Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Downtown Spots from CONTENTdm

Azar's Downtown?

Really?! Yes kiddies, there used to be an Azar's downtown.

Can you tell - in this limited cropped photo - where it used to be?!


And peaking out above this building - could this be...yes - could this REALLY be - Mike's Car Wash?!


Oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh.....The Hobby House Restaurant


Yep - there used to be a ton of gas stations downtown.


Can you guess what the building is in this last picture?! The PTC bus (love the Spring green color!) is sitting right next to it, getting ready to do a major pick up and drop off in the downtown area...

The Building on Wells Street

As I was going through some of the photos I snapped from May, I remembered that I hadn't asked anyone about this building.

If you're going North on Wells, it is on the left hand side, right before you get to Jack and Johnny's.

I pulled two pictures from ACPL CONTENTdm (cropped 'em) and they're below.

The woodworking above the windows - frickin' awesome. And it's still there. I really, really hope that this isn't a building on the demolition list. Please tell me that something positive and uplifting is happening with this building :).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kristina Frazier-Henry is a Serial Blogger

Thanks to my buddy Mark who sent this link to me. And no Mark - I'm not embarrassed in the least :).

One of the premier Barbie designers was Mattel’s Carter Bryant, whose Cinderella-like Grand Entrance Barbie sent adult collector Kristina Frazier-Henry into orbit. Frazier-Henry of Indiana is a serial blogger who has written 1,325 reviews on under the handle kristinafh.

Her take on Grand Entrance Barbie:

I am a fanatical Barbie collector. Fanatical in the way that I would rather have an NRFB (that’s Never Removed From Box) Barbie than just about any other gift. Surprised? Yeah, thought you were.

Doll Description
This Grand Entrance Barbie is the first collector doll designed by Carter Bryant. It came out in 2001 and was met with a lot of oooh’s and ahhh’s from the adult collecting world. Here’s why.

Close your eyes and imagine an elegant ball. Your hair is blond (natural of course) and shiny. There’s no frizz to be had. The sides of your hair are gently gathered back while the back of your hair is curled in waves and lays gently across your shoulders.

Your gown is a steel blue taffeta creation made by designer Carter Bryant. The bodice is fitted and compliments your elegant waist. Underneath your gown is a thin, slip-like layer of tulle the color of ivory. Sewn into the middle part of your gown is a creamy pink silk sheath. The way the light shines off of the creamy pink makes a total stranger want to come over and touch you.

Yeah. And you thought that I was just passionate about Fort Wayne.

Historical Pictures are WAY COOL!

I'm willing to bet that I've spent more time on the Allen County Public Library's CONTENTdm site than 99% of folks who even know of its existence.

I love this site. Like love. Like would ponder giving up Butterfinger's for a day for this site.

It's so cool to find pictures of people, places and things that you either forgot - or maybe remembered - but no one else could corroborate ;).

ANYWAY - I found a couple of pictures that I wanted to share with you. They aren't just any ordinary pictures. Only I - KFH - would be curious enough to go hunt these pups down (this - I am convinced!!).

Picture #1 - Remember the Fred Astaire Dance Studio? And Indiana Bank?

Hah! There they are! Proof that they existed - and both - downtown. Just as I remembered them.

The picture I pulled this from can be found here

West Washington Blvd at South Harrison Street. Date 04/26/1979.

I love cropping tools!

Picture #2/3 - Cat's Meow and More!

Sure, you remember the Cat's Meow - c'mon - that is a piece of Fort Wayne history.

There are STORIES - tons of stories to be told about this place. I know someone out there is dying to share...

But - do you remember Louie's Chop Suey?! And look at that Stoner's sign!

You can find the original picture that I pulled these two images from here

708 South Harrison Street and West Main Street. Date 01/04/1974.

Picture #4/#5 - On the surface, the picture is a view of Harrison Street, looking North and specifically - the Shell station is within view. That's cool, right? Oh boy - it doesn't stop there. Lookie what else I found!


Where the Hamburgers are 5 Cents! Boy, that place hasn't changed much (except for the price).

Anyway - throughout the week - I'll be posting my many finds.

Thanks for humoring me - and who knows - maybe I'll find one of those gems that you thought was only in your imagination...

