Barr Street Talking Sidewalks project update

Talking Sidewalks in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The renovation on Barr Street, including the Talking Sidewalks project between Main and Wayne Streets, is now three-quarters of the way completed.

On my way through the area today, I noticed there are quotes from various people etched into bricks on the sidewalk inlays. The project starts at the Barr and Main Street corner and goes south to the Barr Street Market. It then crosses to the other side of north Barr Street and extends to the Berry Street intersection. A list of the quotes, along with photos, begins below.

And then what makes the work interesting is if you choose the right questions.”
-Bruce Nauman, Arts United Center, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and a local artist

Change happens when
you make the invisible, visible
– Rev. Patty Crisp, Director, Charis House, 2008

If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth inventor of the television we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.”
– Johnny Carson, comedian

If there are things you don’t like in the world you grew up in, make your own life different.”
– Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s Restaurants

Major Frank Burns: “I wish I was home.”
B.J. Hunnicut: “I wish you was home too, Frank.”
– M*A*S*H* 4077 TV script, c. 1975

Fort Wayne, there is a vast amount of good to be done there.”
– Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, c. 1864

(I have arrived) to bring some news right fresh from Heaven.”
– John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed

We’re not going to watch it in this household, I don’t want it in our intellectual diet.”
– Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of electronic television as recalled by his son, Kent. c. 1950s.

My people are leaving me for Detroit.
Nobody wants to stay here and have his throat cut
– Captain DeRaimond, soldier. c. 1750

Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.”
– Babe Ruth, athlete

The ‘Golden Age’ has not been in the past. It is with us and before us.”
– Hugh McCullough*, Sec. of the U.S. Treasury 1883

* Please note regarding the Hugh McCulloch quote: The correct spelling of his name should be Hugh McCulloch. McCulloch was also not Secretary of the U.S. Treasury in 1883, so his quote was not from his term as Secretary. He served under President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded President Lincoln after his assassination. McCulloch was appointed to this position again in 1884 by President Chester Arthur and served six months.

In 1863, McCulloch launched Salmon P. Chase’s National Banking System as Comptroller of the Currency. He had gone to Washington D.C. to protest this system. McCulloch also rallied for the U.S. to back its’ currency with Gold – or The Gold Standard. The debate over the Gold Standard went on for more than 50 years. It was implemented briefly under his leadership in 1866, only to be abandoned two years later. Locally, he was President of the State Bank of Indiana. In 1853 he was appointed as trustee on a board with the responsibility of setting up local public schools.

It would be interesting to have a pamphlet or markers of some sort to give a brief biographical history of each. One wonders what will be placed for the remainder of the project.

McCulloch was born on December 7, 1808, in Kennebunk, Maine. He died at his home, Holly Hill in Prince George’s County, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., on March 7, 1895, at 86. He was buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D.C.

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  1. Nice to see people are getting out and paying attention to Downtown. As designer of the “Talking Sidewalks” project, I can offer some perspective. First, thanks for the catch on McCullogh’s spelling. We will attempt to correct it as soon as possible. You are correct on his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury. However, all the quotes are dated to when they were said, not the time of the speaker’s tenure in their professional life. McCullogh made the statement in 1883, in an attempt to lobby back to the gold standard, although his words have a meaning that transcends that particular issue.

    We hope to partner with the History Center or other cultural institution Downtown to make backstories on all these quotes available to inquiring minds, perhaps in the form of a brochure.


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