FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Baker Street Train Station, a historic landmark in Fort Wayne, celebrates 100 years of being the central location for train travel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The station was being built in 1913 and officially opened in March 1914, according to Mike Galbraith, ARCH executive director. Between the 1870’s to the 1950’s, Fort Wayne was the crossroads for trains that ran through the country. The train station had four major lines, including the Pennsylvania Railroad, coming through picking up and dropping off around 3,000 travelers daily, said Galbraith. Pennsylvania Railroad was the reason behind the Baker Street Train Station being built. After the 1950’s, train transportation started to lose its momentum.
“That was when the interstate highway started to get build,” said Galbraith. “That’s when the United States really went to having not just one car per family; it maybe went to one car, two cars, perhaps even more.”
Some travelers were still using trains to get back and forth, but not as much as it was before. Eventually, train services left Fort Wayne and started just north of the city in Waterloo, Ind. It wasn’t until the 1990’s when there was talk to tearing the building down.
“It came very close, several times to being demolished,” Galbraith said. “The city of Fort Wayne stepped up when Amtrak abandoned service here. And they were the ones who initially saved the building.”
Within the last several years, Fort Wayne city council member Geoff Paddock has started an initiative to bring passenger rail service back to Fort Wayne.
“Folks could board the train here. They could disembark,” said Paddock. “Fort Wayne could even be a point of destination, which could add a great deal to our economic development and our tourism.”
A Fort Wayne man is now working on a book marking the station’s 100th anniversary. It could be out within a few weeks.
The Baker Street Train Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.