1970-1979 Timeline for Allen County, Indiana

1970 to 1979: Era of Crises various newspaper articles include a 1970-1979: Timeline from the Fort Wayne History archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1971 - 1972 - 1973 - 1974 - 1975 - 1976 - 1977 - 1978 - 1979


Fort Wayne National Bank building opens. Copied from 1970-1979: Timeline from the Fort Wayne History archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1970, February 8 - Boeing 737 overshot Baer Field Runway - from the Fire Police City County Federal Credit Union calendar.

1970, April 22 - Twenty million people nationwide participated in the first Earth Day. Its roots go back to the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson's landmark book exposing the effects of pesticides and other chemical pollution on the environment. Troubled by the lack of attention pollution was receiving on the national stage, Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson began going on speaking tours, trying to educate people and politicians about environmental issues. During the late 1960s, Senator Nelson had the idea to harness the energy and methods of the student protests against the Vietnam War to organize a grassroots conservation movement. At a press conference in 1969, he announced plans for a nationwide demonstration, to take place the following spring in April 1970. Eventually the government took notice, forming the Environmental Protection Agency and passing the Clean Air, the Clean Water, and the Endangered Species Acts. From History Center April 22, 2013 post from Writers Almanac on Facebook. See The History of Earth Day on earthday.org.


Central High School closes and the City-County Building Opens. Copied from 1970-1979: Timeline from the Fort Wayne History archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1971 - Memorial Day became a federal holiday. For background read You asked, we answered: Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? by Ryan Lintelman published May 24, 2014 on The National Museum of American Historyand History and Headstones: Celebrating Memorial Day published May 22, 2012 on the History Center Notes & Queries blog. See also Memorial Day on History.com

1971, June 30 - the Twenty-sixth Amendment (Amendment XXVI) to the United States Constitution is ratified barring the states or federal government from setting a voting age higher than eighteen adding approximately 11 million new voters for the 1972 presidential election. Until the 26th amendment, a person had to be 21 years of age in order to vote. Indiana was the 18th state to ratify the 26th Amendment on April 8, 1971. See Wikipedia discussion and Punch Card Democracy on Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog.

1971, July 5 - President Richard Nixon signed the Twenty-sixth Amendment. The 26th Amendment Lowers the Voting Age to 18 on The National Archives Presidental Libraries. Indiana Senator Birch Bayh authored the ammendment and served in the Senate from 1963 to 1981. See March 14, 2019 post the day Birch Bayh died by Indiana Historical Society on Facebook. Bayh authored the failed Equal Rights Amendment and was considered the Father of Title IX. Copied from Birch Bayh, former Indiana senator, Title IX author, dies at 91 by John Tuohy, Maureen Groppe, Shari Rudavsky and Vic Ryckaert, published March 14, 2019 in the Indianapolis Star newspaper. IU alumnus Birch Bayh was the author of two constitutional amendments — the only lawmaker to do so since the Founding Fathers. Copied from a March 14, 2019 post by Inside IU on Facebook.

1971, August 26 - Women's Equality Day joint resolution passed the U.S. Congress promoted by Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY). See What is Women's Equality Day? at National Women's History Project.

1971 September 29 - New York fashion designer, Fort Wayne native Bill Blass returned to his hometown for the first time in 25 years ahead of a local fashion show that included his latest looks.


Embassy Theatre Foundation forms to save the historic structure. Copied from 1970-1979: Timeline from the Fort Wayne History archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1972 - President Richard Nixon made Father's Day a permanent national holiday.

1972, February 28 - Indiana U.S. Senator Birch Bayh introduced amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 to ban gender discrimination among higher education institutions that received federal aid. President Richard Nixon signed Title IX, co-sponsored by Bayh and Representative Edith Green, into law on June 23, 1972, affording women and girls at public educational institutions more scholarship and sports opportunities. Copied from a post with a photo of Senator Bayh exercising with Title IX athletes at Purdue and a link to Equal Access to Education: Forty Years of Title IX in a February 28, 2018 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

1972, June 12 - Elvis Presley rocked the Memorial Coliseum. Check out some of the footage from that event below. Discussed June 12, 2018 on WPTA21 ABC TV station on Facebook.

1972, June 21 - President Richard Nixon signs the Higher Education Act, including the Title IX gender discrimination ban which requires equal access to sports for women in schools comparable to men sports programs. This lead to a media frenzy when Billie Jean King played former men's champion Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome on September 20, 1973. See More Than Champions on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog.

1972, August 11 - US ground troops leave South Vietnam.

