Despite Majority Vote (And Comedy Potential), Harry Baals Won’t Be Indiana Building Name

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Fort Wayne, Indiana. Getty Images.

Voters overwhelmingly chose the name in honor of their esteemed former mayor. Yeah, we’re sure that’s the reason.

Evidently Fort Wayne citizens’ sense of humor didn’t trickle down to those with the ultimate choice. The people want the snicker-inducing name of Harry Baals to adorn their city’s newest government building. Instead, the civic center will be named “Citizens Square.” Yawn.

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Harry Baals was a four-term mayor of Fort Wayne in the mid-1900s who’s credited with breaking ground on the city’s airport and elevated train lines. He’s obviously got the legacy to support his name on a building, but will that be clear outside of northeastern Indiana?

City officials have been scrambling to explain their decision to scrap the Baals name. Mayor Tom Henry said naming it after a single person “would be a disservice to other mayors and individuals who have made significant contributions to our community as well.” So the decision goes to the people – named after them, rather than by them.

Though officials can argue that perhaps the citizens didn’t take the choice all that seriously. Harry Baals Government Center was far and away the top choice, with nearly 24,000 votes. So perhaps Mayor Henry went with the second best choice in selecting Citizens Square? Nope – coming in at number two was the “Thunder Dome.” Which name would be less of a laughing stock?

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