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 2, Page 21.



In the winter of 1837 a party of marines and sailors from South Pacific ocean stopped one night at Hall's Tavern, in Portersville, now Valparaiso. They were visited by a number of citizens of the town.

True to the sailor's instinct these men loved to "spin a yard", and until a late hour they regaled the townspeople with tales of the old Chilean seaport of Valparaiso and the other South Pacific ports.

Finally one of them suggested that as the county was named in honor of Commodore David Porter whose famous battle while in command of the Essex was fought near the port of Valparaiso, Chile, it would be appropriate to name the county seat after that town.

The suggestion was accepted and later a bill was gotten through the General Assembly of Indiana in 1837 changing the name of Portersville to Valparaiso.

The word Valparaiso is of Spanish origin, signifying "Vale of Paradise."

In one sense the application is a misnomer, for the city is not located in a vale, but on the crest of the moraine that divides the basic of the Great Lake from the Valley of the Kankakee.

However, the name is appropriate in other respects, the neat homes, surrounded by well-kept lawns, the broad streets, the general air of cleanliness and prosperity, all combine to give the visitor a glimpse of "Paradise."

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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