Street names have been listed in the Fort Wayne City and Allen County Directories since the first issue in 1858. Fort Wayne was officially built in 1794 by General Anthony Wayne at the confluence of three rivers where the Miami Indian village Kekionga already existed. Indian trails often followed animal trails and/or high ground winding and weaving along the path of least resistance around large trees, rocks, and natural obstacles in the native landscape through the primeval forest that was often year-around swamp and wetlands. Indian trails were originally foot trails that naturally enlarged over time as more people used them for horseback then wagon roads as the European settlers arrived. Some trails kept Indian names as they became roads, other roads were named for the early explorers and settlers who opened new trails, settled and/or owned the land, sometimes creating the first roads as needed along and through their land to carry on their livelihood. Roads that traverse mostly straight north-to-south or east-to-west were likely created after townships lines and maps were drawn when Allen County was formed in 1824. Early maps and history books show some early roads were toll roads with tolls collected by or paid to the land owners who created and maintained the roads.
Early city street names and addresses changed over time as the city and county developed, including number changes in 1902 and can be found in the city directories and newspaper articles. As the early town expanded, streets with one name were often connected with existing county roads that already had names. Some street names changed over time as they were extended and merged with other existing streets, and/or sometimes eliminated when buildings were torn down or expanded, and bridges were built over creeks, rivers and low flood plain land not possible without modern technology in the pioneer days. Different government jurisdictions of city, county, and township can also create naming conflicts. Finding maps for the years street names were used co-ordinated with the same city directory years should help determine the location of older street names. The 1945 book Streets of Fort Wayne shown below should also help.
Street Name Changes
Street name changes create confusion for genealogy researchers and modern travelers and can lead to lively discussions on social media such as the December 30, 2018 discussion on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook. At first it would seem easy to just change a street or road to one name. It is easy if no one has a business or home address recorded anywhere using the existing names and addresses. As any long-time genealogist soon learns, it is not unusual to have that one ancestor who seems impossible to locate until the researcher discovers that the ancestor lived somewhere for a long time without moving, but the government entity whether township, county and/or even state boundary lines moved because of early survey and/or border line disputes that were settled once and for all in a court settlement during or even after their lifetime. Documentation for that ancestor will then be found in whatever government archive entity that claimed jurisdiction over their land at that specific time period. Modern street name changes create comparable complications and potential expenses in modern times when you examine the costs and logistics. Costs start with changing street signs, contacting all the various mapping entities whether print or digital, recurring billing and delivery situations for address changes with the post office, various government agencies, package delivery companies, even long ago contacts that will use old addresses until made aware of name changes resulting in undelivered items and potential unintended consequences. These potential costs and complications often lead to simply leaving the existing street names to avoid complications not worth the expense and grief of making those changes.
If you find sources of reliable documentation of local street names and address changes please Contact Allen INGenWeb.
- Streets of Fort Wayne McCoy, Angus Cameron, from "a speech before the Quest Club, November 30, 1945," prepared by the staff of the Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County
- Street Scene Series 9 short videos filmed in the 1970s by a librarian at the Allen County Public Library posted on YouTube and 7 similar but longer videos on Access One of the
Access Fort Wayne public television at the Allen County Public Library.
The Street Scenes and Fort Wayne Landmarks series' as an attempt to preserve the flavor of some of the older, mainly residential areas of Fort Wayne. Series 2 consists of wide-angle views taken from a car moving slowly through the designated areas. Camera and Editing by Steve Fortriede.3 videos are found below, the others are elsewhere on our site.
- What’s in a (street) name? by Randy Harter published June 1, 2018 in Fort Wayne Reader takes
a little hike through the city center, north from Main, south from Main, west from Calhoun and finishing up east from Calhoun to find out what’s in a namecompiled from the above information and posted June 4, 2018 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
- An Early Road: Fort Wayne to Tiptonsport about John Tipton in early 1800s by Tom Castaldi published March 8, 2016 in History Center Notes & Queries blog.
