Fox Island Alliance

A Brief History of Fox Island and the Fox Island Alliance

Members of the first Fox Island Alliance Board - January, 1975

  • Mr. James Barrett III
  • Mr. Robert Bradley
  • Mr. Tom Dustin
  • Mrs. Joan Goldner (first President)
  • Mr. David Griggs
  • Mrs. Doty Grissom
  • Mrs. (carolyn?) Philip Gutman
  • Ann Hostman
  • Mr. Patrick Landrigan - (Rep FWCS)
  • Mrs. Michelle P. Michael Miller
  • Mrs. Dan Moses
  • Mrs. Carol J. Randolph Roberts
  • Mrs. Mary Lib Stewart
  • Mr. John Popp (Rep. Park Board)
  • Mrs. Graham Richard
  • Mr. Tom Silva
  • Dr. Jack Sunderman
  • Mr. Robert Weber
  • Mr. Jim Wine

This first Board of Directors took on a big job of helping to develop the park. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude! Many others helped as well. Scout groups helped to clear litter. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) donated a survey of the site. Old Fort Industries donated grading and gravel for the parking lot. Fort Wayne City Parks furnished picnic tables. The Master Plan (prepared by Beckman, Yoder and Seay) was presented at less than half the cost.

Tom Dustin later commented, “At about that time (1974) the Fox Island Alliance was formed. Its advocacy and contributions to the careful stewardship of this treasure have been invaluable over the years and finally in keeping with the originally held vision. All generations can be proud of what has happened here - and of what has not happened.”

A few dates from Bob Weber and Carol Roberts:

  • 1940’s: Army Reserve Training occurs at Fox Island. You can still see the tank traps along the sand dune.
  • 1960: I-69 construction occurs west of the park.
  • 1965: The Allen County Park Board is established.
  • 1971: In collaboration with the Fort Wayne Junior League and Fort Wayne Community Schools, Mrs. Carol Roberts and Mrs. Joan Goldner developed the first Fox Island educational workshops for Fort Wayne Community Schools. They also developed a trail for the blind.
  • 1974: The Fox Island Alliance was incorporated as a tax exempt charitable foundation. The incorporators were Mr. Dan Moses, Mrs. Don Goldner, Mrs. J. Randolph Roberts, Mr. James Barrett III, Mr. Thomas Dustin, and Mr. Robert Weber.
  • 1975: Mrs. Joan Goldner serves as the first Alliance Board president, and Mrs. Carol developed and edited the first Fox Tale.
  • January 1972: - 381 acres are purchased. Adie Baach wrote “a Fox Island Almanac,” a long, beautiful, lyrical verse describing Fox Island’s natural wonders. Tours for Teachers began.
  • November 27, 1973: The Nature Preserve Master Plan (220 acres) is approved by the Allen County Park Board.
  • November 27, 1974: Pat Bolman is hired as the first full-time Naturalist.
  • May 4, 1975: Fox Island County Park has its grand opening.
  • 1976: The (original - now torn down) Nature Center Building is built in the summer.
  • May 1976: The shelter near the Nature Center was built by Glacier Ridge Lions Club.
  • April 10 & 24 1976: Vera Dulin leads the first Fox Island Alliance Trail Guide Training Session.
  • February 1977: The Fort Wayne Astronomical Society’s Observatory is approved to be built by the Allen County Park Board.