Forgotten Forts Series - Fort Wayne

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Fort Wayne is a masonry fort located in Detroit, Michigan along the Detroit River. This square fort features 4 bastions, one at each corner. Outside the primary fort there is also a battery located beyond the eastern face of the fort that fronts the river and Canada. After receiving funding and prepping the ground in 1842 construction on the fort began in 1843 under Lt. Montgomery Meigs who also helped build another "forgotten fort" Fort Mifflin. Meigs would go on to serve as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War and for a time served as Quartermaster General of the Army. Although today the fort is a masonry work the original was an earthwork fort reinforced with cedar. The fort was completed shortly after the turn of the decade and was officially named Fort Wayne after Major General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.
ftwayne.jpg

Following it's completion Fort Wayne was placed under caretaker status and would remain that way for over a decade until the outbreak of the American Civil War. With the threat of invasion from Canada still looming Fort Wayne, along with other Great Lakes military posts, was garrisoned almost immediately.

Fort Wayne was the main recruiting site for the state of Michigan with various regiments mustering at the post. In fact, the fort became so crowded during the war that buildings had to be built outside the fort to house troops. This is evident by the photo above. The brick houses in the top of the picture were all utilized by the military although most were built after the war to replace wood structures that were built during the war. Even though this extra housing did solve some of the problems for the crowded fort it was not until steamboats were tied up along the riverbank near the fort that all troops could be housed comfortably.

For the remainder of the war the fort would continue to serve as a recruiting center for the Union army. One of the more famous soldiers to receive training at Fort Wayne was Union soldier Frank Thompson who was actually a female named Sarah Edmonds. Edmonds would serve with the army until she became ill later in the final years of the war. The fort also saw major improvements during the war with its walls being rebuilt to their current form.
800px-Fort_Wayne_Barracks,_Detroit.jpg

(Stone barracks built inside the walls of Fort Wayne, completed in 1848)

Following the war work continued on Fort Wayne however with the advances made in new artillery illustrated during the war against other masonry fortifications the fort was all but obsolete. In the 1880s the wooden structures outside the fort were torn down and rebuilt as comfortable brick structures as mentioned before. During both World Wars the fort served as a logistical post and was involved with obtaining and staging vehicles for military use. In the years following World War II the army realized the fort was no longer of use and it was turned over to the city of Detroit.
800px-Fort_Wayne_Detroit_Officer\'s_Row_Disrepair_2011.jpg

From 1949 into the 2000s the fort served as a museum until it was turned over to the Detroit Recreation Department which serves all of Detroit's parks. Since then because of Detroits economic problems the fort, especially the buildings located outside the fort have fallen into disrepair. Volunteers have helped restore the grounds somewhat and one local high school has its students volunteer each year to help keep the grounds clean and free of overgrowth. This does not mean all of the grounds are being kept up though as you can see in the photo above. The fort is open to vistors seasonally on the weekends for a small charge. Guided tours are also available. The fort also hosts its "Civil War Days" event each July.

On a personal note I have made it out to this fort before. It was a few years ago and volunteers were actually there working on it while I was there. From all indications it's still coming together but better than what it use to be.

http://www.fortwiki.com/Fort_Wayne_(2)
http://www.historicfortwaynecoalition.com/index.html

Also be sure to check out all the other "Forgotten Forts" I've created threads on like Fort Mifflin mentioned in this thread. (Link Below)
http://www.civilwartalk.com/threads/forgotten-forts-series-index.80901/
 

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
Another great post. I lived in the Detroit area many many years ago. I never remember this fort but wish I did.

Detroit has fallen on such hard times. It was nice back when i was there. I remember going downtown to shop.

I hope the volunteers keep up the good work so this landmark can survive.

Thanks for posting.
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Another great post. I lived in the Detroit area many many years ago. I never remember this fort but wish I did.

Detroit has fallen on such hard times. It was nice back when i was there. I remember going downtown to shop.

