Porter History

Porter Lumber
Porter Lumber Late 1940's

Old Pictures of Porter
Photographs & Historical Images for Porter County including the Town of Porter

Becoming Westchester Township: Town of Porter
Duneland's Swedish Immigrants: Swedish Businesses
Duneland's Swedish Immigrants: Swedish Women

Emil Anderson and Frank Wannegar, Emil's father-in-law, started a lumber and coal business in Frank's livery and later built the structures seen in this image in 1926. In 1946, Emil Anderson sold his business to the Hokanson Brothers, and they renamed it Porter Lumber & Coal Company. Today [2014] the building is occupied by Tilden Enterprises. Tilden Enterprises retails janitorial, pool, and party supplies, as well as paper goods and chemicals.

Johnsons Inn
Scene at Johnson's Inn. Porter Beach. Circa 1940's


A PORTER CHRONOLOGY by Betty Canright and Eva Hopkins, Westchester Twp History Museum, 700 W Porter Ave, Chesterton, IN 46304 - 11/2/2011


Joseph Bailly was born in Quebec, Canada in 1774. He arrives here in 1822 with his family and establishes a fur trading post on the Little Calumet River. "Joseph Bailly, a French fur buyer, who was in connection with Alexander Robinson in 1809 in the fur trade, opened a store and established a trading post on the Calumet River, four or five miles from the mouth of Fort Creek. His wife was an Ottawa Indian woman. They had four daughters and one son. The son died in 1827 when ten years of age and at that time it is thought that the bereaved father erected a Roman Catholic chapel." (Northwestern Indiana from 1800 to 1900, TH Ball, 1900, p 308) -- "Joseph Bailly came by the way of Detroit to this county. He kept a store for Indian trade expressly." (Porter Co, Indiana Atlas, 1876, p 23) -- "Joseph Bailly purchased a sloop in order to navigate the great lakes and gave his daughters the advantages of travel and Eastern education." (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana, 1882, p 16) -- Bailly's 1822-1835 ledgers are at Indianapolis historical museum. They are written in French. (John Canright's Joseph Bailly biography) -- Bailly to Porter County: "His cabin of unhewn logs stood upon the north bank of the Calumet River in the SW 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of Sec 27, Twp 37N, Range 6W, although at that time the government survey had not been made." (History of Porter County, Indiana, 1912, vol 1, p 33)


Treaty of Mississinewa, later known as the "Ten Mile Purchase" involves one of the last sections given up by the Indians in Indiana and gives Indiana a shoreline. (Treaty line is now known as the Indian Boundary). The Bailly family chapel was built. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana,1882)


Joseph Bailly's son Robert dies at age 10 and is buried in the family cemetery. Joseph Bailly erects a huge cross of oak timber some 30’ high. Beside the cross, he builds a small log cabin which he calls the chapel where he obliges all the family to attend on Sundays for prayer and worship. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana,1882) This is the first place of worship in Porter County.


By 1833, there were 8 cabins at the Bailly settlement. The home was a refuge for priests on their journey and parlor was a sacristy and the dining room was used for mass. (The Calumet Region Historical Guide, 1939, p 28)


Town of Baillytown is platted. Bailly homestead is built in 1834 of logs. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana, 1882) The government surveyors go thru the area.


First sale of Porter County land is held at LaPorte. John Foster plats town of Waverly (Waverly Rd & Oak Hill Rd area) on land owned by William Gossett. This can be considered the first town in the township and county. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana,1882) Joseph Bailly dies.


Porter County becomes a county and is separated from LaPorte County. A pioneer piano found its way with much difficulty to the Bailly homestead. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana,1882)


Rose Bailly marries Francis Howe and they plant their marriage trees on the bank of the Little Calumet River near the Bailly homestead. They were oak and elm saplings bound together. They were still there in 1939. They were struck by lightning around 1940. (4/10/1992 CT) There were postcards of the marriage trees.


iHenry Hageman builds his log house (on Waverly Rd by Hawthorne Park).


Joel Wicker, Joseph Bailly's son-in-law, recruits Swedish lumberjacks to cut trees for his sawmill. Many come to the area and later buy the land cheap after it is lumbered off.


Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad reaches Porter County.


The first goods received in Porter County by rail are sent on a construction train from Michigan City and landed upon the prairie at Old Porter. They come by way of the Michigan Central. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana,1882, p 22) Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad is constructed in 1851. (Porter Co, Indiana Atlas, 1876)


Joel Wicker's sawmill burns.


Porter Station is platted. Frederick Michaels to Porter Station. He has a dry goods, groceries and notions store.


