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Charles Mulford Robinson.

Report of Charles Mulford Robinson for Fort Wayne civic improvement association online

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convergence and distribution of traffic demands larger space,
and that the improvement of no other one point in town pays
better, from the artistic standpoint, than does this.

I think it may be taken for granted that the new station
will be located, not on the present site, but west of Calhoun
Street on the north side of the tracks. The Pennsylvania rail-
road has acquired a long frontage here. The present station
site would be extremely cramped for an improvement, per-
mits no long platforms — a thousand feet is not unusual in new
stations on main lines — and it could be utilized for an exten-
sion of the present freight house, or for a railroad office
building. On the assumption that the new station will be
placed west of Calhoun, and probably extending well beyond
Harrison, I make the following suggestions :

1. That the company be granted the permission, which
I fancy will be asked, to construct the new building on the two
blocks from Calhoun to Webster ; but that, instead of closing
Harrison Street between liaker and the railroad, they be re-
quired so to bridge it, that it ma\- still be used for subway pas-
sage to the south side of the tracks. This will impose no un-
reasonable obligation on the company, for the main part of the
station will in any case be at the track level. But it will give to
the city an additional subway where it is much needed, and will
make an additional direct connection between the station and
the southern part of town.

2. That a plaza be formed in front of the station. This
the city can now do at little cost, for this is still a section of
narrow brick sidewalks and inexpensive detached dwellings.
While a square would be the most natural form for the plaza,
this particular shape is by no means necessary. Some irregu-
larity — should property owners be unreasonable — need not be
feared, so long as there be given ample room for cabs, car-
riages, automobiles, omnibuses, mail and baggage wagons.

3. That Harrison Street be widened, from sixty feet to
eightv feet, for the three blocks to Lewis, where it makes its



42 Purl W'axnc C'vi'ic I iiiproi'ciiwii/ . Issocinlidii

slii>lit turn and wlicrc now its widlli hccnnK's sixty-six feet.
This can hardly he done too soon, for ah"ead\- the Stults apart-
ments, mider construction in this section of the street as the
Iveport is written, are hcinc;- huiU Ihrsh wilh t!ie walk. With
that e.xce])tion, however, the houses now stand hack from the
street line, leavin,^' clear as yet the s])ace required. Idiere
is no douht that wilh the location of the station, the character
of this part of the street will chan.i^e, that much rehuilding will
take place, and that a widcnin,n- of the street will confer on the
pro])ertv a henefit close imleed to the loss that would he occa-
sioned h\- niovint;' the ficntaL^e hack ten feet on a side.

To he sure the street is paved, h'or the present this pave-
ment need not l)e disturhed. Railroads do not move as fast as
do their train-., and it is likely to he a numher of years he fore
the track elevation and new station are completed. Mean-
while, and initil the traffic actually demands wider space, the
addition to the street's width mav he thrown into parkiui^'.
That there w'll eventually be need of a wide street here, i)ar-
alleling' Calhoun, no one who believes in h^M't Wayne can doubt.
We have seen that the conditions which lead to cong'estion on
Calhoun Street are fundamental and ])ermanent : and that the
street has nearly reached now its maximum c:u,xicity. As that
point is approached, diversion of traffic is necessary. This
luust ultimately throw on Harrison street an addititMial burden,
beyond that imposed by the station travel. If city-i)lanning- is
worth anythini;', it must look forward to that time and so en-
able you to ])repare for it.

Doui^las Avenue, which is a block south of Lewis Street,
marks the crest of a slight rise. Next to a bad pavement
nothing is more abhorrent to service traffic than is a grade. If
we are to fit Harrison Street for business, and exi)ect to divert
to it the excess traffic that would otherwise crowd upon Cal-
houn Street, we shall do well, when the time comes for relay-
ing" and wddening the Harrison Street pavement, to cut down
the grade. The fact that this has been done only on Calhoun
Street has certainl)- been no slight factor in the business de-



Port Wayne Cli'ic liiif^rorciiiciif .IssDciafion 43

velo[)nient of that street. The rise is not so eonsiderable that
the cost will intiict damages on property which is being re-
built, in response to the transformation of a residence street
into a business one.

