The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 1, Pages 5-7.


The Founding of Porter County -- A Story of the Daring and Fortitude of Pioneers Who Came From South and East To Bring Civilization To Indiana


"A land of promise and fairer that day."

With these words veterans off the black Hawk war described the Indiana region to their friends and relatives in the east. Among those whom these rumors reached were the Morgans, Jesse, William and Isaac, natives of Monogalia county, Virginia. Determining to view this much-talked-of land with their own eyes, the Morgans disposed of their property and set out for the west in the spring of 1833.

This year was an important one in the history of Porter county. A stage line was established, and coaches ran from Detroit to chicago, making three trips a week. At a season of high water, the mail carriers lost a sack of coffee in a large swollen stream, which incident gave to Coffee creek, near Chesterton, its name. With the establishment of the stage line, commenced the actual settlement of Porter county by white families.

Jesse Morgan settled in what is now Westchester township. The Chicago and Detroit road passed through his farm, and his house became widely known as the "Stage House." Isaac and William Morgan choose locations upon the fair and extensive prairie in Morgan township which bears their name. Late in April, 1833, Henry S. Adams of Jefferson county, Ohio, arrived at the prairie, accompanied by his mother, wife and three daughters. In May, he erected a dwelling and otherwise improved his farm.

Adam S. Campbell, of Chautauqua county, New York, George Kline, of Union county, Indiana, and Reason Bell, of Wayne county, Ohio, arrived in June and settled on the prairie. Other settlers joined these pioneers and soon a very considerable settlement of hardy, sober, industrious pioneers grew up in what had been an almost unknown wild.

Seth Hall, who was probably the first white man to locate a claim in what is now Center township, settled on the site of Chiqua's Town, but soon afterward sold his claim to J. S. Wallace and further westward into Illinois.

In May, 1833, the site of Valparaiso was visited by Thomas A. E. Campbell, then a young man of twenty-two years, who accompanied his uncle, Adam Campbell, in his explorations previous in the settlement of the latter upon the Morgan prairie. On the evening of May 21, these gentlemen arrived at the bank of the Tishatawk, the stream now known as Salt Creek. Thomas Campbell selected a site for his future home, and subsequently returned to take possession. Jacob Fleming, the Colemans, Ruel Starr, and others removed hither within the same year. In the fall, an Indian trading post was established near the Stage House, and its proprietor, Peter Pravonzy, was successful in money making. He disposed of eleven barrels of "fire water" in a single winter. One of his customers was murdered in a drunken revel, and it is a matter of surprise that there was no greater effusion of blood. As a rule the pleasantest relations existed between the early settlers and the natives, and the pioneers, exempt from the horrors of border wars, lived without fear of molestation.

Early in 1834, came J. P. Ballard, who erected the first house upon the site of Valparaiso. It was in the valley of the stream which crosses Morgan street, and in the grounds south of Judge Talcott's present residence now occupied by W. b. Williams, that this first white cabin was constructed. A. K. Paine settled in what is now Jackson township, and built the first dwelling in that locality. Jesse Johnson took up his residence near the old Indian town of Chiqua, east of Valparaiso. Thomas and William Gossett selected farms in the northern part of the county. Jacob and David Hurlburt repaired to the borders of Twenty-mile Prairie, which appeared like a lake filled with islands. Theophilus Crumpacker, Jerry and Joseph Bartholomew and Jacob Wolf arrived within the year; also William Frame and Abram Stoner.

The government surveyors, Messrs. Polk and Burnside, ran the lines and divided the lands into sections. John J. Foster laid out a town to the east of "Stage House" and christened it "Waverly," but the enterprise did not prove a success. City West was started a year after Waverly, but it too sank into decay.