August Wistrand family and Frederick Burstrom move to Baillytown from Sweden. Burstrom buys 100 acres of land at $6/acre. Wistrand trades with the Indians giving them freshly butchered pork in return for maple sap. (August 1952 CT)


Daniel Lindahl lived at the Bailly Tavern. (1/12/1905 CT) It was later owned by the Nils Olson family on Hwy 12 who find foundation stones from the tavern. (3/29/1951 CT)


Augsburg Lutheran Church organizes with 31 members and uses Joel Wicker's old store building as its first church. Dr Erland Carlson is the first circuit riding pastor. (10/27/1893 CT) Services are in the Swedish language.


Rev Andreas Andreen is the first resident pastor at Augsburg Church. In September, 16 bodies wash ashore near Porter beach from the Lady Elgin Steamship that went down near Waukegan, IL.


C. G. Johnson donates land for Augsburg Lutheran Church parsonage.


Anders and Johanna Chellberg and son Carl arrive from Sweden after four months at sea and settle in Baillytown. John Gondring comes to the Porter/Chesterton area. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana, 1882)


Civil War rages. Many local men go off to war.


Augsburg Lutheran Church dedicates new 46' x 28' frame building on one acre donated by John Johnson on (now) Beam Street and Mineral Springs Road. The contractor is John Borg. (6/9/1938 CT) Augsburg cemetery is to the south of the church.


Rose Bailly Howe attends Lincoln's inauguration in March. He was shot three weeks later. Lincoln Funeral Train passes thru Porter Station on the Michigan Central Railroad tracks and stops briefly near Porter. (Old) Porter Station post office is established with Archalaus Whitten as postmaster.


Marie Bailly, widow of Joseph Bailly, dies. Baillytown, Waverly and Old Porter frame schools begin.


John Vanderhaden has first brickyard in Porter with five employees (1870 Westchester Twp census).


Other brickyards open in Porter. Town of Porter is platted by Henry Hageman. Brick from Porter brickyards are used in rebuilding Chicago after the great Oct 1871 fire. On 12/6/1871 John Gondring sells 10 acres to Edward Harland for a brickyard for $3,000.


Henry Hageman sells land to a brickyard at $150 an acre. He starts the town of Hageman then. John Gondring begins the first store in Porter. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana,1882) He bought the land on 2/19/1872 from Henry Hageman for $80.


Hageman post office begins with Charles Mannhart as postmaster.


The Porter House is built at 204 Lincoln St in Porter. (Later a general store in 1886 and in 1890 Fred Sievert bought the building.) John Gondring sells his Porter store to Fred Dabbert. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana,1882)


The Josephus Wolf mansion in Portage Twp is built of Porter bricks. Bricks are marked J&Co which is Jamison & Co, a 25-acre brickyard on Waverly Rd just southeast of the Michigan Central Railroad tracks. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana, 1882, Porter Co, IN Atlas, 1876)


Henry Hageman sells one acre to William Cheatam on 1/29/1877 for $100. This is at Woodlawn & Waverly Roads. He uses the west part for a brickyard which is in operation until 1885. This brickyard supplies bricks in 1880 for the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Chesterton.


Hageman is platted by surveyor William DeCourcey. (History of Porter and Lake Counties, Indiana, 1882) Frederick Burstrom gives Augsburg Church his 12x15 old small barn built around 1864, moves it across the road (Oak Hill Road) on land owned by John P Johnson, and it is called Svenska Skola (later Burstrom Chapel). It is used as a Swedish school 1880-1885 and is accredited for grades 1-3 by the Indiana Dept of Public Education. The ground behind is used for a cemetery. At this time, Swedish immigrants buried in the Bailly cemetery are moved to the new 1.8 acre cemetery. A group of German immigrants leave St John's church in Chesterton to organize a church that will later be called St Paul's Lutheran Church. At first they meet in the brickyard buildings and sit on boxes.


Waverly School, a one-room brick schoolhouse, is built at Oak Hill & Waverly Roads.


Duplex Pressed Brick Co. buys land from John Gondring and opens a brickyard. Porter Station's name is change to Gilbertville. (They closed that post office in 1899.) There are two stores in Porter: Dabbert and Pillman brothers, a blacksmith shop, a millinery store kept by Rose Howe and a boarding house kept by Mrs Martha McDonald. Population is about 250.


Small brick schoolhouse is built in Porter at the corner of Franklin & Frances Streets. William Beam, superintendent of a brick yard, builds brick house in Porter (116 N Wagner Rd).


Chellberg farmhouse burns. They rebuild a brick home on (now) Mineral Springs Road. Hinchcliff Yard will burn coal instead of wood. Fifteen carloads of bricks a day are shipped from this area. Caldwell brickyard ships 150,000 bricks to Kalamazoo, Michigan for a courthouse.


