Thursday, November 20, 2014

Someone's Brother Stole a Chicken From the Fort Wayne Zoo but That's a Whole Different Story...

 The optimist in me says that you can find something neat and exciting anywhere you go. Sometimes it is difficult find, sometimes it's not necessarily from the middle of the 20th century, but if you look hard enough something cool is always there. In my last post I told you that I'd be bringing you some stuff from Fort Wayne, In. Click the link and you'll see that I didn't have to look very hard to find a lot of stuff worth taking pictures of...

Atz's has been in the ice cream business since 1922 and their Ice Cream Shoppe at 3235 N Anthony Blvd may have been one of my favorite finds in Fort Wayne. The closing of the ice cream plant in 2011 didn't mark the end of Atz's, but it only took a couple years for their two restaurants to follow suit. My excitement was bittersweet. Unfortunately, this awesome building won't be serving cold treats anymore. I can only hope that somebody finds a use for this building while, in some way, retaining it's history and the stuff that makes the 1956 building a mid-century delight.

As we drove around, there were two buildings that quickly caught my eye. They were adjacent to one another which seemed a little odd considering their drastically different designs. The first was the Journal-Gazette building which was constructed in 1927. The second was the much taller Anthony Wayne building that was built in 1963. The people in charge of planning the Wayne building must not have thought too much about mixing the 60's modern style with the neighboring 20th century "Chicago Style" building. It obviously doesn't flow perfectly but It is neat to see the modern building sort of hugging the smaller, older, building. I'm happy to see that they are both in great shape.

 While admiring the Journal-Gazette and Wayne buildings, I noticed this ridiculous art deco building a block away. It was the Lincoln Tower which was the tallest building in Indiana from it's completion in 1930 until 1962. I wish I would've had time to take a closer look at this place. It's sure to have a lot of fantastic details, I mean, check out the crazy piece at the top of the building holding up the flag. It looks like something from an old sci-fi movie!

We stopped to take pictures of those last couple places on the way to Megan's class reunion, but there was one place that I had to experience with my taste buds. Admittedly, I don't know much about Fort Wayne's Famous Coney Island, but I'm sure it has "Famous" in the name for a reason. I knew we would be eating at the reunion but I'll be damned if I let that stop me from grabbing a coney dog from a 100 year old establishment. I snapped a few pics, grabbed my dog, and we walked down the street to meet some friends. Luckily, I didn't spill ANY chili on my tie! If you are ever in Fort Wayne, do yourself a favor and stop here to get a coney dog.


After the party we decided to get a night-cap at Henry's Restaurant. I only took one crappy picture of the red brick building and one of our PERFECT irish coffees. I wish I had taken more.

 Megan's dad was nice enough to drive us around and show me the town. As we drove by Concordia Lutheran High School, I instantly recognized the faux pistons on the grand stand at the schools football field, Fred Zollner Memorial Stadium. I wasn't familiar with Fred Zollner. He started a basketball team called the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, which eventually became the Detroit Pistons. I thought it was pretty cool that they integrated the piston design into the stadium.

Jim, Megan's dad, also took me to Aunt Millie's Bakery to see the "falling bread". I wasn't quite sure what everyone meant by that but upon seeing it, I was mesmerized. You see, the "falling bread" is a mechanical Sunbeam Bread sign from 1957 that sits proudly atop the bakery. It shows an open package of bread next to a plate of bread. The bread rotates to make it seem as if there is a never ending supply of bread falling onto the plate. Check out the video and watch for yourself!

Speaking of Megan's dad, I was pleasantly surprised with all of the vintage nick-nacks adoring her parent's home. Everywhere  I looked there was something really cool hanging up or on a shelf. Jim and Jan let me photograph a few of the things that I thought were really interesting.

Looks like that's all I got in the way of ol' Fort Wayne. Stay tuned for my third installment from this trip. Next, we'll head to Indy to catch up with my pal Wesley and have a close look at he and his families far-out collection of hot rods, customs, and choppers. The sight of a '50 Merc passing a giant Nesquik bunny has to be a sign for good things to come.

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