1920-1929 Timeline of Allen County, Indiana

1920 to 1929: Roaring 20s various newspaper articles include a Timeline from the Fort Wayne Historyarchives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1921 - 1922 - 1923 - 1924 - 1925 - 1926 - 1927 - 1928 - 1929


  1. Fort Wayne's two breweries -- Centlivre Brewing and Berghoff Brewing -- try to stay afloat by making low-alcohol "near beer."
  2. Fort Wayne's Bill Wambsganss completes unassisted triple play in World Series for Cleveland Indians. Copied from 1920-1929: THE ROARING 20s Timeline from Fort Wayne History from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

City native's triple play put decade on sports map by Blake Sebring in 1920-1929: THE ROARING 20s of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1920s toothbrushes become more common. Toothbrushes were available to the wealthy as early as 1808 as shown in many photos on Opening up the Tooth Fairy File: Exploring our dental history collection on the February 15, 2013 Smithsonian National Museum American History blog.

1920s the Ku Klux Klan grip on big cities and small towns alike led to its near-domination of Indiana state politics in the 1920s. See November 30, 2016 post by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook

1920, January 2 - Nettie M. Smith, the census enumerator, started recording the 14th U.S. Federal Census in Wayne Township.

1920, January 16 - Indiana ratified the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, giving women the right to vote. After Hoosier suffragists convinced two-thirds of both chambers to debate the issue, Governor James P. Goodrich called a special session, during which legislators approved women's suffrage in Indiana. Learn more about Women in Indiana politics here: A Woman’s Place: Women of the Indiana General Assembly, Past and Present by Nicholas Flores published May 31, 2010 on IN.gov. Learn more about the long journey to passing the 19th Amendment here: 19th Amendment on Crusade for the vote.com. Copied from January 16, 2018 and January 16, 2019 posts by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. Indiana formally ratified the 19th Am. on Jan 16, 1920 & it was ratified by Congress on August 18, 1920. Among the many heroes of women's suffrage, Hoosiers such as Amanda Way, May Wright Sewall, & Grace Julian Clarke fought tirelessly for the right to vote. Copied from a March 8, 2019 post by the Indiana Archives on Twitter.

1920, January 16 - Prohibition took effect nationally Jan. 16, 1920, after ratification of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But Indiana's General Assembly, mindful of the temperance movement's strong support here, had made the state "dry" almost two years earlier on April 2, 1918. Copied from Dry and dangerous Prohibition of alcohol set the tone for a modern age of change in the decade after World War I. By Kevin Kilbane published in 1920-1929: THE ROARING 20s by The News-Sentinel newspaper. Prohibition would end December 5, 1933 when the passage of the 21st Amendment was ratified. The 21st Amendment repealed the18th Amendment ending the increasingly unpopular nationwide prohibition of alcohol.

History Center Facebook photo
The History Center Facebook photo

1920, March 28 - One of northeast Indiana's deadliest tornadoes tore across northeast Wells County, northwest Adams County, and southeast Allen County killing 13 people as it smashed through the community of Townley. Edgerton, [Jackson Township, Allen County,] Indiana was badly damaged. From National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office Northern Indiana On Mar 28 in weather history... The village of Townley, Jackson Township was completely wrecked and four residents were killed. It was never rebuilt. See newspaper headline and photos posted March 28, 2019 by The History Center on Facebook.

1920, June 13 - the U.S. Post Office Department rules that children may not be sent by parcel post which started January 1, 1913. From On-This-Day.com and the National Postal Department and the Smithsonian.

1920, August - NFL football started with 14 teams

1920 August 18 - the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified giving women the right to vote as a result of the Women's Suffrage Movement. Indiana was the 26th state to ratify it on January 16, 1920. Some additional information is on the Charters of Freedom page. Read a short history of voting from The History Center. On March 8, 1884, Susan B. Anthony addressed the U.S. House Judiciary Committee arguing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Not until June 4, 1919, did Congress approve what was nicknamed the Anthony Amendment. 1920 was therefore the first election where women could vote. See 1915 Woman Suffrage Postcard at The National Museum of American History.

1920, October 1 - Scientific American reported that the rapidly developing medium of radio would soon be used to broadcast music. Tweeted October 1, 2014 byValley of the upper Maumee River, with historical account of Allen County and the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana published in 1889on Twitter.

1920, October 5 - most people did not have electricity as shown in an ad from the New York Tribune on People Had To Be Convinced of the Usefulness of Electricity from August 1, 2013 on Smithsonian.com.

