Fort Wayne's most unique fundraiser – the History Center's Buffalo Tro –takes place on September 27.
Proceeds from the evening benefit the Heritage Education Fund (HFE), which provides free admission to the History Center for area students grades K-12. Last year's attendance was over 7000 students.
"The past four school years have brought the four highest school group attendances since the organization first offered tours of the Old Swinney Homestead in 1927," said Todd Maxwell Pelfrey, History Center executive director.
About 10 percent of the HEF budget comes from the Buffalo Tro fundraiser. Other funding is provided by foundation grants, corporate sponsorships and private donations. Schools benefiting from the HEF are in Allen, DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben counties.
The Buffalo Tro, now in its eighth year at the Chief Richardville House, stems from the time when Chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville hosted dinner parties at his home, located at what is now 5705 Bluffton Road.
Miami Chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville built a trading empire in this area that made him the richest man in Indiana by the time of his death in 1841. His home, built in 1827, is one of the premier attractions in the Historical Society's collection since its naming as a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Today his house is recognized as the only treaty house in the nation, the oldest Native American dwelling in the Midwest and the first Greek Revival style house in northeast Indiana.
An invitation to one of his parties was a sought-after commodity in 1827 when prominent Fort Wayne citizens would vie to attend dinners with the richest man of the time in Fort Wayne.
The Buffalo Tro presents an introduction to Great Lakes Region Indian cooking, followed by the cooking of hearty buffalo steaks directly on a large bed of smoldering coals, a traditional method that sears in flavor and juices. The steaks are part of a catered dinner.
Evening activities will also include cultural interpretation, music and a silent auction. To reserve tickets, which are $50 per person, call Steve Toor at 260-426-2882, ext 308.