Monday, July 28, 2008

McCulloch Park - I See Dead People

When I was a little kid, there were times when we hung out at McCulloch Park.

It is right by GE and also - on the bus line. I know at some point, the Three Rivers Festival parade even marched by the area because we sat there and watched the parade that year.


One of the rumors that kids used to pass on from one generation to another was that there were still a bunch of people, buried in the park and that when it rained, their bodies would float up to the top.

Although your initial reaction as a kid would be fibber!, I would be lying if I didn't tell you that the first time I was informed of this rumor, I had a couple of difficult nights of sleeping.

In my dreams, I kept on seeing myself in McCulloch Park, playing on the grass, then the rain breaks out, and as I run to the gazebo to take shelter, I start tripping all over the bodies that have washed up from the ground.

I know - pretty creepy.

Over time, I just dismissed the rumor. Even forgot about it.

Until today.

Side note: For the record - we all know that Indiana Governor, Samuel Bigger, is still buried there and allegedly, he was the only one.

While I was out on, I came across this:

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE KAMMEIER FAMILY -- written by Ernst C. Kammeier

After being in America about two weeks, misfortune befell the family. The father became sick and died. That surely was a hard blow for the mother, who was left alone with three little children in a strange country. Fortunately the family was among good friends and neighbors who helped them as much as they could.

Henry Kammeier I was buried in the City cemetery on Broadway. This cemetery later was converted into a park and is called McCullouch Park in honor of Hugh McCullouch, a prominent citizen and banker of Ft. Wayne, who was Secretary of the Treasury of the United States under Pres­ident Lincoln, and who is said to have devised and inaugurated the modern banking system in the United States.

When the cemetery was converted into a city park about the year 1885, quite a number of bodies were removed to other burial grounds but that of Henry Kammeier was not disturbed and is still resting there. The grave is located in the southwest corner of the park near Broadway St. under a large elm tree.

SO...I guess part of the rumor passed on from one generation to another was true - there ARE still dead people buried in McCulloch Park.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Barbies on a Shoestring

It's amazing to me how little I had - in the material sense - when I was a youngster. Here's a great example.

Here's a picture of me and Kim Spore at my house on Cedar Crest Circle. Looks to be around third grade - maybe fourth grade (1976'ish).

We're sitting on the floor of the bedroom I shared with my sister Patty.

* We had no carpet in this bedroom.

* Most of the clothes you see on Barbie (I'm holding her) or Skipper (Kim is holding her) was handmade by my Aunt Barb (she went through a phase of sewing everything!).

* I'm also holding a "Dawn" too, she is just well hidden behind Malibu Barbie.

* There is a pink barbie case in the left corner of the picture. Notice the "make believe" towel I have draped into the handle. Most likely, that was our designated Barbie bathroom.

* To the right (and still looking at the bottom of the picture) was a silk-like pink box that was my mother's. She got it from some flea market or auction/estate sales. That served two particular purposes in this scenario.

First, it was Barbie's clothes trunk. Yes, instead of a closet, that's where she kept most of her stuff. Second, it was a ledge for her to stand on as she looked up to the loft area where Skipper slept. Believe me, I'm not making this up. Seeing this picture - BOOM - it was like a memory recorder in my head. I could recall just about everything and the reason for it.

* Notice the Brownie (pink) patch and the wings (signifying the flight up from Brownies to Junior Girl Scouts). Those were rugs. Yep, Barbie rugs.

* That blue and white checkered-like blanket that was draped on the box (where Skipper's loft was), was sewn by my Aunt Barb.

* There's a Lipton tea box and a dixie bathroom cup on the floor. Not sure what we were going to use those for!

* Okay - the fact that me and Kim are dressed alike - could only mean one thing. No, it's not like we went to school like this. Most likely, we decided that to play Barbies, we needed to dress alike which is why we both have on skirts and turtlenecks (and by the way - all clothing is mine).

* Regarding auctions/estate sales/flea markets...the white desk in the corner was definitely something my mother picked up from one of those places. We had all sorts of interesting, odds and ends, throughout my house, of these kinds of pieces.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fort Wayne - Where Everybody Knows Your Business

I'm a little unusual - this - we all know.

One of the things that amuses me, is reading the early Fort Wayne newspapers (specifically 1900-1920).

