Nostalgic Look At Downtown Fort Wayne

By Eric Olson
By Scott Sarvay

June 18, 2010 Updated Dec 5, 2008 at 7:11 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - It’s surprising how many of our holiday traditions have their roots in commerce. Santa Claus himself, the Santa we’re familiar with anyway, was created in the 1930’s to sell Coca-Cola. So it’s not surprising that each holiday season so many of us become nostalgic for those wonderful stores of our youth.

Jim Barron says, “Those stores were a real part of people’s lives. Everybody went there and they were there for so long.

‘Shopping for memories - a nostalgic look at downtown Fort Wayne’ is the latest book by author and local radio personality Jim Barron. Barron’s first book was a biography of Wolf and Dessauer, Fort Wayne’s legendary department store. Now he’s tackled the entire downtown Fort Wayne shopping experience, when downtown was all there was.

Jim says, “It was when people met each other for lunch and they formed all those friendships and they would do all their shopping downtown they’d buy special things they still have today.

Some stores most of us never heard of, like the Moritz Fruit Stand, at the corner of Clinton and Main for nearly sixty years. And Meyer Drug Store, a downtown feature for more than a hundred years and even used to make its own drugs.

“One of ‘em was called Hostetler’s Bitters and that was a cure for Malaria which was a problem in Fort Wayne at that time and Meyer Drug Store was the place that made it”, says Jim.

The big stores are here too, Wolf and Dessauer’s, Patterson Fletcher, G.C. Murphy and they anchored downtown commerce and they were staples in the lives of everyone who shopped there.

Jim adds, “The stores in the mall come and go, and the big box stores today I mean everything’s the same. But these stores had their own unique personality and they all did unique things.”

Giving us reason enough to miss them, whenever the holiday season comes around.




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