VISION

Outstanding, immersive experiences in downtown Fort Wayne.

MISSION

To establish a vibrant and vital national destination in downtown Fort Wayne utilizing world-renown attractions and authentic cultural assets unique to the region.

About

Headwaters Junction is a mixed use cultural attraction concept combining river, rail, and trail development along Fort Wayne’s riverfront adopted into the Fort Wayne riverfront plan in 2014.

Featuring a recreated railyard and city park inspired by city history, Headwaters Junction will activate the area with operating vintage trains, annual programs, events, excursions and more.

At the center of the concept is a proven magnet attraction: a world-famous vintage train bolstering tourism and foot traffic in the retail, restaurant, residential, recreation, and entertainment businesses. Partnered with a popular trail network, new riverfront development and river access, the combination of river, rail, and trail attractions will help make the city’s riverfront a vibrant and vital addition to the Fort Wayne experience.

The project has been designed and developed by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, a local non-profit organization; Lynchpin Creative, a marketing and consulting agency; SWA Group, a landscape architecture and planning firm; and in cooperation with Norfolk Southern Corp.

Guiding Principles

  • The variety, uniqueness, and value of the visitor experience is key.
  • The industrial heritage of Fort Wayne and the architecture of 20th Century railroading tells a story.
  • An “industry/machine in a garden” approach is encouraged.
  • Design should help visitors discover moments or places.
  • Spaces should have dual functions.
  • Natural and artificial lighting should enhance the attraction’s theatricality and aesthetic appeal.
  • Visitors should be able to “go back in time” in the spaces, but also have unique, modern experiences. While integration with mixed use features is important, visitors should be able to “get lost.”
  • Railroad related activities can be the central attraction, but also act as a thematic backdrop to other activities.
  • The practical, functionality of a working railyard must be considered in harmony with the quality of a visitor’s experience.