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Southeast from Lincoln Tower – 1966

By Randy Harter

Fort Wayne Reader


A number of buildings have changed or left us since this image was taken from atop of the Lincoln Tower in 1966. At extreme left-center are houses and buildings sitting on the block bounded by Washington, Jefferson, Lafayette and Barr where the Sheraton Hotel would be built three years later in 1969. The Sheraton was rebranded as the Holiday Inn in 1980, and became the Lamplite Inn, a senior-living community in 2011.

Above that block is St. Mary’s church at the southeast corner of Lafayette and Jefferson — sadly lost on September 2, 1993 due to a lighting strike and the resulting fire. The Gothic Revival church was built during 1886-87 of red brick and sandstone and had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Across the street from the church sits St. Mary’s School, erected in 1902-3 which included a gym, bowling alleys and library. Closed in 1963, it reopened as an experimental inner-city school in 1964, and then became Fort Wayne’s first Montessori pre-school in 1968. The
building was razed in 1969 and is now Burger King’s parking lot.

At upper extreme right is St. Paul’s on Barr between Lewis and Jefferson. Constructed in 1889, a basement fire destroyed the church 14 years later in December 1903. The base of the church was able to be saved and the magnificent building was replicated on the same foundation less than two years later in 1905. Three previous Lutheran
churches had occupied this site dating back to the first having been built on these grounds in 1839.

Moving down Barr we come to the YMCA at the southwest corner of Barr and Jefferson. This $300,000. building, completed in 1919, had previously been the site of Hope Hospital, a precursor to Parkview Hospital. In 1985, the today’s Central YMCA was built just to the south of the pictured building and the old building was razed becoming a parking lot.

Moving west from the “Y” stands the Neoclassical Revival Masonic Temple. Designed by local architect Charles Weatherhogg, it was completed in 1926 as a replacement for the imposing Masonic Temple Theatre that had burned down in 1923 at the northeast corner of Clinton and Wayne Streets (site of today’s Citizen’s Square). The new ten-story Indiana Bedford Limestone edifice cost over $1M to build. To its right at the southeast corner of Washington and Clinton is the Scottish Rite Cathedral. This Gothic Revival sandstone building was designed by the Fort Wayne architects Mahurin & Mahurin and was completed in 1909. Featuring a 1,200-seat auditorium, it was razed in 1960 and is now a parking lot.

Coming north across the street is Indiana Bank and the attached City Parking Garage with its circular ramp. Built in 1957, this building replaced the First Presbyterian Church which had been at that site from 1886 until 1956 when they moved into their new building at 300 W. Wayne at Webster. Three additional stories were added to the building
beginning in 1966. Indiana Bank merged with Peoples Trust Bank in 1983 forming the resulting Summit Bank. This building is now the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center.

A tip of the hat to then 16 year old Greg Mitchell for capturing this wonderful image in 1966, and now letting me share it
with you 52 years later.

Randy Harter is a Fort Wayne historian, author of three books on local history, and the history/architecture guide for Fort Wayne Food Tours.com

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