Back to top


The Performing Arts Center, designed by architect Louis Kahn, opens in Fort Wayne. Copied from 1970-1979: Timeline from the Fort Wayne History archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1973 - OPEC oil embargo marked the end of America's energy dominance as Texas oil well production declined and Middle East oil production stopped demanding higher prices.

1973, January 22 - the U.S. Supreme Court decriminalizes abortion by handing down their decision in the case of Roe v. Wade

1973, January 27 - Paris Peace Accord signing ends the Vietnam War.

1973, March 29 - two months after signing the Vietnam peace treaty, the last U.S. combat troops leave South Vietnam as Hanoi frees the remaining American prisoners of war held in Viet Nam. For more information see U.S. withdraws from Vietnam on History.com.

1973, April 3 - the first cell phone call is made by Motorola. Business Week reports on Motorola’s portable cell phone invention – April, 1973 Posted by Dyna on Apr 3, 1973 on dynallc.com.

1973, May 10 - Four funnel clouds were seen in the skies over Fort Wayne on May 10, 1973, with at least one hanging stationary several minutes near downtown before it moved away. At least two tornadoes touched down, and one New Haven family bore the brunt of the damage in the area about 3 p.m. Clifford A. Wirick told The Journal Gazette that day that he had just come in from the fields and was standing on his front porch when he saw a tornado coming. He had just enough time to run into the basement and hide under a stack of insulation before his home was ripped apart and his barn was shattered into pieces. His pickup, which had been in the garage, was blown into the backyard. Wirick was not injured and his wife was not home, but their 14-year-old Beagle, Peanuts, was crushed by a falling beam. Copied from Tornado destroys New Haven home Throwback Thursday May 10, 1973 by Corey McMaken published November 29, 2018 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.

1973, May 14 - America’s first space station-Skylab was successfully launched into orbit around the earth.

1973, July 10 - a fire swept throught the top floor of the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri where military records are stored. The fire burned uncontrolled for more than 22 hours, and took five days to finally be put out. At its peak, 42 fire districts were fighting it. About 73 to 80 percent of the approximately 22 million individual Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) stored in the building were destroyed. The records lost were those of former members of the Army, the Army Air Force, and the Air Force who served between 1912 and 1963. Today, National Archives staff are still working to reconstruct these records. Learn more about the fire and ongoing efforts at Burnt in memory: Looking back at the 1973 St. Louis fireand to see the chronology of events at One fire, 5 days, and 381 men on The National Archives Prologue: Pieces of History blog. The 1973 Fire, National Personnel Records Center last reviewed September 8, 2016 at the National Archives at St. Louis.

1973, September 20 - a highly publicized “Battle of the Sexestennis match, top women’s player Billie Jean King, 29, beats Bobby Riggs, 55, a former No. 1 ranked men’s player. witnessed by over 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome and another 50 million TV viewers worldwide. For more see King triumphs in Battle of Sexes on History.com.

1973, October through March 1974 gasoline was being rationed as a result of the OPEC oil embargo. See 1973 oil crisis on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See ON JANUARY 31, 1974, AN ODD-NUMBERED DAY, MOTORISTS WITH ODD-NUMBERED LICENSE PLATES COULD OBTAIN GASOLINE AT THIS STATION THE LIMIT WAS 15 GALLONS at Today's Document by The National Archives.


1974, January 13 - 1974: Explosive demolitions of Van Orman, Keenan hotels by Corey McMaken published July 25, 2019 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. See Keenan and Van Orman Hotels.

1974, February 13 - Governor Otis R. Bowen signed Public Law No. 60, which repealed all laws concerning sterilization of the mentally ill in Indiana. In the late 1800s, Indiana legislators enacted laws based on the belief that criminality, mental problems, and pauperism were hereditary. In 1907, Governor J. Frank Hanly approved the first state eugenics law, which made sterilization mandatory for certain individuals in state custody. Governor Thomas R. Marshall halted sterilizations in 1909 and the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the 1907 law unconstitutional in 1921. A 1927 law reinstated sterilization and added court appeals. Approximately 2,500 in state custody were sterilized under state law. Learn more about Eugenics Laws in Indiana with the Indiana state historical marker: 1907 INDIANA EUGENICS LAW. Copied from February 13, 2018 post on Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. See also We Cannot Make a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Ear Eugenics in the Hoosier Heartland by Alexandria Minna Stern published in the March 2007, Volume 103, Issue 1 of Indiana Magazine of History. The February 13, 2019 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook added an image with this information: The image below shows a “Sample Pedigree Chart,” illustrating the way in which eugenics proponents attempted to trace traits such as “medium attainment in vocal music” or “successful leaders in politics” through the generations of a family. Other charts included symbols for traits or characterizations like wanderlust, “feebleminded,” and alcoholic. This chart is courtesy of West Virginia University.

