200@200 : October — To Govern and Serve
Date:
1911
Title:
Parks Department: Kessler Plan
Description:
In 1911, the Indiana Legislature shared with Fort Wayne the plan that the city of Indianapolis had used to establish its park system. City parks commissioners could then establish boulevards, parks, and parkways as well as recreational areas and playgrounds. They were also able to acquire the grounds and levy taxes to pay for the new developments. George Kessler, a renowned landscape architect from St. Louis, Missouri, was hired to consider and plan for the city's needs.

Kessler's plan for Fort Wayne, developed in 1911, was to connect parks and neighborhoods through a series of boulevards. Kessler's design was intended to present the city at its best and provide an improvement to the lives of city residents. Much later in the 20th century, both the River Greenway and Headwaters Park were inspired by Kessler's vision for a central downtown park.

While the city acquired land, the head of the Park Board, Adolph Jaenicke began creating beautiful parks. Each park was given a unique personality, based upon their terrain and features. A series of donations and purchases have provided a modern, beautiful system of parks and boulevards.

The 1911 Seventh Annual report of the Board of Park Commissioners, featured here, includes fold—out maps and plans for Kessler's vision to develop Fort Wayne's parks and boulevards system. Later reports included plans to create individual parks within the system, like Kessler's design for Three Rivers Park at the confluence of the three rivers.
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FW Board of Park Commissioners Report Kessler Plan fold-out detail, 1911FW Board of Park Commissioners Report Kessler Plan fold-out detail, 1911
Fort Wayne Board of Park Commissioners Seventh Annual Report, 1911Fort Wayne Board of Park Commissioners Seventh Annual Report, 1911
FW Board of Park Commissioners Report Kessler Plan fold-out detail, 1911FW Board of Park Commissioners Report Kessler Plan fold-out detail, 1911
Fort Wayne Board of Park Commissioners Eighth Annual Report, 1912Fort Wayne Board of Park Commissioners Eighth Annual Report, 1912
FW Board of Park Commissioners Report Kessler Plan fold-out detail, 1912FW Board of Park Commissioners Report Kessler Plan fold-out detail, 1912
FW Board of Park Commissioners Report Kessler Plan fold-out detail, 1912FW Board of Park Commissioners Report Kessler Plan fold-out detail, 1912