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Kessler - 100 Years

One Hundred Years of Community Connectivity

Friends of the Parks began a year-long celebration of 100 years of the Fort Wayne Kessler Park and Boulevard System. Beginning in October 2011, events and activities were arranged with the final event a two-day symposium in September 2012.


Redediction of Thieme Drive Overlook. October 11, 2011. The kick-off to a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first city plan prepared by George E. Kessler was held on October 10, 2011.   The Friends of the Parks, the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, and the West Central Neighborhood rededicated the Thieme Drive overlook, located at the corner of Main Street and Thieme Drive.  The beaux arts design with its stately balustrades was the first project completed in Fort Wayne by George Kessler.

Thieme Drive Overlook presentation.  November 23, 2011.  Friends of the Parks presented an oveview of the efforts of Theodore F. Thieme to beautify a small dump site near the junction of Main Street and Rockhill Street.  Thieme commissioned George E. Kessler to design a small beaux-arts park, which was completed in 1911.  The park would be Kessler's first effort in Fort Wayne - to be followed by his park and boulevard system.


Andrea Wulf Lecture. March 9, 2012. Friends of the Parks was honored to present Andrea Wulf, well-known author, to speak about her book "Founding Gardeners."  Ms. Wulf  told the story of early America as seen through the lens of horticulture. Wulf connects plants and politics with her work and takes a fresh perspective on Founding Fathers George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison recounting thier passion for landscape, trees, farming and gardening and how their appreciation for the balance of nature helped shape our nation. A reception was held prior to the lecture and a book signing was held at the close of the event.


Symposium. September 23 and September 24, 2012.  Friends of the Parks hosted its final event, a two-day symposium on landscape and urban design. On Sunday, September 23rd, an afternoon tour of Headwaters Park, Kessler Park and Boulevard System, the Concordia Lutheran Seminary, and Shoaff Park.  On Monday, September 24th, a symposium addressing issues of landscape and urban design was held at the First Presbyterian Church.  Guest speakers were Alexander Garvin, Gregg Bleam, Stephen Schumckman, and Keynote Speaker, Eric Kuhne.

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