A giant red oak was cut down ten years ago on the northwest corner of Bluffton and Engle Roads. The tree was approximately 10 feet in diameter and 31 feet in circumference. That tree, a Fort Wayne landmark, had fallen pray to the ravages of insects, lightening strikes and father time.
It was a seedling when Indian Village was a real Indian village. It had watched the St. Mary’s River bring white settlers into the area. It existed before the canals, the railways, the interurban and the present day roads.
It was growing before the great Civil War and existed through World War I, II, Vietnam and the first Iraq War.
Standing along the river, it had watched the gristmills turn out fresh flour and it stood by as the Poor Farm, the orphanage and the old stable next to the present day Sears Pavilion came and went.
It had seen countless floods, droughts and seasons of plenty and on Wednesday, August 17, 2005, it fell pray to the chain saws of the Fort Wayne Parks Department.
The companion red oaks that stood nearby partially filled the void left by the elder tree, but now too, due to the mammoth storm that churned through the Waynedale, Foster Park and Old Mill Road areas, on Saturday, June 26, 2015, those old landmarks leave an empty hole where beautiful trees once stood…
Some of the tallest denizens took much of the brunt.
No storm warnings were issued by the National Weather Service because it was said, that this storm did not technically meet severe criteria…even though winds appeared to be over 60 mph.
In the early morning, Fort Wayne residents woke up to howling winds and down-pouring rains which increased and knocked down several trees and, as of noon 32,500 residents were without power. Indiana Michigan Power said it could take several days to come to full restoration.
Branches and more than 80 huge trees sprawled across streets and sidewalks damaging houses and smashing cars, making it a common sight across much of the southwest area of Fort Wayne, a reminder that they are very much a part of the urban landscape-our City of Trees.
Among them were Foster Park and Indian Village, which counted the majority of downed trees, as well as several trees that sustained wind damage. Oaks, pines, spruces all felt the storm’s wrath.
The City’s biosolids facility reported that they will waive fees for residents wanting to get rid of tree limbs, branches, and debris. The facility will be open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12-6 p.m. on Sunday. The facility is located at 6202 Lake Ave. Residents will not be able to dispose of tree root balls.
Not only from the damage of the recent flooding waters, but now with felled trees from the ravaging storm on Saturday, restoring beautiful Foster Park may take weeks if not the rest of the summer.