The past and present of the historic Strauss Building
Dec13

The past and present of the historic Strauss Building

A Local Icon Most Fort Wayne residents are familiar with Fortezza Coffee—the local business has quickly risen to become a favorite coffee spot, restaurant, work space, and meeting place for the community since it opened in 2014. Its iconic location compliments the specialty drinks and eclectic menu for which the shop is known, the stylized red brick exterior standing out vibrantly against the surrounding businesses. But do you know the full history behind the building Fortezza calls home? Constructed in 1890, the Strauss Building (located at 821 S. Calhoun St.) is one of downtown Fort Wayne’s oldest and most recognizable structures. The building has served myriad purposes, housing a wide variety of businesses and institutions for the past 128 years. Fort Wayne’s Downtown Improvement District describes the Strauss Building as having “a rich history spanning an era of many inventions, entrepreneurs, and visionaries.” Then Sandra Lahrman, the Strauss Building’s current property manager, is knowledgeable about the structure’s past as well as its present. But the building’s longevity also lends itself to mystery. According to Lahrman, the original purpose for the Strauss Building when it was first constructed is unknown. “We don’t have the exact purpose of the building immediately after it was built, other than it was generally commercial use. But around the turn of the century it hosted a Western Union and various financial institutions,” says Lahrman. During its initial years, the Strauss Building was ahead of its time. It was one of the first locations in Fort Wayne to have early telegraph lines, the conduits for which can still be seen in the building’s basement. The Strauss Building went on to serve as the first office for Lincoln Financial Group, a Fortune 250 company that still has a large office location and prominent community presence in Fort Wayne. Later on in the twentieth century, it hosted several different business including boutique retail shores, a chiropractic practice, and general office space. Now When Fortezza Coffee owner Sean Wang was searching for a location to establish his business, he knew the Strauss Building’s historic charm and location in the heart of downtown were the right fit. “The landlords were able to save a lot of the original uniqueness, such as the ceiling and the brick walls, but also keep up with the updated safety code and functionality,” said Wang. In spite of its age and varied uses, the Strauss Building has fared incredibly well over time. Lahrman shares that some some long-forgotten signs of wear were discovered when the current management acquired the property. “There were signs of small fires when we began sanding and renovating the wood floors...

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InstaQuick Hit – Lunch on the Square Returns on June 7
May03

InstaQuick Hit – Lunch on the Square Returns on June 7

Lunch on the Square returns to Freimann Square on Thursday, June 7! #LOTSFW #FortWayne A post shared by Living Fort Wayne (@livingfortwayne) on May 3, 2018 at 9:16am PDT Visit the Downtown Improvement District website for details on this year’s Lunch on the Square event series. The first event is on Thursday, June 7 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Freimann Square. The Alicia Pyle Quartet will be...

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Coming to Fright Night – DIA Fort Wayne – A Celebration of Life!
Oct20

Coming to Fright Night – DIA Fort Wayne – A Celebration of Life!

From DIA Fort Wayne To conclude the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and to celebrate the upcoming Day of the Dead/Dia de Los Muertos holiday, Parkview Health, University of Saint Francis and Sweetwater are excited introduce DIA Fort Wayne- A Celebration of Life! This event will be a part of this year’s Fright Night event on October 21, 2017, hosted by the Downtown Improvement District. The event will take place at the USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center in downtown Fort Wayne. Festivities Include: Live Music Local Taco Vendors Beer Garden Face Painting Games Lucha libre wrestlers and altars with ofrendas (elaborate offerings dedicated to the spirit of the departed) Contests including “Best Calaca/Skeleton” Costume Additional sponsors include University of Saint Francis Culturas Unidas, Sud-n-Impact Gym, Fort Wayne’s CW, Sol Kitchen, Salsa Grille, Monterrico To Go, Flora & Lily’s, Mitchell’s Sports Bar & Grill, 5 Star and Cruz Studios. Admission is free from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm on October 21, 2017. At 5:30 p.m., calacas will meet up with participants of Fright Nights 10th Annual Zombie Walk. For more information, please visit...

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Hobnobben Film Festival Review
Jun21

Hobnobben Film Festival Review

After 13 movies and a handful of other events, my time at the inaugural Hobnobben Film Festival came to a close Sunday evening. It was a long, full weekend made enjoyable by a bustling and energetic community of film lovers coming together to champion a shared passion for the movies. Cinema Center Executive Director Jonah Crismore noted “how far along we’ve come” on opening night. I couldn’t agree more. Independent theaters across the country are on a steep decline, but if you managed to make it out to Hobnobben this past weekend, you’d see that’s not the case in Fort Wayne. Before Thursday night’s showing, Bill Brown, President of the Downtown Improvement District, addressed the sold-out crowd. Brown talked about Cinema Center’s role in the resurgence of the area, as well as the importance of continued support for the city’s only locally run movie house. On his involvement with Hobnobben Brown said, “[Crismore] had me with Film Festival,” followed by the applause of everyone in the theater. You could hear and feel the outpouring of support. As is the case for any inaugural event, Hobnobben had a few minor hiccups that were swiftly and carefully fixed along the way. The voting process was incredibly awkward for passholders like myself during the first two days. Rather than cast a silent ballot, I was asked if I’d like to vote for each film upon exiting. Saying “no thanks” or “yes please” felt out-of-place. My biggest issue came down to the steep $200 price tag for festival passes (which granted access to any and all events). General admission tickets were $10 and the awards ceremony was $15. I saw as many films as time afforded me, but when you do the math, I basically paid an extra $55 to get into movies 20 minutes early even though that never mattered. Had I attended the most events possible over the course of the four days, the numbers still don’t add up. I was happy to pay though, especially considering the surprising quality of movies the Cinema Center was able to schedule through partnerships and outside sponsors. Crismore mentioned that he and his staff had traveled to other established festivals across the country to help build Hobnobben, particularly drawing inspiration from Michigan’s Traverse City Film Festival. What I think worked best about Fort Wayne’s first film festival is that it urged moviegoers to stay downtown and walk around. You could swing by the block party and try Mad Anthony Brewing’s very own Hobnobben Shandy (a welcome cool down in the weekend’s blistering heat). Friday night found moviegoers pulling up chairs at the Arts United Plaza for a free outdoor screening...

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