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Greyhound Bus Depot 1953
By Randy Harter
Fort Wayne Reader
Streamline Moderne is the term for describing the style of Art Deco in which our white neon-trimmed Greyhound Bus Depot was designed , one of over 50 depots around the United States created by renowned Louisville, KY architect William S. Arrasmith. Fort Wayne’s was an outstanding example of this genre of transportation architecture, which exhibits aerodynamics and a sense of speed.
This iconic building — located at 233 W. Jefferson and clad in “Greyhound Blue” steel enameled panels, as well as utilizing glass block and the sleek stylized running Greyhound logo — was completed in 1938. Its construction, featuring a rounded wing-wall to partially shield the buses from Jefferson Blvd., was to replace the old bus station at 123 E. Berry at Court St. that had only allowed for on-street loading of the passengers and their luggage.
After having sat empty and sealed-up for over 15 years, the owners of this architectural treasure — local attorney Joseph Christoff and his family — had the 10,500 sq. ft. building quietly razed on Saturday, May 9, 1992 and turned into a parking lot. This was despite a News-Sentinel article less than four months earlier on January 20th in which it was reported that Director Ron Fletcher of the Redevelopment Commission was “casting about” for a new urban venture that could include the former Greyhound bus station; according to the Assessors Office, for tax purposes the property was valued at less than $42,000, including the land.
Besides its gorgeous exterior, many recall the terminal’s second floor restaurant, its shoe-shine stand, photo-booth, pinball machines and the individual pay-to-watch coin operated TV-Chairs in the lobby. Construction is expected to start soon at this site of the former Greyhound Bus Depot for a 125-room Hampton Inn & Suites. Just beyond the depot in this view at the southwest corner of Jefferson and Harrison is the English Terrace restaurant, which over the years was also called Mrs. Millers English Tea Room, and finally simply the Terrace Room. This building was razed in the 1970’s, became a parking lot for Belmont Beverage and is now the site of the Marriott Courtyard. Across the intersection is the 1928 Indiana Hotel, which was still in operation at the time this photo was taken, but would later close in 1971. (Courtesy HPC/ACPL)
A tip of the hat to Creager Smith, Don Orban and Craig Leonard for their insights on this piece.
Randy Harter is a Fort Wayne historian, author and the history/architecture guide for FortWayneFoodTours.com