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Trees of Indiana (1921) Archive.org ebook by Charles C. Deam, Indiana Department of Conservation, Division of Forestry, Fort Wayne Printing Company. This giant sycamore tree near Worthington, Indiana was the largest broadleaf tree in the U.S. There is a man standing to the left side of the tree. At five feet above ground it was 42 feet 3 inches in circumference, or roughly 13.5 feet in diameter. Sycamores are the tallest trees in Indiana discussed on page 170-171. On page 159 are tulip trees the second tallest Indiana trees. Tulip trees were found up to 120 feet tall, 38 feet in circumference, or 12 feet in diameter. These trees give some idea how big trees were when our pioneer ancestors came to Indiana and cut down the primeval forest. Trees of Indiana is a good read for what Indiana native trees were here when the pioneers started clearing the forests for settlement. There may also be clues about areas before 1921 that were still in pristine native conditions. Other Books on Indiana Native Plants are on the INPAWS - Indiana Native Plant And Wildflower Society web site.

Fort Wayne's Carole Lombard, the queen of screwball comedy, makes her film debut as a tomboy in "A Perfect Crime."
William Hosey is elected to his third term as Fort Wayne mayor. Copied from 1920-1929: THE ROARING 20s Timeline from Fort Wayne History from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1921, January 10 - a fire in the basement of the U.S. Department of Commerce building in Washington, DC, destroyed or severely damaged most of the 1890 Census records. Some 1890 records survive, including parts of counties in 10 states and portions of Washington, DC. Additionally, some records from the 1890 Veterans Census are available at the National Archives and Records Administration. The 1890 Veterans Census collected additional data from Union veterans and widows. Copied from January 21, 2016 U.S. Census Bureau Facebook post.

1921, February 15 - Waynedale is founded when Abner Elzey purchased the land for Waynedale. The original boundary of Waynedale was McArthur Drive on the south, Old Trail Road on the east, Lower Huntington Road on the north and Beaty Avenue on the west. The only residence was the Cunnison farm. This was located where Umber's Do It Best is in 2015. Copied from a February 15, 2015post by The Waynedale News on Facebook.

1921, May 19 - Emergency Quota Act added two new features to American immigration law: numerical limits on immigration and the use of a quota system for establishing those limits from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

1921, June 30 - President Harding appoints former-President Taft Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He is the only U.S. President to hold this position. 

1921, July 15 - the Indiana legislature created the Indiana Motor Vehicle Police that evolved into the Indiana State Police. Read How We Began for more information on IN.gov.

Vote for Women's Freedom poster

1921, November 9 - after the Indiana General Assembly ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in January 1920, which granted women the right to vote." Catherine Dinklage was elected to the Fort Wayne City Council, becoming the 1st woman elected to ANY office in Indiana! See front page of the November 9, 1921 The Journal Gazette newspaper. Discussed November 9, 2018 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook. See Winning the Vote in Fort Wayne, Indiana: The Long, Cautious Journey in a German American City by Peggy Seigel in theIndiana Magazine of History Archive at Indiana University ScholarworksVol. 102, No. 3 (SEPTEMBER 2006), pages 220-257. See timeline 1922-1923 Our 175th Year - 1833-2008 at The News-Sentinel newspaper and TIMELINE OF WOMEN'S "FIRSTS" at IN.gov.

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South Side High School is built.

Construction starts in Fort Wayne for a truck factory for the International Harvester Company. Truck production begins the next year. Copied from 1920-1929: THE ROARING 20s Timeline from Fort Wayne History from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1922, February 27 - the Supreme Court upholds the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteeing the right of women to vote.

1922, June 22 - Designer Bill Blass is born in Fort Wayne. See his 1938 sketch of a summer evening dress at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and 1972 Dress, 2-Piece on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog.


1923, part 1 photocopy of the original
1923, part 2 is the second half of a photocopy of the original
1923, part 3 photocopy of the original

1923, 2nd and 3rd of May - John Arthur Macready and Oakley G. Kelly flew non-stop from New York to San Diego in California, becoming the first people to fly across the United States without stopping. See photos on earlyaviators.com.

1923, June 14 - The U.S. Flag Code is a set of rules (not a law) for civilian flag use that was published on June 14, 1923, (Flag Day!) and adopted by Congress in 1942. The U.S. Flag Code set forth prohibitions on what were deemed disrespectful uses of the flag and included official rules on proper conduct during flag ceremonies, flag display, and flag maintenance. Copied from Pointers from the Flag Code, just in time for Flag Day published June 10, 2014 in The National Museum of American History blog.

