3 Rivers in Allen County, Indiana

Citizen River from Lynchpin Creative on Vimeo
Filmed on location in Fort Wayne, Indiana on the St. Joseph River between Spy Run Avenue and Northside Drive.
Sponsored by Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, Lincoln Financial Group. Original music by Alec Johnson.

Fort Wayne has been known as the "Summit City" since 1853 as it is the highest point on the 3 rivers lying on the St. Lawrence River Continental Divide, which separates the Great Lakes Basin from the rest of the Atlantic Ocean watershed. It is called the Little River Valley. This designation has been important since the canal era when the Wabash and Erie Canal ground breaking in 1832 passed through Fort Wayne in 1835. Where do Fort Wayne’s rivers begin and where do they go? published March 13, 2017 on Riverfront Fort Wayne. See the Maumee River which flows northeast from Fort Wayne to Toledo, Ohio, the St. Joseph River which flows southwest from Hillsdale, Michigan through northwest Ohio to Fort Wayne, and the St. Marys River starting near Celina, Ohio flowing northwest to Fort Wayne on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. The USGS Streamer app shows the river Trace Downstream and Trace Upstream. BTW - the correct spelling of St. Marys River does NOT include an apostrophe!

Origin of Summit City on page 427 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 Archive.org.

Riverfront Development

  1. Riverfront Fort Wayne is the name for development of the 3 rivers in downtown Fort Wayne started in 2015 with a conceptual plan drawn up and shared with the community. Read more on their History page and follow on Facebook.
  2. Downtown/Riverfront at City of Fort Wayne Community Development.
  3. Explore Fort Wayne's Three Rivers various articles by Visit Fort Wayne
  4. Promenade Park by City of Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation.
  5. Riverfront Development at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.
  6. A Riverfront View Development is taking root by Jeff Wiehe published May 2, 2017 on Fort Wayne Magazine.