- 1907 Map of Fort Wayne - Montgomery Street discussed September 27, 2015 on Indiana News 1 formerly You know you've lived in Fort Wayne too long when... Facebook group.
- 1940s photo of Johnny Appleseed Bridge looking northeast before IPFW campus was built discussion March 23, 2017 on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.
- A December 30, 2018 discussion on the Anthony Blvd name change from the original Walton Avenue for the Walton Coal Company and other Walton businesses varied from curiosity, serious comments and less than useful information on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
- A map of a plan of Anthony Wayne Memorial Highway was prepared for the Optimists Club of Fort Wayne by A.K. Hofer in 1944. It was never built. A photo of the map was posted May 3, 2018 and close-up of the middle of map May 10, 2018 and last section May 17, 2018 by Hofer and Davis, Inc. Land Surveyors on Facebook.
- Anthony Wayne Parkway (Express Highway) - November, 5, 1947,
Even though the federal government would pay all but $4.08 million of the $27 million total, Fort Wayne voters rejected construction of the proposed Anthony Wayne Parkway.Copied from the 1940-1949 Timeline: In The Shadow of War from Fort Wayne History from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper. The voter referendum defeated 62% against to 38% for two proposed east-west and north-south expressways, paid for by the federal government, to go through downtown Fort Wayne. See photos posted July 13, 2015 on Facebook by Fort Wayne Public Works. Fort Wayne to Have Expressway 6 page report by James T. White Traffic Engineer, Fort Wayne on Purdue.edu docs. October 28, 1947 photo article in The News-Sentinel newspaper comment and more discussed June 8, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook. Anthony Wayne Expressway, late 40s/early 50s by OSP published January 22, 2016 on FortWayneReader. Was discussed with photos and newspaper articles June 8, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
- 'Auto Indiana' exhibit rolls into The History Center mentions motorists from 1905-1912 made their own license plates and shows a 1914 car accident by Kevin Kilbane published September 12, 2013 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.
- Brick Alley near 924 South Calhoun, gate closed photo, Allen County Bar Association photos were posted March 12, 2018 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
- Brick Streets - Fort Wayne currently has 14 brick streets (41 blocks/3 miles) left. In 1917, there were almost 32 miles of brick streets in town.
Back in 2004, ARCH and the West Central Neighborhood, along with the help of The City of Fort Wayne, partnered to host a brick street restoration workshop which was attended by street department and engineering staff from several cities and towns in our region. From that learning experience, we developed a brochure on restoring historic brick streets. Take a look at http://www.westcentralneighborhood.org/BrickStreetBrochure.…from July 5, 2018 post by ARCH ( Architecture and Community Heritage).
- A city ordinance
passed on Jan. 22, 2013, states:is discussed in Reused brick for streets can drive up costs but durable by Dan Vance published January 21, 2019 in KPC Media on InFortWayne.com.
'the City of Fort Wayne will also preserve and maintain brick alleys identified on an official map, provided by the Community Development Division, which shall not be changed without prior Council approval. Nothing is intended to mandate that the city has any greater obligation to make or pay for the brick alley repairs beyond that which is undertaken for non-brick alleys in the normal course, rather this subchapter is merely evidencing an obligation to maintain the structural and esthetic integrity of the alleys as brick alleys when a decision is made to repair or replace brick alleys in the normal course.”passed on Jan. 22, 2013, states: “the City of Fort Wayne will also preserve and maintain brick alleys identified on an official map, provided by the Community Development Division, which shall not be changed without prior Council approval. Nothing is intended to mandate that the city has any greater obligation to make or pay for the brick alley repairs beyond that which is undertaken for non-brick alleys in the normal course, rather this subchapter is merely evidencing an obligation to maintain the structural and esthetic integrity of the alleys as brick alleys when a decision is made to repair or replace brick alleys in the normal course.
