View Full Version : Fort Wayne (Detroit) - Aug 10-12, 2007

08-15-2006, 12:28 PM
Sponsor: GHTI
Venue: Historic Fort Wayne - Detroit, Michigan (1840's star fort used as one of the main mustering sites for Michigan during the CW, as well as subsequent wars)
Date: Aug 10-12, 2007
Scenario: Federal muster-in, garrison.
Impression: Come as civilians and get issued uniforms, arms and accoutrements. Train as the men of Michigan did at the fort.
Website: Forthcoming
Target Participation: 150 men
Primary Contact: Pat Price, G.H. Thomas' Invincibles

In 2003, the GHTI sponsored a small event at historic Fort Wayne in order to bring more attention to this crumbling jewel of Michigan history. We succeeded in raising funds for and donating our time during the event to rebuild the cover to an entrance to one of the casemates inside the star fort. Now, 4 years later in 2007 we'd like to host another event at the fort.

Much has happened in the interim between our last event and this one in 2007. The fort is now being administered by the Detroit Historical Society (see their website on the fort here: http://www.detroithistorical.org/aboutus/fortwayne.asp ) and has a new administrator in Jim Conway. The fort has seen an influx of previously tied-up money close to the tune of $2 Million. Much of that has gone into a renovation of the enlisted barracks inside the star fort. Bay #1 is going to be kept intact to be used by reenactors and shown to the public as it was in the 1860's. Bays 2-5 are being set up to serve as a museum gallery. Plumbing and roofing projects have gone on in the barracks and a nearby building as well - bringing things up to date.

The Historic Fort Wayne Coalition (volunteer organization built around a nucleus of reenactors) has been very active around the fort completing projects of various size and scope to improve the property. They have been very instrumental in keeping the fort alive and open for the public and reenactors to appreciate.

More details about guidelines, deadlines, etc will be forthcoming with the website. Registration will be on an individual basis. This event is open to anyone who can meet the guidelines.

If you've never been to the fort before, please take a few minutes to chat with some of the folks who have. It's a great place that has been in disrepair for a while, but is coming back, with lots of potential. Beyond the actual star fort there are several dozen other buildings that day from the 1800's up through the 1960's or so. (Spanish American guardhouse, commandant's house, NCO row, officer's row, enlisted barracks, stables, base theater, etc)
Go to Google Maps and plug in the phrase "Detroit Historic Fort Wayne, detroit, mi" and it will plot a point just NW of the Fort property. You can easily see the Star Fort on the satellite imagery with NCO and Officer's Row's to the SW.

- Pat Price

08-17-2006, 06:46 AM
Correction: Operational control of the fort now falls under the Detroit Recreation Department, not the Detroit Historical Society.

A consequence of the DRP administering the fort is they place a lot of trust in the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition to do the right things around the fort. If you visit the property, you will see this is paying off in spades. Things look much better than they have in recent years.

John Legg
08-18-2006, 09:56 PM
like i said on the AC, im in

has the AC not been working for you at all? its not for me? huh idk


02-07-2007, 11:28 AM
Please go to www.fortwayne2007.com to register for the event. (big white letters on the main page)

All registration forms must be printed and mailed to the address specified. Registration fees can either be mailed ($20) or sent in via Paypal ($22). Instructions are on the site.

- Pat Price

06-29-2007, 07:37 AM
It is with a great deal of regret that I must inform you that we have been compelled to cancel the upcoming event at Ft. Wayne, Detroit, Michigan. The decision to cancel was a difficult one, but we were compelled to make such a choice based on current circumstances, and make it early enough to give you all timely notice, and save ourselves additional effort. In a nut shell, it appears from the registration list that the interest just is not there this year. On behalf of all the event organizers, I would like to personally thank you all for your commitment to this event.

Now on to the particulars. Whereas the event and the GHTI are completely nonprofit entities, we will be granting full refunds for all those who apply. You may choose form one of the three options below.

