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 3, Pages 7-9.


Rural Schools and Teachers Compile Record of Events Since Coming of Pioneers

Conditions Before Settlement

The region now known as Center Township comprises a rectangle six miles north and south, and five miles east and west. The east tier of sections being in Township 35 North, Range 5 East; while the remainder is in Township 35 North, Range 6 West.

Center Township, in common with the rest of Porter County, contains little to interest the student of ancient geology, since there is a covering of glacial drift ranging from one to two hundred feet in thickness. The geologist, therefore, must content himself with a study of events since the ice age.

Its principal lakes are Flint, part of Long, Spectacle, and Bullseye, all of which lie north of Valparaiso.

The township is drained largely by two creeks. Crooked Creek has its head waters in Flint and Long Lakes, and flows as its name implies in a crooked southeastern direction to the Kankakee River. Salt Creek originally took the overflow of Bullseye Lake and what is now Sager's, then turned to the west and north and found its way to the Calumet River. Thus we find Valparaiso in the St. Lawrence Basin; while Flint, Long and numerous lakes to the north of them are in the Mississippi Basin. The divide crosses Road 49 just south of the Flint Lake School, bends northward through the Shauer property and between Spectacle Lake and Flint and Long Lakes.

The land was mostly rolling, and except here and there where either lakes, marshes, or prairies dotted its surface, it was covered with heavy timber. This consisted mostly of oak, maple, shell-bark, hickory, and other hard wood trees. The soil of the upland was clay or clay loam, and while not as valuable as some of the prairie land, yet it produced most crops quite well.

Whereas there is no definite proof of the fact, yet undoubtedly the first inhabitants of Center Township were Mound Builders. This seems reasonable since mounds and relics of theirs are found in adjoining townships.

In common with the rest of the country, the Indians roamed through the woods and fished in its lakes and streams. Many relics of them are still found, and the early white settlers told many stories about them. However, in 1838 they were removed to beyond the Mississippi by order of the national government. Trouble was anticipated in this ordeal, but stern orders avoided bloodshed.

The first whites to claim this region were the French, who laid claim because of the explorations of Robert de LaSalle and others.

A Spaniard named Don Eugenio Pierre came from sty. Louis early in 1781 with a force of sixty Indians from the West, intending to seize the lake region for Spain. It is thought he followed the Old Sac Trail through the location where Valparaiso now stands.

By the treaty of 1783 the United States gained title to this region, and in 1796 this claim was acknowledged by England.

Early Settlers of Center Township

Sometime in the late summer or early fall of 1833 Seth Hull located a claim on or near the present site of Valparaiso; thereby becoming the first white settler of Center Township. He remained but a short time, selling his claim to J. S. Wallace and going on farther west. Thomas A. E. Campbell took a claim east of Hull's near the Washington Township line. He built a cabin here, but soon afterward went back to New York State. In 1835 he returned, but instead of perfecting the old claim title, he bought out the claim of Philander A. Paine and remained here the rest of his life. In 1834 Benjamin McCarty came and settled on section 22 on the Joliet Road; Ruel Starr located a claim in the eastern part of the township. Philander A. Paine built a cabin on the northeast quarter of Section 23. His father located east of the Salt Creek Bridge on the Joliet Road and began the erection of a sawmill, but it was never finished. During the same year a man named Nise settled on the northwest quarter of Section 24, about three-quarters of a mile northeast of the public square; but soon afterward sold out to a German by the name of Charles Minnick. In this year also came J. P. Ballard who erected the first building within the present city limits. In 1835 C. A. Ballard came and located on the grounds known as belonging to the old W. C. Talcott place. The second (1836) election of the county was supposed to have been held at the Ballard residence. Samuel A. Shigley in 1835 came and built a sawmill where the Sager Flour Mill was later located. Henry Stoner, Abraham Stoner and a man by the name of Billups also came in 1835. These settlers settled in the southeast part of the township.

Alanson Finney, several of whose people are still prominent came in 1835. He settled in the east part of the township near the Ruel Starr settlement. Mr. Finney was born in 1805 and came from Madison County, New York. He came, as did most of our early settlers, to better his conditions in life. While in New York he worked in the distillery business, which was the means of his coming west. He was so zealous in the cause of religion that he was instrumental of the building of the Baptist Church in Valparaiso. In 1836 he went back to New York to marry Miss Laura Allen, after which he came back to Indiana.