The new brick Baillytown schoolhouse replaces the old 1866 frame schoolhouse. The Svenska Skola (Swedish School - Oak Hill Road) is no longer used for a public school. Classes are in English. Grand Circle skating rink in Hageman is under the management of Pillman and Eggert. Svenska Skola is now used as a Swedish language and culture school for six weeks in the summer 1885-1928. (Sometimes also held at Baillytown School and Augsburg Church parlor during those years.) Dysentery epidemic in Porter caused by eating diseased meat leaves many people dead. The Eklund Hotel is located at 128 Lincoln St (now the Village Tavern).


Henry Dabbert, Hageman grocer, builds a brick addition to his store at Lincoln & Frances Streets. Peter Wistrand opens grocery in his new building at Hageman (Lincoln & Wagner Rd). Brickyard employees strike Hinchcliff Brickyards for 44 days. Phillip Zorn owns a saloon in Porter by 1886 which he rents out (later Imhof building). He was a Michigan City beer manufacturer.


St Paul's German Lutheran Church (Frances & Beam Streets) is built by German immigrants who work at the nearby brickyards. Brick for the church is donated by William Beam who is the owner of a brickyard. The first circuit riding pastor is Rev FW Schlechte. Purington and Kimball brick yards are consolidated into the Co-operative Brickyard. Contract is let to A. J. Lundquist for a new schoolhouse at Old Porter.


Duplex Brickyard situated between Hageman and Chesterton is destroyed by fire. They will not rebuild. 400,000-500,000 brick are destroyed with 5 kiln sheds and 27 other sheds. Loss estimate at $8,000.


Chicago Hydraulic Press Brick Co. buys out smaller brick yards in Porter to become the largest in the Indiana. Frank Wannegar is newly elected Porter Marshal. Fred Sievert buys 204 Lincoln St and operates The Columbia Lunch Room. The second floor is known as Sievert's Hall and functioned as a public meeting hall, dance hall and roller skating rink until 1913 when it is remodeled as living quarters.


Arthur R. Harper operates a drug store in Porter. Rose Howe, daughter of Joseph Bailly, dies at the Bailly Homestead at age 78. Pillman Bros. general merchandise store moves to new building in Hageman (212 Lincoln St). (214 Lincoln St was the site of the August Pillman home.) Congregational Church organizes in Porter at Beam St & Wagner Rd.


Swedish Mission Church buys the Congregational Church at Beam St & Wagner Rd. Hageman's post office is moved to Porter with Peter Wistrand, the first Porter Postmaster in his store (6/1892-10/1892) at Lincoln & Wagner Roads. Wistrand sells to John Busse.


Michigan Central Railroad erects a new tower house at crossing the in Porter. Town of Porter buys the Hawthorne Park property from the bankrupt Porter Land Company. Henry Dabbert is postmaster 1893-1897 in his store.


Porter extends into (now) west Chesterton. The Brass factory is manufacturing plumbing supplies at 15th & Broadway. Houses are being built in Porter for employees of the Brass Works. Arthur Bowser launches Porter Tribune from new brick building (Porter Ave & 15th St).


Warren Featherbone Company of Three Oaks, Michigan purchases the Brass Works (15th St). The new Porter School delays start until November because of late completion of the building which is being built of Chesterton brick. The old smaller brick Porter School is east of the new building.


John Busse is Porter Postmaster at his store, the Union Block Department Store at Lincoln St & Wagner Rd.


Sister Eleanor Cecelia, daughter of Joseph Bailly, dies at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Terre Haute, Indiana and is buried in the cemetery there. Porter bricks worth $500,000 are sold to the Chicago Post Office. (12/3/1898 CT)


Henry Hageman dies at age 83.


Augsburg Lutheran Church builds a new brick church at Mineral Springs Rd & Beam St.


The new brick Augsburg Lutheran Church is dedicated in November. Bishop von Scheele of Sweden, a representative of King Oscar II, attends the dedication. King Oscar of Sweden sent his greetings by telegram. It was the greatest day in the history of the church. (11/29/1901 CT)


John Busse buys the William Beam house at 116 N Wagner Rd. Hokanson Meat Market burns down.


In October, Chicago Hydraulic Press Brick Co has a huge fire and burns down caused by a spark from a passing train. They sue the railroad. "We fought the fire all day to keep the whole town from burning up..." Gerry Long. In December, Pillman & Olson's livery barn burns down on Lincoln St in Porter, Frank Wannager & Alfred Olson's houses burn down and 14 horses are burned to death.


Big day at Augsburg Lutheran Church. Dr Gustaf Andreen, President of Augustana College, gives a speech. He was born in the Gust Lindstrom log cabin while his father was pastor there. When he died in 1940, he was described as 'undoubtedly the best-known man born in this part of Indiana.' (10/10/40 CT) That log cabin is now a part of the house at The Field Station Cooperative at 399 Howe Rd. Rev John A Bescherer installed as first resident pastor of St Paul's Lutheran Church. He serves for 54 years before he retires.