I hope the volunteers keep up the good work so this landmark can survive.

Thanks for posting.

I cant remember if I visited in 2009 or 2010 but they had pictures of the fort from when they first started to really work on it back in the mid 2000s and they had really come a long way. It had been in a VERY neglected state for quite awhile.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Fort Wayne is a masonry fort located in Detroit, Michigan along the Detroit River. This square fort features 4 bastions, one at each corner. Outside the primary fort there is also a battery located beyond the eastern face of the fort that fronts the river and Canada. After receiving funding and prepping the ground in 1842 construction on the fort began in 1843 under Lt. Montgomery Meigs who also helped build another "forgotten fort" Fort Mifflin. Meigs would go on to serve as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War and for a time served as Quartermaster General of the Army. Although today the fort is a masonry work the original was an earthwork fort reinforced with cedar. The fort was completed shortly after the turn of the decade and was officially named Fort Wayne after Major General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.
View attachment 12519
Following it's completion Fort Wayne was placed under caretaker status and would remain that way for over a decade until the outbreak of the American Civil War. With the threat of invasion from Canada still looming Fort Wayne, along with other Great Lakes military posts, was garrisoned almost immediately.

Fort Wayne was the main recruiting site for the state of Michigan with various regiments mustering at the post. In fact, the fort became so crowded during the war that buildings had to be built outside the fort to house troops. This is evident by the photo above. The brick houses in the top of the picture were all utilized by the military although most were built after the war to replace wood structures that were built during the war. Even though this extra housing did solve some of the problems for the crowded fort it was not until steamboats were tied up along the riverbank near the fort that all troops could be housed comfortably.

For the remainder of the war the fort would continue to serve as a recruiting center for the Union army. One of the more famous soldiers to receive training at Fort Wayne was Union soldier Frank Thompson who was actually a female named Sarah Edmonds. Edmonds would serve with the army until she became ill later in the final years of the war. The fort also saw major improvements during the war with its walls being rebuilt to their current form.
View attachment 12520
(Stone barracks built inside the walls of Fort Wayne, completed in 1848)

Following the war work continued on Fort Wayne however with the advances made in new artillery illustrated during the war against other masonry fortifications the fort was all but obsolete. In the 1880s the wooden structures outside the fort were torn down and rebuilt as comfortable brick structures as mentioned before. During both World Wars the fort served as a logistical post and was involved with obtaining and staging vehicles for military use. In the years following World War II the army realized the fort was no longer of use and it was turned over to the city of Detroit.
View attachment 12521
From 1949 into the 2000s the fort served as a museum until it was turned over to the Detroit Recreation Department which serves all of Detroit's parks. Since then because of Detroits economic problems the fort, especially the buildings located outside the fort have fallen into disrepair. Volunteers have helped restore the grounds somewhat and one local high school has its students volunteer each year to help keep the grounds clean and free of overgrowth. This does not mean all of the grounds are being kept up though as you can see in the photo above. The fort is open to vistors seasonally on the weekends for a small charge. Guided tours are also available. The fort also hosts its "Civil War Days" event each July.

On a personal note I have made it out to this fort before. It was a few years ago and volunteers were actually there working on it while I was there. From all indications it's still coming together but better than what it use to be.

http://www.fortwiki.com/Fort_Wayne_(2)
http://www.historicfortwaynecoalition.com/index.html

Also be sure to check out all the other "Forgotten Forts" I've created threads on like Fort Mifflin mentioned in this thread. (Link Below)
http://www.civilwartalk.com/threads/forgotten-forts-series-index.80901/

NFB22,

You know, the brick quarters built to take the place of the former wooden type structures remind me very much of Fort Devens, MA, and the older quarters located across from the parade field on 'officers row.' Must have used the same type of plans or some such or was Fort Devens once a Civil War fort?