Random River Information

  1. Explore Fort Wayne's Three Rivers at Visit Fort Wayne
  2. ADVENTURES IN FOOD AND FITNESS: Exploring the Maumee, on foot and through time Book chronicles hike from river's headwaters to its mouth at Lake Erie by Tanya Isch Caylor published September 11, 2017 for The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  3. Big Project, Big Rewards about the downtown river development taskforce published February 19, 2014 on the Vision 2020 blog.
  4. Bullerman Ditch discussed in Save Maumee campaigns for clean ditch by Jamie Duffy published December 30, 2014 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  5. Fort Wayne: riverfront heritage and historic building reuse posted August 4, 2018 on Archives of Hoosier History Live podcast on Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM. The introduction begins with The state's second-largest city is located at the confluence of three waterways: the St. Joseph, St. Mary's and Maumee rivers. Against the backdrop of a vibrant revival of the downtown riverfront in Fort Wayne, we will explore the impact of the rivers on the city as well as current initiatives to reuse historic riverfront buildings. A significant aspect of the city's river history involves the Wabash & Erie Canal that began operating in 1835 and came right through Fort Wayne. ... Nelson will be joined by two studio guests who will serve as our guides through Fort Wayne's riverfront history and the new ways it's being showcased: Allen County historian Tom Castaldi, who writes a history column for Fort Wayne Monthly magazine and hosts "On the Heritage Trail" segments about local history for WBOI-FM Radio. And Fort Wayne historian Randy Harter, the owner of Fort Wayne Food Tours, which offers downtown walking tours exploring the city's history, architecture and food heritage. Randy also is the author of several books, including Legendary Locals of Fort Wayne (Arcadia Publishing, 2015) - fellow guest Tom Castaldi is among those profiled in it - and Fort Wayne Through Time, which will be published this fall.
  6. Geography of the Little River Valley page on the Little River Wetlands Project has maps of Glacial Lake Maumee and other physiographic features. Indiana Geological Survey has Allen County - A Geologic Atlas with more maps, photos and information.
  7. Hannah's Ford - maker along the river, is it related to Samuel Hanna? What is it discussion March 28, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Private group on Facebook.
  8. The Heritage Trail - Fort Wayne River Systems 3.5 minute audio walk on the Heritage Trail by Tom Castalida April 1, 2013 on Northeast Public Radio. One of almost 50 historic audio walks I need to catalog.
  9. Highlights of the Maumee River Valley Did you know… The Maumee River  is the largest in the entire Great Lakes System, unique geography of the Maumee watershed is a remnant of glaciers and the slowly falling water levels of prehistoric Lake Erie, served as a link between the Mississippi River system and the Great Lakes for humans for over 10,000 years, Britain and France vied for dominance in trade with Native American communities, and it was a major theater during the era between the French and Indian War  and the War of 1812, France built two forts in the valley–Fort St. Phillipe des Miamis and Fort Miamis– near what is now downtown Fort Wayne, between 1700 and 1750 - read more from Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor.
  10. Hiking the Maumee-Wabash canoe portage by Nate Meyer for the News-Sentinel newspaper
  11. Indiana's muddy river navigability laws could impact Fort Wayne's riverfront plans Fort Wayne Parks director said the city is aware of the situation by Kevin Kilbane published September 15, 2017 on The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  12. Map of the Historic Maumee River prepared for Au Glaise Village - Defiance, Ohio Historical Society by Historyland Press, Lakeside, Ohio posted Septemberr 13, 2017 on Hofer and Davis, Inc. Land Surveyors on Facebook .
  13. Little River Wetlands Project - west side of city, bald eagles frequent area, since 1990 1,000 restored acres of marsh and prairie of former 25,000 acre Great Marsh.
  14. Map of the historic Maumee River, Miami of the lake and its tributaries : with the Indian towns and trails, military roads, forts & battle sights of the French, British and American expeditions that passes this way by Robert E Ernst for publisher: Lakeside, Ohio : Historyland Press, 1973.on a WorldCat library search.
  15. Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor
  16. Path to clean rivers leads underground Fort Wayne is one of 746 communities with combined sanitary and storm sewers that pour raw sewage 71 times a year into the three local rivers. This editorial describes the $150 million 7 mile underground tunnel to prevent 90% of sewage overflow from polluting our rivers published December 1, 2013 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  17. Postcards posted October 7, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Private group on Facebook
  18. Portage pointsPATH TO THE PAST archives from News-Sentinel History. The relatively short 6-mile overland trail connected the Lake Erie-St. Lawrence River-Atlantic Ocean passage with the Wabash-Ohio rivers route to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. What that means is Fort Wayne was the only place between Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico where a traveler would have to pull a canoe from the water and haul it over dry land. Depending on the season, the portage, a French term for “carrying place,” denotes the route where early travelers carried their canoes from one river over to another, may have been a 9 to 25 miles long overland hike copied from The Beginnings of the Portage to the Wabash River posted June 10, 2013 by Tom Castaldi on the History Center Notes & Queries blog. See Maumee-Wabash Portage Was Once Widely Used By Indians, Traders map from the two page December 28, 1958 article in the The Journal Gazette newspaper at History Center Digital Collection on the mDON mastodon Digital Object Network. .
  19. River Greenway Trail - 20 miles of trails along the banks of the St. Mary's, St. Joseph and the Maumee Rivers
  20. St. Joseph River dam video posted April 9, 2017 by Tom Mauger on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Private group on Facebook
  21. St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative
  22. St. Marys River, without an apostrophe, is the correct spelling from May 16, 2017 post on Tri-State Watershed Alliance on Facebook and Feature Detail Report for: Saint Marys River by USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). Navigability status of the St. Marys River a complicated issue published September 15, 2017 by The Journal Gazette newspaper. What happened to the apostrophe in the St. Marys River? According ot the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, it is correct to write St. Marys River and incorrect to write St. Mary’s River. This is because the river is named St. Marys and isn’t a river that belongs to St. Mary. Copied from an August 18, 2022 post by Friends of the Rivers on Facebook.
  23. St Marys and Maumee at Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The St. Marys River and Maumee River Watershed is located in northeastern Indiana, draining approximately 376 square miles in Adams and Allen counties. Major streams included in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report are St. Marys River, Maumee River, Habegger Ditch, Gates Ditch, Blue Creek, Yellow Creek, Martz Ditch, Borum Run, Holthouse Ditch, Kohne Ditch, Gerke Ditch, and Nickelsen Creek, Trier Ditch, Bullerman Ditch, Gar Creek, Botern Ditch, Black Creek, Ham Interceptor Ditch and other tributaries.
  24. St. Marys River Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at the National Weather Service
  25. USGS National Water Dashboard for Indiana shows real-time water data collected at U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) observation stations in context with weather-related data from other public sources.
  26. USGS Streamer - Explore Americaa's larger streats as you trace upstream to their source or downstream to where they empty. Learn more about your stream traces and the places they pass through in brief or detailed reports. See weather radar and near real-time streamflow conditions.
  27. Watershed year for St. Joe River Will achieve compliance with 2008 decree next year by Dave Gong published December 25, 2014 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  28. Where do floodwaters come from? This map shows you by Nexstar Media Wire, Jeremy Tanner posted: Aug 22, 2022, updated: Aug 22, 2022 on CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15.


  1. The 1913 Flood will eventually have a seperate page.
  2. A century's worth of work has made Fort Wayne less flood-prone City has tried three different types of flood-control approaches - a timeline of floods and flood control projects over the past 100 years by Bob Caylor was published March 21, 2013 in the The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  3. Historic March floods of 1982 and 100th anniversary of March 26, 1913 flood that left 20% of the city homeless in The City That Saved Itself--TWICE! March 6, 2013 by Nancy McCammon-Hansen on History Center Notes & Queries blog
  4. Flooding irritation overflows Waynedale neighborhood residents tired of damage May 5, 2013 by Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  5. Flooding photo album - Flood pictures from throughout the years in Fort Wayne on Allen County Office of Homeland Security on Facebook.
  6. New house at 1523 Edgewater mentioned as being in the flood district in May 17, 1914 The Journal Gazette newspaper posted October 7, 2017 on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook
  7. Rivers On A Rampage head line on flooding April 14, 1903 Fort Wayne News newspaper article April 14, 2014 discussion on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.

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