There will be, however, further advantage in cutting the
street down. With a beautiful station fronting on a plaza,
and closing the southern vista at this part of Harrison Street,
and with the broadened street — the one wide, stately, modern
street in Fort Wayne — leading into this, we shall have, look-
ing south from Lewis, a very fine effect, if the grade be so lev-
eled that no intervening crest breaks the view. And coming
from the station and looking across the plaza and down the
broad, handsomely proportioned approach, there will be otTered
a very stunning first impression of the city, if a leveling of the
way shall make it possible to see as far as Lewis Street.

At that point the street makes slight bend to the left and
even though the street were widened to a further point, the
vista would be closed. This is a point, then, to emphasize and
dignify; a point to be given as distinct and interesting an accent
as, at the other end of the short, handsome way. the station
will aft'ord. Therefore, I suggest, (4), that here be placed the
statue or monument to Anthony Wayne, for which the lew
in the taxes is gradually creating a substantial fund. What
more dignified and splendid setting could be found for it, what
location more appropriate, than that which, at a three blocks'
distance, will crown the imposing street that leads away from
the station? The traveler's first view of Fort Wayne, as he
sets foot upon the city, would include as the focal point of the
picture, as the terminus of his perspective, the monument to
the soldier for whom the city is named.

5. And fronting also upon the statue might be the Con-
vention Hall. For this the northwest corner of Harrison and
Lewis Streets seem to me admirably adapted. The property
is inexpensive ; it gives frontage on two streets ; it is centrally
located; it is within short walking distance not only of all
hotels but of the railroad station, from which, indeed, it could



44



I'Dii Udyitc Cl'i'ic finf^rorcincjil .Issociiilimi



l)c seen, and willi which it wonld Iiavc sucli ni)l)le connection
as could not fail to impress. This is the alternative site I had
in mind in s]K'akint north of Lewis Street, an alley

leads east t'l-oin Hai-rison
to Calhoun, and one of the
slender t\\ in si)ii-es of the
CatlK^divil looms liii(dy at
its end. Suppose the space
between Lewis and this
alley, now containing no-
thing of large value, were
ac(piired and transfoi-uied
into a l)eautiful formal gar-
den, the street and some-
what widened alley forming
a double i-oadway on either
side of this middle garden.
Thei-e would b:' opened a
n()l)le view of the Cathedral.
There Avoidd be opened
from Calhoun street a view
of the Wayne statue and of
the ( 'ouveutiou Hall. There
would be aeijuired at a
strategic, and yet comiiara-
tiv(dy iuexpensixc, point,
the oidy o])en si)ace in the
business district of Fort
AVayne. Thei-e W(»u]d be
otferfMl to the Coincntion
Hall a lo\'(dy on t 1 ook .
There would be established
between the imposing sta-

Present view of the Cathedral from the Alley {XoW appVOach aud CalholMl

north of Lewis Street.



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Port Ji'ayiic C'/r/r hiiprorciiiciif . Issociafioii



45



street an iuterestiiig' and Avortliy coiiiiectioii.* There would
be created big vahics for the property, which is now
of litth^ value, on the south side of Lewis street and
on the north side of the alley, ])ecause it would front on
this park, and the increased assessable value of this property —
permanent and growing' — would soon pay the cost of the im-
provement. In a little while you could say you had got this
centrally located park for nothing. It is my belief that all these
gains make abundantly worth while the acquirement of that




Calhoun Street property opposite the Cathedral and the extraordinary opportunity it presents.

little half block of poorly developed property. You certainly,
then, in the complete carrying out of this scheme, would have
a notable improvement; and people would begin to talk of
Fort Wayne as a handsome and beautiful city.

*It is worth while, perhaps, to note that tlie form of this little
central PLACE satisfies ideal requirements for such construction.
Though it is so accessible, the streets would lead to it in such in-
conspicuous fashion that the breaks would nowhere be obvious, the
eye being carried over tliem along the border walls. That is to say.
the conditions offer that sense of enclosure which is one secret of
the artistic success of picturesque squares in old Eurouean cities.