Construction begins on the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad north of the Old Chicago Road. Second Hokanson Meat Market in the Carlson building burns down.


Frances Howe publishes her book 'The Story of a French Homestead in the Old Northwest.' She is Joseph Bailly's granddaughter.


Porter incorporates into a town and organizes a fire department. Gust Carlson is the first Porter Fire Chief from 1908-1910. Richard Sabinske comes to Porter Beach to fish commercially at the location of the later Johnson Inn. The South Shore & South Bend Railroad begins operation north of (now) Hwy 12. On Sept 8, regular service begins between South Bend and Hammond.


South Shore train accident on June 19 at Shadyside on the South Shore track (now Burns Harbor) kills 12 (3 Porter men) and injures 52 (2 from Porter and Chesterton). That accident was the worst in the South Shore's 100-year history. Iron fire escapes are installed at the Porter School. Theodore Stephens builds his brick home at Waverly & Oak Hill Rds.


Porter population is 524. A Sears house is built on Howe Road for Peter Larson - the first Sears house in the area. George Battinger is Porter Fire Chief 1910-1915.


Porter Town Board leases part of Emil Busse's new building for a town hall and a place for keeping the fire apparatus. There is horse racing at Mineral Springs Race Track until the governor shuts it down due to betting. Rev Eric Herman Carlson begins as Pastor of Augsburg Lutheran Church. He remains a pastor until 1922. The Porter Fire Dept has 25 men.


Horse racing resumes at Mineral Springs Race Track and again it is shut down due to betting. CE Jacobson builds his brick block at 300 Lincoln St. Augsburg Lutheran Church congregation has its panoramic picture taken. (8/21/1952 CT) New town hall is dedicated in December 1913.


Motorcycle racing at the Mineral Springs Race Track. This will continue until 1921. Mable Yost is Porter Postmistress from 1914-1918 at John Busse's Store at Lincoln St & Wagner Rd.


Meno Pratt of Porter is working as an electrician on the SS Eastland when it capsizes in the Chicago River on 7/24/1915. Alice Gray ("Diana of the Dunes") comes to the dunes in October with nothing but a jelly glass, knife, spoon, blanket and two guns. After four days, she finds an abandoned shack ("Driftwood"). (This was George Blagg's cabin. He was a Civil War veteran who died January 1915.) She is later known as "Diana of the Dunes." She lives in the dunes north of Porter for four years when she moves west down the beach. Alex McCorkel is Porter Fire Chief 1915-1921.


Alice Gray goes shopping in Porter. She walks up Howe Road to Porter often visiting the local families like the Larsons, Nelsons and Charlsons.


Gerry Long buys John Busse's store (Union Block at Lincoln Ave & Wagner Rd). Frances Howe, Joseph Bailly's granddaughter, dies in California. Porter serviceman Arthur T Johnson dies in World War I.


Lake Michigan is frozen over from shore to shore. Frances Howe is buried in Bailly cemetery a year after she died.


prohibition - The bars sell soft drinks and ice cream. Sievert's Bar in Porter has a candy store and sells soft drinks during prohibition.


Electric lights are installed in the Porter school. Frances Howe's estate auction takes place at the Bailly homestead. Sisters of Notre Dame occupy the Bailly homestead. Gerry Long is postmaster from 1919-1933 at his store: Long's IGA Grocery Store at Lincoln St & Wagner Rd. In January-February during the very cold winter, Alice Gray ("Diana of the Dunes") stayed with Charles and Hulda Johnson on Old Chicago Road (Hwy 12 now) for six weeks. This house was later owned by daughter Irene (Johnson) and her husband Oscar Nelson and sold to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. This is one of the few houses that remain.


Porter population is 699. Porter Bank is built. EA Wilson, Superintendent of Sal Mountain Asbestos Co, is the bank's first president. Prior to the bank, the Fire Dept had a horse barn there. Behind that was a blacksmith on the alley. Dr John Theorell dies from overwork in the flu epidemic in Porter. Gus Salamander builds his pool hall at 224 Lincoln St and lives in the back.


37 are killed and many injured on Feb 27 when two passenger trains collide at the Porter "diamond" (railroad tracks that cross west of Porter). Motorcycle races at the Mineral Springs Race Track cease after seven years. It is sold at a Sheriff sale at $9,000 for 120 acres. Frank Czizek is Porter Fire Chief 1921-1925.


Dunes Highway (U.S. 12) is constructed from Gary to Michigan City. Waverly schoolhouse is last used as a school. Rev Eric Herman Carlson resigns as Pastor at Augsburg Lutheran Church. Anton Schmidt and his Columbia China Co begins producing a very thin chinaware on east Lincoln Ave. He began the Chesterton China works on Broadway. The Swedish Mission Church joined the Evangelical Church.