The number of immigrants was considerably increased in the following year. Among the new-comers were Putnam Robbins, David Hughart, E. P. Cole, Hazzard Sheffield, Allan B. James, Peter Ritter, G. W. Patton, the Baum brothers, George Z. Salyer, and David Oaks. The town of Portersville was laid out on the site of the old Catholic cemetery, but did not prosper. In 1835 was the sale of public lands. The sale was conducted at LaPorte, then a town consisting of a few log cabins. Our early settlers were present almost to a man, and there were a large number of Eastern capitalists present who made large purchases. The Hoosier's Nest was a settlement on the Old Sac trail in Union township. It was established by Thomas Snow. It contained a frame house, built of lumber hauled from LaPorte county. It was this place that is described in the once popular poem of John Finley, entitled "The Hoosier's Nest."


The community's first settlers were confronted with a tremendous task of hewing a home out of the wilderness. There were no roads, no mills, no water power development - just virgin timber and rolling prairie. Less courageous folk would have given up in despair, so mountainous were the odds against them. But Porter county's first families were fearless people, fired by an indomitable spirit to succeed in this pioneer enterprise. And succeed they did.

Cabins were reared, timber cleared and plowshares guided for the first time through rich soil. Corn and garden truck were planted. All was hustle and bustle as pioneers busied themselves with the task of founding a new homeland.

The first white child born in Porter county was Reason Bell, son of Reason and Sarah Bell, of Wane county, Ohio, his birth occurring on January 11, 1834. The first white girl born in the county was Hannah Morgan in Westchester township, in the latter part of 1834. The first marriage was that of Richard Henthorne and Jane Spurlock, May 5, 1836, by Cyrus Spurlock, who was a Methodist and also recorder of the county.

Of the first death and burial, no authentic public records have been kept, and the recollections of the early settlers is indistinct. The first burial is believed to have been in Morgan township in 1835. It was that of Mr. Agnew, who was frozen to death during a violent snow storm. Mr. Bryant was driving a team of oxen with his household goods from Morgan Prairie to Pleasant Grove, Lake county, and he was unable to keep the team on an Indian trail during a blinding snow. Becoming bewildered, he loosed the oxen and started on foot. He had gone a short distance when he was overcome with fatigue and cold.

The pioneers were confronted with realities.

First, came a stern demand for the necessities of life. Bread had to be obtained, and the settlers having harvested a bountiful crop of corn, the question arose as to how it was to be ground.

Internal improvement became the big question. In the beginning the population of Porter county was sparce, only 260 votes being cast in the election of August 1836. Most of these few citizens were in limited financial circumstances, unable to bear the burden of heavy taxation.

When the county was organized in 1836, all the territory between the western boundary and the Illinois state line, now Lake county, was attached to Porter, and the people of this region were placed on the tax rolls. This county was erected in a separate county by the act of the legislature approved Jan. 18, 1837.

At the time the organic act was passed, the only authorized road in the county was the government road from Detroit to Fort Dearborn. Mail was carried over this road by soldiers in knapsacks and a stage line established through contractors. The road ran through what is now Jackson, Westchester and Pine township, and therefore was of no practical benefit to the inhabitant in the central and southern part of the county.

Before the establishment of highways the people depended upon the water course and great Lakes as avenues of travel and commerce. Michigan City was the nearest port of importance to Porter county. Farmers of the tributary region, extending far to the east, the south and the west, went there for their supplies or to market their produce. People reckoned the distance to every point in the county from the city on the lake. Twenty-mile prairie took its name from the measure of distance which separated it from Michigan City.

The roads leading to the port were inferior, and at some seasons were almost impassable. To remedy this state of affairs and afford better facilities for travel, the county commissioners at the June term of 1836 took the preliminary steps for the establishment of a number of highways.

The first petition presented to the board at this session was for a county road "to extend from Portersville (Valparaiso) by the nearest and best route to LaPorte". At the same time viewers were named to view a proposed road from the northeast corner of Section 24, Township 36 north, range 5 west, via Casteel's mill on Salt Creek. Several new roads were projected at the September meeting of the board. One of these roads was from Portersville (Valparaiso) to the county line in the direction of Michigan City.