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
NFB22,

You know, the brick quarters built to take the place of the former wooden type structures remind me very much of Fort Devens, MA, and the older quarters located across from the parade field on 'officers row.' Must have used the same type of plans or some such or was Fort Devens once a Civil War fort?

Sincerely,
Unionblue

After some quick research Fort Devens wasnt constructed until the 1900s but I would venture to say they used the same plans or something along those lines. After all it was the government building these structures and they were for the military so one would think they dont hire an architect or make a new design every time they want to plan and build new buildings.
 

M E Wolf

Colonel
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Location
Virginia
Fort Wayne is a masonry fort located in Detroit, Michigan along the Detroit River. This square fort features 4 bastions, one at each corner. Outside the primary fort there is also a battery located beyond the eastern face of the fort that fronts the river and Canada. After receiving funding and prepping the ground in 1842 construction on the fort began in 1843 under Lt. Montgomery Meigs who also helped build another "forgotten fort" Fort Mifflin. Meigs would go on to serve as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War and for a time served as Quartermaster General of the Army. Although today the fort is a masonry work the original was an earthwork fort reinforced with cedar. The fort was completed shortly after the turn of the decade and was officially named Fort Wayne after Major General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.
View attachment 12519
Following it's completion Fort Wayne was placed under caretaker status and would remain that way for over a decade until the outbreak of the American Civil War. With the threat of invasion from Canada still looming Fort Wayne, along with other Great Lakes military posts, was garrisoned almost immediately.

Fort Wayne was the main recruiting site for the state of Michigan with various regiments mustering at the post. In fact, the fort became so crowded during the war that buildings had to be built outside the fort to house troops. This is evident by the photo above. The brick houses in the top of the picture were all utilized by the military although most were built after the war to replace wood structures that were built during the war. Even though this extra housing did solve some of the problems for the crowded fort it was not until steamboats were tied up along the riverbank near the fort that all troops could be housed comfortably.

For the remainder of the war the fort would continue to serve as a recruiting center for the Union army. One of the more famous soldiers to receive training at Fort Wayne was Union soldier Frank Thompson who was actually a female named Sarah Edmonds. Edmonds would serve with the army until she became ill later in the final years of the war. The fort also saw major improvements during the war with its walls being rebuilt to their current form.
View attachment 12520
(Stone barracks built inside the walls of Fort Wayne, completed in 1848)

Following the war work continued on Fort Wayne however with the advances made in new artillery illustrated during the war against other masonry fortifications the fort was all but obsolete. In the 1880s the wooden structures outside the fort were torn down and rebuilt as comfortable brick structures as mentioned before. During both World Wars the fort served as a logistical post and was involved with obtaining and staging vehicles for military use. In the years following World War II the army realized the fort was no longer of use and it was turned over to the city of Detroit.
View attachment 12521
From 1949 into the 2000s the fort served as a museum until it was turned over to the Detroit Recreation Department which serves all of Detroit's parks. Since then because of Detroits economic problems the fort, especially the buildings located outside the fort have fallen into disrepair. Volunteers have helped restore the grounds somewhat and one local high school has its students volunteer each year to help keep the grounds clean and free of overgrowth. This does not mean all of the grounds are being kept up though as you can see in the photo above. The fort is open to vistors seasonally on the weekends for a small charge. Guided tours are also available. The fort also hosts its "Civil War Days" event each July.

On a personal note I have made it out to this fort before. It was a few years ago and volunteers were actually there working on it while I was there. From all indications it's still coming together but better than what it use to be.

http://www.fortwiki.com/Fort_Wayne_(2)
http://www.historicfortwaynecoalition.com/index.html

Also be sure to check out all the other "Forgotten Forts" I've created threads on like Fort Mifflin mentioned in this thread. (Link Below)
http://www.civilwartalk.com/threads/forgotten-forts-series-index.80901/

Fantastic work NFB22!!!!