46 Fort U'ayjic Civic I luf'rovciiiciit Association

If so much is to be done for the approaches to the new rail-
road station, to the end that arrival and departure there shall
be made convenient and that travelers who enter Fort Wayne
by it shall be well impressed, every efifort should be exerted
to make the station truly a union one. Only so will the pro-
posed improvements confer the largest possible benefit. By
"union," I mean that it shall be used by trains of every road
entering" the xity. So far as trackage is concerned, this is
entirely feasible.

In closing this discussion of ])lans for suitable station ap-
proaches, it is perhaps necessary to emphasize once more the
point that there is no proposal that the whole improvement
be made at once. It will be enough for the present to acquire
the necessary land. Any delay as to this may make the whole
plan impracticable. The city has already lost one great chance,
that should teach a lesson, in its failure to provide in time for
a Civic Center. A combination of circumstances happily of-
fers now such another opportunity in connection with station
development — a chance to create the best station approach, as
far as I know, of any city of its size in the United States. It
can be foreseen, too, that the property involved is destined to
change rapidly in value and character. The city must act at
once, or assume the grave responsibility of denying to the fu-
ture Fort Wayne the opportunity for any large and fine civic
effect here. It is possible that to secure the plan the property
owners on Harrison Street would donate the small frontage re-
quired for the street's ultimate widening. Certainly they could
aft'ord to do so. In such case a comparatively small bond issue
would buy the lots needed for the station plaza and the half
block for the park. The development and improvement of the
purchased property, when the time came for that, could be
properly assessed on the frontage.

With reference to tlie track elevation, as the city is to pay
twenty-five per cent, of the cost of the overhead crossing at the
street it has very properly required that tiie company submit



Fort Wayne Civic rinprovemcnt Association 47

to it the plans and estimates for the work. This gives to the
municipality the opportunity to insist that the bridges, con-
spicuous as these will prove in the street view, shall be of pleas-
ing design, ornament and color. On this point there should be
unmovable insistence.



48 I'ort Jl'aync Ci''i^i(^ fiiif'ni-T'cnu'iif .-Issociafioii

An Industrial District.



Fort Wayne is an industrial cit}-. The primary reason
men live liere is because there is work to be done, and the
bulk of the workers are not tradesmen or clerks, but operatives.

The city's industrial character must influence all our plan-
ning". \\'e have considered thus far onl}- the show places and
the places where the citizens trade. The j^laces where they
work, wdiere they live, and where they shall play are of vital
importance in the l)uilding of the better l-Y^rt Wayne. And
these three places, however intermingled, must be correlated
in a city plan. Each must be located with a view to maximum
of efficiency, and of non-interference with the others. Inter-
ference is easy. Lor example, the use of high-class residence
property for the creation of a picture-park is extravagant to
the point of waste, or the location of a factory in the midst
of a quiet residence district is an uneconomic intrusion. If
the factory is so distressing to the senses of hearing, or smell
and sight, as to be a "nuisance," the courts will intervene to
prevent the intrusion. If it fall short of such extreme un-
pleasantness as a neighbor, it may still depreciate the value
of surrounding proj^erty, and municipal waste results. In
scientific Germany, cities and towns are now laid out in distinct
sections, for trade, for manufacturing, and for different classes
of dwellings. Without going so far as that, we yet may con-
sider in what sections a community will most properly encour-
age manufacturing or residence.

The Packard Company, located on I-'airtield Avenue, has
made its grounds lovely with planting". \'er}" striking, too,
are the remarkable neatness and attractiveness of the grounds
of the Wabash roundhouse, lower down, on the same street.
This is good work, sociologically as well as aesthetically, and
is everywhere to be encouraged. But even an assurance of
such develo])n"ient will not justify, in a scientific city plan, the
placing of a factory in a high class residence district. A dog



Fort U'a\nc Ck'ic hiiproi'ciiicnt . Issociaficii



49



is out of place at a cat show, even tlnnii^h he does wear a rih-
hon around his neck.

One particular reason for (Hshke of a factory in a resi-
dence district is the smoke emitted from it. If the factories
of a citv are so k:)cated that under usual wind conditions their
smoke is blown across the residence and trading portions of the
town, there is done on a great scale the injury that one factory,
when erroneously placed, does on a small scale. In Fort




A bit of the Packard Grounds.

