Monday, May 31, 2010

The CITY of Fort Wayne

During the second week of June we will have visitors to our campus. We will have attendees to the AFCU 2010 Symposium. They will come from 22 Franciscan colleges and universities, from Franciscan “think tanks” and from the community. For many this will be their first and possibly last time to visit the city of Fort Wayne.

The attendees will be busy. There are major speakers, plenary sessions, breakout sessions, café style presentations and a student focused poster session. Beside the opening dinner there will also be a gala dinner. There will be three socials. One will highlight Brookside (Bass Mansion) and the John Paul II Center. Another will focus on Achatz Science Hall and the planetarium. This will include a show in our planetarium and a map of our skies. Finally, the last social will be in the Rolland Art Center. Besides all of this there will be special tours, lawn games and bikes will be available through the assistance of our biking club, Tour de Francis.

So, for the most part folks will not have time to leave the campus. Still, for those who arrive early or have time before they leave there will be plenty for them to see. The fact is, there is more, far more, than corn in Indiana! So for the visiting attendees looking to browse a little local culture they may want to make the following brief trips:

Museums: this city is rich in museums. Most are small which are ideal for brief trips.

The Fort Wayne Fire Fighter’s Museum is downtown and hosed in the old #3 fire house. View streamers, hand pumpers, learn about the history of a volunteer fire department that became professional. The second floor houses the Fire House Café.

Not far from the museum is the distinctive History Center. This building use to serve as city hall. The museum is the home of over 23,000 artifacts from the history of the city and Allen County. Don’t miss the jail lock up in the basement.

A little south east from here is the relatively new African African-American Museum. This is a powerful museum. You will encounter the slaves’ passage to North America. You will experience Jim Crow. You learn about the local connection with the Underground Railroad. You will also encounter inventors, leaders, and contributors to the history of Fort Wayne.

An Interview with Ms Hana L. Stith: Curator

North of here is Science Central. Science Central is a converted electrical station that is now a hands- on science center for children. It is however, fun for adults as well. Ride the bike on a monorail, walk the musical steps, play with the water works and enjoy the energy of young children.

Two blocks from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the Bishop Noll Center. Housed on first floor is the Cathedral Museum. The museum is home to religious artifacts from the early days of the diocese. It also has artifacts dating back to the 13th century.

The theme for the symposium is Educating for the Care of Creation: Contemporary Verses for the Canticle of the Creatures. Well, nature is everywhere to be seen in Fort Wayne. We are known as the City of Churches, however, we are also the City of Parks. It is one of the reasons Fort Wayne has been named All American City three times. Headwaters Park is a logical destination to take in some beauty as well as history. However, there are other near by sites.

Across the street from the cathedral is the Botanical Gardens. Inside you will view three environments. One is the world of the gardener, next a tropical world complete with waterfall. Finally you will visit the desert. There is an outside courtyard for lunches, music and viewing more plant life.

North of the campus is Franke Park. This is a large park with river walks, ponds and a bmx bike site. However, it is also home to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. This is a small, beautiful zoo. It is enjoyed as much for its gardens as its animals. Visit the new African Journey area, the Indonesian Rainforest or the Australian Adventure.

You may want to then go back downtown to visit the downtown Allen County Public Library. The library was recently renovated and in fact doubled in size. It is the home of art, movies, lectures and concerts. This is home to one of the most important genealogy departments in the country. It also houses a large collection of Lincoln letters and documents. The library has an art gallery, coffee shop and an active play area for children. It is across the street from the First Presbyterian Theater.

Going east again you will bump into the Civic Center, home to our local community theater. Next to the Civic Center heater is the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. This is a newly renovated and expanded museum. At this time the exhibits include Depression Era Art as well as local artists and a photo exhibit by Cara Wade, a faculty member of USF.

There is a lot more to do downtown. For visitors who appreciate history there are a lot more people who shaped the history of the area to become acquainted with. Still, this seems like enough for now. Especially since most of the symposium experience will be on campus. Enjoy your visit to The Fort!

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