- Brick Streets was a comment posted February 19, 2018 and again February 28, 2018 generating lots of comments on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
- In early 2018 brick sections include partial blocks of 4th St., 5th St. is no longer brick, Butler St., Canal St., College St., Davis St., Grand St. shown in photo June 3, 2018 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook, Greenwood Ave. is no longer brick, parts of Growth Ave, Jones St., short section of Maiden Lane, Morrison St., Union St., Summit St. is no longer brick, Swinney Ave., Wagner St., one block of Webster St at Pearl St., Wilt St., and Wall St.. Many brick streets, including trolley tracks, have been paved over with asphalt, but bricks and occasionally trolley tracks will show up during street maintenance and repairs.
- Photos discussed August 2, 2018 on Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne (Public Group).
- For a look at different pavement types in various cities see THE STORY BENEATH OUR FEET by Zach Mortice published July 31, 2018 in Landscape Architecture Magazine.
- A city ordinance
- Broadway and Taylor intersection. Meyer's, Mad Anthony photo and discussion March 29, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
- Broadway Avenue - photos of 1014 discussed September 13, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook
- Burgess Street July 8, 1916 Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel article about Francis Burgess, the machinist, here 60 years today from Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
- Canal Hotels on Rosemarie Alley by Tom Castaldi posted February 27, 2014 on the History Center Notes & Queries blog.
- Clinton St. loses a lane for project Wider walkway, streetscaping among downtown upgrades by Dan Stockman published May 2, 2013 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. Clinton to lose lane downtown, gain wider sidewalk May 1, 2013 Statement as issued Wednesday morning by the city of Fort Wayne. Clinton is U.S. 27
- Cloverleaf - May 27, 1958 aerial photo on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook
- College Street - the Methodist College founded in 1846 stood at the west end of West Wayne Street fronting College Street. See lithograph published December 22, 2014 on Save Our Fort Wayne History.
- Columbia Street - Photo with caption:
Dana Columbia—he's where Columbia Street gets its name from. He was a canal boat operator, and his boat was the first to carry passengers along the Wabash and Erie Canal from Fort Wayne to Lafayette.was posted August 10, 2018 by The Landing Fort Wayne on Facebook. June 1974 Fort Wayne Street Scenes --Columbia Street West posted November 11, 2016 by the Allen County Public Library YouTube.
June, 1974. Columbia Street north side 100 block west, 4. Columbia Street south side 100 block west. Street Scenes Wide angle views, then detailed studies, building by building, of the older portions of Fort Wayne. Camera and Editing by Steve Fortriede.Photo of historical marker sign posted June 20, 2018 by The Landing Fort Wayne on Facebook.
- The Columbia Street story (1975) - Bates, Roy M
- George Street - on Broadway, named for Mother George, became Brackenridge Street at some point in time.
Fort Wayne maps of both 1874 and 1895 show a street named for her that later was changed to West Brackenridge. According to Harold Lopshire at ARCH, a grocery store building was erected in 1864 by Joseph Nohe at the corner of Broadway and George Street. Today, along Broadway there is no longer any evidence of a street celebrating the memory of Mother George except a marker embedded high on the building wall of the once grocery store, now carpet retailer, that reads, “George St.” To honor the memory of Eliza George, however, a marker was placed on the north side of East Berry Street between Barr and Lafayette that is near the site of her first home in Fort Wayne. It was erected in May of 1965 by the Fort Wayne Civil War Roundtable.Copied from a longer Comment to a photo street names on the building posted and discussed September 9, 2018 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
- Hanna Street - a May 14, 1898 Fort Wayne News newspaper article about cedar block replacement posted May 13, 2017 on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.
- Main Street
October, 1976, Main Street south side 1900 block - 400 block west. Originated as a complement to our original Street Scenes and Fort Wayne Landmarks series is an attempt to preserve the flavor of some of the older, mainly residential areas of Fort Wayne. Series 2 consists of wide-angle views taken from a car moving slowly through the designated areas. Camera and Editing by Steve Fortriede.