M. E. Wolf
 

Yulie

Corporal
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Location
Directly North of the Canadian Border
I was a volunteer at Historic Fort Wayne in the 1980s and 1990s. There was an extensive interpretive program and events covering the Civil War, Spanish American War, the First World War and the Second World War. It was one of the few venues that permitted live artillery firing and a Civil War artillery show was held annually (until a canon ball bounced off the berm and landed on the warehouse which stored the Detroit Historical vast collection). It held an extensive library and vast collection of GAR memorabilia and also a Native American museum. I think the SpanAm and WWI and WWII events were the first of it's kind. People came from across the country to participate in these events.

The posted picture reflects just a shadow of the original complex. There were stables, a cemetery, a morgue and a nine hole golf course which were consumed by the surrounding neighborhood. Prior to the Civil War and WWI, it was just a sleepy outpost where many just came to rest and look across the river at Canada (and tolerate the smell from the sulfur mines). To the top right of the picture there are still stables dating from the late 1800s. The cemetery was also located there and during some utility digging remains were found. The cemetery was relocated to Woodmere Cemetery (I can't remember when) and includes not only service men, but women and a lot of children who died while their parent(s) were stationed at Fort Wayne. Also, the sutler's building from the Civil War era still exists. It is a red brick two stored building on Jefferson across the street from the fort's 1890s barracks. The Civil War era morgue existed also outside the fort (as a private residence) but became a ruin in the early 1990s.

Fort Wayne was also a prisoner of war camp for Italians during WWII. Some engraved their names on inner walls. From the picture posted, they are located on the bottom left of the star. They were still visible about ten years ago. Some of these men married locally and continued to visit the Fort.

I could go on and on and on.... There is a lot of history there that folks don't realize.

Finally, the house in which Ulysses Grant lived in was moved to what is now formerly the Michigan State Fairgrounds (Woodward and 8 Mile). http://detroit1701.org/U. S. Grant Home.html There are efforts to preserve it as the fairgrounds is being redeveloped for retail.

-Yulanda Burgess
 

Complicity

Banned
Joined
Jul 8, 2013
There was actually a Civil War battle at an even more forgotten Fort Wayne. Union soldiers under General James Blunt routed Confederate Native Americans.
 

Complicity

Banned
Joined
Jul 8, 2013
Fort Wayne is a masonry fort located in Detroit, Michigan along the Detroit River. This square fort features 4 bastions, one at each corner. Outside the primary fort there is also a battery located beyond the eastern face of the fort that fronts the river and Canada. After receiving funding and prepping the ground in 1842 construction on the fort began in 1843 under Lt. Montgomery Meigs who also helped build another "forgotten fort" Fort Mifflin. Meigs would go on to serve as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War and for a time served as Quartermaster General of the Army. Although today the fort is a masonry work the original was an earthwork fort reinforced with cedar. The fort was completed shortly after the turn of the decade and was officially named Fort Wayne after Major General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.
View attachment 12519
Following it's completion Fort Wayne was placed under caretaker status and would remain that way for over a decade until the outbreak of the American Civil War. With the threat of invasion from Canada still looming Fort Wayne, along with other Great Lakes military posts, was garrisoned almost immediately.

Fort Wayne was the main recruiting site for the state of Michigan with various regiments mustering at the post. In fact, the fort became so crowded during the war that buildings had to be built outside the fort to house troops. This is evident by the photo above. The brick houses in the top of the picture were all utilized by the military although most were built after the war to replace wood structures that were built during the war. Even though this extra housing did solve some of the problems for the crowded fort it was not until steamboats were tied up along the riverbank near the fort that all troops could be housed comfortably.