1. You may choose to have your registration fee refunded in full. (Unfortunately, we are not able to return Pay-Pal processing fees)

2. You may choose to have a portion of your registration fee donated directly to preservation efforts at Ft. Wayne, the remainder being forwarded on to you.

3. You may choose simply to donate your entire registration fee to preservation efforts at the fort.

Simply e-mail Justin Runyon at j.e.runyon@juno.com with your choice and amount of donation if applicable. All refunds will be sent in the form of a check, likely within the next 14 business days. The GHTI will cover return postage.

Once again gentlemen, on behalf of all the organizers and staff, I thank you for your interest and commitment to the event.

Pat Price

07-01-2007, 06:29 PM
I am very sorry to hear that this event had to fold-up this year. I was really hoping that this event would grow in strength over the next few years.
Are there plans to try to resurrect the Ft. Wayne Event for next year?

I used to live in Mid-Michigan near Chesaning, and was active in what is now the 5th Michigan Co. K. Now, as I am now located far to the North - in Hancock MI, I am unable to attend some of these great events.

It is too bad that the National Park Service or the State (no money :( ) does not take over Ft. Wayne. Non-profits are very good for managing some aspects in preservation, but are not able to stand alone - they need some direction from larger governing bodies. I am a Board member for the Natural History Association (a non-profit organization) for Fort Wilkins - Copper Harbor, MI. The State owns and manages the park, but our organization assists in funding through the management of the gift shop / park store. The relationship between us and the state allow for the programs that we have at the fort.
see: http://www.michigan.gov/hal/0,1607,7-160-17447_18595_18604---,00.html and http://www.fortwilkinsnha.org/

07-02-2007, 02:49 PM
This is too bad also. Unfortunately We have a live fire scheduled for this same weekend in Richmond MI so I was previously committed. I would have liked to participate in this event.

Hopefully next year?

07-10-2007, 01:05 PM
There are no immediate plans to try this event again. Our original event was done there in 2003 and was a small success, generating an interest in the fort (we had reenactors from MI, OH, IN, IL, NY and Canada) and contributing directly to the preservation of the fort with a construction project. We were also able to open portions of the fort to the public that hadn't seen the light of day in 15 years.

We waited until 2007 to have another event, when the atmosphere at the fort was more conducive to have preservation oriented events, etc, as well as to be sure the participants wouldn't be burned out by the same ole, same ole.

Response to the event was not nearly has high as we'd expected. Despite our best efforts, there were scheduling conflicts around the country and previous commitments that prevented attendance from coming close to our expectations.

As I'm sure you can probably guess, the amount of work that goes into an event like this is not small. Myself and several others logged many hours of planning, research and on-site preparations in anticipation of the event. As such, I don't have any eagerness to repeat my efforts for the same payoff. I'm sure that some other intrepid soul will pick up the mantle and try to organize another event of similar caliber at the venue in the future. (it really is a GREAT site and reenactors have unparalelled access and freedom to do what they want there with the HFWC in charge of operations).

The stark truth remains, however that his is an historic site in Michigan where no shots were ever fired in anger. Therefore, there will always remain a large contingent of reenactors around the country who won't want to travel to the "great white north" to do a garrison event, no matter the standards, scenario, etc. And really, if I had battlefields in my backyard why would I want to drive 600 miles to go somewhere else?
Response from reenactors within the state was better than last time around, but still, nowhere near what we'd hoped. Once again, this event wasn't planned to be an event to please everyone - far from it.

Once again, thanks for your support folks. If you're still interested in supporting the fort, I'd strongly encourage you to contact the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition (http://www.historicfortwaynecoalition.com/) and contribute your labor, $$ or other assistance to their efforts at keeping both history and the site alive. I'm proud to be a member of this group and lend my support to their continued exemplary efforts there.

If you are local to the fort and want to do something there, please feel free to contact me offline and I can put you in touch with some folks who are doing some more local things there - projects, living histories, etc.