If you're not familiar with what was reported on by the newspapers in those days - well - let's just say that your business was everybodys elses business. And I'm sure this went on all over the country but it seems just a little bit different when you're reading about the families you're familiar with.

Take my own family for example. My great-grandfather, Walter G. Roy, was married to Rosina Breer and apparently, they had a very tumultuous relationship prior to her (young) death.

I was tempted to pull a couple of other examples however, I didn't want to risk offending someone who might find out here - for the first time - that one of their relatives was the talk to of the city (via a newspaper entry).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Downtown Fort Wayne...July 20 2008

My mom and step-dad talked me into a couple of coney's before I left Sunday. I drove up Fairfield and criss-crossed across a couple of streets. Decided to stop and take a couple of photos.

In the parking lot behind Cindy's Diner is a couple of really old signs.

I think this is really cool. They should clean it up a bit, but otherwise, I appreciate the nostalga of it.

And I really really wanted to pull these weeds and do some basic landscaping of this area.

SO much potential....

There's gotta be a LOT of history attached to this building. If you click on the picture (for the larger view), I think you can see that at one time, another building must have been attached to it.

I love love love the brick and intricate patterns (ya gotta look closely to see them).

So much landscaping opportunities...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

West Jefferson - Right Before Parkwest...

Here are a couple more pictures I took on my way out of town this past weekend.

I was glad to run across my old friend, Westwood Lanes.

I'm pretty sure that this is where (a Ford Dealership) my husband purchased his 1987 grey Ford Escort.

It's disappointing to see how rundown the place is. Notice the cracks in the parking lot with the numerous amounts of weeds growing in between.

More of the same sigh.

Since this area is close to the Swinney Park area, one would think that folks would want to keep it up - looking decent.

Right now, it looks like a giant eyesore.

I wonder how long it's been empty???

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Postcard of F.S. Bowser & Co. Office Building and Part of Plant, FortWayne, Ind.

Jon Swerens posted a comment on this postcard:

Is that the current police station on Creighton?

I dunno. Does anyone else?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Parkwest Area

During my quick in-and-out trip Sunday, I stopped through the Parkwest area and captured some pictures of the places that "used to be". Mind you - my point of capturing the stuff wasn't to tell you that what exists there today is crap and what used to be there was much better.

Nope. I'm just tellin' you what it used to be. Commentary for what may or may not be current and past crap may be alluded to within each individual blurb next to the photo. Otherwise - no sweeping generalizations on the current state of this strip mall area.

For all of you young'uns, believe it or not - at one time - Parkwest - used to be a thriving suburban-like area - just around the bend from downtown (via West Jefferson). I wish I could tell you the history of this place. Sadly, I know - well - not much. I know that it existed in the early 70's. But none of my Fort Wayne history books give this stripmall the time of day (except to acknowledge that it existed). If anyone knows the history of this place - speak up and share!

Confession - the place has always struggled with establishing and maintaining its own identity. I'm not sure why. Maybe cause we folks on the southwest side, didn't have the money you northsiders had ;) ahem.

Picture #1, 2, 3:

This is the front, main entrance to a place that used to be a department store. In the 70's - it was Mr. Wiggs. In the 80's - it was Heck's. Both were very generic department stores - something like a KMart or a Walmart.

I worked inside of here during 1986 as a teller for Anthony Wayne Bank. If you walked into Heck's, we were located in our own area, to the left.

Or basically, in the area where this door is now located.

Picture #4:

This is the back corner of what used to be the location of International Business College. I took a couple of courses there in the 80's.

Picture #5:

This used to be Godfather's Pizza. My husband (boyfriend at the time), really like GF Pizza. Me - not so much.

Always heavy on the stuff that I wasn't fond of and their cheese had that non-descript, generic taste.

Picture #6:

This used to be Scott's Parkwest. It was quite the place. In fact, it was my official, first job after graduating high school and it changed my life in many ways.

In a series of six degrees of separation (at least I'm guessing that's how many there were), I can trace back meeting my husband to the hiring of me at Scott's - and in particular - me being assigned to the Scott's at Parkwest.