- Miss Virginia Memorial Parkway - named for philanthropist Miss Virginia Schrantz, the founder of the Miss Virginia Mission House at 1312 Hanna St. Originally from Part of Hanna Street to be named after Miss Virginia published June 3, 2015 and Street dedicated to woman who left mark of kindness published June 4, 2015 both redirected to a March 16, 2016 update of second article by Dave Gong in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
- November 2, 2012 dedication of the Maplecrest Road Extension with four bridges crossing 2 railroad tracks creating a north south corridor on the east side of Fort Wayne connecting Fort Wayne with New Haven and Adams Center Road on the south. Both roads intersect the I-469 bypass that loops around southern and eastern Fort Wayne with I-69 on the west. Maplecrest insects I-469 on the north, Adams Center intersects I-469 on the south. It was the "most complex road project that has been undertaken locally ... cost $31.4 million, well below the engineer’s original estimate of $50 million, [Linda] Bloom said. The new road will provide easier access to the Norfolk Southern railroad office and the Do it Best headquarters and will do away with two railroad crossings." fromMaplecrest extension touted as link for two communities by Vivian Sade published November 3, 2012 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. "More than a decade ago, Allen County Commissioner Linda Bloom found undeveloped plans from 1970 for building a north-south corridor on the east side of Allen County." From Maplecrest extension finishes long journey also by Vivian Sade published October 29, 2012 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. See Maplecrest Road Extension by Beth Stauffer on The New Haven Bulletin. The road names remain unchanged after crossing bridge. Access Fort Wayne at the Allen County Public Library had a 30 minute Countyline video about the Maplecrest Extension including speeches at the dedication.
- Metaform mural video by Tobias Studios along Columbia Street in downtown finished and posted September 14, 2017 posted by the City of Fort Wayne on Facebook.
- McClellan Street is in southern Fort Wayne between Pettit Avenue and Paulding Road. Photographs by David and Peter Turnley taken in 1972-73 on their website McClellan Street and a book by the same name refer to McClellan Street downtown by Parkview Field that is now parking lots.
- Street Scenes: New Haven, Leo, Hunterton, Indiana video, Show 264, at Access Fort Wayne public television at the Allen County Public Library.
- Paul Shaffer Drive opens to public by Ben Lanka published September 11, 2007 in The Journal Gazette newspaper
- State Boulevard bridge shown in a 1933 photo of over the Saint Joseph River before flood control walls taken from North Side High School on the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.
- Storefronts of State Boulevard by Mark Meyer published February 21, 2013 in History Center Notes & Queries blog.
- Sycamore trees along city streets discussed March 23, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook
- Local highways U.S. 24, U.S. 27, U.S. 30, and U.S. 33. Even numbered highways generally go east and west, while odd numbers go north and south. From Local U.S. highways lead to surprising places by Kevin Kilbane published July 10, 2013 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.
- Wayne Trace and other DAR markers on Rootsweb.
- Wells Street -
once known as the Fort Dearborn (Chicago) Trail, was an important link for trade in the Northwest Territory. It was named for William Wells, the local hero who was raised by the Miamis and married Little Turtle’s daughter, Sweet Breeze. He would later side with the Americans and die in a rescue attempt of Fort Dearborn’s evacuees. In 1913, Wells Street from Superior to State became part of the original 3,400 mile long Lincoln Highway. The route changed when the larger Harrison Street Bridge was completed in 1915, bypassing Wells St. south of Putnam and its smaller iron bridge.Copied from a longer June 22, 2018 post by Dan Baker on his Facebook page and his June 22, 2018 post this Leftover from his book Fort Wayne Through Time with Randy Harter, Fort Wayne historian, author, and the history/architecture guide for FortWayneFoodTours.com on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
- 1001 Wells Street August 7, 1913 was a Horse and Mule Market discussion on
the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook.
