Fort Wayne, city (1990 pop. 173,072), seat of Allen co., NE Ind., where the St. Joseph and St. Marys rivers join to form the Maumee River; inc. 1840. It is the second largest city in the state, a major railroad and shipping point, a wholesale and distribution hub, and a manufacturing center, with large high-technology electronics and automotive industries.
The Miami had their chief town, Kekionga, at this strategic river confluence before the French founded (c.1680) a trading post there. In 1697 a French fort was built; it remained under French control until 1760, when it was surrendered to the British. The fort was held briefly by Native Americans during Pontiac's Rebellion. Later, they were subdued by Anthony Wayne, who built (1794) the fort named for him. The fur-trading center began to grow after the War of 1812. Industrialization was spurred by the development of the Wabash and Erie Canal and the coming of the railroad (both in the mid-1800s).
The city is the seat of the Univ. of St. Francis, the Indiana Institute of Technology, Indiana Univ.–Purdue Univ. Fort Wayne, and a Roman Catholic seminary. The city has a philharmonic orchestra and numerous museums, including one devoted exclusively to Lincoln memorabilia. Also of interest are The Landing, the restored main street of the city's original frontier settlement; the sunken gardens at Lakeside Park; the botanical conservatory; and the burial place of Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.