FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Bob Jones and other history enthusiasts celebrated the American defense of the 1812 Siege of Fort Wayne with a reenactment over the weekend.
"Local history is fascinating, and Fort Wayne and the Siege and its aftermath is a part of our local history," Jones said. "It’s a part of Indiana history. It’s a part of U.S. History."
Reenactors say defending the Siege of Fort Wayne was crucial in the War of 1812, as it kept the British military from controlling the entire western frontier of the United States, which could have had major ramifications today.
"There was fighting intermittently throughout those weeks, but there was no great battle of Fort Wayne," Jones said. "And William Henry Harrison relieved the siege."
Jones speculates that if Fort Wayne hadn’t held off it’s attackers before Harrison arrived, it might have become part of British-Canada.
While information on the War of 1812 is easy to find online, Quartermaster Sergeant Cory Balkenbusch says it’s a lot more impactful to learn about in person.
"I hope people can come to an event like this and really appreciate the history," Balkenbusch said. "Because it’s hands-on history here. You can see all the things in action. You can touch the uniforms and the equipment and all the stuff. So it's a much more interactive experience, and we try to do that just to make it more enjoyable and interesting to people so that they can take away an element of their local history and really hold that knowledge close."
COVID-19 shut down the Fort last summer, so Balkenbusch is glad to be able to reconnect with the community this year.
"Now that things are getting rolling again, we’re happy to have people back," Balkenbusch said. "People are excited to be in the buildings again and see soldiers milling about."
The Fort is open Wednesday through Sunday throughout the summer.
Its next major event will focus on the Revolutionary War in July.
The original fort stood on land now used by the Fort Wayne Fire Department.
The reconstructed building has been in Fort Wayne for roughly 45 years.