Side note: before you start thinking that this was as easy as him coming into the store - think again. I don't think the man ever stepped south of the Mason-Dixon line (i.e. Main Street) in his life. He barely crossed over Coliseum Blvd. - and then - only for special occasions like O'Sullivans and Coney Island. But more on all of that LATER.

This was a thriving store, undergoing massive remodeling in mid 1985 (I was hired during the grand re-opening!). Dave Burkhart was the store manager. He was a cool dude. I think this Scott's ended up closing around 2000. I blame the adhd development of Coventry (and Jefferson Pointe) on the demise of this particular store.

Since I'm diagressing...Coventry was quite the controversy in the mid-80's. I remember the citizens of Aboite fighting with the developer (Zehr?) and with the then - Allen County Commissioners. Lots of back and forth over the 100 + acre re-zoning - but as we know - the developer won. And now, that area is like its own little city. Too bad people didn't have the forethought to take all of the energy and put it into revitalizing the downtown area 20 + years ago...

Picture #7:

Not really "Parkwest" - but more like the Time Corners area - was this building which is a combination Office Depot and Fresh Mart. It used to be Cub Foods. I worked here part-time.

Monday, July 21, 2008


July202008 074
Originally uploaded by kristinafh
So yesterday was a quick in-and-out of Fort Wayne trip. The occasion? Our extended family - the Emmert's - invited us to attend the First Baptist Church (2323 Fairfield Avenue) 10:30 service which was immediately followed by the wedding of Todd Emmert and Amanda Fisher. A reception was held in the basement of the church.

As the crowd was gathering to start the reception, many thoughts were racing through my mind.

This church, as I've mentioned before, is rich with history and tradition. I'm always in awe of entities which have survived and flourished through many centuries. Often, I wonder - was it a fluke? Was it a series of coincidences? How does an entity in ever-changing economic and social climates, adapt and stay relevant?

I pondered this while enjoying a meal with my mom, her husband, my aunt, and her husband.

After the meal, Leon told the crowd about his mother Vida. As I've mentioned before, she and my great-grandfather, were orphaned (16 and 14 respectfully) when their parents were victims of a fire that took place right there on their farm.

Leon said that there was a lot of pressure for his mother and his uncle to be adopted. Vida refused. She had already completed one year of high school and she insisted on completing her education and keeping the family farm alive.

I was more than impressed with this story. Can you imagine?! Early 1900's - a chick - thumbing her nose as society and saying, I'm gonna do things my way?! Frickin' awesome. I am in complete admiration.

Leon went on to tell us about my great-grandfather. He was drafted into World War I and came back injured (something none of us knew - my mom, my aunts). His first wife died (Rosina Breer), and his second wife Helena Starost was "delightful".

While Leon grew up on the Roy Family farm, my grandpa Wayne, lived in the 'big' city. Helena always made sure that her three boys - Wayne, Walter, and Kenny - spent weekends at the Roy Family farm. It was there that they formed a strong, family relationship with their cousins - the Emmert's. Leon mentioned specifically that they spent countless hours, playing in the hay bales, climbing trees and tinkering with odds and ends.

Leon recalled Kenny's unfortunate death. At the age of nine, he had died from some heart ailment. The funeral and service, he said, was held just down the street at St. Patrick's.

I asked him what kind of kid my grandpa was. My grandpa was always a reserved adult - very quiet compared to somone like me :). He said that grandpa knew how to have fun. He wasn't too quiet but he wasn't nearly as ornery as his younger brother Walter.

It was nice to hear all of this about my grandpa.

When the story ended, I looked up, and saw this very simple vase on our table.

RESERVED - Family.

I thought, I am really proud to be part of this family. I took a lot of this for granted for many years. And then, my mind switched back to the first thought I had as I was waiting in line for the food.

"How does an entity in ever-changing economic and social climates, adapt and stay relevant?"


It all made sense to me now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bringing Back Southtown Mall - Woo Hoo!!!

From the Fort Wayne Newspaper website:

"Now is the time! You've nominated them, now pick them. Over 1,700 readers submitted over 41,000 nominations for the 2008 Reader's Picks Best of .... Checkout all of the nominees and pick your favorite in each of the categories. We know you have a favorite, now let everyone know what it it is. Click here to vote for your favorite in the restaurant, doctor, salon, grocery store or any of many other categories. You can only vote once, so make it count! But hurry, the clock is ticking until the polls close on July 27, 2008."

