It all began with Griswold, a mail carrier in the in the late 1800s. He had a rural route down a nameless pathway. Because of confusion in directing mail to the residents on that byway, Griswold suggested to C.F. Kettler, then-superintendent of letter carriers, that the road be designated as “Griswold,” which was done.
Later the name was changed to State Street, derived from the erstwhile State School & Training Center, which in 1999 became Bob Arnold Park at Parnell and East State Streets. The present Griswold Drive, now located closer to downtown, was named for Fort Wayne historian Bert Griswold (1873-1927).
Meander along the 8.3 mile-long Boulevard from West State Street beginning at Leesburg Road and travel all the way to East State, which extends beyond Blackhawk Ministries to Maysville Road intersection, which then becomes Maysville Road from that point on. According to Street Project Manager of the City of Fort Wayne Mario Trevino, the portion from Leesburg Road to Hillegas Road is not within the city limits and represents, “roughly 0.19 miles.”
Though West State Street boasts WANE-TV, Tower Bar and Grill, Keliah’s House of Pancakes, Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, the majority of the action is on East State, where you’ll see bits of history in such buildings as North Side High School, which was built in 1927 and is still going strong today. The old Centlivre Brewery (founded in1862 and later became Old Crown Brewery) used to flourish at East State and Spy Run. And at the corner of St. Joseph and E. State Boulevards, you’ll see a marker of the home (1948-67) of Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of the television. The parking lot on the north side of State at Carew was once the trolley turnaround, “when this was still the sticks,” according to Katie Poore, a State Street resident.
Want breakfast, or just a cuppa joe? Stop in Klemm’s Candlelight Café, open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Need groceries? Check out Pio Market next door. The store opened in the 1920s as a Kroger store by the Pio family on Calhoun Street but closed; the East State Street Pio II includes a butcher shop and old-time memorabilia and sweets—how does two-cent candy sound?
Speaking of candy, try Abby Brown’s Candy Shoppe, a few blocks on down. This old-fashioned store carries chocolates from 14 different companies, and includes more than 30 kinds of black licorice according to cheerful proprietor Katie Poore. The Tecumseh Branch Library is next door, providing activities for the neighborhood, as well as books, music and more.
Travel a little further east, and right across the street from Parkview Hospital is Don Hall’s Prime Rib Restaurant, which will pull you in for breakfast, lunch or dinner with its mouthwatering aromas at all times of the day.
Welcome to State Street and if you patronize any of these businesses, tell ‘em glo sent you!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of where to go and what to do; rather, it gives an idea of some shopping, dining and spiritual areas along State Street. Check online for exact addresses, more venues and more information.
Restaurants: Don Hall’s Prime Rib Restaurant, KFC, Rib Room, Nick’s Martini Bar, El Azteca, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, Pizza Hut, State Grill, Northstar Bar & Grill, East State Coney, Ziffle’s Rib Bar, Wrigley Field Bar & Grill
Sweets: Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, Abby Brown’s Candy Shoppe, various bakeries
Churches: Blackhawk Ministries, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, St. Jude’s Catholic Church
Shopping: Georgetown Square, several small strip malls here and there with groceries, bowling lanes, Roberts’ Shoes, Kroger
Other: East State Veterinary Clinic, Harbor Freight Tools, Golden Years Homestead, Mike’s Car Wash, HearCare Audiology, Georgetown Library, Tangle’s Salon & Spa