The Fort 2 - All These Places Have Their Moments

More places and events that I remember from growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the 60's and 70's.
The blizzard of '78 was memorable.  I rarely attended high school but after this snow storm, when the roads were still very treacherous, somehow I woke up and felt obliged to make the effort to drive to South Side High School.  I remember getting in my dad's Omega Lime Green Cutlass Supreme with it's white vinyl top and quadrophonic sound speakers.  I got halfway there and slipped and slid along the hilly back streets leading to school and I wrecked the car.  It was totaled but actually was the fault of the other driver, thank God.
The other thing I remembered about that snow storm was my dad had purchased a powerful snow blower and he plowed the sidewalks along our house on the corner of Webster Street and Taber.  The snow wall was taller than all of us.
The Embassy and Jefferson theater were across the street from each other both next door to our 1st family restaurant called El Charro.  My sister R went down to the basement of our restaurant and there were these amazing tunnels leading to the other buildings on the street.  She found boxes of candy left at the theater.  They ran XXX rated films when we first started the restaurant and then closed shortly after.
This Holiday Inn was near our 1st house growing up on Schele Street.  We snuck in a few times and swam in their swimming pool. One summer I visited the Fort after moving to California and my sister R her two daughters and I packed up and spent the day here.  My mom gave us the money and we swam and got the best take out food.  My sister R was like my guardian angel on this trip and her daughters like cherubs.  I'll never ever forget it.
Hook's Drugs.  Lots of trips to this local hub.
Humpty Dumpty goes way back. I barely remember anything except the taste of their burgers.  I believe they used a very tiny onion sweet relish on their amazing patties,

L.S. Ayres was where you shopped to get the really nice dresses for special occasions.  I bought a flowing white slightly see-through Laura Ashley dress from here to attend some dance post high school. I went with my boyfriend but left alone because he spent all his time complimenting my older cousin Veronica all night.  She was a trip.  She used to like to flirt and get him all googly-eyed then tell him he wasn't good enough for her. He was cool though but his little brother played guitar like no one I'd ever met and taught me the beginning of 'Over the Hills and Far Away' by Led Zeppelin that I play to this day.
The Roller Dome is another great memory and the reason I related so much to the movie Dazed and Confused.  I never went in and skated but mainly lurked outside chain smoking cigarettes and looking for someone who had pot.  I was so young that mainly it was more fun looking for it than actually finding it because getting home from this place was no easy task in any state let alone red eyed and foggy.

The Landing was our hip area that was created later and where you would spend your time cruising back and forth during the annual 3 Rivers Festival.  I did purple mescaline one night of the festival and somehow got dropped off at my brother E's house where he lived with his wife V before they had kids.  They had a dog named Toughy Toenails.  I was tripping all night and don't even remember how I explained myself, just that they scurried off to bed and gave me a blanket.  I just remember mentally walking through the fair all night with that little dog and talking and laughing until I woke up and realized it was my shoes and pants in a pile on the floor.  The dog wasn't there at all and I had been sleeping on the couch all night.

Wolf and Dessauer was the big downtown upscale store.  When I was 10 or so my mom was working at the restaurant and would give me money to go tool around downtown.  I once spent good money on a green wool outfit from here that I later found out was a girl's scouts uniform.
 They always put up the big santa's sleigh each year and it was something to see. 
 Murphy's was another place I spent lots of time as a young girl after I got dropped off of school to my mom and dad's restaurant.  They were very busy getting ready for dinner hour so I would go to Murphy's which was a giant Target like store, lots of cheap stuff.  They had a pet shop where I'd buy little turtles.  One time I got a turtle and lost it in the house.  One day that I would swear was about a year later, that little feller came walking right in the living room doorway.  We laughed so hard and couldn't believe it.

Sear's on Rudisill was right next to my high school and where I worked as a dispensing optician in the optical department and made great money around 17 years old.  First time I worked on commission.  It was the time of over-sized frames, graduated tints and also the birth of soft contact lenses so there was lots of opportunity for selling.  My sister M got me the job because I worked for her friend Susie.  She was a nice very funny lady.  Before Sears I also worked at the donut shop behind Sear's and manned the counter serving coffee and making donuts in the wee hours of the morning.
Our momma worked nights at Wayne Candies.  I finally found a pic of the building.  It was a dark scary factory and I always thought she was much too glamorous to ever work at a place like this.
These areas were close to our house but considered on the 'bad side of town'

Southtown Mall was the mall to hang.  Spencer's Gifts had tons of neon novelty items, gag gifts, black light posters, candles, lava lamps and anything you may need to furnish your room.  Mongomery Ward's was on one end and my dad called it Monkey Wards which always made me laugh, mainly because he always thought it was so funny.  We'd get Orange Julius's here too and had to comment on how a raw egg was added each time.  I spent a lot of time at this mall.

 The Fort Wayne National Bank Building.  I had to see a psychiatrist on one of the top floors of this building when I was around 14.  It was intimidating going up in the elevator.  I was excited to be in a place of such importance but also depressed at having to see a psychiatrist.

That's the Grey Hound bus terminal.  They had seats with little TV's on them that you could put a quarter in and would play for an hour I think.  I would sometimes go and sit in here to pass time after school but stopped because a series of creepy men made me quickly understand it was not a good idea to hang out at bus depots.

I loved going to the Ground Round in my late teens.  They had peanuts on the floor and immediately served you huge bowls of popcorn upon sitting.  They served Cokes and beer in huge frothy mugs.

So many other buildings I remember passing and knowing as part of the fabric of Fort Wayne. 


St Andrew's Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Our first house on 3712 Schele Ave
Holy Spirit Catholic School, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Other places I think of and would love to have photos of to dream on would be:

Hep's Dairy Store on New Haven Ave, corner of Holly Ave
Memorial Coliseum

Chain O Lakes
Reservoir Park

River Haven
The Blue Spruce Hippy Clothing Shop
The Paraphernalia Palace
El Charro Restaurant (my mom & dad's place)

Jack & Jill's Amusement Park


  1. Very interesting blog. I remember many of the same places and buildings pictured here. It's amazing how much Fort Wayne has changed just since the 1980s.

  2. I really enjoyed looking at your two pages on "The Fort." I found your blog because, in the tradition of insomniacs in late middle age, I was musing on my lost youth when I remembered something that I decided to look up -- in this case, Paraphernalia Palace. Thanks for the photos and writing on a lot of places that I remember fondly and a little mournfully.

    1. Oh that's cool, thanks! I LOVED that place and the Blue Spruce. Are you from the Fort? Do you live there now?


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