The only thing that would have made this better would be to add Papa's to the restaurant section and Holiday Theaters to the movie section list.

Now moving on to the, what were they thinking category - check this out. Under "Places to Go/Things to Do"

Tattoo Shops?

Under Places to go/Things to do?!!


Martha A. and Leon E. Emmert

So I'm in Fort Wayne today. I'm off to the First Baptist Church on Fairfield Avenue. You see those folks over here? Martha and Leon are phenomenal people. I'm also lucky enough to be related to them.

Leon was cousins with my Grandpa - Wayne Roy. They were the best of friends. Their bond was very strong and one that rolled into future generations.

There were times - in between their missionary work (40 years of it) - they would come and stay at my house on Cedar Crest Circle.

Martha was always so warm and friendly. Leon was just like my Grandpa.

I'm excited to be able to see them again. It's been about (thinks) 20 years. Maybe more. In a few hours, Leon will be officiating at the wedding of his grandson, Todd Emmert as he marries his bride - Angie Fisher.

As my mother reminded me yesterday - he is the last of the Roy family. His mother - Vida and Grandpa's dad - Walter - were sister and brother. They grew up on a farm in LaGrange, Indiana and when they were young teenagers, their parents were killed in a fire. Vida took on the responsibility to continue with the farm and she raised her little brother - Walter too.

Vida when on to marry Leon's father -

Walter (after being widowed from Rosina Breer), married my great-grandmother - Helena Starost.

And that's the back story (at least some of it), of the Roy clan.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Updated Photo - Virgil V. Marquart

This was sent to me by a family member of Mr. Marquart. It was taken prior to his death (1997). To read more about him - follow this link.

First Baptist Church of Fort Wayne

Allen County Public Library CONTENTdm Collection

I just can't seem to get away from history - and you know - that's fine with me.

I'm returning to Fort Wayne this weekend - but just for a handful of hours - specifically - to attend a service at First Baptist Church. More on the "whys" behind that - tomorrow.

Being the Catholic chick that I am (or should I say - sometimes claim to be), I had never heard of First Baptist Church.

When I found this picture on the library's website, my curiosity was peaked.

Gasp! Another Fort Wayne historical figure that I had never heard of before?! How could that be?!

I had to look through my Fort Wayne history books - not much existed. Online, I found many more resources.

From the Fort Wayne Baptist Church website:

Rev. and Christina McCoy with six of their eight children, Johnston Lykins, a teacher, a hired Indian, and a quantity of livestock, arrived at Fort Wayne on May 15, 1820 from Fort Benjamin Harrison via the Wabash Canal.

The first church of any faith or creed in Fort Wayne was the Baptist Church organized August 3, 1822 by the Rev. Isaac McCoy, missionary to the Indians. They were given quarters in the evacuated fort on May 29, 1820. The McCoys established the first school of any nature in Fort Wayne.

Rev. McCoy performed the first Protestant baptism in Fort Wayne and all the surrounding Middle West; Pe-me-zah-quah on June 18, 1820 and her sister Ah-pez-zah-quah on July 8, 1821. These sisters, grand-daughters of Chief Little Turtle, were members of the church organized August 3, 1822 and chartered under the "Articles of Faith".

I noticed that this church on Fairfield wasn't the "original" church. I soon found out that the first building was located on a lot donated by Samuel Hanna (Clay Street) and then, it was moved to the southeast corner of Berry and Clinton Streets. It's last existence before 2323 Fairfield was at 228 West Jefferson Street. Of course nothing exists there - maybe a parking lot now??

Anyway - some fascinating stuff.

I'm not sure if this interior picture is from their current location - or if it is one of the previously demolished churches. I'll find out soon!

Rudisill School - Spy Run Avenue - Flood of 78

Allen County Public Library CONTENTdm Collection

I loved driving down (or should I say - being driven UP) Spy Run Avenue. It was like a really cool race track - not many lights - and lots of things to see along the way.

One of those "things" was the Rudisill School. I'm guessing that it no longer exists since Fort Wayne got a little crazy with the wrecking balls in the late 80's and early/mid 90's (someone - fill me in).

Side note: Mr. Chris Crawford confirms - it met the fate of the wrecking ball.So I guess the big question is - what is in it's place???