\\'a\-ne the prevailing wind is southwest. The location of fac-
tories southwest of the city, or even in the rolling mill district,
is therefore, from this point of view, unfortunate.

But the residences must not interfere with the factories
any more than the factories should interfere with the resi-
dences. If no equally good site for manufacturing can be
found, or created, that high-class residence section which is now
established on West Jefiferson, Washington, \\'a\ne and Berry



50



Port Wayne Civic fiiiprorcinciit .Isscciatioii



Streets will have to move, leavinj^- its place for the homes of
operatives. Generally speaking, it is easier to move dwell-
ings than factories. The action is more or less automatic, and
may be witnessed today in operation in scores of cities. Fac-
tories make a neighborhood un])leasant ; those residents who
can afford to do so move away, and the character of the neigh-
borhood is quickl}' transformed. This is a very serious mat-
ter, however, for the many whose ])r()pert}' is affected. If the
future is going to see smoke-belching factories congregated in
numbers in the rolling mill district, the health, comfort and




The well kept turf of the Wabash Roundhouse offers an example lo many a fronl yard.

ha])])iness of all the citizens of Fort Wayne will be strongly
aft'ected. and the whole character of the city's development
will be changed.

In a cit}- such as lujrt Wayne, where the topogra])hy is
practically level and where no natural power is generated, rail-
road facilities more than any other one thing determine the
availability of a manufacturing site. The excellence of these
in the rolling mill district is the strongest invitation to indus-
trial development there, h^or the present, no serious harm has
been done, Dut in locating the future factories of the city, a



Fort ]]'a\nc Civic f iiiproz'cmciit .Issocialioii 51

matter under eonsideralile eontrol, a very serious condition
confronts the community. If there be desire that a distinctively
manufacturing- section be not developed southwest of an exist-
ing business and a high-class residence district, equal or better
railroad facilities must be elsewhere provided. This, in an
American city, is a matter for private or associated effort
rather than for municipal action.

In my judgment there exists an extraordinary opportunity
for developing such a section where it will do no harm. 1
refer to the triangular area east of Walton Avenue, between
the Pennsylvania and Wabash railroads. This is east of the
city, with no settlement northeast of it which the smoke could
injure. It is bounded on north and south by the principal
railroads that now enter Fort Wayne, and the Nickel Plate
lies only a half mile away, across a practically level country cut
by no intervening river. If, as is desirable, the Nickel Plate
makes use of the new l^nion Station for passenger service, it
will build across that half mil^-. In any case, so short a space
of easy road construction would offer no obstacle to the com-
pany. The Lake Shore would enter the section on the Nickel
Plate tracks. An interurban road now passes through it.
As to distance from the center of the city, the tract lies at the
same air-distance from the Court House as does the rolling
mill ; in directness and ease of communication, however, it is
better off. Further, as a civic advantage, the teaming does not
traverse a high-class residence district ; and, as a labor advant-
age, the section is adjacent to a large, firmly established, and
as yet only partly developed laborers' cottage district, lying
just west and southwest of it and having already convenient
street car service. The region itself is almost virgin terri-
tory, a great deal of it being open and farm-like.

As this proposed industrial area is situated beyond the
present city limits, no immediate obligation can be assumed by



52 Fort JJ'ciyiic Cii'ic Improri'iiiciil . Issaciiilioit

ihc inunici]);ility in its development. New Haven Avenue,
however, which makes in its western end a very convenient
and valuable diaL;()nal. should, after enterinj^' the city, he ex-
tended to at least Lillic Street. This is only a block, but it
would save nearly two blocks' travel, and it would have the
advantage of carrying; the teaming beyond — that is. west of —
Walton Avenue, which, as the only unbroken north and south
street on the east side of tiie city, has great driving im])()rtance.
The block tlu-ough whicli tlic extension would pass is now va-
cant property. The few streets which have been laid out in the
proposed section are fairly well placed — New Haven Avenue.
Chestnut Street and Wayne Terrace are almost ideally situated
for arterial service. ]^>ut the streets are inadecjuatel}' narrow —
Chestnut, for instance, is forty feet from lot line to lot
line, and carries the interurban track. If, for wdiat it would
mean to Fort Wayne, there is to be a serious attempt to de-
velo]) this tract as the industrial region, the city should take
it promptly into the corporate limits, to the end that super-
visory control over street widths and .street location may be
exercised. A'ery likel}' this would prove in fact a needless pre-
caution, for the civic spirit and the enterprise that would un-
dertake so great a scheme would jirobably ])lan well. Hut
there should be assurance that it will. There would he the
advantages of favorable toi)ogra])hical conditions, of a nearly
virgin field, of the i^resence and interest of great railroad cor-
porations. The land would he laid out not in the usual house
lots, but in manufacturing ])lats ; and to serve these at the
mininuun ex])enditure of time and effort the streets and >iding>
would be planned. In these respects, the trad could acluall\-
be made second to none in the United States in its convenience.