Timothy Keene was born in Cortland County, New York in 1825. In 1859 he came here with his father, mother, and seven brothers and sisters. He was reared as a farmer, but received an academic education. He married Susan A. Parks of New York in 1849. Mr. Keene served as a school commissioner for several years, and was also active in the Baptist Church.

Nehemiah Merrill came here from Ohio and settled near Flint Lake in 1836. His sons, James (1832-1921) and George W. (1833-1915) each lived here for over eighty years, where amid the wild and romantic scenery of the lake they reduced fishing to an art. Both were outstanding, upright citizens, and George was a trustee of the Methodist Church.

Thomas G. Lytle, second mayor of Valparaiso, was born in Ohio in 1824. He and his parents removed to Valparaiso in 1852, where they built a sawmill. In 1864 he organized a company of volunteer infantry, of whom he was chosen captain. He was twice married, Mrs. Perry L. Sisson being a daughter by the second marriage.

Raphael Kinne was born in New York State in 1817. He settled in Valparaiso in 1836, where he had a blacksmith shop and was also deputy sheriff. Having removed to Kinne's Corners about 1840, he organized the Flint Lake Methodist Church in his shop, which he moved and remodeled for that purpose. He was minister there until he moved west in 1856.

Space permitting no more, the following pioneers will receive honorable mention: A. V. Bartholomew, who came in 1835; Jacob Axe; Dr. Seneca Ball; John C. Ball; and Jeremiah Hammell, who came in 1836, and William E. Brown, who settled in 1839.

Industries of Center Township

In the early history of Center Township agriculture played an important part. Most of the farms were small ranging from forty to one hundred ten acres in size. All members of the family worked hard for long hours each day producing on the farm nearly all of the food needed. Each family had its own cows, chickens, and hogs to supply milk, butter, eggs and meat. Vegetables and fruit were raised and dried or canned for winter use. Practically all the clothes worn by the family were made at home.

The farm usually had its wood lot which furnished the fuel for both heating and cooking. Many of the farmers cut and sold wood to the people of the nearby towns.

Surplus butter and eggs were sold at the local stores or traded for merchandise. Grain, hay, and hogs were sometimes a source of cash income.

For years most of the farms have been dairy farms. Milk was first peddled from house to house in large cans and dipped out with half-pint, pint, or quart measurers. This is in striking contrast to the methods now used. Located within convenient distance of the Chicago market, Center Township today offers splendid inducements to the farmer and dairyman. Most of the milk is sent into this market or the Calumet region under Chicago inspection. Late ordinances require sterilizing tanks for cans and milking utensils. Dairy barns must be ready for inspection at all times, and cows cleaned before each milking. The milker is required to wear clean clothes and wash his hands between the milking of each cow. Milk must be taken from the barn immediately after milking and cooled to a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Inspectors may appear at any time to see that these rules are observed. If they find the farmer disregarding them, he is shut off the Chicago market.

On farms where milk is bottled, it must be either pasteurized or all bottled on the farm where it is produced. Bottles and all utensils must be sterilized with live steam.

There has also been a great change in machinery used on the farm. Instead of the old walking plow drawn by two horses, the large gang plow drawn by six or more horses is used. The tractor is used on many of the farms and the small combine suitable for use on the dairy farm is coming into use.

Pumping water by hand has been replaced by windmills, gasoline engines, or electric motors.

The growing of timothy hay has given way to production of alfalfa, soy beans, and clover hay with modern equipment to handle it.

Better farming is still being encouraged by the "Agricultural Fair," which was begun in Center Township by the first "Agricultural Society" organized at the Court House in Valparaiso in 1851. This society planned an annual fair to encourage better farming and started holding them in the fall of 1851. Premiums were offered for horses, cattle, swine, sheep, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and farming implements.

This fair was considered such a success that it was held yearly until 1862 when it had to be discontinued because of the Civil War. It was not resumed until the fall of 1871.

A large number of the country homes in Center Township are small places of from one to ten acres. On most of these places some poultry is raised, fruit and vegetables are grown for home use, and the owners or tenants work in the mills or factories of the near-by cities.

