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Your travel destination is what was within Fort Wayne its evolution that made it most appealing to those who came upon it, heeded its call, and then were given the time and wherewithal, Fort Wayne either spiritual, mental, financial, social, Fort Wayne or all, to cause a crown to be bestowed on it—a national park? This park, created early in the notion of public ownership, shared for the benefit of all, had to have had a fascination so alluring that it overcame its remoteness in the national Fort Wayne perception.

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Yes, it had a railroad moving passengers and settlers toward it, but it was a railroad owned and governed by a man who was captured by the magnificence of its natural artistry and set about to do more than send his railroad through Marias Pass, hauling freight to and from St. Paul and the Pacific. He wanted his railroad to transport tourists from the East and Midwest who would come to share his enthusiasm for the natural beauty. As his infatuation grew, he recognized that the area coming to be known as Glacier needed a preserving mechanism not only to satisfy his own vision but also that of those he brought to East Glacier and Belton stations to experience its grandeur.

And yes, a conservationist and writer who had a national following through his highly regarded magazine would call Americans to what he would deem the “Crown of the Continent.” Once he had captured their imaginations, he would call them to action to help him and the railroad baron achieve congressional approval. And most certainly, the voices of a president and a national icon would give the creation of parks a firm foundation of national purpose and pride.

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