Donn P. Werling, executive director for the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, has announced his plans to retire effective November 30. The Society, commonly known as The History Center, oversees a museum in the old City Hall Building, the adjacent Barr Street Market, and the Chief Richardville House on Bluffton Road.
In announcing Werling’s resignation at a recent board meeting, Matt Elliott, president of the Society’s Board of Directors, said, “While we are sad to see Donn leave, we are very grateful for his years of service that have helped build our organization into a major contributor to Fort Wayne’s cultural community. Under his energetic guidance, the Society has developed a highly professional staff, expanded exhibit space in the old City Hall museum and built up our membership to almost a thousand individuals and families.”
Since assuming leadership of The History Center in April of 2002, Dr. Werling has been recognized as an accomplished visionary in promoting the preservation of Great Lakes history and landmarks. He has been active in the Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor Committee trying to bring national recognition to historic people and events of this area that he feels have too often been overlooked by scholars of American history.
Werling was also instrumental in initiating the Heritage Education Fund which has paid to bring area school children into The History Center in record-setting numbers. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment has been creating greater public awareness of the 1827 home of Miami chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville now being proposed for landmark status.
Dr. Werling, 62, a Fort Wayne native and graduate of Concordia High School, previously served as director at the Lighthouse Nature Center in Evanston, Illinois and the Henry Ford Estate in Dearborn, Michigan. His decision to retire at this time has been influenced by health issues in his immediate family.
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