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Opinion

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    Citing a U.S. Census Bureau report, The Journal Gazette recently reported that 77 million Americans, nearly a quarter of the population, live in what have been designated as poverty areas and that this population has increased
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    Over the past few months, the local political process has become one in which discussion and inclusion have been squashed, and that really disappoints me.
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Anthony Wayne
Dedicated: 1918 in Hayden Park (Renamed Nuckols Park in 1986). Moved to Freimann Square in 1973
Reason: To honor the hero of the Revolutionary War and subsequent Indian wars in the Northwest territories. Wayne built a series of forts in this area after the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, the last one he named for himself, Fort Wayne.
Henry Lawton
Dedicated: Oct. 22, 1921 in Lakeside Park
Reason: To commemorate his death in the Philippine-American War. He was killed in the Philippines on Dec. 19, 1899. Lawton was a decorated U.S. Army officer who served with distinction in the Civil War, the Apache wars, the Spanish-American War and was the only U.S. general officer to be killed during the Philippine-American War.
Trivia: A monument had been erected in North Side Park (formerly Lawton Park) earlier, so when the statue was commissioned, it was placed in Lakeside Park.
Goddess of Memory
Dedicated: Nov. 11, 1930
in Memorial Park
Reason: A statue of the Goddess of Memory is a memorial to local veterans of World War I, as well as businessman and civic-minded resident Olen J. Pond. Donated by his wife, Emma.
Trivia: Emma Pond left money in her estate for construction of the Pond Pavilion at Franke Park. The Ponds commissioned the statue at Memorial from the famous sculptor Frederick Hibbard, who also created the statues of Gen. Lawton and David Foster. The head of the statue went missing in early 1990.
David N. Foster
Dedicated: May 14, 1922
in Swinney Park
Reason: Foster was a long-time member of the Fort Wayne Park Board. He and his brother, Sam, donated the land for Foster Park. Foster was influential in the community in the retail furniture business, was involved in the establishment of Wayne Knitting Mills and the organization of Lincoln National Bank.
Trivia: A story circulates that the Foster statue is in Swinney Park because Foster had been fired from the park board after a feud with other members. As a gesture of goodwill, a statue was proposed and Foster requested it be in Swinney at the place where Foster had his eye on the Swinney sisters’ land, waiting for them to leave so the area could be taken into the park system.
Photos by Cathie Rowand, research by Gregg Bender

Monuments to discovery

City statues worth seeking out for their tales of our heritage

Mayor Tom Henry last year proposed moving the statute of Gen. Anthony Wayne from its tree-surrounded spot in Freimann Square to the Courthouse Green. The mayor wanted a more visible spot for the statue, but – strong arguments for preservation of the Courthouse Green aside – there’s a case to be made for leaving the general’s statue just where it is.

In its leafy enclave at the northeast corner of Main and Clinton streets, the statue isn’t unlike many other jewels in the city’s rich collection of parks. Not every piece of public art is on prominent display – at least not with a simple passing glance. Instead, the statues serve as invitations to people to get out of their cars and explore the city’s extraordinary parks.

It takes some effort to find them and observe them closely, but it’s worth the effort.

The traditional start of the summer season offers an opportunity to explore the community’s history through its monuments. How Fort Wayne’s statutes came to be and how their locations were chosen is a lesson in itself.

Take some time this summer to meet some of the city’s historic treasures.

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