1974, March 23- Fort Wayne Northrup High School, only 3 years old, wins its first state basketball tournament. See team photo and infomation at the IHSAA Indiana High School Athletic Association page on ihigh.com. Walter Jordan is likely the best known member of this team.

1974, April 3rd - Super Tornado Outbreak - the 2nd largest tornado outbreak, second to the  April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak. None in Allen County, Indiana. 30 F4/F5 tornadoes reported, the most violent tornado outbreak ever recorded. 148 tornadoes from April 3 to April 4, 1974. Paraphrased from Anniversary of the April 3rd, 1974 Super Outbreak with maps April 3rd, 2013 by Jonathan Conder. See April 3, 2016 discussion on Indiana Bicentennial Commission on Facebook. To learn more visit the National Weather Service website: http://www.weather.gov/media/ind/indy_tornado74.pdf.

1974, August 8 - President Richard Nixon resigns

1974, September 8 - President Gerald Ford officially pardoned Richard Nixon, a decision that would define his presidency. See The Pardonby Barry Werth published February 2007 in the Smithsonian Magazine.

Back to top


1975 - George Rogers Clark Day, February 25 was adopted by the 1975 Indiana General Assembly (IC 1-1-13) to celebrate the accomplishments of Clark in the American Revolution. George Rogers Clark captured Fort Sackville at Vincennes, Indiana, when the British surrendered at Vincennes, Indiana, marking the beginning of the end of British influence in America's western frontier. See Special Days of Celebration by the Indiana Historical Bureau.

1975, February 3 - The Rosemarie Hotel, one of the last "grand hotels" on Columbia Avenue, The Landing, in downtown Fort Wayne burned. Second of three fires from arson  including Protective Electrical Supply, Old Fort Draperies and Third Presbyterian Church on Harrison. The Diehm Memorial Museum of National History at Franke Park was also destroyed by arson less that 2 weeks later. See February 3, 2017 photo and discussion on Allen County Public Library Facebook page, shared February 3, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebookand February 5, 1975 newspaper clippingat Allen County Public Library.

1975, September 5 - Lynette Fromme tried to shoot President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California.

1975, September 22 - The second assassination attempt in 17 days on President Gerald Ford outside of the Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco, California by Sara Jane Moore. See Assassination Attempts on President Fordvia the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.


Concordia Theological Seminary moves to Fort Wayne from Springfield, Illinois and the Historic Fort Wayne opens the gates to the Old Fort. Copied from 1970-1979: Timeline from the Fort Wayne History archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1976 - as part of the Bi-Centennial Celebration Takaoka, Japan became a sister city.

1976, January 21 - two supersonic Concordes jet planes took off simultaneously from Heathrow Airport near London and Orly Airport near Paris with their first paying passengers. Read When Concorde First Flew 40 Years Ago, It Was a Supersonic Sight to Behold The aircraft was a technological masterpiece, but at one ton of fuel per passenger, it had a devastating ecological footprint. By Owen Edwards published January 21, 2016 on Smithsonian.com.

1976, February 19 - President Gerald R. Ford signed the proclamation “An American Promise.” It formally announced the termination of Executive Order 9066, signed February 19, 1942 by President Franklin Roosevelt the measure that resulted in uprooting Japanese Americans and their detainment in camps during World War II. See The Formal End of Japanese American Relocation on The National Archivestumblr page.

Back to top


1977, January 18 - Indiana became the 35th, and last, state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

1977, January 21 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter grants an unconditional pardon to hundreds of thousands of men who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War.

1977, May 4 - Governor Otis R. Bowen approved Public Law 303, which amended the Indiana Code, eliminating the clause that forbade the issuance of marriage licenses to "imbeciles." This followed a series of repeals in the 1970s of laws related to the sterilization and marriage restrictions on individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses, all of which originated with the Eugenics Movement of the early 1900s. Learn more about eugenics in Indiana with the Indiana state historical marker: 1907 INDIANA EUGENICS LAW. Copied from the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook post that included the logo from the Second International Eugenics Convention, held in 1921.


1978, January 1 - more than 60 people joined the Polar Bear Club's 39th annual New Year's Day dip in the St. Joseph River near the Tennessee Avenue Bridge on Jan. 1, 1978. Temperatures were in the upper 20s and the river was full of ice that had to be broken up. About 200 people gathered to cheer them on. Copied from Looking Back: Polar Bear Club's 1978 New Year's Day swim by Corey McMaken published December 31, 2018 in The Journal Gazette newspaper

1978, January 21 - Peter Eckrich fire - $1.5 millon loss - Fire Police City County Federal Credit Union calendar.

