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

As a major part of Riverfront Fort Wayne, Headwaters Junction will be a mixed-use cultural and tourism destination centered around a railyard-themed park, a 1940s roundhouse and interpretive center, and a tourist railroad providing connectivity and train rides. The interactive park will feature operating vintage trains and a hands-on interpretive facility, and will host events, activities and programming throughout the year.

As Riverfront Fort Wayne’s largest attraction, studies have shown that Headwaters Junction will attract 140,000 visitors a year with exciting annual programs and events. It will be home to world-famous steam locomotive No. 765 and a variety of other intruiging, restored railroad equipment.

Headwaters Junction is inspired by the ongoing success of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s operations with steam locomotive No. 765, and the enormous popularity of railroad attractions and cultural tourism in the United States. The train offers riverfront development efforts an incredible ally in creating an evocative, sensory experience in downtown Fort Wayne. It has been described by railroad historians as “one of the most exciting and progressive railway heritage projects on the continent.”

Headwaters Junction was first designed and developed by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society in 2007.

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.