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Bob Juday of Fort Wayne competes in Paris Olympics as a high jumper.
WHBJ -- which later became WGL -- is the first radio station in Fort Wayne. Copied from 1920-1929: THE ROARING 20s Timeline from Fort Wayne History from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1924 - National Origins Act of 1924, barred Asian immigrants, limited Latin American immigrants, and established rigid immigration quotas for European countries. See Fifty Year Later: A Brief History of the Immigration Act of 1965 by Jessie Kratz post September 17, 2015 on The National Archives Prologue: Pieces of History blog. The quotas were abolished on October 3, 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Immigration Act of 1965.

1924, May 26 - Immigration Act of 1924 limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States as of the 1890 census, down from the 3% cap set by the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, which used the Census of 1910. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

 The Library of Congress photo, LC-USZ62-111409
The Library of Congress photo, LC-USZ62-111409

1924, June 2 - President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act into law after Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act.  It granted national citizenship to all indigenous people living in the United States — an estimated 125,000 to 300,000 people who had not previously been recognized as citizens. Copied from June 2, 2019 post by American Experience | PBS on Facebook. The right to vote, however, was governed by state law; until 1957, some states barred Native Americans from voting. Copied from Indian Citizenship Act on Library of Congress American Memory Today In History blog. The act authorized the Secretary of the Interior to issue certificates of citizenship to Indians from Featured Story: Late In Coming from The National Archives Documented rights on the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. See a copy at Today's Document at the The National Archives. What is the Snyder Act of 1924 gives citizenship to Native Americans? In 1927, North Side High School was formed with their school mascot called Redskins. In 2014 the Washington Redskins professional football team was being pressured to change their name. An opinion newspaper article Make Miami connection more meaningful 'Redskin' debate offers a unique opportunity to also educate by Doug Peconge, a Miami Indian from the Meshingomesia band, was published August 24, 2014 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.

1924, October 10 - No longer to be feared in this New York Times article about Adolf Hitler's release from prison. From Historical Pictures on Twitter.

1924, November 11 - a World War I Memorial was installed at GE (General Electric) plant on the west side of Broadway. November 24, 2013 it was moved to McCulloch Park, a World War I Memorial installed on the grounds of General Electric had been located behind a fence for the last 89 years [2013]. It has hundreds of names on it, all GE employees who served in World War I. Included are the names of six GE employees who died in the war. Copied from City honors World War I monument May 25, 2013 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.

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Paul Baer Field (today's Smith Field), named after the World War I ace, opens.
WOWO begins radio broadcasts in Fort Wayne.
William Geake is elected mayor of Fort Wayne. Copied from 1920-1929: THE ROARING 20s Timeline from Fort Wayne History from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1925 - the National Geographic Society called Indianapolis the Crossroads of America.

1925, July 10 - William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow clashed over the teaching of evolution in Dayton, Tennessee, the Scopes trial was depicted in newspapers across the country as a titanic struggle. From Evolution on Trial Eighty years after a Dayton, Tennessee, jury found John Scopes guilty of teaching evolution, the citizens of "Monkeytown" still say Darwin's for the birds. on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog.

1925, July 21 - the Scopes Trial concludes with high school biology teacher John T. Scopes found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100. The Scopes Trial Redefined Science Journalism and Shaped It to What It Is Today by Kimbra Cutlip posted July 10, 2015 on Smithsonian.com.

1925, November 14 - D. C. Stephenson head of the Indiana KKK was sent to prison to serve 25 years for rape and murder. David Curtis Stephenson was the most powerful man in Indiana. He owned politicians, up to and including the governor. He could send hundreds of hooded klansmen marching through the streets. He could have a man beaten up or make him disappear. He raped women and got away with it. Read his story RetroIndy: D.C. Stephenson KKK leader was the most powerful man in Indiana, but went to prison for murder by Michael Jesse published October 28, 2013 in the Indy Star newspaper. See 1910 photo of Madge Oberholtzer a white girl in her 20s savagely beaten by D. C. Stephenson posted October 16, 2014 by Indiana Historical Society on Facebook.

1925, December 11 - Indiana General Assembly provided for the designation of December 11 as Indiana Day to commemorate the admission of Indiana to the Union in 1816 as the nineteenth state. By law (Indiana Code 1-1-10) The governor shall issue a proclamation annually designating the eleventh day of December as Indiana Day and citizens are urged to celebrate in appropriate and patriotic observance of the anniversary of the admission of the state of Indiana into the Union. From Indiana Statehood in the September 1999 The Indiana Historian periodical. See Special Days of Celebration by the Indiana Historical Bureau.


Fort Wayne residents are told to boil tap water because of the threat of typhoid fever.