There is thus the possibility of develo])ing a great manu-
facturing section, making it contribute to the wealth and
numl)ers and prestige of the city without exacting the toll



Fort U'axuc Ck'ic Inipyo-i'oucuf . Issociafioii 53

which its location to the west would exact. Left, as the mat-
ter must he, to private enterprise, there is recjuirement of cour-
age ; but the conditions are such as to make courage worth
while. It may be said on this ])oint that ever\' item in the cost
of receiving' or shi]^ping freight which it is possible to elimin-
ate, and good planning of this section could eliminate many,
correspondingly extends the distance to which the products of
Fort Wayne can be shipped with profit, and increases the profit
on sales in the radius already reached. There should of course
be no delay in developing this industrial section, if the largest
success is to be secured with economy.

I have said that the development of this section will prob-
ably have to be left to private enterprise, the city exercising no
more than a supervisory control through its authority to accept
or reject streets, allow sidings, and so on. The sympathetic
interest of the railroads may properly be anticipated ; but their
active co-operation, especially as between themselves — which
would be necessary to complete success — is not as easily
gained. To that end it may be found advisable to form a
freight terminal company, in which the railroads, or their
ofificials, shall be stockholders jointly with the realty and indus-
trial interests, and shall have with the latter a share in the
management.

As to making street i)lans for the district, there is no ad-
vantage in attempting to include these in the present Report.
It is enough here to urge the advantages, civic and economic, of
developing for Fort Wayne a distinct manufacturing section,
and of locating it on the opposite side of the city from the
point where it now seems likely to develop. One further sug-
gestion may, however, be ofifered. Assuming this section's in-
dustrial development, the Wabash, and even the Lake Shore
road, might well construct a semi-lxdt line that, running south
(-)f the citv, windd connect the \'ards and sidings lierc with the



54 Port Wayne Ch'ic Improvement Association

main lines west of the St. Mary's river. The advantage to the
raih'oads would be the substitution of a short haul for freight
traffic instead of the present roundabout three-sided loop
through the city. The advantages to the municipality woidd be
the freeing of the tracks that cut through the center of the city
from numerous freight trains, with the danger, noise, delay and
smoke that every such train involves. The location and grade
of the line would have, however, to be carefully worked out.

This possibility of a new manufacturing section, developed
on modern lines, is in my judgment one of the most important
possibilities now before the city ; one of great economic promise
to capital and labor, and of immense significance in the city's
improvement.



Fort JJ'ayiie Civic Improvement Association 55

Public Market.



By virtue of a public-spirited citizen's deed of gift, Fort
Wayne has for some years had a public market, extending
more or less informally south from the City Hall. With the
growth of population, the original narrow strip dedicated to
market purposes has proved inadequate, and now the wagons
overflow into streets all around the public building. There
is presented the necessity of enlarging the market space, of
giving to it a greater dignity that shall be in keeping with its
present surroundings, or of finding a new place for the market.

To enlarge the present site would involve exceedingly
heavy expense, and the act would be of doubtful civic wisdom,
for the best market, if it be large, is difficult to keep clean, is
unpleasant to traverse, blocks traffic, and is not the most de-
sirable neighbor to high-class property — business, official, and
residential. Yet here is a small property distinctly dedicated to
market purposes, of little other real use, and undoubtedly very
convenient to many people.

I recommend that by ordinance the use of this market


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Online LibraryCharles Mulford RobinsonReport of Charles Mulford Robinson for Fort Wayne civic improvement association → online text (page 3 of 8)