig Ferdinand D, bartender D W Keefer, bds 354 Calhoun. in the 1889 Fort Wayne City Directory on Archive.org
- Oyster Bar posted by Visit Fort Wayne as more on their TAKING A TOUR OF FORT WAYNE'S HISTORICAL RESTAURANTS! By Heather Q. on Jan. 10, 2013.
- The Oyster Bar – A Fort Wayne Favorite for 60+ Years by Tina Bobilya published January 26, 2017 on Visit Indiana Indiana Insider Blog.
- LOREN SHAUM: Historic Oyster Bar is a Fort Wayne jewel posted Apr 17, 2021 on The Goshen News.
it has had a handful of owners and operated under various names. It even survived the prohibition, but did close for three years during The Great Depression. In 1956, oysters were first introduced and in 1975 the name officially became “The Oyster Bar.”The Oyster Bar is under new ownership for first time since 1987 by: Rex Smith posted: Dec 5, 2022 on CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15.
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