FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The former General Electric campus, now known as Electric Works located near downtown Fort Wayne, has officially been designated as a historic district.

The National Parks Service lists the campus as the “General Electric Fort Wayne Electric Works Historic District,” according to a news release from Electric Works issued Monday.

“The former GE campus was an economic engine for Fort Wayne for over a century, where
pioneering inventors developed new technologies that launched legacy companies we still know
today. We celebrate that history, but it’s more than nostalgia. Electric Works is about creating a
place that inspires a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs for the next 100 years,”
said Jeff Kingsbury, chief connectivity officer for Ancora, lead developer of Electric Works. “We
appreciate the role the City of Fort Wayne, the State Historic Preservation Office, ARCH,
Indiana Landmarks, and the National Park Service played in securing this important

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic and
architecturally significant assets, including buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts
worthy of preservation. Listing in the National Register is the first step towards eligibility for
National Park Service-administered federal preservation tax credits.

The 22 buildings in the district were built in the period of 1893 to 1968. The majority of the historic buildings were built by General Electric in the period from 1907 to 1927. The largest, and most iconic buildings in the district, were designed in the Georgian Revival style by architects Harris & Richards of Philadelphia. Other buildings in the district are a mix of functional, industrial, brick structures.

Electric Works traces its origins to the 1880s with the creation of the Fort Wayne Jenney Electric Company, which pioneered an outdoor lighting system called the Jenney Arc Light. General Electric acquired the company in 1898 and transitioned production from lighting to electric motor manufacturing. Known for innovation and production quality, the plant and its staff helped create the first modern refrigerator and the electric garbage disposal, as well as other innovations in electric motors and transformers.

At its peak in the late 1940s, GE employed roughly 40% of the city’s workforce. Electrical apparatus, notably fractional electrical motors (typically used for electrical appliances) and electrical transformers were among the many products manufactured at Electric Works. It was also a vital manufacturing facility supporting the war effort during World War II.

Electric Works is the largest adaptive reuse project in Indiana and the largest historic adaptive
reuse project to receive the National Register of Historic Places designation in Indiana.