Dunes Highway (U.S.12) is opened from Gary to Michigan City. Dune Acres is incorporated as a town north of Porter. Augsburg Lutheran Church begins services in English. Emil Anderson Lumber & Coal Co begins on Lincoln St. Chicago Hydraulic Press Brick Co receives an order for 2 million bricks for Gary Tube Works. The Baillytown schoolhouse will not reopen in September. When Hwy 12 went thru, the Baillytown School went from being on the south side of the Old Chicago Rd to being on the north side of the Dunes Hwy. It was later used as a residence [no running water, outhouse], for reunions, Baillytown Neighbors Club and Save the Dunes meetings.)


Chicago Hydraulic Press Brick Co. in Porter shuts down after running out of clay. English church services are now at Augsburg Lutheran Church for the first time.


Columbia China (Lincoln St west of Waverly Rd) has a big fire in July. Porter buys a Reo fire truck in Sept. (Still in use in 1950) John Groff is Porter Fire Chief 1925-1928. In October, an Indian cemetery is unearthed on the John Harbrecht property when they are putting in Wagner Rd, north of Oak Hill Rd. (10/29/1925 CT) The bones are later buried at the Howe/Bailly cemetery.


Overhead bridge for the Dunes Highway (Hwy 12) over the New York Central Railroad at Baillytown is put into use. Harry Day goes into business selling spring water on Mineral Springs Rd. E.A. Wilson builds his home "Wildwood" at corner of Hwy 20 and Mineral Springs Rd.


Mary Bradt, teacher without hands who taught in Porter 1897-1928, dies. Gust Salamander is Porter Fire Chief 1928-1939. Baillytown Rest goes into business.


Bill and Elmer Johnson build their fish house at Porter Beach. Their father, John P "Fish" Johnson, fished at Waverly Beach and his sons later joined him. When the Indiana Dunes State Park came in, they had to move. (3/26/1930 CT)


Porter population is 805. Algot Person builds the Johnson Inn at Porter Beach for Bill and Elmer Johnson. It is a 30-room hotel and restaurant open five months in the year. Nine free parking spaces are at Johnson's Beach for public use. They operate a commercial fishing business also. Orith Imhof buys the Phillip Zorn Saloon building (it was also the William Zahrn Drug Store) at 130 Lincoln St. Svenska Skola's extensively repaired during the summer of 1930 and rededicated. Later a tower is added and a bell from the old courthouse at Valparaiso. (11/20/1930 CT)


"Dunes Relief Highway" (U.S. 20) is constructed. It is a four-lane highway, 40' wide concrete road with a 10' berm on each side. It opened in spring 1932.


Dr. Eric "Herman" Carlson establishes Carlson Planetarium. Dabbert and Lowry begin their appliance store in a garage. Emil Carlson is newly elected Porter marshal. Frank Wannager retires. The Waverly schoolhouse will not reopen in September. (8/25/1932 CT)


Augsburg Lutheran Church burns down and five fire departments fight the fire. Harry Day starts the Spa Restaurant in his old house on Mineral Springs Road. A Chicago gangster's body is dumped in Howe Rd ditch, 100' south of Oak Hill Road. He is a friend of "Bugs" Moran and Al Capone.


Coronado Lodge is built on Hwy 20 by Henry Kleinschmidt. CCC workers are putting in a new road, leveling the ground, trimming trees, etc., at the future Hawthorne Park. A merry-go-round is located for a few days on Lincoln St between the Wannegar livery barn and Groff's Confectionary (prohibition). Post Office is now in Imhof's Drug Store. Orinth Imhof is Porter Postmaster in his pharmacy at 130 Lincoln from 1934-1965. Richard Sabinske, the fisherman, is serving meals at Porter Beach.


There is a Porter Chamber of Commerce. Norman Dabbert is President, other officers are Arthur Brody, Arthur Hokanson and Arthur Pillman. Carl Chellberg is making maple syrup at his farm on Mineral Springs Rd. (3/7/1935 CT)


Last local Civil War veteran in north Porter County, Johnny Anderson of Oak Hill Road, dies at age 96. Hawthorne Park community building dedicated.


Girl Scouts plant trees near the stone dedicated to Joseph Bailly in Hawthorne Park. Augsburg Lutheran Church celebrates 79th anniversary with Midsummer Day with Swedish costumes and people gathered around the Maypole. (7/1/1937 CT) Axel Johnson opens a restaurant at 361 Wagner Road on New Year's Eve. He sells fish dinners Friday nights. (Currently houses Wagner's Ribs.) Roy Zane is new Porter marshal.


New Augsburg Evangelical Lutheran Church is dedicated. Arthur Hokanson is Porter Fire Chief from 1938-1955.


Harry Meyne becomes Porter Town Marshal. CE Jacobson dies.


