May is Historic Preservation Month!

Preservation Month 2024 Sticker 1

Historic place-savers pour their time, energy, resources (and sometimes a great deal of sweat and tears) into protecting places they care about. This May, our Preservation Month theme is “People Saving Places” to shine the spotlight on everyone doing the work of saving places—in big ways and small.

The work that preservationists are doing matters. Their efforts are vital in ensuring that everyone in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana can connect with their shared history, weaving together the intricate tapestry of our story. By celebrating “People Saving Places,” the work of historic preservationists will inspire others to join in on efforts to preserve America’s historic places for generations to come.

Historic place-savers pour their time, energy, resources (and sometimes a great deal of sweat and tears) into protecting places they care about. This May, our Preservation Month theme is “People Saving Places” to shine the spotlight on everyone doing the work of saving places—in big ways and small.

PEOPLE SAVING PLACES IN FORT WAYNE

Connie Haas Zuber

Connie Haas Zuber has served at Executive Director of ARCH, Inc. since 2018. ARCH is Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana’s historic preservation nonprofit organization, since 1975. Connie is retiring this spring; she joined ARCH after two earlier careers as a city magazine editor and a newspaper journalist in Fort Wayne. She currently serves as Fort Wayne Plan Commission President, in addition to representing the Plan Commission on the Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals. She has served on the boards of Friends of the Parks of Allen County and ACRES Land Trust and is a member and past president of Fort Wayne Quest Club. Watch for Connie in her neighborhood on June 22, as the neighborhood hosts the upcoming ARCH South Wayne Historic Home and Garden Tour.


Glenn Ellenberger

The Prairie Grove Cemetery Association and their lead volunteer Glenn Ellenberger has done remarkable work to restore and maintain the Prairie Grove Chapel after the building suffered an arson fire in 2008. After the fire the Chapel was balancing between rehabilitation and demolition. With volunteer efforts led by Glenn Ellenberger, the Association chose the path of rehabilitation and restoration. It has been a painstaking and years-long process to return the chapel to better-than-before condition. To celebrate the successful effort to restore the building, the association applied for local historic designation of the Chapel and cemetery. The Prairie Grove Chapel & Cemetery Local Historic District was approved by the Fort Wayne Historic Preservation Commission and the Fort Wayne City Council in 2019.

Anita Jennings Dortch

A community must be alive with the principle of embodied relationships. Neighbors being neighborly, seeing one another’s well-being as one’s own emerges from living common ties. Anita Jennings Dortch grew up with those East Central Neighborhood relationships. Today she calls it UBUNTU, I Am because we are, We are because I Am. She lives with that community experience at heart fostered by her father, Albert G. Jennings, who directed operations, and programs at what today is named in his honor, the Albert G. Jennings Center.

Still located at 1330 McCulloch Street in the East Central, it opened in 1948 as the McCulloch Recreation Center YMCA. The programs were an extension of former programs of the Phyllis Wheatley Center. Today, the Jennings Center remains a community cornerstone offering a variety of recreational and educational activities under the administration of the Fort Wayne Parks Department.

Anita Jennings Dortch still serves East Central with her commitment to the neighborhood and her people. As a child she enjoyed the activities, clubs, and programs at the Center; as an adult she ensures that children today have similar opportunities. Anita leads the Center’s Advisory Council in an engaged relationship with Parks Department management. Her tireless work has produced many scholarships, and a safe-haven for youth and seniors, and a tireless advocacy that ensures the longevity of this historic neighborhood landmark.

To learn more about Anita Jennings Dortch's continuing tradition of service and the history of the Jennings Center, visit: https://engage.cityoffortwayne.org/jennings-center...

Melissa Kurten & Holly Munoz

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Melissa Kurten and Holly Munoz have been neighborhood leaders in Fort Wayne’s 46807 area for over a decade. Their dedication to the community and preservation is evident in the successful rehabilitation of a historic neighborhood bar, the Bob Inn (aka Billy’s Dugout). Through their commitment and vision, Melissa and Holly are preserving a piece of history, strengthening bonds that unite their neighborhood, and creating a gathering hub for the community.

Inspired by their shared love for the area's rich history and cultural significance, Melissa and Holly continue to pour their hearts and souls into this restoration project, overcoming challenges with unwavering determination. These women continue to inspire others to take pride in their community and work towards its betterment. Their story serves as a reminder of the power of passion, perseverance, and community spirit in creating meaningful change and saving places.

Randy Harter

Randy Harter is a Fort Wayne historian, and he is the author of three books and numerous articles on local history. In a nearly 50-year period Randy has collected over 4000 unique Fort Wayne postcards, and has scanned and preserved images in rare private collections of local historic photos. Significantly, Randy has donated his local postcards to the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Department. They may be seen at http://contentdm.acpl.lib.in.us/digital/collection...

Dodd Kattman, AIA, LEED AP

As a founding principal of MKM architecture + design, Dodd Kattman led the firm’s evolution into a nationally respected design firm dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of our communities. Dodd has more than 30 years of experience specializing in design of supportive environments for older adults. Dodd recently led his firm in rehabilitation of a historic warehouse on Brackenridge Street as architectural offices; the previous office was located in the historic Louis Mohr Block on W. Wayne Street. The project for the new offices took advantage of the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit program to assist with financing. The building is within the Pennsylvania Produce Terminal Historic District, and listing in the National Register of Historic Places is pending. Dodd rehabilitated and now lives in an outstanding home in the West Central Historic District. He is a Board member and former President of ARCH, Inc.

Miriam Morgan

Miriam Morgan is the Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer for Arts United, the local arts agency in NE Indiana. She and her division operate and manage four facilities in the Fort Wayne cultural district comprising two theatres, including the mid-century Louis Kahn-designed Arts United Center. Her background includes nearly 30 years in professional performing arts production and design. She is not only in charge of operations for the Arts United Center, Miriam is also the chief tour guide and staff historian for the Arts United Center Theatre. She is a tireless supporter of the legacy of architect Louis Kahn and his place in International architecture, and the significance of the theatre to Fort Wayne.