10 Things You Didn't Know about Fort Wayne

September 12, 2014

Okay, Fort Wayne natives. Here are some interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Fort Wayne!

Many of us are happy to call Fort Wayne, Indiana our home. And, Fort Wayne isn’t just a bigger city with a nice, small town feel: It’s rich in culture, history, and so much more! Here are a few facts you may not have known.

1. Fort Wayne hosted the first professional baseball game ever played on May 4, 1871. The Cleveland Forest Citys squared off against Fort Wayne’s own Kekiongas. The game was rained out at the top of the 9th inning, but at that point, the home team was up 2-0.

2. Fort Wayne locals have definitely made some impressive strides. In 1919, Fort Wayne native Dr. Alice Hamilton made history by becoming the first woman on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.

3. In the mid-1950s, Colonel Sanders (founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken) came to Fort Wayne looking for restaurants that would be willing to take on KFC franchises. Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, worked with him here to introduce the chain’s signature chicken bucket in order to keep the meat crispy.

4. Basketball is in the blood of Fort Wayne, as it’s the birthplace of the NBA. According to the story, Carl Bennet mediated the merger of the existing basketball leagues, the BAA and the NBL, to create the NBA right in the comfort of his own Fort Wayne home.

5. In reference to Fort Wayne’s own Anthony Wayne, Western acting legend John Wayne was originally given the stage name of “Anthony Wayne” after the general, but Fox Studios changed it to “John.”

6. Lakeside Rose Garden is recognized as one of the largest rose gardens in the country with more than 2,000 roses on display.

7. After it’s hiatus for The Civil War, the first Indiana state fair was held in Fort Wayne in 1865.

8. Iconic horror writer Stephen King spent much of his childhood in Fort Wayne.

9. Even Detroit Pistons superfans may not know that the team began its life in Fort Wayne as the Zollner Pistons in the 1940s and 1950s before moving to Michigan.

10. Fort Wayne’s Embassy Theatre is a national icon, listed on the National Register of Historic for hosting a number of American legends such as Perry Como, Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Doris Day, and Duke Ellington. It was also here that Bob Hope had his very first emcee job.

Surprised? If you know of any other interesting Fort Wayne facts that we missed, feel free to share them with us on our Fort Wayne Women’s Facebook page!


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