1930-1939: DECADE OF BANKRUPTCY & BUREAUCRACY


Timeline

1930


Familiar frame


Familiar frame
Within weeks of the stock market crash in October 1929, Lincoln National Bank & Trust Co. broke ground for its new building. Completed in less than two years, the Lincoln Tower at 116 E. Berry St. was the first skyscraper in Indiana -- and until 1970, the state's tallest building -- as well as an acclaimed example of art deco architecture.
* Onset of the Great Depression reduces vehicle purchases in Fort Wayne to 4,353 from 7,538 the previous year, when the stock market crashed. Local vehicle sales drop to a Depression low in 1932, at 1,484.

* Lincoln Trust Co. opens Lincoln National Bank in Lincoln Tower, which builders began constructing a month after the stock market crash. Of the dozen local banks at the start of the decade, only Lincoln National and Peoples Trust & Savings Co. survived the Depression without reorganizing.

* Dudlow Manufacturing Co. sold to Addison Holton of Detroit, the forerunner of Essex Co.

* Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. assets top $1 billion.

* Indiana Technical College founded; it eventually becomes Indiana Institute of Technology.

1931

* Zollner Piston Co. relocates to Fort Wayne from Duluth, Minn., building its new headquarters and factory next to a major factory of International Harvester, which was the nation's largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer. Zollner Corp. had invented the aluminum piston, which found favor with the heavy-truck industry because it was much lighter and quieter than the iron versions made by competitors.

1932

* The statue, "Abraham Lincoln – The Hoosier Youth," created by noted sculptor Paul Manship, is erected at the main entrance to the Lincoln Life corporate offices.

1933

* Fort Wayne National Bank founded at 123 W. Berry St. to fill a void left by the closing of Old-First National Bank and Trust, which was shut down after a run by fearful depositors six months earlier.

* Centlivre and Berghoff breweries resume full operations after repeal of the Volstead Act, which brought prohibition.

1934

* Central Soya Corp. founded by Dale McMillen; eventually it grows to become one of the nation's largest soy processing companies.

1936

* United Electrical Workers Union founded in Fort Wayne to represent workers at General Electric Co. and other electronics manufacturers here, and eventually becomes national in scope. A number of its founders later create the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers.

* WOWO and WGL radio stations purchased by Westinghouse Radio Stations, and moved into a tall building at the corner of Harrison Street and Washington Boulevard.

1937

Animal crackers


Animal crackers
The Marx brothers show off one of their four Cords, a 1930 L-29 Phaeton.
* Auburn Automobile, a luxury car manufacturer, declares bankruptcy and closes. Under the majority ownership and direction of Errett Lobban Cord, the company had become noted for innovation. Its great Auburns, Duesenbergs and Cords of the early 1930s were the status symbols of movie stars and the wealthy. But even in its heyday, Auburn Automotive was small and not well-capitalized. Cord seemed to lose interest in the company, then also lost control of it.

1938

* Fort Wayne Industrial Union Council, consisting of six local unions, was chartered by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

* Civil Aeronautics Authority approves night airplane service for Fort Wayne after its airport (Baer Field) installs electric runway lights and radio communication.

* Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of the television, relocates his new TV manufacturing company to Fort Wayne. It eventually becomes ITT Corp., which now makes military radios and optical equipment used in satellites.



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