Fort Wayne 4th District Councilman Mitch HarperOn Monday April 2nd, the much anticipated release of the 1940 Census data occurred. Every 10 years the US Census data from 72 years before is released to the public.

It is a boon to genealogical researchers. The value is not just to the person researching their own family tree but it also helps, for example, researchers who conduct the valuable research to discover living relatives of US military servicemembers of WW II and the Korean War whose remains have recently been discovered and are being returned for final burial.

This is the first time the data has been release digitally. Prior releases have been on microfilm. So, partnering with others, the US Census made this release searchable online at its release.

Earlier this week, I ventured online to do a quick check of the newly released data at First, you must find your census enumeration district number. You may do that by clicking on the state, then county, then the city in various ‘drop-down’ boxes on the webpage.

So, I clicked ‘Indiana’, then I chose ‘Allen’ from the drop-down box for the county. Then I clicked on the drop-down box for “city.” Only two city names came up for Allen County. Places like New Haven, Monroeville and Woodburn were missing. The only two ‘city’ names for Allen County were ‘Fort Wayne’ and … Waynedale.

I mention this because it is another underscoring of how Waynedale had – and still – retains an identity as a distinct community. It has that identity both within Waynedale itself but it is also an identity held by others in Fort Wayne and surrounding communities.

It has arisen due to historical factors given the development of Waynedale. But is also due to geographic boundaries such as the St. Mary’s River and the Ardmore stone quarries. More importantly, it is because there are what I term ‘community building’ institutions such as public and private elementary schools, the Waynedale Library branch, churches, American Legion Post 241 and businesses such as Hill’s Market, Elzey-Patterson-Rodak Funeral Home, Scott’s Grocery, and the Waynedale Bakery to name a few. These are the marks of a town and the institutions tend to reinforce each other.

These thoughts came to mind at the most recent City Council meeting as the Community Development and Planning Department introduced the first ordinance outlining the ‘Front Door’ Corridor improvement plan or gateway plan.

The plan will take several years to fully put into place. The intent is to improve the ‘Front Door’ that visitors see as they travel to Fort Wayne. The Community Development and Planning Department representatives explained that it will involve working with the State’s Department of Transportation to visually improve key interchanges but also to look at corridors such as Coldwater Road and Lafayette Street. These might involve zoning ‘overlay’ districts maps which may put on additional requirements for developers.

Oddly, the plan does not identify Bluffton Road as one of the corridors. I have been respectfully calling this into question during the process. However, I think given the lengthy roll-out of the ‘Front Door’ plan, the lack of identifiable funding, and the burden which may be placed on property owners with zoning changes that we have better opportunities to craft a ‘custom’ approach in Waynedale to appropriately and proudly identify Waynedale to visitors.

Part of that improvement will occur this year as new sidewalks are poured along parts of Bluffton Road.

It has been a key goal of mine as a Council member. It is certainly a key topic within the Waynedale Community Improvement Team. Please share your ideas on this at or by calling me at 436-4824

Latest posts by Mitch Harper - Fmr. Dist. 4 FW City Council (see all)

Mitch Harper - Fmr. Dist. 4 FW City Council

Mitch is a former representative of the 4th District on Fort Wayne's Common Council. The 4th District includes Waynedale, Time Corners and Aboite. He was first elected in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer