Posts Tagged ‘Fort Wayne’

Senseless demo on Indiana's Lincoln Highway

November 6, 2008

Mitch Harper wrote on his Fort Wayne Observed blog about a beautiful house that will soon be demolished along the Lincoln Highway (IN 930) just east of Fort Wayne in New Haven, Indiana:

Its demolition will mean a little bit more of the historic record of the Lincoln Highway will be lost. In recent years, the demolition of the old Hoosier Courts motel and the Jefferson Consolidated School means that the structures which were familiar sights – and sites – to motorists traveling the Lincoln Highway are gone forever.


Above is a photo from Mitch’s blog – click to see it large. While the elegant appointments inside are set to be auctioned this Sunday, locals are outraged that such a demolition could occur. Here are some of the comments:

• WHY ARE WE TEARING THIS HOUSE DOWN?! I looked at the stuff up for auction – the interior of that house is drop dead gorgeous.

• You can’t build something like this today. I am so, so sad. Someone — please save this place!

I can’t believe demolition is the only option for this house.

Angie Quinn, Executive Director of ARCH, Inc., answered questions about designating it a historic landmark:

The Dr. Cowan House is eligible for the National Register [plus] … Municipalities and counties in Indiana can adopt a Historic Preservation Ordinance, which places some protections on landmarks like this…. Both Allen County and the City of New Haven have the information about adopting a Historic Preservation Ordinance, and ARCH and others have pushed for this for several years. Unfortunately, neither has adopted an ordinance at this time.

Cindy's Diner Wins Indiana Hospitality Award

April 30, 2008

Cindy’s Diner has been named one of the winners of a Hoosier Hospitality Award, and if you’ve ever visited with owner John Scheele and family, you’ll know it’s well-deserved! Recipients are recognized for going above and beyond their normal duties at a hotel, restaurant, attraction, or other tourism destination to provide excellent customer service. The tiny Valentine-brand diner is located on the Lincoln Highway at 830 S. Harrison Street in downtown Fort Wayne.

An awards reception will be held Monday, May 12, at 1:30 pm in the Statehouse Rotunda in Indianapolis. Cindy’s will receive the award from Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. Light refreshments will be served.

Vintage gas station photo from eastern Indiana

March 31, 2008

LHA president Jan Shupert-Arick sent along some images from eastern Indiana courtesy of the Ternet Collection at the Allen County Public Library (downtown Fort Wayne, a block north of Washington Boulevard and in the midst of three different routings of the Lincoln Highway). The renovated library includes a cafe, bookstore, auditorium, art gallery, computer center, and underground parking.

The photo below shows Oberley Lunch and Standard Oil Station, 1941, on the Lincoln Highway at Zulu, Indiana, a tiny town just west of the Ohio border.


Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne to close

March 20, 2008

The Lincoln Museum, which has hosted an exhibit on the Lincoln Highway, will close June 30, 2008, after 80 years as a major resource for the study of Abraham Lincoln’s legacy. It is operated by Lincoln Financial Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Lincoln Financial Group. The foundation owns one of the most extensive collections of Abraham Lincoln-related items — 230,000 items valued at $20 million — including a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation and one of 13 Thirteenth Amendments signed by Abraham Lincoln. Also among the 79 artifacts are a cane he carried and his children’s toys. The collection also includes 350 documents signed by Lincoln, some 18,000 rare books and pamphlets., and 200,000 clippings.


The museum cites declining attendance, averaging 40,000 per year, according to an article in The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne. Priscilla Brown, vice president and chief brand officer for Lincoln Financial Group, said, in the paper’s words, that “the collection’s dispersal to other sites will better match the Lincoln Financial Foundation’s mission for the items, which is to ensure they get maximum exposure and remain accessible to the public…. The museum isn’t being closed as a cost-cutting measure and that it does not reflect any failure of the local museum staff.” The museum has about 20 staff members, most of whom will lose their jobs, and a “substantial” volunteer base.

The Lincoln Museum’s 19th century 5,000 photos and 7,000 prints is one of the most extensive in the world. According to Lincoln Financial, “Through invitation, the Lincoln Foundation will host a national informational session with potential public partners in late March to provide an understanding of the collection items and, in turn, discuss options for increasing visibility.”

An editorial laments the loss to the city, and the foundation’s reasoning that dispersing the collection will allow more people to see the parts in bigger venues:

Fort Wayne has lost out. A huge historical resource is, for all practical purposes, gone.

Oh, people will be able to drive to some other location, somewhere, and see some of the items, and they will be able to repeat the old refrain, “That was once in Fort Wayne….”

One expert told me [that] reactions have ranged from regret to anger to disappointment to shock to disbelief.


The image above, from the museum’s web site, shows a re-creation of Lincoln’s White House office, where visitors can view personal artifacts belonging to Lincoln, official documents, a chair from the Lincoln White House, a Senate copy of the Thirteenth Amendment, a Leland Boker souvenir edition copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, and personal and official letters of President Lincoln.

A second press release explains how Lincoln Financial plans to take a two-pronged approach to make its Lincoln Museum collection more accessible and visible in celebration of the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial in 2009.

Postcard 4: Red Top Diner & Shell, Fort Wayne

January 13, 2008

The front of this postcard says it all – Red Top Diner and Shell Station, Highways 24 & 30 East — City Limits, Fort Wayne, Ind.

IN_RedTop, Fort Wayne

Three train tracks can be seen behind, and the diner looks to be a converted railcar. The automobile is a mid-’30s coupe. Can’t imagine this part of the Lincoln Highway being quite so rural now. Could that be Maumee Avenue right behind the station, and E Washington Blvd in the foreground? The setting looks right and a couple business as seen in this Google aerial view at bottom center and right seem to fit the layout


Anyone know more about Red Top? The picture was taken some 70 years ago, so it’s critical to ask those who might remember before all traces and memories of such places disappear forever.

Cindy's Diner, Fort Wayne, in Travel Feature

November 26, 2007

IN Cindy’s signA lengthy article on Cindy’s Diner (830 S Harrison St, Fort Wayne) was published Sunday in the Toledo Blade. Anyone traveling the Lincoln Highway in eastern Indiana will want to visit the diner for excellent food and a fun, friendly experience—and a Lincoln Highway logo near the door. Owner John Scheele (below) can always be found cooking for 15 patrons and handing the take-out orders.

IN John Scheele

After recounting the diner’s history (a 1952 Valentine), the article discusses its clientele:

A large number of the diner’s patrons are regulars – “Probably 85 percent of them we know by their first names,” Cindy said – and they include students, businessmen, cops, lawyers, construction workers, and researchers using the nearby library’s world-class genealogical collection.

Plenty of out-of-towners find their way to Cindy’s, too. A dog-eared guest book has been signed by patrons from every state, as well as foreign countries from China to Iran to South Africa to Russia.