In 1835-1836, the same year that Center Township was organized, Samuel Shigley built a sawmill on Salt Creek one mile south of Valparaiso where Mr. Sager later had a flour

mill. A little later a mill for carding wool was put up and run for several years about one and one-half miles south of Valparaiso near Salt Creek. The water flowed from a large spring and was carried through a hollow beech log to an over-shot wheel of great diameter. To this was attached burrs used for grinding wheat and corn. On Salt Creek a half-mile above Sager's Mill, a little later, was erected a carding mill used for several years. In 1841 William Cheney built a flour mill, later owned by William Sager and greatly enlarged and improved.

Other flour mills were built in this neighboring district and the power furnished, for the most part, by springs in the south and southeastern section of the city. In 1855 a steam flour mill and sawmill was built within the limits of Valparaiso. In 1861 this mill burned and the timber of the township being nearly all north of Valparaiso its manufacture had to turn in that direction. There being no water power north of Valparaiso, a steam sawmill was put up at Flint Lake, the exact date being uncertain. This was sold to Aaron Lytle and later owned by his son, Richard W. Lytle. He had two twenty-eight feet boilers, forty-four inches in diameter. In 1863 the end of one of those boilers blew out and the boiler was carried a distance of twenty-five rods into the marsh at the end of Flint Lake. Later this boiler was removed to a paper mill then being erected in Valparaiso. In connection with this steam sawmill an extensive stave factory was carried on for a number of years. In 1878 a sawmill was built at Flintville which burned in 1881.

The first tannery in the township was built by Mr. Hatch in 1843 south of the corporation limits of Valparaiso at that time. A little later a small tannery was operated by John Marks south of the Pennsylvania Railroad east of Franklin street. About 1860 a steam tannery was built south of the Fort Wayne Railroad east of Washington street. In 1874 this tannery burned to the ground and the tannery business ceased in Center Township and Valparaiso to this day.

Manufacturing of wagon stuffs, bent wagon felloes, buggy felloes, shafts and poles, plow handles and beams, sled timbers, cheese boxes, etc. are examples of various kinds of manufacturers.

A planing industry was set up in 1858. A factory for manufacturing of sashes, doors, and blinds was built on Main and Monroe Streets in 1864. White, Hunt, and Company engaged in the lumber trade about 1866, and started a planing mill in 1869 or 1870. They commenced selling hard coal in 1870 and were the first dealers in this place. Not more than eight or ten carloads were sold the first year. An early lumber yard was started on the northwest corner of Washington and Monroe streets. After the building of the Grand Trunk railroad, a lumber yard was started at the depot.

A cooper factory was started here in 1856 and numerous other establishments of like character have flourished from time to time. Beginning about 1872, several brickyards were established at various places. For some time this was the leading manufacturing interest. Both pressed and common brick were made.

Cigars were manufactured in Valparaiso for many years although the production was small.

Soda water was also manufactured and bottled here for several years.

The Valparaiso Paper Mills were built in 1867 with Don A. Salyer as proprietor.

The Valparaiso Woolen Manufacturing company was organized in 1866. A good building was erected an excellent machinery procured. Buildings and machinery were very expensive, prices were on the down grade, the water at the mill was not suitable, and various other reasons made the enterprise unprofitable. The goods manufactured here were knitting yarn, jeans, flannels, and occasionally blankets and other fabrics.

In 1872 arrangements were made with the three Fontaine Brothers for the establishing of a National Pin Factory in place of the woolen works. This factory at the time of its establishment, was the only one west of New York, and was one of but four in the United States. This factory continued for three years. During this time the manufacturing of yarn, etc., was given up for the time, and the manufacturing of shoddy, a cloth made of woolen waste, was introduced in 1873 and continued until 1877, under the management of H. H. Capamagian, a native of America. In 1877 Mr. Capamagian moved to Chicago and had just perfected some machinery for the manufacture of shoddy, when he came to a sudden, untimely end by being caught in the machinery of his mill.

Some of this machinery was put in the woolen mills and this work was again started by the Powell family. Germantown yarn was made almost exclusively until 1881 when the knitting of hosiery was added. The principal market for this manufactured goods was Chicago. This plant moved to Muskegan, Michigan, where one of the sons of the founders is still operating a knitting mill.

Then Mike Barry took over the building for his wagon works. This plant was operated for several years and was succeeded by the Cosmo-Buttermilk Soap company, which came here from Elkhart, Indiana.

