|Johnny Appleseed Park - Fort Wayne, India|
|Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,|
Markers & Museums
North East Edition
This thirty-one acre park on the northeast side of Fort Wayne serves as the final resting place for Johnny Appleseed. The park is home to the annual Johnny Appleseed Festival in September. Visitors will find many other recreational activities in the park as well. These include St. Joseph River access, camping, a dog park and picnicking.
|Johnny Appleseed Park|
John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845)
The son of Nathaniel Chapman and Elizabeth Simonds Chapman, John was a native of Leominster, Massachusetts. His mother died giving birth to a son, who died about two weeks after his mother. Nathaniel had enlisted in the Continental Army. He was away at war when his wife died. Historians know little of Chapman's early life. He and his eleven-year-old brother migrated west into the Northwest Territory in 1792. The two boys lived a life in the wilderness until their father migrated into the new state of Ohio in 1805. Apparently, at that time, John apprenticed to a nurseryman who tended apple trees. Thus began Chapman's lifelong career.
Johnny Appleseed Businessman
Most of the legends that surround Johnny Appleseed, the nickname that people gave him, involve him randomly planting apple seeds in the frontier. The truth is far different. Chapman foresaw that the frontier would expand west. By planting the apples, he established a claim on the land on which they were planted. He moved ahead of the wave of settlement, planting apple tree seeds, a valuable commodity on the frontier. Thus, by the time he died in 1845 he had accumulated over 1200 acres land. By the time the apple trees were ready to sell to incoming pioneers, the pioneers had arrived to buy them.
Johnny Appleseed Nurseryman
Chapman moved through the wilderness, choosing his land carefully. Once he found choice spots, he would clear a section, fence it and plant his seeds. Every couple of years he would return to the site to tend the seedlings. He worked mostly in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. When the pioneers arrived near his nursery, he would sell off the trees, then much of the land. He sold his seedlings for three cents each, seven cents if he wanted the buyers to allow him to plant them. The apples he planted were not the familiar types found in grocery stores and orchards today. These apples were hard, tart and nutritious. Pioneers used them to make cider, applejack, apple butter and other frontier staples.
Chapman was a devout Christian and a member of the Church of Swedenborg, known as the New Church. During his travels, he served his church as a missionary, spreading his message to isolated pioneer homesteads, where he frequently boarded, and to the natives he encountered as he traveled. He would spend his evenings at a homestead spinning stories and telling about his faith. His beliefs spurred his celibacy. Chapman never married, believing that God would reward his abstinence in heaven.
|Johnny Appleseed Grave Site - Johnny Appleseed Park, Fort Wayne IN|
Chapman lived in the Fort Wayne area from the mid-1830's until his death in 1845. His orchard about twelve miles south of Fort Wayne, on the banks of the Maumee River, held around 12,000 trees. He died in Fort Wayne in 1845 and is interred in Johnny Appleseed Park at Fort Wayne.
St. Joseph River Access
Located on the banks of the St. Joseph River anglers and pleasure boaters can enjoy access via the Indiana Department of Natural Resources approved boat ramp.
Located along the banks of the St. Joseph River, the campground offers close access to Fort Wayne's downtown attractions as well as to the river. The campground normally opens in mid April and remains open until October 31, closing only during the Johnny Appleseed festival.
1500 E Coliseum Boulevard
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Picnic Area and Playgrounds
Park visitors will find ample picnic tables along the river and a large playground for the kids.
Opened in 2000, the dog park expanded in 2010 to include a Dog Agility course to aid dog owners in training their dogs as well as provide an exercise facility for them. All dogs need to have a Pooch Pass to enter the park. For more information about the dog park, contact:
Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department
705 East State Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805