By a legislative act approved on February 6, 1837, Daniel Leaming, of LaPorte county, William Frakes, of Porter county, and William Hutton, of Lake county, were appointed commissioners to view, mark and locate a state road from the town of LaPort, in LaPorte county, to the town of Portersville (Valparaiso) in Porter county, and thence west by the way of the seat of Justice in Lake county to the Illinois state line, in the direction of Joliet.

Prior to the organization of Porter county the state established a "three per cent" fund to be disbursed by an agent of the state in making internal improvements. By an act passed February 6, 1837, providing for the distribution of the three per cent fund, it was provided that the sum of $2,000 shall be appropriated out of the fund to each of the organized and unorganized counties in the state for the purpose of improving state roads or the construction or repair of bridges.

The addition of the $2,000 to the local revenue proved a great benefit to the people of Porter county and stimulated the building of state roads. Pursuant to acts passed by the legislature of 1839, Philander Paine and William C. Talcott were appointed commissioners to locate a state road commencing at a point on the Valparaiso and Sherwood ferry road and running north to City West. Other roads were laid out. Encouraged by distribution of the three per cent fund the commissioners of Porter county levied as heavy a tax as the citizens could bear for the purpose of building county roads.

The construction of the early highway was a comparatively simple matter. The greatest labor was the removal of timber from the line of the road. Then the low places were filled up and ditches were excavated. Crude bridges were thrown over streams. None of the early roads were more than what are now known as dirt roads. Gravel being scarce and macadamizing too expensive for the treasury, it was several years before any attempt was made to construct an improved highway in the county.


Commonplace at the time, those early years in Porter county, in retrospect, were crowded with events of far-reaching historical significance.

Of chief importance was the creation of the county in the month of March, 1835, at which time the county commissioners of LaPorte county, then having jurisdiction of the soil now comprising the counties of Porter and Lake, ordered that all the territory west of the LaPorte county line and attached to the county be laid off in election districts.

Benjamin Saylor was appointed by Governor Williams to the office of organizing sheriff, and in the first election John Sefford, Benjamin N. Spencer and Noah Fouts, were named county commissioners. The first meeting of the board was held at the home of J. P. Ballard, though the locality of the seat of government had not been determined.

The first work of the board was to arrange the division of the county into townships, and to order the election of their officers.

The selection of the location of the county seat of Porter county resulted in a contest between rival factions who expected every influence in their power to direct the choice of the commissioners who had the matter in charge.

The final contest lay between the two towns of Porterville and Portersville, both of which were mythical, so far as any real settlement was concerned and were to be found only in the plats of their surveys.

Porterville occupied a field immediately east of the old Catholic cemetery, west of Valparaiso, and Portersville the site of the present city of Valparaiso. The first was owned by William K. Talbott; the last, by John Saylor.

The proprietor of Portersville was determined to win at any cost. He divided the town into ten shares, of which he reserved only one for himself, and distributed nine of the shares among his friends. He then offered to present to the county all the streets and alleys, the court house square and half the town lots. Portersville was selected by the commissioners as the county seat, and was recorded, the plat hearing the date of October 31, 1836. Mr. Talbott sadly rolled up his map of Porterville and placed it in his bureau drawer, here mice soon destroyed the only existence the town ever had. Other sites considered were Prattville and Flint Lake.

During the summer and fall of 1836 the young town of Portersville was the scene of active building enterprise. As soon as it became generally known that Portersville was to triumph over its western rival, Porterville, speculation immediately began in lots. Dr. Seneca Ball, who came to Valparaiso in 1836, with his cousin, John C. Ball, entered the practice of medicine, being the first physician in the county.

In October, the circuit court held its first session in the house of John Spurlock. Judge Samuel C. Sample held the "bench" which was a rush-bottomed chair, behind a ---?--- table. It was a damp, chilly autumn, day, with clouds which forboded rain. A large number of persons were in from the country, however, and crowded about and within the court room.

