“Each of us lives in the kind of community we deserve, the kind of place we take the time to protect and create; and every community can display both the vision of Jules Verne and the spirit of Mayberry.”
Even before the boom of the late 1800’s due to the crossing of two railroads on the southeast edge of town, the rich history of downtown Warsaw began and is still evident today. The site of the original wood-frame courthouse on the northeast corner of Center and Indiana Streets is marked with a stone noting its construction in 1837. It is included as part of a beautiful downtown park provided by a local business.
The current courthouse, completed in 1884, has been gracefully restored. Its rededication in 1996 celebrated the importance of the structure to downtown Warsaw as a viable part of our past and current county government.
The over century-old Saemann building was the first historic building to be restored in downtown Warsaw. Located on the northeast corner of Center and Buffalo Streets, it was the original home for the Masonic Temple. Further down the revitalized Center Street block is the former Eagles building, old Boice Theater, and the most recently renovated building located near the west end of the block.
Around the corner of this historic district is the Kosciusko County Jail Museum. The original jail was erected in 1870. The Jail Museum contains an actual jail and the largest repository of important genealogical and historical records in northern Indiana.
The old post office located at 120 S. Lake Street, built ca. 1925, has been restored and is being utilized by several local businesses. Many of the original artifacts have been left intact on the interior of the building.
Central Park, located on Ft. Wayne Street, joins Center Lake Park with Zimmer’s International Headquarters and serves as a focal point for downtown Warsaw. The beautifully landscaped eight acre park is home to many outdoor summer events and festivals. Equipped with a fountain, outside entertainment facilities and easy accessibility, Central Park hosts weekly concerts in the summer as well as numerous festivals and other activities. During the Christmas season the park features a spectacular light display.
The Warsaw Biblical Gardens is also one of downtown Warsaw’s gems. Located on Canal Street adjacent to Center Lake Park, the Warsaw Biblical Gardens has emerged as one of the largest and finest Biblical botanical gardens in the United States. New cell phone technology in the Summer of 2010 will allow visitors to dial a specified number to receive a mini-tour of the Gardens. Group tours are also available.
The Warsaw Community Public Library is also located in downtown Warsaw. The Carnegie Library, an art deco structure built in 1926, doubled its size in 1998 by adding a 3500 square foot attached facility that complimented the existing architecture. The new space was dedicated to a children’s reading and activity center.
Downtown Warsaw is home to many small specialty shops, restaurants, service businesses and government entities. Whether you’re looking for a gourmet coffee, a great deli sandwich, Mexican food or just a good cheeseburger, downtown Warsaw can satisfy your taste buds. Nostalgic candies, elegant truffles, quality yarns, European comfort shoes, quality fashions, home decor, specialty gifts and more can be found at downtown Warsaw’s specialty shops.
Warsaw Community Development Corporation and the City of Warsaw have worked diligently to continue to improve the downtown infrastructure and attract new businesses. The introduction of a Matching Facade Grant Program in 2003 has encouraged downtown building owners to make improvements to the exterior of their buildings. The addition of ornamental lighting, benches, trash receptacles, planters and trees has also served to beautify the downtown landscape. Continued plans to complete the streetscape and foster the renovation of the second and third stories of buildings should keep downtown Warsaw prosperous.