Lakeside Park

Fort Wayne, IN
United States
Lakeside Park

The uncredited 1912 master plan for Lakeside Park is likely the work of George Kessler, who designed the Park and Boulevard Plan for Fort Wayne the same year. Land for this 23.8 acre landscape was purchased in 1908, with excavation for lagoons beginning in 1911, a refectory pavilion constructed in 1916, an Italianate sunken garden and pergola built in 1925, and tennis courts installed in 1928.

The most classical element in this otherwise picturesque landscape is the sunken garden. Designed in 1921 by Superintendent of Parks Adolphe Jaenicke, the garden contained over 1000 plants and was named a National Rose Garden in 1928. Its strict geometry is a natural fit with its context, bracketed on three sides by city streets and private residences. Throughout the park walks connect to the nearby street grid. Historic photographs reveal ornate furniture and flowerbeds. Four lagoons, both natural and excavated, are featured in the original plans, along with serpentine paths, a curvilinear drive, and bridges leading to islands in the lagoons.

Today, a sculpture honoring Fort Wayne’s Civil War hero Henry Lawton is located in the park. The rose garden has recently been renovated. Three lagoons still exist, with one filled to create a baseball field.