Twitter Facebook
Text Size
Parks History 1951-1970

1951-1970

Year

Event

1951

Mr. and Mrs. A.W. Kettler donated 6.25 acres for Kettler Park.

1952

  • Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary opened to the public in Franke Park.
  • Fred B. Shoaff donated 54.36 acres to become part of Franke Park.

1953

  • West Swinney Amusement Park discontinued, converted back to general park use.
  • The Central Lions Club of Fort Wayne gave and sponsored Lions Park.
  • Psi Ote Park is first instance of school and park site planning in Fort Wayne.
  • First woman to serve on the Board of Park Commissioners, Mrs. Helen W. Sweet.

1954

First annual Christmas Workshop.

1955

  • Board adopted First Class City Park Law and approved by the Common Council.
  • New Tennis Center established in East Swinney Park.
  • Park Board President, Frederick Shoaff, donated 169 acres to the City for Shoaff Park.
  • Foster Golf Clubhouse constructed.

1956

  • The 50th anniversary of the Department was celebrated.
  • McMillen Ice Arena first artificial ice rink in Indiana
  • Estate of Ella Conklin provided funds of $118,529 for construction of Conklin Pavilion in Shoaff Park

1957

Park offices move from East Berry St. to Jefferson Center.

1958

  • First Fine Arts Festival held in Franke Park.
  • Shoaff Park Golf Course opened in Shoaff Park.

1959

School Children's Flower and Garden Show sponsored by Park Department with help from Fort Wayne's Women's Garden Club.

1961

Beginning of close cooperation between Board of Park Commissioners, Board of Public Works, the Urban Redevelopment Commission, the City Plan Commission, and Fort Wayne Community Schools in reference to parks and playgrounds.

1962

  • Beginning of Children's Zoo - Advisory committee formed and architect hired.
  • McMillen Golf Course dedicated.

1963

  • Department goals and objectives revised.
  • Department entered fleet for the first time in the Chamber of Commerce Fleet Safety Program.

1964

Jack D. Diehm Museum of Natural History donated and constructed in Franke Park.

1965

  • Children's Zoological Gardens dedicated and opened. 
  • Diehm Museum of Natural History dedicated. 
  • 60th anniversary of the Department celebrated with pageant at Foellinger Theatre. 
  • Senior citizen program and theater workshop program established at Jefferson Center.
  • Property was obtained in a trade for the Southtown Mall site that is known as Buckner park. 

1966

Fort Wayne Zoological Society formed.

1967

  • Park acreage reaches 1640 acres.
  • Department one of 100 U.S. departments which took part in the pilot Lifetime Sports Program sponsored by NRPA.

1968

  • First federal grant received to develop Maumee Park.
  • First vest pocket park developed in Fort Wayne.
  • McMillen Indoor Ice Arena opened.

1969

  • Department hosted 53rd annual conference of the Indiana Park and Recreation Association.
  • Soap Box Derby Track donated and constructed by civic organizations at Franke Park.
  • McMillen Ice Arena dedicated.

1970

  • Freimann Square park land dedicated to Park Board by the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission.
  • Department participated in the federally funded Recreation Support Program for Inner-City Youth.

Share this article