Porter population is 1,190. Goodfellow Camp begins with tents. George Lowry, who has been an industrial arts teacher, opens a hardware store in Porter. "Wolves Against the Moon," a novel about Joseph Bailly by Julia Cooley Atrocchi, is published. Bertha Lickus buys the Coronado Lodge for $29,000 after Kleinschmidt dies. She finishes the building and decorates the 14 guest rooms each in a different color with furnishings purchased from Marshall Field's. The field house (community building) at Hawthorne Park opens to the public for the first time. Author James C Wilson is living in the Waverly area. In 1935, he wrote "Three-Wheeling Through Africa" about a 3,800 mile six-month trip thru Africa on a motorcycle and sidecar with a friend.


Porter serviceman Robert F Ackerman is killed in World War II.


The 1866 Old Porter schoolhouse, north of the Michigan Central Railroad tracks, is torn down. (12/10/42 CT)


New First Evangelical Church (EUB) is dedicated in Porter at 100 Beam St. EUB Church is built on site of the Congregational-Swedish Mission-Evangelical Church. Hokanson Grocery Store, 200 Franklin St, Porter, becomes the self-service grocery store in the area. John H Busse dies at age 79.


A Veterans of Foreign Wars Post is organized for North Porter County. EUB Church is built on site of the Congregational/Swedish Mission/Evangelical Church.


George Lowry builds his big Porter Hardware store on Lincoln St.


Five Hokanson brothers purchase Emil Anderson Lumber & Coal business and run it as Porter Lumber & Coal. Ten teams play softball at the Hawthorne Park ball diamond during a four-day carnival at Hawthorne Park. Site now includes wading pool, swings, picnic ground and pond stocked with fish. The Spa Restaurant is raided and three slot machines are seized. Johnston's Gardens begin in Porter (Lois Long Johnston, owner). Baillytown Neighbors Club begins.


New playground equipment is installed at Hawthorne Park. War memorial erected by Porter Victory Club is dedicated. Chuck Randler opens the Porter Garage (in business until 1969). Porter buys a new American fire truck for $10,000. Wade Saylor begins his Basket Place on Hwy 20 & Beam St. Wilson's Hotel is being put up at Johnson's Beach (now Porter Beach).


On April 7, Porter tornado damages 140 buildings but no one is hurt. 30 men from the VFW post work for 12 hours with axes, saws and a bulldozer to clear streets of debris. (5/19/54 VM) CHS senior class spends several days helping out.


Westchester Advisory Board approves $160,000 in bonds for a new grade school in Porter. Johnson's Beach has 1,000 cars on July 4th weekend. The first modern motel in Baillytown on Hwy 12, the Oak Hill Motel, owned by Edgar and Bill Ahrendt is built.


Porter population is 1,459. Rev Eric Herman Carlson dies. He was pastor at Augsburg Lutheran Church 1912-1922 and later owner of the Carlson Planetarium 1932-1950.


New grade school (Yost) opens in Porter. Spa Restaurant burns to the ground at a loss of $250,000. It is immediately rebuilt.


Porter Library Board votes to convert the town library into a Class I Library. Richard Sabinske retires from fishing at Porter Beach. Porter Fire Dept truck is in the Chesterton centennial parade with sign: "Happy Birthday Chesterton."


Carlson Planetarium on U.S. 20 near the Spa is torn down. VFW Post 2511 buys land on Wagner Road for a building. Ray Wiesemann is the new Porter marshal.


Bill and Elmer Johnson retire from commercial fishing at Johnson's Beach. Marshal Ray Weisemann's house fire in Porter-his wife Esther and daughter Camilla die in the fire. Henning Hokanson is new Porter Fire Chief 1955-1958. Baillytown schoolhouse is now a community center. Myrtle Wittchen conducts summer art classes at the Svenska Skola (Burstrom Chapel). (8/17/1964 CT)


Plans are announced for an amusement park to be called Enchanted Forest at Waverly Road north of Hwy 20. NIKE bases are installed in Northwest Indiana. Enchanted Forest, the Playground of the Dunes, begins on Waverly Road north of Hwy 20. "Babe" the elephant escapes from a carnival in Porter in July. George Martinson begins business as Martinson Cabinet Shop on Hwy 20. Bethlehem Steel quietly began purchasing lakefront land. They announced publically in 1962 their intention of building a steel plant.


Bethlehem Steel purchases 3,500 acres in the Baillytown area. U.S. Army NIKE missile base opens on Mineral Springs Road and Wagner Road in Porter.


Town of Porter celebrates its centennial 9-days in August. Governor Harold W Handley arrives by helicopter at Hawthorne Park to begin the events. Maxine Erickson is the centennial queen. The fire departments have a water fight in Hawthorne Park. The Hokanson brothers float wins the grand prize in the parade of nearly 100 entries. There are large crowds at the centennial activities. There is a street dance, wooden nickels, Sisters of the Swish, a Brothers of the Brush beard contest, 71-artist Art Fair, flower show, carnival, historical pagent "Porter on Parade." Augsburg Lutheran Church also celebrates its centennial. Richard Blakely is new Porter Marshal. His deputies are Harry Meyne and Ray Wiesemann.


