As the frontier of the young United States moved westward, the need for better transportation in an expanding nation became essential. While many early travelers through northeast Indiana used American Indian trails and buffalo paths, our three rivers also provided easy passage for the early settlers into this region. As settlers became farmers and farmers began producing a surplus of goods, paths and limited water transport were not sufficient to allow for the large scale movement of commodities or travelers out of the region nor supportive of bringing needed manufactured goods from the East and from Europe to the residents of this area.
From early paths and horse-powered transportation through the construction of the Wabash and Erie Canal, improvement of roads, establishment of a railroad hub, and advancing aviation, Fort Wayne played a major role in improving transportation for residents and for the nation. These strides in transportation improved communication as well, opening a new world to early residents. News from the East was greatly desired by the merchants, farmers, and politicians of Fort Wayne, and enhanced transportation provided for quicker exchange of letters and newspapers to keep city residents well informed. Businesses expanded, new immigrants raced to the area, and the face of Northeast Indiana rapidly changed with each new mode of transportation.
Be sure to visit our virtual exhibit page again in May to view the next installment of 200@200.
What is 200@200?
As Indiana embarks on its bicentennial anniversary and reflects on past challenges, successes, and opportunities, we too reflect on 200 years of our part of Indiana. How has Fort Wayne changed? What have we discovered? What will we take with us into the next century?
The 200@200 project is a celebration of Fort Wayne's legacy of progress throughout Indiana's 200 years of history. Using artifacts from the museum's collection of 28,000 objects, the History Center will tell 200 unique stories of Fort Wayne's role in the 200 years of Indiana's statehood throughout the 2016 bicentennial year. Each month highlights a different historical theme and presents a collective mosaic of the community's shared past and present, commemorating the progress, growth, and creativity of the "Summit City." Each month's theme will be featured in a virtual exhibit and in person at the History Center.
The History Center is honored to share that 200@200 has been endorsed by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission as an official Legacy Project. WANE serves as the project's media sponsor. Stop by the History Center to view these artifacts in person during 2016.