If you click on this Topography Map, you'll be taken to my Flickr area where you can display it in its original size (1600 x 1200).

Topography Map - Rudisill School

To this little kid, schools like
Rudisill (architects - Marshall Mahurin and Guy Mahurin),
were grand and serious-looking. Almost like they were boasting from the side of the road (ain't I just an awesome-lookin' building?!).

Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of attending one of these older schools. Mine were built in the "modern" age (i.e. 50's).

Anyone have the pleasure of attending Rudisill School?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Shop at Sears - Corner of Rudisill Blvd. and South Clinton Streets

Raise your hand if you remember Sears on Rudisill!

Me! ME! ME!!!!

Located at the corners of Rudisill Boulevard and South Clinton Street, this was a special place for us to shop. It was huge. It had a ton of stuff. It was such a staple of the south side of Fort Wayne.

My grandparents told me that Sears & Roebuck used to be located downtown, next to the Fort Wayne National Bank Building. After several issues (including a fire and a partial building collapse), they got the heck out of dodge I guess.

I remember that this Clinton/Rudisill location closed because Sears wanted to be in the middle of shopping heaven - aka Southtown Mall. That was like (thinks) early 80's.

This building sat vacant for a long time. And then, sometime in the late 80's, Sears telecatalog came through and occupied some of the building.

Then that went away - 1993 I think?

And then I thought I heard that the welfare department occupied the building.

Also heard that McLeodUSA had some call centers they were going to open up here?

Don't know - lost touch with what was happening with the building about ten years ago.

I meant to stop and take pictures of it in May - but ran out of time. I wonder if the old building still looks the same?

P.S. Did you know that our very own Fort Wayne Santa spent his Christmas holidays here - before he migrated back downtown to Wolf & Dessauer?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Uncle Kenny

It's been a sad week for us here at Child of the Fort.

Monday evening, my mother-in-law, Judy, called to tell us that her brother Ken had died. Although death is always inevitable, this was one piece of news that took us completely by surprise.

Kenny (that's what we called him) was 70 years old. Honestly, I had no idea that he was 'that old'.

I say 'that old' because when I was a youngster, 70 to me and my sister meant a stereotype that went something like this:

* Can't hear unless spoken to in a very loud voice
* Eats with their dentures out
* Eats only smashed up foods
* Can only walk with a walker or cane
* Can't see much or glasses (lenses of glasses) are like coke bottles

Kenny must have been a "young" 70 because this man was an active, social, caring member of the Fort Wayne community. Never one to sit/stand still, he was all over the place - his fingers in all the parts and pieces of the pie.

After his mom and dad passed (the late Bernice Hobson Wiesenberg and Carl O. Wiesenberg), Kenny and his wife Robin, moved back to Fort Wayne to be closer to the rest of the family. Kenny, who had graduated from North Side High School in 1955, knew more about Fort Wayne than most folks. Ask him about people, places, or things - the man could tell you in minute details - that's how sharp his memory was.

Upon his return to the Fort, he immediately became involved in the community. Like his parents, Kenny was very attached to his German roots and he was an active member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church and the Fort Wayne German Club.

But his involvement with the city he loved, didn't stop there. He was a member of the Mannerchor and Philharmonic Choirs, Foellinger Theatre Advisory Board, and on the Sister Cities Board of Directors.

My husband Mike, was very close to his Uncle Kenny. In fact, it used to be a running joke that his name was Kenny because at family gatherings, Grandma Wiesenberg would get Mike and Kenny mixed up all of the time. That's because they were both a strong presence in the room, they carried on these highly, intellectual conversations (think trivial pursuit meets Mensa) and they both had a ton in common (including gourmet cooking).

Kenny had such a full life.

He graduated from Michigan State University (something we forgave him for ;)) and he had a very long and distinguished advertising career as an executive with major retailers including Halle Bros., May Co., Woodward & Lothrop, and Macy's department stores.

Kenny was married to his wife Robin for 44 years. 44 years!!! It would have been longer however Robin passed away about four years ago after suffering from a long illness.

His daughter Gretchen and his son Greg - they worshipped their father. He was their rock. Their children - Ian, Christian, Drew, and Ally - they adored their Grandpa. And believe me, he could not be more proud of his family.

