Navistar International has made a significant – and historic – contribution to boost a local nonprofit group's hopes of opening a museum housing International Harvester memorabilia.
Organizers of the annual Harvester Homecoming are expected to make that announcement during a news conference today.
Homecoming founder Ryan DuVall and several former Harvester and Navistar employees are expected to be on hand to share what DuVall calls an “amazing gift.”
DuVall has said he plans to turn the former International Harvester/Navistar engineering complex at 2911 Meyer Road into a museum where Harvester fans could have their vehicles and memorabilia displayed.
“It is hard to believe how much love and support we have received from not only the International truck community, but also Navistar,” said DuVall, who is also a Journal Gazette employee. “We have done our best to share that company's great history here and we are blessed to have so many helping us make the Fort Wayne Truck Works' history a source of pride for this community.”
At its peak, in 1979, International Harvester, now known as Navistar International, employed about 10,500 in Fort Wayne before closing the local truck assembly plant in 1983. Navistar's engineering and vehicle testing operations remained at the Meyer Road facility until 2012.
Harvester announced in 1919 it would build a truck plant but didn't disclose where.
The company later chose Fort Wayne over 26 other cities. Construction on the Fort Wayne assembly plant near what is now Coliseum Boulevard South and Pontiac Street began in 1922, and it was producing trucks by 1924.
Two years, ago DuVall and others started the Harvester Homecoming that featured more than 500 Harvester trucks and Scout vehicles and drew about 10,000 people.
Scouts were built in Fort Wayne from 1961 through 1980.
This year's Harvester Homecoming is set for Aug. 6-7 at the Meyer Road site.