FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Joshua Schipper is in his early 20s but has always been a fan of local history. At the library a few years ago, he stumbled across a Quest Club speech given in the 1940s that explained the names of local roads and who they were named for. “I figured 70 or so years later, it needed an update,” he says.
The result is Crossroad of History: Paving Through Fort Wayne’s Streets, a breezy paperback that, as the back cover says, “could result in the reader exclaiming, ‘Oh, so that’s why!'”
Schipper (pronounced “Skipper”) thinks he had access to more information to street namesakes from his home computer than the folks in the 1940s could have dreamed of. “A lot of people had died since then so I was able to use their obituaries to come up with more information about who these people were.”
The book groups streets into categories including the original plat, the plank highways, the state, federal, and interstate highways, the roads named after historic figures, Native Americans, prominent local citizens and old land owners, which is a very large group.
Some street names remain a mystery but since publishing the book, folks are sending Schipper lots of clues. “I plan to update the book at some point in the future before those stories are lost. I’m making sure that people know where to contact me to tell me about something named for a family or a friend. I hope that by the time I publish the second one, it may be four or five times the size.”
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His book is available on Amazon, at Hyde Brothers Booksellers on Wells Street and Visit Fort Wayne on Harrison Street.