The venerable Judge Sample helped himself to a "short" of brandy at the recorder's bar which was in the front part of the Spurlock home on the site of the present Academy of Music ruins, and was ready for business. Court was declared open, and the first cause called. The suit went by default, as the plaintiff did not appear.

The grand jury, finding no convenient room for their deliberations passed over to the site of the T. G. Miller block to Main street, where the council was held under a burr oak tree. The rain which had been threatening fell; but beneath a canopy of leaves of this council tree, the jurors continued their session. One of them started a fire of logs nearby, and the general blaze and heat imparted some comfort to the cheerless rendezvous.

Within the same year the first liquor saloon was opened by Abraham Hall, in Valparaiso House. In 1837, the court house was erected on the site of the Frank Hunt block on Washington street. The jail was built about the same time by Sheriff Saylor on Mechanic street (Indiana avenue), near Morgan. It was built of white logs and was used for many years. The postoffice was kept in one of the office rooms in the first story of the court house. Court was held in the large room above.

In the winter of 1837, the name of the town was changed from Portersville to Valparaiso by legislative enactment. It happened that a party of old sailors from the South Pacific stopped one night at Hall's old tavern, and passed the evening telling tales of the old Chilian seaport of that name. It was at old Valparaiso that the hero, David Porter for whom the county was named, fought his famous battle on board the "Essex," and at the suggestion of the party of marines, the young county seat was appropriately named for the Spanish-American seaport.

John Herr and Solomon Cheney maintained a tavern - the name of which is not certain - from the early part of 1837 until late in 1838. The American Eagle house was opened as a tavern in 1839. Later David Oakes maintained a hotel, followed by John Dunning and others, including Austin R. Gould.


The foundation of Porter county was built firmly in the "forties". Citizens, industrious and law-abiding made their little settlement an attractive community, and pioneers by the hundreds moved into the county during this period. The population of the county soared from 2,455 in 1840 to 6,229 in 1850, and pioneer industrialists and business leaders launched enterprises destined to lead the county to future greatness.

The decade climaxed in the early days of 1850 with the coming of the railroad, the shriek of the whistle on the Michigan Central railroad in the north part of the county. In that year the Michigan Central and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern railways reached the eastern border of the county. There was a spirited rivalry between the two companies to see which line would first be completed to Chicago. The Michigan Central was the victor, but by a narrow margin. The first freight received by rail in Porter county was a consignment of goods for Hubbard Hunt, then a merchant in Valparaiso. These goods came on a Michigan Central construction train in 1851 to where the town of Porter now stands and there were unloaded upon the open prairie.

The first newspaper in the county was established in 1842 by James Castle, who bought a small hand press and a meager supply of type from Solon Robinson, of Lake county, and removed the outfit to Valparaiso. It was successfully conducted by its founder for two years, when it was sold to William H. Harrison, who changed the name to the Western Ranger. William C. Talcott purchased the paper on April 24, 1847.

History reveals that soon after 1840, citizens of the county became deeply interested in the temperance movement, which was then sweeping throughout the entire country. In the year 1850 the movement of temperance co-workers in Valparaiso and throughout the country began to assume formidable proportions. In 1846 a strong temperance league was organized in Valparaiso, with branches in some four or five other placed in the county. In June, 1847, the legislature provided for local option for the townships to decide whether licenses for sale of spirituous liquors should be granted.

Citizens of Center, Liberty, Jackson, Porter, Morgan, Washington and Portage refused by some substantial majorities to grant licenses, while in Union, Boone, Calumet, Westchester and Pleasant, the people declared for license by small majorities.

William Henry Harrison's Whig electors secured 220 votes to 194 for Martin Van Buren's Democratic Presidential electors in the county election of 1840. The Whigs were also successful in the 1844 election, but went down to defeat in the 1848 nad 1852 runoffs.

