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Ft. Wayne, Indiana
The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad constructed a number of classic passenger stations. Many of these architectural gems exist today. Among these is a remarkable survivor of the high Victorian, Queen Anne style, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Built in 1889, on a branchline of the railroad, the LS&MS station sits across the St. Mary’s river from downtown Fort Wayne.
The city was served by several railroads. The Wabash, New York, Chicago and St. Louis (Nickel Plate) and Pennsylvania RR all had mainlines through the city. Cass St., as it is known locally was even a union station of sorts for several years, acting as a train change point for service from Cincinnati and Louisville to the east-west services of the LS&MS. Absorbed by New York Central in 1869, the Lake Shore’s station assumed a secondary status as the east - west mainline of the Central was located further north through Waterloo. But like hundreds of other NYC stations not on the mainline, it was a part of the greater corporate empire of the Water Level Route.
The large wood frame depot is highlighted by shingled rounded roofs, eyebrow dormer windows and two large brick chimneys. Each of the station’s two waiting rooms had large fireplaces. An express building in the same style as the station proper adjoins the shelter canopy at one end. Passenger train service lasted until about 1940. Today the station houses a local sewing and craft business. The park like setting overlooks the river and downtown skyline beyond. Trackage was still in existence although it appeared very rusty during our visit of June 1999.
Cass St. depot in Fort Wayne, Indiana is a unique survivor of the best craftsmanship of Victorian era carpenters. Built 1889. Photo by Jon Rothenmeyer
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