News release from the History Center:
Buffalo Tro to Raise Dollars for Heritage Education Fund
(September 16, 2014) – Fort Wayne’s most unique fund raiser – the History Center’s Buffalo Tro -takes place on September 26.
The Buffalo Tro, now in its ninth year at the Chief Richardville House, stems from the time when Chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville hosted dinner parties at his home, located at what is now 5705 Bluffton Road.
Proceeds from the evening benefit the Heritage Education Fund (HFE), which provides free admission to the History Center for area students grades K-12. Last year’s attendance was over 7,000 students.
“The past five school years, with over 200 groups each year, have brought the five highest school group attendances since the organization first offered tours of the Old Swinney Homestead in 1927,” said Todd Maxwell Pelfrey, History Center executive director. “These figures include the record setting 234 groups we hosted last year.”
About 10 percent of the HEF budget comes from the Buffalo Tro fund raiser. Other funding is provided by private donations and sponsorships. Schools benefiting from the HEF are in Allen, DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben counties.
Miami Chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville built a trading empire in this area that made him the richest man in Indiana by the time of his death in 1841. His home, built in 1827, is one of the premier attractions in the Historical Society’s collection since its naming as a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Today his house is recognized as the oldest Native American dwelling in the Midwest and the first Greek Revival style house in northeast Indiana and the only existing Treaty House in the country.
An invitation to one of his parties was a sought-after commodity in 1827 when prominent Fort Wayne citizens would vie to attend dinners with the richest man of the time in Fort Wayne.
The Buffalo Tro presents an introduction to Great Lakes Region Indian cooking, followed by the cooking of hearty buffalo steaks directly on a large bed of smoldering coals, a traditional method that sears in flavor and juices. The steaks are part of a catered dinner.
Evening activities will also include cultural interpretation, music and a silent auction. To reserve tickets, which are $50 per person, call Steve Toor at 260-426-2882, ext 308, by Sept. 23.
For more information, visit www.fwhistorycenter.com.