- 3325 Wells Street - stone house discussed October 12, 2018 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook. Was listed on the ARCH ANNOUNCES ITS ANNUAL LIST OF ENDANGERED STRUCTURES by Jill Downs published May 22, 2018 by ARCH ( Architecture and Community Heritage). Discussed September 27, 2015 and March 15, 2018 on Indiana News 1 formerly You know you've lived in Fort Wayne too long when... Facebook group.
- Wells Street Bridge - Spanning Spy Run Creek at Wells Street, Fort Wayne, Allen County, IN from the Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey, Engineering Record, Landscapes Survey. Now featured prominently in the Riverfront development project.
Significance: The Wells Street Bridge (Allen County Bridge No. 542) over the Spy Run Creek is an 88-foot long, single-span, reinforced concrete arch. The bridge appears to use the Melan system of reinforcing, a system largely abandoned by 1914. The Wells Street Bridge (Allen County Bridge No. 542) is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places based on its engineering significance at the local level.
- Changing Face of West Wayne Street photos including Save 226 West Wayne torn down in July 2014 to build the Ash Skyline Project complex posted May 4, 2017 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.
- We counted literally every road in America. Here’s what we learned. by Jeff Uuo published March 6, 2015 in The Washington Post newspaper lists 10 most popular streets in each state.
- Yellowstone Trail - route on Lincoln Highway during early 1900s. There was a June 28, 1919 map and article in a Fort Wayne News newspaper discussion on Facebook. TOGETHER IN INDIANA-- THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY AND THE YELLOWSTONE TRAIL published June 2009 and IN SEARCH OF... THE YELLOWSTONE TRAIL IN OHIO published December 2005 both by Michael G. Buettner. Yellowstone Trail Association pages 62-63 in Western Magazine Volumes 19-20, January 1, 1922.
Roads of Allen County, Indiana
- Road name changes are frustrating, but usually occur in modern times when named roads that originally did not connect, often due to rivers and creeks without bridges or other obstacles, are connected many years and decades later when many existing homes and businesses with long-time addresses are merged by connecting those roads.
- Early roads were often named for the people living along or near the roads. Lost to history, but many of those families may have physically created the roads by cutting down the trees and laying the original road beds through the primeval forests that greeted the early pioneer families. Such stories are sometimes found in early county records. If anyone finds any, please Contact Allen INGenWeb.
- Roads near the center of the township often have center in their names like Aboite Center Road, Lafayette Center Road, Maumee Center Road, Milan Center Road, Pleasant Center Road, and Springfield Center Road. Two pairs of center roads are north-south Adams Center Road changes to Marion Center Road, and east-west St. Joe Center Road changes to Washington Center Road once separated by the Saint Joseph River are now connected by a bridge as they cross township boundary lines.
- Fort to Port U.S. 24 a 4 lane highway opened in November 15, 2012 replaces the 2 lane Old U.S. 24 that followed along the winding old Wabash and Erie Canal route across Indiana northeast into Ohio on the way to Toledo, Ohio.
The new four-lane limited-access highway traverses northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio to connect Fort Wayne with the Port of Toledo. The corridor spans about 75 miles from Interstate 469 in New Haven to near Waterville, Ohio, south of Toledo. One of 50 state road projects finished this year because of Major Moves money from the long-term lease of the Indiana Toll Road. The route will provide direct connections to Interstates 80, 90, 75, 69 and 469 and join the under-construction Hoosier Heartland Corridor that will connect I-69 in Fort Wayne to I-65 in Lafayette. The new U.S. 24 will make it easier to travel to the Great Lakes region, officials said. - November 15, 2012 12:11 p.m. Fort to Port finally open for business Last Indiana section finished by Vivian Sade of The Journal Gazette newspaper.
- Indiana Lincoln Highway Association - at the Indiana Business Research Center, IU Kelley School of Business
- Indiana National Road Association
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