The year 1850 saw the incorporation of the Town of Valparaiso. It then had a population of 520. The town council generally met at the recorder's office. Six members comprised the body which was frequently changed, elections being every years.

The decade also saw the formation of two of the county's leading fraternal orders. The Blue Lodge of Masons was constituted about 1840 or 1841, and Chequeuk lodge of Odd Fellows was instituted Dec. 8, 1848.

The first postmaster of Portersville (Valparaiso) was Benjamin McCarthy, and for a time John C. Ball was his deputy. Dissatisfaction existed because of the fact that McCarthy did not reside in the village, resulted in T. A. E. Campbell being appointed in 1839.

A significant undertaking in 1850 was an attempt made to build a plank road between Valparaiso and Michigan City. Roads between Valparaiso and Michigan City, chief market place in this section, were crude and impassable much of the year.

The outlay necessary for the construction of such a road was immense, considering the sparseness and comparative poverty of the population of that day. But the people demanded the road should be built. They looked upon this road as something for the future - something that would last forever - and their vision could decry no time in future ages, however distant, when the wheat and corn of Porter county could not be carried to market in wagons over this plank road.

Construction of the road was commenced in 1850, and was partly finished in three years. The expected cost was $128,000. A number of citizens of the county were stockholders of the plank road company. Money was scarce and much of the cost of construction was paid in orders. For a number of years the orders of the plank road company were in circulation as currency and formed a large position of circulating medium in the hands of the people.

In 1851 a company was originated for the purpose of building a plank road between Valparaiso and LaPorte. No difficultly was experienced in obtaining a right of way over public highways, and about seven miles of plank were laid, part of which was in Porter county and part in LaPorte. For a few years tool was collected, but opposition among the patrons of the road developed because it had not been completed according to the original plan, and the enterprise was abandoned.

Porter county's first agricultural society was organized on June 14, 1851, at a mass meeting of citizens held at the court house. Aaron Lytle was made chairman, and George W. Turner, secretary. The fair was held at the court house on October 29, 1851. The day was rainy and disagreeable, but nevertheless, about 400 persons attended. Eighty dollars in premiums were offered for horses, cattle, swine, sheep, fruit and vegetables, dairy products and farming implements. Successful fairs followed in 1853 and 1858.


The decade from 1870 to the turn of the century witnessed a substantial development both industrially and commercially, in Valparaiso and Porter county, with the population showing a jump from 13,903 in 1870 to 19,175 in 1900.

One of the most important happenings in the seventies was the establishment of Valparaiso university by Henry Baker Brown in 1873. The founding of the school - forerunner of what was to become one of the most widely known education institutions in the country - played a vital part in the transformation of Valparaiso and the county at the dawn of the twentieth century.

During the period of development of the university, Mr. Brown suffered the severest financial embarrassment and the county came to his relief to the amount of $10,000 and the city of Valparaiso bought from him the college buildings for $12,000, giving him the privilege of redeeming them within ten years, without interest. The money was used in new buildings and equipment. Later the amounts were paid back.

In the winter of 1873-74 occurred the "Crusades," in which Christian women visited the saloons and by singing and prayer endeavored to discourage the sale of intoxicants. In Valparaiso the movement reached such proportions as to attract the attention of the press throughout the country. There had been 8 saloons in the city. Complaint was made to Mayor John N. Skinner, who issued a proclamation warning the women from interfering with the business of the saloonkeepers. The women not to be outdone came back with a counter reply stating they had no intention of violating the law, but were simply following the call of God.

During the seventies, Granges of the Patrons of Husbandry were organized in different parts of the country and the co-operative method of purchasing supplies was practiced until the movement fell into decay. At one time there were ten lodged of the Farmers' Alliance in the county, with a membership of 600. On December 20, 1890, fifty--one delegates from these ten subordinate alliances met at Memorial opera house in Valparaiso and formed a county alliance with E. S. Merrifield as present. Unfortunately the usefulness of the Farmers' Alliance was destroyed by its "getting into politics" and the members were deprived from realizing the benefits which might otherwise have resulted from an organization.