1978, January 25 - started the Blizzard of '78 followed by a flood in March as the record snowfall melted. Indiana was paralyzed by a snow storm that came to be known as the Blizzard of 78, the worst blizzard on record for the Hoosier state. according to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office of Indianapolis, IN. More than ten inches of snow fell the first day and seven more followed over the next two days. ... Snow fell at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour with sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph. Visibilities were brought down to one sixteenth of a mile.

  1. Blizzard Warnings were issued across the state of Indiana. from WANE TV Anniversary of the Blizzard of '78.
  2. Seventy people died across the state of Indiana as referenced in A killer blew over the land by Frank Gray of Journal Gazette newspaper January 20, 2008.
  3. INCNow has Blizzard Of 1978 Anniversary by Chris Daniels, Meteorologist January 25, 2011.
  4. NOAA National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office Northern Indiana Blizzard of 1978 weather charts and stories from across northern Indiana.
  5. An abominable blizzard For those who remember 1978, this rare, terrifying event remains benchmark by Angela Mapes Turner of The Journal Gazette on January 20, 2008.
  6. The Allen County Public Library Digital Collection has over 60 Blizzard 1978 images.
  7. Hundreds of images can be found in a Google 1978 Blizzard Indiana search.
  8. NOAA National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office Northern Indiana has On Jan 25 in weather history from their On This Day weather calendar.
  9. Throwback Thursday: Blizzard of '78 - Jan. 26, 1978 story with photos published January 26, 2017 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  10. January 26, 2017 discussion including blizzard babies born in September 1978 comments on Matt Leach - ABC21 Weather on Facebook page.
  11. Discussed January 25, , 2017 on ACGSI on Facebook in response to Indiana Bicentennial Commission post on Facebook.
  12. 40 years later: Remembering historic 1978 blizzard by WANE Staff Reports published January 24, 2018 and video on Facebook January 25, 2018.
  13. Photos: 40 years ago today, Fort Wayne’s Blizzard of 1978 by Lisa M. Esquivel Long published January 25, 2018 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  14. Lots of photos posted January 28, 2018 on the 40th anniversary on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
  15. WPTA21 ABC TV station showed the radar recreated forecast January 25, 2018 on Facebook, a I Survived the Blizzard of 1978 t-shirt on January 25, 2018
  16. Charlie Wilson Productions-HD Televisionon Faceook on January 28, 2015 posted a 24 minute video of ABC newscasters Bob Peltz, Susan Welday, Jay Walker, Mack Berry, Paul Green, Mike Romary, Jim Black, Doug Dewey, and Tom Campbell. Some mentioned for years later how they had to break into the candy machine for food after a couple days stuck at the TV studio.
  17. Kent Hormann’s career was set up by Blizzard of ’78 by Blake Sebring published January 29, 2018 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  18. Interesting Winter 78 Fort Wayne postcard with stats posted February 9, 2018 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook

1978, February 17 - Lindenwood Cemetery was enrolled on the National Register of Historic Places. See photo from July 15, 2013 Dearly Departed 2013 tour on The History Center on Facebook page.

1978, July 25 - World's first test tube baby born, Louise Joy Brown, conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF), is born in Manchester England.

1978, November 18 - Jonestown Massacre in Guyana when Jim Jones self-proclaimed messiah of the Peoples Temple cult led more than 900 men, women and children to their deaths in a mass suicide via cyanide-laced punch (spawning the metaphor "Don't Drink the Kool-Aid"). Jim Jones was born May 13, 1931, in Crete, Randolph County, Indiana 3 counties south of Allen County near the Ohio line. From Jim Jones Biography (1931–1978) on biography.com.


1979/1980 Wolf & Dessauer Santa Claus with reindeers and Christmas Wreath restored for annual lighting ceremonies. Need to confrim with newspaper articles.

1979, March 28 - Three Mile Island nuclear accident near meltdown of uranium core on Susquehanna River about 10 miles southeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania forces reevaluation of the safety of nuclear power industry. See 1979 Nuclear accident at Three Mile Island on History.com.

1979, June 11 - Hollywood legend John Wayne dies. Originally a little known actor named Marion Robert Morrison. He was given the stage name Anthony Wayne, but Fox Studios change it to John Wayne and he became a leading man in 142 of his 153 movies a Hollywood record.

1979, December 9 - World Health Organization declares eradication of smallpox.

Back to top

Page updated: