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The most important geographical feature of the area is the short distance overland between the Three Rivers system, which eventually flows to the Atlantic, and the Wabash system, which eventually flows to the Gulf of Mexico.

This came to be the "portage" or carrying place, over which travelers could transport their cargoes from one system to the next.

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The airport served as Fort Wayne's primary commercial airfield until Baer Field (now Fort Wayne International Airport) was transferred to the city in 1947 after serving as a military base during World War II.

By 1935, the New Deal's WPA put over 7,000 residents back to work through local infrastructure improvements, including the construction of new parks, bridges, viaducts, and a $5.2 million sewage treatment facility.

The city's economy was substantially based on manufacturing, ushering in an era of innovation with several notable inventions and developments coming out of the city over the years, such as gasoline pumps (1885), the refrigerator (1913), and in 1972, the first home video game console.

Aviation arrived in 1919 with the opening of the city's first airport, Smith Field.

This natural crossroads attracted the Native Americans for thousands of years.

It later attracted the European explorers and traders and the American pioneer settlers who continued to develop the area as a transportation and communications center.

By 1999, Fort Wayne's crime rate decreased to levels not seen since 1974, and the city's economy recovered, with the unemployment rate hovering at 2.4 percent in 1998.

Clearing blighted buildings downtown resulted in new public greenspaces, including Headwaters Park, which has become the premier community gathering space and centerpiece in the city's million flood control project. The decade saw the beginnings of its transformation, with renovations and expansions of the Allen County Public Library, Grand Wayne Convention Center, and Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

The opening of enclosed shopping malls and the construction of Interstate 69 through rural areas north and west of the city proper further drove the exodus of retail from downtown through the 1960s.

The 1990s marked a turnaround for the city, as local leaders focused on crime reduction, economic diversification, and downtown redevelopment.

In 2007, the 0 million Harrison Square development was launched, creating Parkview Field.

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