Harry Day sells his Spa restaurant. It began 8/3/1933. Fred Tharp dies - he was a Porter barber for 50 years (1910-1960). Tom Lindquist begins barbering. Rev John A Bescherer retires from St Paul's Lutheran Church after 54 years. Carl Randler is Porter Fire Chief 1959-1975.


Porter's population is 2,189.


Indiana Port Commission selects Burns Ditch as site for Indiana Port.


Fallout shelter is located at Yost School. Bethlehem Steel announces plans for a $250 million steel plant at Baillytown. Hageman School in Porter closes. Additions are built or planned for Augsburg Lutheran Church, Porter Town Hall and Yost School.


Hundreds are employed on construction of Bethlehem Steel plant. Sand removal operations begin at site of deep-water port on Lake Michigan. Porter Library moves into new quarters behind the town hall. Rev John A Bescherer dies in July. Baillytown schoolhouse is sold to Bethlehem Steel for $10,000 in September.


St. Paul's Lutheran Church (Frances & Beam St) moves from Porter to new building in Chesterton. Bethel Missionary Baptist Church takes over the old St. Paul church. Bailly Homestead is sold and new owner plans to operate a restaurant. Bethlehem Steel plant opens and rolls its first slab at 160" mill. The Porter Fire Department has a new addition to the town hall and a new fire truck. Baillytown schoolhouse is demolished in June. Date stone and keystones are now located at Burstrom cemetery with a sign.


Formal grand opening and dedication of Bethlehem Steel. Proposal for Port of Indiana wins approval. Public school kindergarten begins for Westchester Township Schools. Porter Post Office becomes a branch of the Chesterton Post Office and house-to-house delivery begins in Porter on 11/20/1965. The post office closes in the Imhof Drug Store.


Congress creates the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. They buy land from residents, eventually 1,000 acres for park land. An election is held on the question of merging the towns of Chesterton and Porter. Chesterton voters say yes and Porter voters say no by a margin of 63 votes. Groundbreaking is held for Indiana's port on Lake Michigan. Goodfellow Camp becomes property of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and closes.


Dead alewife fish clog Lake Michigan beaches. Town of Burns Harbor incorporates.


Agreement is signed for Chesterton's sewage disposal plant to serve the Town of Porter. Methodist and EUB churches merge to become United Methodist Church


High waves erode dunes along Lake Michigan. Pratt Lake is made into a park named in honor of Meno Pratt, resident of Porter for 52 years. The lake was created by sand mining operations for the construction of Hwy I-94.


Porter population is 3,058. Porter Hardware is destroyed by huge fire on May 6. $500,000 loss. Crowds of up to 5,000 watched the blaze. When the fire hit the ammunition that the store sold, thousands of explosions sounded like the small arms fire of a war. Richard Coslet is overcome by smoke. At the height of the fire, 165 men from 13 departments are fighting the fire. It was never rebuilt. George and Rose Lowry continue their hardware business in the smaller building they own to the west. George Lowry dies on Nov 4, six months after the fire. Port of Indiana opens. Merger of Chesterton and Porter is voted down again. Artist/author John Hawkinson was last to sell his two acres and cottage to Bethlehem Steel. .


Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore acquires Bailly Homestead and Bailly Cemetery. Artie Randler, postmistress, is operating a postal substation at 107 Lincoln St.


I-94 is finally completed north of town. National Park Service begins restoration of exterior of Bailly Homestead and Chellberg farm property. They will operate a working farm on the Chellberg property.


Old Porter (Hageman) school is demolished to make way for a new library building. Coronado Lodge is closed after Bertha Lickus dies. NIKE sites on Mineral Springs and Wagner Roads are closed down.


The National Park Service acquires the Coronado Lodge for $100,000 and leases it to the American Youth Hostel who operates it as a youth hostel. A new Porter library building is built. Three lakes are created: Lake Charles, Pratt Lake and No-Name Lake (now has a name). Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore moves into the abandoned NIKE site on Mineral Springs Road. Hokanson family donates 15.9 acres of land adjoining Hawthorne Park. 29 acres are to be developed into an apartment complex on Waverly Road north of I-94. It is called The Orchard Apartments because the Hokansons had an orchard on the property. Leonard Smith is new Porter Marshal. Richard Blakeley retires at age 70.


Former NIKE base (Mineral Springs Road) becomes administrative center for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Hageman Library is dedicated. Ed Pratt is Porter Fire Chief 1975-1979. The "diamond" is removed from the tracks in September.


