Whose got the Baals?

H. W. "Harry" Baals

Whose got the Baals?  Apparently Fort Wayne, Indiana.  A former 4-term mayor was submitted as a choice for the name of the new city county government building at 200 E. Berry Street in Fort Wayne.  The mayor’s last name is Baals….his first name is Harry.  Mayor Baals served three consecutive terms as mayor of Fort Wayne in the 30s and came back in 1951 for another term, but died in office.The mayor himself pronounced his name “balls” although most of his descendents pronounce it “bales”.  They’ve already named a street after him in Fort Wayne, H. W. Baals Dr.,  and there’s a plaque on a railroad crossing that honors him as H. W. Baals too.

So they asked for voter’s feedback to pick a name for the newly remodeled building on the city’s web page.  At last count “Harry Baals Government Center” was the hands down favorite, receiving 17,274 votes so far and growing by the minute, literally.  They didn’t expect, for whatever reason, the issue going global, but it has.  Here’s the city’s feedback page on the subject:  http://www.feedbackfortwayne.org/forums/96987-name-our-building 

Somebody logically suggested they call the building the “Harold Baals Government Center.”  What’s wrong with that?  Most people commenting on the website are saying it’s unfair to eliminate Mr. Baals from consideration just because he has a “funny” last name.

You can imagine some of the headlines:  “Fort Wayne officials refuse to slap Harry Baals on public building,” The Register of London.  “Story’s got world by the ….ahem,” Fort Wayne Gazette.

The number two vote getter is to name the new center “Thunder Dome,” 1,196 votes,  followed by “Chief Little Turtle Center,” 683 votes.  Maybe Harry Baals Center isn’t such a bad idea.  There’s a “Johnson” on the list too.  505 votes being cast for the “Eugene Johnson Memorial Center,” in memory of a former property manager of the site.  Here’s a good one, “City Hall,” with 189 votes or even “Fort Wayne-Allen County Government Center” might be a logical proposal, but it’s last in the voting.  No, the people want to call it the “Harry Baals Center.”  Of course, some of those votes are coming from outside of the Fort Wayne area.

The current mayor has already said that they will not name the new government center after the former mayor no matter how many votes it gets.  They don’t want to be the brunt of jokes in the future.

For example, you know what Harry’s first wife’s name was?   Minnie!  You can’t make this stuff up. WTF    


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