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ARCH lectures explore how our past makes our present and future better

Fort Wayne’s downtown revival has been led by this block of Calhoun Street, where local restaurants welcome diners to sidewalk tables day and night and visitors mingle with office workers on the sidewalks. Architect Zachary Benedict’s Jan. 25 presentation on the ARCH Fun & Free Lecture Series will explore why it’s so important that places like this exist in downtown Fort Wayne. (Photo courtesy ARCH)

The ARCH Inc. Fun & Free lecture series kicks off in January with an exploration of how Petula Clark’s classic song “Downtown” is a valuable guide to understanding our city today. Four following monthly installments through May cover topics ranging from our city’s railroad heritage to a look at the homes of Fort Wayne’s rich and famous (and infamous, too).

All events will be at the Allen County Public Library downtown, where free parking is available to library card holders. Time for questions and discussion is provided at each event. Events include:

• 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25: “Petula’s Postulate,” presented by Zachary Benedict, architect and partner in MKM

Architecture + Design in Fort Wayne. Benedict’s research, writing and practice focus on the connection between people and places. In Meeting Room A

• 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22: “Fort Wayne Railroad History,” presented by railroad historian Craig Berndt. Berndt is creating a new presentation on “Steam Railroads of Allen County” and will tell the stories of the 11 steam railroads that served the county beginning in 1854, two of which operated entirely inside the county and most of which are still in existence. In Meeting Room A

• 11 a.m. Saturday, March 21: “Historic Preservation by the Numbers,” presented by ARCH Executive Director Connie Haas Zuber. Our historic built heritage embodies a staggeringly large investment that we benefit from day after day. Learn why it’s so smart to protect this investment, which is what ARCH is dedicated to achieving. In Meeting Room A

• 11 a.m. Saturday, April 18: “The Underground Railroad in Indiana,” presented by ARCH board member Michael Galbraith. Galbraith, a former ARCH executive director and now executive director of the Downtown Improvement District, did this research and created the presentation originally as a Quest Club paper but it addresses questions ARCH still fields about Fort Wayne’s role and what may have happened in ARCH’s own home, the Alexander T. Rankin House at 818 Lafayette St. In Meeting Room A

• 11 a.m. Saturday, May 9: “Homes of the Fort Wayne Rich and Famous,” presented by Karen Richards. Richards, longtime ARCH volunteer historian, lecturer and board and committee member, has chosen to look back at the homes, many of them grand and too many of them lost, of the people who made fortunes and reputations — good and not-so-good — in Fort Wayne. In Meeting Room B

ARCH’s community education programming is supported by funding from Arts United and the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. For more information, contact ARCH at (260) 426-5117 or director@archfw.org.