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Only on ABC21: In-depth look offers vision of future Harvester museum

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Part of the former International Harvester plant in Fort Wayne is on its way to becoming a showcase of the iconic trucks that were built there -- a museum that honors the long history of the brand and the people behind it.

The announcement came on Friday, but ABC21 has been working for weeks to get a closer look at what's to come.

Many of the vehicles that will be on display are already in place, and the team behind the project has been hard at work getting it all to fruition.

Fort Wayne outdueled Chicago to secure the commitment from Navistar -- which is the company that evolved from International Harvester.

It chose its former Fort Wayne manufacturing site over the Museum of Science and Industry, which also bid to host the display.

It likely won't be open to general visitation... at first.

"I think our plan is to be open by appointment and we will maintain the trucks -- that was part of the agreement -- that we have to maintain the trucks," former International Harvester employee Jerry Betley told ABC21. "We hope that we can do as other museums do and have receptions, maybe other conferences."

Regular hours could come later, those involved said.

21COUNTRY FLASHBACK: Eric Olson recounts the storied International Harvester history (2018 report)

After decades as one of the city's largest employers, with as many as 10,000 workers in its prime, International Harvester closed the plant. The last truck rolled off the line in 1983.

The museum -- to be officially titled "the Fort Wayne Truck Works & Area Industry Museum" -- is located on Meyer Road.

Watch the video for our in-depth look at what's to come, and for information on this year's "Harvester Homecoming" celebration, Aug.6-7, click here.

The former International Harvester plant in Fort Wayne employed as many as 10,000 people at one time.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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