Homer Hoak of Waynedale Plumbing called me and explained that he had a tree growing in his showroom at 3025 Lower Huntington Road. “That’s not too unusual,” I replied, “many businesses decorate their offices and showrooms with different types of plants.”
“No,” he replied, “We didn’t put it there; it grew up out of the floor on its own.”
I went over to their shop on Wednesday, August 20th to have a look. Homer was busy helping a customer with a well switch and another customer was waiting to buy a sump pump.
I took some pictures of the seven foot walnut tree growing inside the building between the picture window and the door and went back to my office.
The cement sign on their building stated that it was built in 1946. Perry Smith was the builder and it was constructed with a tile type of block on the inside and brick on the outside. It has stood the test of time and has served as a Waynedale landmark for 62 years. Outside, on the west side of the building, is a large walnut tree that probably was responsible for the inside intruder.
Hoak came back to Waynedale from the South Pacific in 1946 as he had completed his three-year stint in the U.S. Army.
Hoak was hired by Charles B. Schmidt, owner of the building, who had come to Fort Wayne from Muncie to work at IHC as an accountant. Schmidt decided he would rather be a plumber and hired Hoak to help him run the plumbing business. The rest, as they say, is history. Homer and his brother Virgil have been solving plumbing problems for Waynedale clients for many years and they now have a nice tree addition to their showroom floor.
“I think I will just leave it be and see what happens when the weather turns cold,” Hoak said. “Maybe it will survive the winter.”
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