Restored Bailly Homestead in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is dedicated. Memorial stone placed in front of the Burstrom Chapel (Svenska Skola). Night time fire claims four members of the McCart family in a fire at Holiday Trailer Park in Porter.


Daisy house is built at Porter Beach at 420 Bote Dr. Rose Lowry's Porter Hardware closes.


Efforts to merge Chesterton, Porter and Burns Harbor into a single town die. Bethlehem Steel shows off new plate mill, basic oxygen furnace and ore carrier.


Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore reopens Chellberg farm. The Pillman building is for sale by David Sanders. Ray Wesley is Porter Fire Chief 1979-1991.


Porter population is 2,988. The addition of 488 acres to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is approved by Congress.


"Maple Sugar Time" takes place at Chellberg Farm


Old orange cars on the South Shore Railroad make last run as aging cars are replaced. VFW Post 2511 opens an addition to post home on Wagner Road. Town of Porter celebrates its 125th anniversary.


VFW building is damaged by fire.


The Porter Switching tower is demolished in June.


Congress adds hundreds of acres to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry moves into newly reopened Community Building in Hawthorne Park. Banquet and conference center is built at the Spa Restaurant. Spring House Inn ground breaking takes place on Mineral Springs Rd.


$250,000 senior center at Hawthorne Park formally opened. The 50-year old building is expanded to include a senior citizen facility. Signature Graphics is a new business in town. They took over a vacant factory building.


Local governments are affected by cuts in assessed valuation for Bethlehem Steel's Burns Harbor plant.


Porter population is 3,118. Chesterton Art Fair moves to Hawthorne Park in Porter. At the end of the season, Enchanted Forest closes for good.


Chesterton and Porter recycling programs start. First Midnight Independence Day parade takes place in Porter. Auction is held at the closed Enchanted Forest. Downtown Porter gets new lighting. Lewis Craig becomes Fire Chief after Chief Wesley moves to Liberty Twp Fire Dept. The Fire Department moves to a new building on Beam St, west of Yost School.


Expansion bill for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore passes. The additional land approved totals 1,117 acres.


Bridge over the Little Calumet River at U.S. 20 and Mineral Springs Road is rebuilt. Splash Down Dunes Water Park will operate at site of former Enchanted Forest.


Addition is built on Yost elementary school. Splash Down Dunes Water Park opens on Waverly Road and Hwy 20. VFW builds addition to post home on Wagner Road. Voters in Porter vote in favor of a police commission.


Stoplight is activated at U.S. 20 and Waverly Road.


First Taste of Porter takes place in Hawthorne Park. Former Goodfellow Camp is converted into the Indiana Dunes Environmental Learning Center


New police station is built in Porter. Volunteers erect playground equipment at Kids Cove in Porter Cove and Hawthorne Park in Porter.


Coronado Lodge is demolished in March. Friends of Porter, Inc. incorporate in March to preserve town's history. (5/21/1999 CT) Town of Porter builds Millenium Gazebo in Hawthorne Park. Spa Restaurant closes.


Porter population is 4,972.


Bethlehem Steel declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Porter has a new $300,000 fire truck.


Severe cutbacks are instituted at Westchester Public Library and in the towns of Porter and Burns Harbor due to loss of property tax income from Bethlehem Steel. Residents of Porter fight to keep town hall from being torn down. Porter Town Council votes to build new town hall and old one is demolished.


Bethlehem Steel is purchased by International Steel Group (ISG). New Porter Town Hall is opened. Emergency road is constructed between Dune Acres and Porter. Marshal Leonard Smith retires in June after 34 years. John Lane is new Police Chief.


Police Chief John Lane retires. Jamie Spanier takes over as Police Chief.


ISG is purchased by Mittal Steel. Mittal Steel announces that its headquarters will be located in Chicago.


40th anniversary of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore are observed. Jim Menn retires from Porter Police Dept after 34 years of service.


Porter celebrates its 150th birthday with a parade, food booths, etc. South Shore Railroad celebrates its 100th birthday. Chesterton Art Fair celebrates its 50th anniversary at Hawthorne Park.


Johnson fish house at Porter Beach demolished in March. Chellberg farm ceases farming operations. Town of Porter plan fireworks from a boat off Indiana Dunes State Park. Dr Janet Rowley, long-time Porter Beach resident, receives the Presidential Metal of Freedom award in August from President Obama. Porter Redevelopment Commission buys 31-acre old "brickyard" property for $350,000.


Porter population is 5,410. Ground is broken on the Gateway to the Dunes project. Splash Down Dunes Water Park closes at the end of the season. Storms tear up the dunes on the shoreline at Porter Beach.


Tom Lindquist dies in January. He was a Porter barber for 51 years. Spc James Butz from Porter is first local casualty of the Afghanistan War. 30' waves pound Porter Beach in October.