For the remainder of the war the fort would continue to serve as a recruiting center for the Union army. One of the more famous soldiers to receive training at Fort Wayne was Union soldier Frank Thompson who was actually a female named Sarah Edmonds. Edmonds would serve with the army until she became ill later in the final years of the war. The fort also saw major improvements during the war with its walls being rebuilt to their current form.
View attachment 12520
(Stone barracks built inside the walls of Fort Wayne, completed in 1848)

Following the war work continued on Fort Wayne however with the advances made in new artillery illustrated during the war against other masonry fortifications the fort was all but obsolete. In the 1880s the wooden structures outside the fort were torn down and rebuilt as comfortable brick structures as mentioned before. During both World Wars the fort served as a logistical post and was involved with obtaining and staging vehicles for military use. In the years following World War II the army realized the fort was no longer of use and it was turned over to the city of Detroit.
View attachment 12521
From 1949 into the 2000s the fort served as a museum until it was turned over to the Detroit Recreation Department which serves all of Detroit's parks. Since then because of Detroits economic problems the fort, especially the buildings located outside the fort have fallen into disrepair. Volunteers have helped restore the grounds somewhat and one local high school has its students volunteer each year to help keep the grounds clean and free of overgrowth. This does not mean all of the grounds are being kept up though as you can see in the photo above. The fort is open to vistors seasonally on the weekends for a small charge. Guided tours are also available. The fort also hosts its "Civil War Days" event each July.

On a personal note I have made it out to this fort before. It was a few years ago and volunteers were actually there working on it while I was there. From all indications it's still coming together but better than what it use to be.

http://www.fortwiki.com/Fort_Wayne_(2)
http://www.historicfortwaynecoalition.com/index.html

Also be sure to check out all the other "Forgotten Forts" I've created threads on like Fort Mifflin mentioned in this thread. (Link Below)
http://www.civilwartalk.com/threads/forgotten-forts-series-index.80901/

A coincidence involving Detroit's Fort Wayne that proved to be pivotal to the Civil War was the acquaintance of two officers stationed there.

One was R. H. Chilton who was the paymaster and later became an adjutant to Robert E. Lee. The other was Samuel Pitman who was on the staff of the Union 12th Corps just prior to Sharpsburg.

How many can guess why the before-the-War familiarity between the two became crucially important during the Civil War?
 

Yulie

Corporal
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Location
Directly North of the Canadian Border
Theres was also another Fort Wayne located just southwest of Detroit and changed into what is actually the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana now.
View attachment 17678

The confusion between the two Fort Waynes is ancient. The fort located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is Old Fort Wayne (Allen County) and is a replica of the colonial era fort. The one located in Detroit (Wayne County) is Historic Fort Wayne which maintains originality dating from the 1840s onward. They were/are often confused, thus the designation. Both forts were named after Major General Anthony Wayne. I don't know when the Indiana fort started using the historic term, but it appears related to their 501(c)(3) --my guess. Regionally, they are still known as: Old = Fort Wayne, Indiana; Historic = Detroit, Michigan. Regardless, they are both worth visiting and preserving.

Another note on Historic Fort Wayne: During the Civil War, the river came closer to the demilune. The riverfront parade ground ended where there is a light green line in the photo. At ground level there is a slight drop/slop of a few feet. Over the years, the river in front of the complex was land filled. The front of the demilune which was once water is where the Corp of Engineers is/was stationed.

-Yulanda Burgess
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
The confusion between the two Fort Waynes is ancient. The fort located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is Old Fort Wayne (Allen County) and is a replica of the colonial era fort. The one located in Detroit (Wayne County) is Historic Fort Wayne which maintains originality dating from the 1840s onward. They were/are often confused, thus the designation. Both forts were named after Major General Anthony Wayne. I don't know when the Indiana fort started using the historic term, but it appears related to their 501(c)(3) --my guess. Regionally, they are still known as: Old = Fort Wayne, Indiana; Historic = Detroit, Michigan. Regardless, they are both worth visiting and preserving.
-Yulanda Burgess

The reconstruction of Fort Wayne in Ft Wayne, IN is a replica of the fort that was built in 1815 and that fort was actually the second Fort Wayne built in the area. The reconstruction is actually located across the river from the original site.
 
Top