If you grew up in Fort Wayne, chances are you took a few field trips to The History Center while you were in school, but have you been back since? It’s a great place to spend the afternoon, even for adults.
Located prominently at the corner of Barr and Berry Streets in downtown Fort Wayne, the building exudes an air of permanence. Constructed with large limestone and sandstone blocks, it is built like a fortress. Over the years, the porous limestone and sandstone on the exterior eroded and was repaired, but what you see on the outside is what you would’ve seen had you inhabited Fort Wayne in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The staff has taken great care to respect the original architecture and design of the building.
Recently, the historic building underwent a few renovations, including a complete restoration of the Shields Room. Perched on the second floor of The History Center overlooking the corner of Barr and Berry Streets, it is now an impressive open space with high ceilings, beautiful artistic detailing, and exquisite woodwork. All that’s missing is the chandelier, and once it arrives, the room will look much like it did in the early 1900s.
The History Center is also home to 38 historical exhibits, boasting the largest collection of Allen County History. Since 1980, about 20 percent of the individual exhibits have been updated, and this year, the Allen County Innovation permanent exhibit was completely refurbished. It opened to the public in October and is the first permanent exhibit to receive a complete makeover. Of course, you’ll want to visit the basement if you go. Back in the day, it housed the county jail and some of the cells are still down there.
The History Center
302 E. Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802