Fort Wayne aviation pioneer Art Smith is killed in a plane crash while delivering airmail. Copied from 1920-1929: THE ROARING 20s Timeline from Fort Wayne History from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

Cecil Afred Johnson Average American

1926, January 15 - the #IndianapolisTimes featured the "Average American", Cecil Alfred Johnson, from White Hall, Indiana. These specifications were based on the @uscensusbureau stated averages for America, and located near the center of the American population at the time. Copied from a January 15, 2019 Tweet by Hoosier State Chronicles - Indiana's Digital Historic Newspaper Program on Twitter.

1926, March 10 - 36 year old police officer Matthew Gebhardt was killed by gunfire while attempting an arrest during his second year of service, the first police office killed while serving with the Fort Wayne police department. From Officer Matthew C. Gebhardt on the Officer Down Memoriall Page. He is on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

1926, July 2 - the U.S. Army Air Corps is created, forerunner to U.S. Air Force.

1926, October 26 - George "Babe" Ruth graced Fort Wayne with his presence at League Park. During the visit, he joined the local semi-professional team the Lincoln Lifers, where he played every position except for catcher. Posted October 26, 2017 by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. Babe Ruth: A Big Hit in Fort Wayne by Tom Castaldi, local historian,published August 24, 2016 on the Indiana Historical Bureau blog.

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North Side High School is built.

1927, February 10 - the first telephone call made between Fort Wayne, Indiana, and London, England, by means of wire land lines and radio over the Atlantic ocean (sic). The call was made by Mr. Frank E. Bohn, Vice President and General Manager of The Home Telephone and Telegraph Company of Fort Wayne, who talked with Sir Alexander Roger, Chairman of the Telephone Development Association of Great Britain. Read more in Calling London in the February 27, 2012 History Center Notes & Queries blog by Nancy McCammon-Hansen.

1927, April 7 - The first city-to-city television broadcast when Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover was in a studio in Washington, D.C., and an audience sat in an auditorium in New York City. 

1927, May 6 - baseball legend Babe Ruth and his New York Yankees played an exhibition game in Fort Wayne against the city's Lifers at League Park (now Headwaters Park). The teams played the regulation nine innings. The Lifers held the Yankees to a 3–3 tie in the 10th, with two outs and a runner on first when “The Sultan of Swat" came to the plate. He took two strikes and then in classic style belted the next pitch over the center field wall, landing on the roof of one of the city utility barns across Clinton Street. The hit enabled the Yankees to defeat the Lifers 5-3. Copied from May 6, 2018 and May 6, 2020 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook Includes a photo from the May 11, 1927 issue of the Muncie Evening Press.

1927, May 21 - Charles Lindbergh landed his plane in Paris after completing the first solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean. See British Newspaper Archive blog.

1927, July 11 - the Indianapolis Times began publishing exact copies of papers that proved the Ku Klux Klan’s ties to Indiana politicians. They began by printing a check from Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson to Governor Ed Jackson before the latter became governor. For the remainder of July and August, the Times filled its pages with reprints of letters and checks from Stephenson's papers, detailing how much money had been spent to help get Jackson elected. On July 21, the Times revealed that Indianapolis Mayor John Duvall had also reportedly sought Stephenson's aid when he was a candidate for Republican nomination for mayor in 1924. The Times wrote on July 27, that it had turned over Stephenson's documents to the Marion County grand jury for examination. According to a May 1928 Times article, Mayor Duval was eventually convicted of violation of the Corrupt Practices Act and forced to resign. The newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in Journalism in 1928 "for its work in exposing political corruption in Indiana, prosecuting the guilty and bringing about a more wholesome state of affairs in civil government." Learn more about the Times' crusade against the Klan on Talking Hoosier HistoryTalking Hoosier History S01 E05: The KKK, Political Corruption, and the Indianapolis Times . Copied from a July 11, 2018 post by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. From our 1930 timeline: 1930, August 7 - two young African-American men Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp were lynched in Marion, Indiana when a white mob somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 people took them from their jail cells. Read more on August 7, 2017 on Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. See photo on Strange Fruit: Anniversary Of A Lynching published August 6, 2010 on NPR.org.

1927, August 10 - Charles Lindbergh the famous pilot flew over Fort Wayne since There were way too many air planes in the air and he didn’t think it would be a safe landing. For more see April 6, 2016 Facebook post by The History Center. See also The History Center’s April exhibit focuses on transportation: Here's a special look at a letter from American Aviator Charles Lindbergh that he dropped in the Summit City in 1927 by the Associated Press published April 2, 2016 on WANE-TV NewsChannel 15. On Aug. 10, 1927, Charles Lindbergh circled downtown Fort Wayne in his Spirit of St. Louis monoplane and dropped a greeting to the city before heading off toward Detroit without landing. Read the origininal newspaper article and more in Aug. 10, 1927: Charles Lindbergh flies over city by Corey McMaken published January 23, 2020 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.

