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East State Village ca. 1960

By Randy Harter

Fort Wayne Reader


The roughly eight block long East State Village is made up of approximately 20 commercial properties largely developed during the city’s trolley era in the 1920’s. In this circa 1960 image (taken from the roof of today’s Colvin Kitchen & Bath building), two of the pictured businesses are still going strong, PIO Market and the Candlelight Café. Others not in the view, State Grill, the Acme Bar, and the Tecumseh Library (now in a new building) are also still with us.

In the view, just past the circa 1926 Spanish Eclectic style fire station (FW Engine Company #10) is Fort Wayne National Bank, which today houses The Rib Room and Nick’s Martini Bar. It’s interesting in that Nick’s Ribs was in business (since 1957) when this image was taken, but was then located in the first building east of the firehouse (you can just barely see the “N” in Nick’s on the front of the building), and then moved to the old Fort Wayne National Bank building after the bank moved out. Beyond the bank going west was Wayne Camera, Stately Women’s Wear, Roble Shoes, Pio Market, and then the parking lot, which from 1930 until the early 50’s was the site of the State Street Theater. Next, was Klemm’s Candlelight Café, Belmont dime store (now S & V Liquors) followed by a Texaco gas station. Still going west on the north side of the street, across Crescent was Clay Pharmacy on the NW corner, Trend Television & Appliances, Curtis Flowers (now the Acme parking lot), and the Acme Bar “Where Neighbors Meet - Since 1941”.

Jumping across the street south and coming back east, was Peerless Dry Cleaners on the SW corner of State and Kentucky, then across the intersection Noel’s Service Station on the SE corner , Rommel’s Body Shop, Klug Shoe store, Lantz Insurance, Karl’s Barber Shop and State Street Hardware on the SW corner of State and Crescent. Across Crescent going east was Dr. Franke/Phys , Weaver Barber Shop, Dr. Merkel/DDS, Roberts Hair Salon, State Grill, Dr. Rockey/DDS, Huntine Shell (where gas was 29.9 per gallon). Then across California Avenue a Sinclair Service Station, Meyer Bros drugstore and Schwartz Babyland (both were in today’s Colvin Kitchen & Bath building), Scott’s Bakery, Mix Jewelers and finally, State Street Shoe Repair before coming to Alabama Ave.

Crossing the street north to where Abby Brown’s Chocolate’s was most recently located was Millers’s Dairy Store, the Tecumseh Library, Kroger grocery store (now the parking lot east of the library), Buschbaum Drug, Bon Ton Bakery, the U. S. Post Office (now Simply Socks Yarn Company), then crossing California to the then 1960 Nick’s Rib Bar location and once again the fire station. (Image courtesy Bob Baker)

Thanks to Bob Baker for his remembrances of East State Village, and prior research by Creager Smith/City of Fort Wayne Historic Planner and Michael Galbraith/ARCH-Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

Randy Harter is a Fort Wayne historian, author and tour guide for Fort Wayne Food Tours.

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