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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Bring It Push It Own It: inspiring, uplifting and guiding Fort Wayne’s young women
Aug28

Bring It Push It Own It: inspiring, uplifting and guiding Fort Wayne’s young women

It’s difficult to be a young woman in modern society. Today’s generation is inundated with mixed messages from the media, along with a lack of community engagement, peer conflict, family problems and other issues that can leave girls feeling alienated and inadequate. Bring It Push It Own It, a local female-run nonprofit organization for girls from ages 9-18, seeks to overcome these negative influences by empowering young women through physical activity, mentorship and teamwork. Bring It Push It Own It began in 2013 when founder Tisha Stotlar noticed a lack of self-esteem, positive values, inner strength, coping skills and leadership traits being instilled in young women within their home, school and extracurricular lives. Stotlar started the organization with the important goal of helping girls learn to “push themselves outside of their comfort zones to grow to their fullest potential.” Today, Bring It Push It Own It is run by a full board and advisory committee of predominantly women, offering group fitness and enrichment programming for girls in the Fort Wayne area. “We create an environment that is different than sports yet active—an environment to become a leader as a mentor to other girls, an opportunity to learn how to have friendships outside of your normal circles. Taking you out of your comfort zones is the best way to heighten ourselves and become our best selves, and we provide that in our program and our obstacle run,” Stotlar said. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Donate With Link In Bio (@bringit_pushit_ownit) Bring It Push It Own It offers 10 to 12 week seasonal rotations consisting of weekly meet-ups and additional monthly meet-ups for its young members. Typically meeting at Spiece Fitness, sessions rotate a variety of a group exercise classes including yoga, barre, step aerobics, martial arts and more. Additionally, meetings include an educational discussion on pertinent topics such as identifying toxic relationships and embracing your natural beauty. Girls will also participate in an obstacle course that takes their teamwork, courage and leadership skills to new heights. The variety and challenge offered by Bring It Push It Own It allows its participants to constantly try new things and achieve their goals along the way. As the leader of Bring It Push It Own It, Stotlar is especially interested in addressing the confidence issues that arise around ages 11-14 as young women enter adolescence and transition from elementary to middle school. Noting the often lackluster messages targeted at girls in today’s society, Stotlar feels that, “we really don’t focus on self love and value, inner strength, staying true to yourself, toxic relationships and unique leadership traits in the...

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