Then, as a constant reminder, they named him Harold Baals.
He overcame many obstacles that must have arisen along the way, and was elected to two terms as Mayor.
To recognize his acheivements, the city named a street after him. Unfortuantely, someone thought better of leaving Harry Baals Dr. on signs, and two decades later changed the street name to H. Baals Dr.
To think of the scorn.
But potential vindication came in a posthumous popular election. A new civic center needed a name. Nearly sixty years after his death, the people of Ft. Wayne once again showed their un-ending support of Mr. Baals, and with 10,000 votes his name was chosen for the new building.
But, alas, it appears that Mr. Baals’ name will once again hold him back. Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy seems to think that putting his name on the building will look bad. The second place finisher, who didn’t even receive 600 votes, may end up being honored on the building.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Fort Wayne, Ind. A city of history. A land of opportunity. A people proud of their Harry Baals.
Fort Wayne’s new government center, in the heart of downtown, needs a new name. So an online poll was set up at the city’s website, FeedbackFortWayne.org, where people could vote on some possibilities.
There’s “Chief Little Turtle Center,” named after a Native-American chief. There’s “Heritage Square.” There’s “Citizens Plaza.”
But the namesake with the most votes is former Fort Wayne mayor Harry Baals.
Baals – which he pronounced “balls” but his descendants pronounce “bales” – served three years as mayor of Indiana’s second-largest city, and died during his fourth term in 1954. He’s a respected historical figure in Fort Wayne, though the street Harry Baals Drive has been renamed H. Baals Drive. Nevertheless, his name is unlikely to be picked for the new government center.
Read the full article here.