The last time we saw Kenny, he was just full of energy - babbling about this and that. We caught up on the "gossip" of the city...the "gossip" of the tabloids...and I quizzed him on some Fort Wayne-related historical stuff.

As I close my eyes and remember that last day with him, I can't help but smile.

Those two (Mike, Kenny) were doing their typical thing (i.e. trivial pursuit meets Mensa) and my son Ethan was joining in on the fun (boy - he is JUST like his father). Judy kept on trying to get us all to eat more (per her typical self - she always bought/prepared more than we could actually eat).

Telling my son about Uncle Kenny was hard for me. Being thirteen (which is hard for anyone!), he tried to remain stoic but finally, he broke down. "I'm gonna miss him. I never got to say goodbye. Now he won't know that I'll miss him." And that's all it took for my flood gates to open.

"Ethan, the really cool thing is, that Uncle Kenny knew how much we loved him and he'd never want us to say good-bye to him or our feelings for him."

I don't know where that came from - but it came.

We hugged. Ethan went off and occupied himself with some manly-man thing (video game) and I cried just a bit more because the older I get, the more it hits home for me that we have such little time here on earth - and you never know when the last look, touch, word, moment - is the last one for you or someone you love.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Pinhead

Daron Henry Aldrich
Happy Birthday Dacron, Ya Pinhead!




Sunday, July 6, 2008

Virgil V. Marquart - An Accidental Historian

This weekend, I continued to scan in my extensive postcard collection and to record information about not only the picture on the postcard, but the identification markers of the photographer, printer, merchandiser, and distributor.

I know - I'm a geek/freak.

A common theme kept on coming up for me. It was postcards which were photographed by Virgil V. Marquart and published by Marquart Camera Shop.

I've seen Mr. Marquart's name several times before this weekend. Not sure where. Not sure how. I just know that his name looked as familiar as - well - as anything I remember from the 70's.

I did a quick internet search and unfortunately, found that Mr. Marquart had passed over ten years ago (June 13, 1997).


Virgil Vernon Marquart, 85, of Fort Wayne died Friday (June 13, 1997) at home.

The Monroeville native was a self-employed photographer, owner and operator of Marquart Camera Shop from 1945 to 1975, and was former employee of both Sherman & White Co. and Beck Jewelry Store.

He was a member of Indiana Genealogical Society, Society of Indiana Pioneers, Fairfield County Chapter of Ohio Genealogical Society, Allen County Genealogical Society and Fort Wayne Historical Society.

He was a World War II Army veteran. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Pacific Theater and received three bronze stars. Burial will be in Monroeville Memorial Gardens.

Mr. Marquart did not have any children.


So then, I went in search - what did Virgil Vernon Marquart - what did he look like? The only picture of him I could find was from the Allen County Public Library's digital Collection.

Mr. Marquart is the third individual from the left. He is with friends in front of Painter Brothers.

With as many photographs as he took and as many postcards as his Photo Shop produced, I'm surprised that there was no book published by him or his family, chronically the changes of the Fort Wayne landscape. He certainly captured places that have either morphed significantly over the years or which no longer exist in the Fort.

So sad that he is gone.

If he were still alive I would ask him, Why did you become a photographer? What was it like to run your own business for thirty years? What happened to your business after 1975? Did you pass the baton on to someone else? What inspired you to take photographs of places that people in Fort Wayne considered (during that time) to be just ordinary places and buildings?

Why did you take a picture of Glenbrook Center Mall from the side instead of the front? How did you get a picture of the Library without any cars in your way (i.e. going through the lights)? Did you have to get special permission to photograph those kids on the pony rides?

Although I have several Fort Wayne history-related books, not one mentions Mr. Marquart. That's sad too. I hope that someone, somewhere down the line writes about the bits of photographic memories that this accidental historian left behind for us. Without his pictures, we'd be missing a huge chunk of the Fort Wayne places that existed in the 50's, 60's, and 70's.

R.I.P. Mr. Marquart. Thank you for the memories.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Postcard of Concrete Bridge, Fort Wayne, Ind.

As I'm going through my postcard collection, I'm trying to match up old with new. Does anyone have any idea which bridge this is? The postcard appears to be from the 1910 decade.