1927, September 18 - WOWO radio became one of the pioneer stations for CBS in 1925. It remains one of the dominant IN broadcasters. From Indiana 2016 September 18, 2014 on Twitter.


Homer Capehart starts the Capehart Company in Fort Wayne to build phonographs.

Fort Wayne's first luxury apartment building, Fairfield Manor, is constructed. Copied from 1920-1929: THE ROARING 20s Timeline from Fort Wayne History from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1928 - rose gardens at Lakeside Park become part of national rose garden trial gardens.

1928 - Bob Hope made his first appearance as an emcee at the Emboyd Theatre known now as the Embassy, from 90 Fun Facts at The History Center.

1928 - the American Soybean Association recognized Adrian A. Parsons as the pioneer of all soybean growers in Indiana. Parsons started growing soybeans in the 1890s and demonstrated Asian soybean use as a practical crop for the average farmer. Soybeans were not widely grown in U.S. agriculture until the 1930s. When Parsons died in 1929, Indiana farmers planted 326,000 acres of soybeans. By 1939, over 1.3 million acres were planted, ranking Indiana second in nation. On June 10, 2017 the Indiana Historical Bureau and Town of Avon installed the ADRIAN A. PARSONS, 1846-1929 / INDIANA’S SOYBEAN PIONEER marker in Avon, Hendricks County, Indiana. For more information on the the Quaker Civil War veteran see page 3255 in the book History of U.S. Federal and State Governments' Work with Soybeans (1862-2017). See October 12, 2018 Tweet by the Indiana Historical Bureau.

1928, July 6 - announcement in the Chillicothe Trubune (Missouri) of the first effective bread-slicing machine invented by Iowa-born Otto Frederick Rohwedder for the Chillicothe (Missouri) Baking Company. Read the story Notes from the Director: "The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread" Arthur Molella, Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Director on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog. See bread slicer photo on August 22, 2013 Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog

1928, May 14 - see opening day crowd photo on Facebook at the Emboyd Theatre, now the Embassy Theatre. See also CinemaTreasures.org.

1928, June 17 - Amelia Earhart began her transatlantic flight. Watch her final takeoff on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog.


1929, March 29 - President Herbert Hoover had the first telephone installed in the Oval Office. Telephones had been used in the White House since 1878, but as this newspaper clipping points out, this was the "first time in history a telephone has been placed on the President's desk in the executive offices." Prior to this, the president had to leave his office to talk on the phone. Read a newspaper article President Herbert Hoover puts a telephone in the Oval Office, 1929 published in The Canonsburg, Pennsylvania Daily Notes, 29 March 1929, Friday on page 13, from a March 29, 2019 post by Newspapers.com on Facebook.

1929, April - second Friday in April declared Arbor Day in Indiana. Originally, April 11, 1884 was declared the first Arbor Day in Indiana. Between 1884 and 1912, Arbor Day was observed on various dates at the discretion of the governor. The most common date was the last Friday of October. It is not known why a fall date was chosen over a spring day. On March 10, 1913, the Indiana legislature passed a bill setting the third Friday of April as Arbor Day. In 1929, an amendment was passed in the legislature changing the date to the second Friday in April. Due to frequent conflicts with school spring vacations and the fact that Arbor Day occasionally fell on Good Friday, the date was again changed in 1991 to the last Friday of April, corresponding to the official date of the National Arbor Day. Copied from Learn more about Indiana Arbor Day on the Indiana DNR - Indiana Department of Natural Resourcesweb site.

1929, October - Construction of the Lincoln Tower began and was completed in November 1930. At 22 stories and 312 feet tall, it was Indiana’s tallest building for many years.

1929, October 24 - Crash of 1929, Black Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 11%, starting the stock-market crash that signaled the Great Depression.

1929, October 29 - panicked investors sold over 16 million shares of stock on the New York Stock Exchange, causing stock prices to collapse later known as Black Tuesday. The Great Depression of the 1930s begins. For more information see Timeline: A Selected Wall Street Chronology on American Experience | PBS .

Fort Wayne and the Great Depression: The Early Years, 1929–1933 by Iwan Morgan published June 2, 1984, in Volume 8 Issue 2, in Indiana Magazine of History at Indiana University on IU.edu.

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