Home > Old School Picture of the Week > G. C. Murphy’s ca. 1960

G. C. Murphy’s ca. 1960

By Randy Harter

Fort Wayne Reader


From 1890 until 1948, the dark brownstone Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) building sat at the northeast corner of Wayne and Calhoun Streets. With its razing, the new G. C. Murphy’s store was constructed of limestone with red granite trim and opened in the fall of 1950. At 112,000 square feet of store space, it remained one of the city’s favorite department store shopping destinations until its closing in 1992. This site is now occupied by Wells Fargo Bank. While it was considered Fort Wayne’s Murphy’s (and the Fort Wayne location was reportedly one of its top-volume stores), it actually was part of a 500-store chain founded by George Clinton Murphy in 1906 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Many of us Boomer’s fondly remember the Murphy’s iced, made-in-store donuts (they can still be enjoyed as the original machine is now operated daily at Cindy’s Diner at W. Berry and Maiden Lane). In this view the Paramount Theater sign can be seen on Wayne Street just east of Murphy’s. This opulent theater was built in 1931 on the site of the original Fort Wayne High School, which had been replaced with the construction of the new Central High School at Lewis and Barr Streets in 1903. The theater closed in 1961 and was razed the following year.
(Image courtesy of ACPL)

Randy Harter is a Fort Wayne historian and author of two books on local history.

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.