By Louis Wyatt
FORT WAYNE — Salomon Farm was home to several generations of the Salomon family for nearly 150 years. On Sept. 5, the family’s homestead began its new life as an educational and recreational resource for Fort Wayne area residents. Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Director Steve McDaniel announced the official opening of the newly restored Salomon Farm Homestead during a ceremony at the park last week.
“Salomon Farm Park is a living tribute to the history of farming in our area, and this renovation project continues that tribute to the life of the Indiana farmer,” McDaniel said.
The newly restored homestead is a snapshot of 1930s Hoosier farm life, complete with furnishings from that decade in the Salomon history. The Salomon family immigrated to Fort Wayne from Lahde, Westfalen, Prussia, in 1871 and settled the land that Salomon Farm Park still occupies to this day.
Financial support for the project came from grants, as well as donations from individual donors and organizations including the Wilson Foundation, English-Bonter-Mitchell Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Dekko Foundation, Sweetwater, and long-time park supporters Don and Virginia Wolf. Many other park projects, including the recent expansion of the Wolf Learning Center, have been completely community funded and supported.
The furnishings within the Salomon Homestead — which include family heirlooms from 1910-1939 — were gifted to the park by citizens of Fort Wayne and surrounding counties.
During last week’s ribbon cutting, Mayor Henry noted that the homestead restoration is just one piece of Fort Wayne’s revitalization of the Dupont Road area. Members of the media and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation employees toured the homestead just one day after Mayor Henry and Fort Wayne City Council celebrated the completion of the Dupont Road improvement project.
“We’ve really modernized the entire area,” Mayor Henry said. “There are thousands of people that live out here now and dozens of businesses. … It has been quite an adventure watching this whole area evolve and be another treasure for the citizens of Fort Wayne and those of Allen County and, quite frankly, for everybody in northeast Indiana. We’re trying to make Fort Wayne more and more a point of destination, and this certainly helps.”
The homestead will open to the public during Salomon Farm Park’s Fall Harvest Festival, which will be Sept. 13-14. The homestead will be open for tours during future special events at the park as well. It will also be available to rent for private events, including weddings, and area history programs will also utilize it for educational purposes, McDaniel said.
“There is a lot that can take place here because of what has happened over the past several years,” Mayor Henry said.