By a legislative act passed in 1877, the county commissioners were authorized to build roads of improved character. The act marked the actual beginning of the "good roads movement" in Indiana. The first macadamized road constructed in Porter county was the Jones road in Union township, built in 1897. In building this road the experiment was tried using iron slag as a paving material, but it was soon discovered that the soil contained sulphurous element that dissolved the iron. About the time the Jones road was built work was begun on the Flint Lake road, which has been macadamized all the way to Chesterton.

On March 8, 1871, the contract was let for the erection of a county jail at the corner of Franklin and Indiana avenues in Valparaiso at a cost of $24,335. Some twelve years later some new cells were added and a heating plant installed at a cost of $4,500.

The Peninsular railroad reached Valparaiso in 1847. It soon passed into the hands of the Chicago & Port Huron railroad company and not long after became a part of the Grand Trunk system. The road was completed to Chicago in 18??. About the same time the Baltimore & Ohio also came through the county. Some trouble occurred when this line reached the Michigan Central at Crisman in 1874. The Michigan Central disputed the right of the new road to cross its right-of-way and stationed a number of men there to prevent the Baltimore & Ohio from putting in a crossing. The latter company hurried a force of armed men to the scene and for a little while it looked as though a war was imminent. In the end common sense prevailed and the matter was amicably adjusted.

In 1881 the New York, Chicago and St. Louis railroad was completed through the county to Chicago. It was built by Calvin Brice, at that time head of the Lake Erie system. When the Vanderbilt interests sought to buy it, and were quoted an exorbitant price, one of the Vanderbilts told Brice he would not give a nickel for the old road. Later he bought it at Brice's figure. Brice told the story and since that time the road has been known as the Nickel Plate road.

In 1883, Porter county citizens engaged in the colossal undertaking of erecting a new court house. The contract for the new building was signed on July 25, 1883, with John D. Wilson as general contractor. The corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies on October 24, 1883, under the auspices of the Porter Lodge, No. 137, Free and Accepted Mason. The city was gaily decorated and all business was suspended during the ceremonies. Seven Masonic lodges, several commanderies of Knights Templar, the Grand Army of the Republic, Odd Fellows, city fire department and a number of brass bands from various cities participated in the proceedings. The building cost was $167,348, in which was more than $30,000 in excess of the original contract of the cost. $1,451.88 was for a clock and bell, and some $10,000 for furniture and fixtures.

The national financial collapse of the "nineties" left its imprint in Porter county, throwing many out of employment. Recovery was definite, however, by 1900 the dark days of the preceding decade had been all but forgotten.

The World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 attracted people from all over the world. Railroads running through Porter county did a thriving business. Local business also profited.

The Battleship Maine was blown up in Havana harbor on Feb. 15, 1898, and in the brief but terrible conflict which followed - the Spanish-American war - Porter county met its patriotic obligation in full. Scores of men from the county enlisted and endured the fortune of service in fever-infested Cuban and Philippine jungles.

And then came the twentieth century.


The new century's achievement for Porter county has been a broadening vista of community achievement in things civic, in home building, in commerce and to industry. Through the years since 1900 and down to the modern day Porter county has experienced steady, substantial growth, retarded at times perhaps by economic influences over which the community has no control, but never permanently stayed.

Ninety years have passed since Joseph Bailly - the first white man to settle within the limits of the county - built his lonely cabin on the banks of the Calumet river. Porter county was then a wild region of woodlands, sandhills, marshes and unbroken prairie, inhabited only by wild beasts and uncivilized aborigines. The war-whoop of the Indian was heard by day, and at night the howl of the wolf reverberated through the primeval forest. Across the prairies and through the glades, always following the lines of least resistance, wound sinuous trails of the red man. His rude canoe, propelled by his own brawny arm, glided along the shores of Lake Michigan, or traverse the waters of the Calumet and Kankakee rivers, as he passed from village to village or sought fish or game for food.

