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The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Fort Wayne

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FORT WAYNE, a city and the capital of Allen co., Indiana, on an elevated plain at the confluence of the St. Mary's and St. Joseph's rivers, which here form the Maumee, and on the Wabash and Erie canal, 102 m. N. E. of Indianapolis; pop. in 1840, 2,080; in 1850, 4,282; in 1860, 10,388; in 1870, 17,718, of whom 5,041 were foreigners. Most of the business blocks and many of the residences are of brick. Among the public buildings are the court house, which cost $80,000, and the county jail. There are three public parks, of which the principal one lies S. of the St. Mary's river. N. of the river is a trotting park. Of the five cemeteries, the largest and handsomest is Linden Wood, 1½ m. W. of the city, containing 160 acres. The first impetus to the growth of Fort Wayne was given by the completion of the Wabash and Erie canal about 1840. Numerous plank roads were afterward built, and since 1850 a still more rapid advance has resulted from the construction of railroads, of which five intersect at this point, viz.: the Toledo, Wabash, and Western; Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, and Chicago; Fort Wayne, Jackson, and Saginaw; Fort Wayne, Muncie, and Cincinnati; and Grand Rapids and Indiana. The buildings of the two railroads first named are extensive. All the machine work, building of cars, and repairing for the western division of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, and Chicago road are done here. The buildings for this work are of brick, mostly two stories high, and cover six acres. Good water power is furnished by the canal and the river, and the manufactures are important. The Fort Wayne machine works, with machine shop, foundery, car wheel shop, boiler shop, and blacksmith shop, employ 125 men. There are also 2 other machine shops, 8 flour mills, 8 planing mills and sash and door factories, 4 tanneries, 3 cabinet works, 2 manufactories of agricultural implements (reapers and mowers, threshing machines, &c.), a woollen factory employing 70 men, a hub, spoke, and bending factory, having 125 men, 3 national banks with a Capital of $750,000, and 3 insurance companies with $555,000 capital. The city is divided into nine wards. There are efficient police and fire departments, and the streets are well paved and lighted with gas. The principal charitable institutions are the orphans' home and the city hospital. The public schools consist of a normal school, a high school, 3 grammar and 32 primary schools, which in 1872 had 55 teachers and an average attendance of 2,830 pupils; expenditure for school purposes, $41,200, of which $25,000 were for teachers' wages. Concordia college (Lutheran), established in 1850, had 4 professors, 148 students, and a library of 3,000 volumes. Fort Wayne college (Methodist), established in 1846, had 7 professors, 132 students, and a library of 1,600 volumes. There are a German Reformed, three Lutheran, and six Catholic parochial schools. Two daily newspapers, one tri-weekly (German), and six weekly (two German) are published. There are 15 churches.—The site of Fort Wayne was visited as early as 1700 by the French for the purpose of trading with the Indians. Prior to 1719 they established a regular trading post here, and subsequently erected Fort Miami. In December, 1760, the British built a fort on the E. bank of the St. Joseph's near its mouth. In October, 1794, Gen. Wayne erected the government post of Fort Wayne; in 1825 the town was laid out; and in 1840 the city was incorporated.