Now all is changed. In 1832 the Pottawattomie Indians ceded their lands in Indiana to the United States government, and the next year the actual settlement of Porter county began. Step by step the intrepid pioneers forced their way westward, overcoming all obstacles and penetrating the unexplored wilds, and built up an empire in the wilderness. The war-whoop of the Indian and the howl of the wolf have given way to the whistle of the steam engine and the hum of civilized industry. Where once the Indian trail existed is now a fine, macadamized highway - over which the tourist skins along in his automobile - or the railroad trains of coaches palatial in their magnificence rushing across the country at sixty miles an hour. In place of the rude canoe is the great steel steamer, which plows the waters of Lake Michigan, bearing tons of freight, the product of human skill and labor. The wigwam of the unlettered savage has been supplanted by the school house, and where once stood the totem pole the spire of the church points heavenward. Marsh lands have been reclaimed by an expenditure of thousands of dollars for ditches, the wild prairie has been brought under the dominion of the plow, the forests have been felled and converted into habitations for civilized man. The savage Indian, the wild beast and the uninviting wilderness have gone, never to return. The pioneers who conquered them have left to their posterity a road of dauntless courage, faithful industry, honorable achievement, and an untarnished name.

Population gains in Porter county have never shown any startling increases, but have been steady from the time the county was organized in 1836 to the present time. The United State census of 1840 - the first after the formation of the county as a separate political division - reported the population to be 2,155. The next decade witnessed the greatest proportionate increase in the history, the population in 1850 being 5,229, or an increase of more than 100 per cent. In 1860 the population had reached 10,295, and increase of almost 100 percent during the preceding years. In 1870 it was 13,903; in 1880 it was 17,229; in 1890 it was 18,052; in 1900 it was 19,175 and in 1910 it was 20,540; in 1920 it was 20,256, and in 1930 is was 20,044.

Porter county's modern years, like those of early decades, have been charged with dramatic events. In 1917, there came the World war interlude, directly affecting the lives of thousands of Porter county people, scores of whom made the supreme sacrifice on a field of honor beyond the seas.

Late years brought an era of extremes to the city. In the 'twenties' an unprecedented period of prosperity - good wages, new highs in every line of business endeavor. And more somber times together with the most economically painful depression in the country's history. However, Porter county's centennial shines upon such brighter days, and a promise of still better times to come.

The 36 years since 1900 has been a period of remarkable industrial and agricultural development for the county. Civic development has also gone forward apace. Under several administrations vast programs of paving improvements were carried out with the result that the county is one of the best paved communities in the state. Valparaiso has an excellent water system and excellent sewer facilities, both important health factors.

School facilities throughout the county have improved with building of new high schools in Valparaiso and many of the townships, and the consolidation of school units in the rural sections.

One of the most important events to the City of Valparaiso and Porter county was the saving of Valparaiso university through its acquisition by the Lutheran University Association in 1925. The institution, tettering under the effects of the World war and the depression of later years was about to go under when the Lutherans stepped in and took it over.

Another outstanding happening during the last two decades was the building of hard surfaced roads through the county by state and national governments among them being the Dunes Highway, Dunes Relief, State Roads 6, 49, 30, 130, and 2, and other highways.

Development of the motor car through the years - and with the automobile heralding a new day in transportation for the community, recreational advantages accruing to citizens were increased a thousand fold. Radio and the motion pictures have likewise played an important part in the evolution of the county during the quarter past century.

Thus the story of Porter county has been unfolded during the years. Thus it has evolved into the throbbing community of today.

A county in the heart of one of the finest trading, manufacturing and commercial sections of Indiana' a county which is one of the leaders in agriculture in the state; a county of fine homes, churches and schools, a county that is destined for greater development because of its proximity to the Calumet region and Chicago district.

Porter county's finest century has become history, but Porter county's story has just begun.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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