In 1899 the Chicago Mica company organized the year before, with eastern capital, decided upon location here and purchased this factory, which was one of the city's oldest factory buildings. M. A. Snyder came here from Philadelphia as the first superintendent. Among the several officials who have succeeded Mr. Snyder are L. T. Frederick and John Griffin of this city who, starting with the Chicago Mica Company as an office boy, had through successive advancements, been made superintendent, and a large expansion program was inaugurated. Mr. Frederick was in charge of sales.

Then came a broadening of operations to include the manufacture of fibroc products. A period of rapid expansion followed and in 1926 a preferred stock issue of $100,000 was placed on the market. Much of it being bought by Valparaiso investors.

Two years later Victor Despard, long associated with the McGill industries here, severed connections therewith, and with Mr. Frederick purchased Mr. Griffins holdings. Another large addition to the plant was built. Steps were taken to merge the local plants with other associated industries.

Shortly after this, Mr. Despard sold his interests to the Continental Diamond Fibre company. Mr. Frederick remained in charge for a few months and withdrew from the company. With the passing of Mr. Frederick, L. L. Howard was placed at the head of the Valparaiso operations.

The Parker Paint company, located on Poplar and Locust streets, was established in Valparaiso in the late eighties and is one of the city's oldest industrial landmarks. On December 16, 1935 it was purchased solely by the two Bowman Brothers, natives of Muncie, Indiana. A new corporation is being formed under the name of the Parker Paint and Varnish Manufacturing Corporation. In about 1888 Mr. Parker came from Chicago and operated a fruit evaporating plant. This he turned into a paint and varnish factory, which was two years later destroyed by fire. It was then that he bought the present site of the Parker factory. His brother was associated with him and later, he turned the management over to his two sons, who operated it until 1931, when one son retired. Since that time the business has been managed by C. H. Parker, Jr. who has been actively connected with the concern since 1906.

In the year 1896, Mr. Christ Martin started a feed grinding establishment in part of a barn on the rear of his lot located at 558 West Main street (now known as Lincolnway). During the season of the year when he was not running his threshing machine or clover huller, he ground feed for the farmers, using the first and only mill of this kind in Valparaiso. At first he used his steam engine for power but later, about the year 1910, he installed a twenty-five horsepower electric motor which proved to be very satisfactory. Being well acquainted with the farmers, and having a good grinding outfit, he soon had a large business. The Martin Feed Mill became a popular and satisfactory grinding establishment to both the proprietor and customers.

In July, 1913, Mr. Martin made a trip to Edgewater Beach, Flint lake, on his new motorcycle and was struck by a street car at the Edgewater crossing and killed. His widow then sold the business to William Theadens in November, 1913. Mr. Theadens then hired the present owner, W. T. Kinne as a helper. Farming requiring most of his time, Mr. Theadens decided to sell the mill. His helper, W. T. Kinne, purchased the mill on May 1, 1914, and is still operating it. It has since been rebuilt and modern machinery installed throughout. Now it is one of the most modern equipped mills of its size in this locality. In March, 1934, an extension was added. Handling a complete line of commercial feed and grain, it is in position to render the best of service. Today it manufactures its own poultry and dairy feed made under the name of "Best by Test."

James H. McGill started the present McGill Manufacturing Company in 1904. The original organization was known as the Cresent company. In 1910 the Cresent Company was incorporated as the McGill Manufacturing company. The new corporation continued manufacturing the same products that the Cresent Company had produced. In 1918 the Levalier Switch patents were secured. The McGill Manufacturing company, in 1930, took over the McGill Metal company which until that time had been a separate corporation, engaged in the manufacture and sale of Precision Ball and Roller Bearings, and Aluminum Bronze Die Castings. In 1933, the Klin-McGill Golf Manufacturing Company which had been incorporated separately was also made a division of the corporation. Operations are carried on at four different plants located in the several parts of the city. Each division of McGill Manufacturing company has its own selling organization. The products of each are thoroughly distributed over the United States and exports are made to foreign countries.

The Indiana Steel Products located in the northeastern part of the city was founded in 1910 in a frame building. It has now developed to considerable size. This is the only company in the United States specializing in the one product, permanent magnets. This company furnishes approximately eighty per cent of the total number of magnets sold to the trade. The direct export business is chiefly with Canada and Japan. However, a good many of the magnets manufactured are exported in the articles manufactured by the magnet consumers. It requires over two million pounds of high grade magnet steel per year to fill the demand.

The manufacture of permanent magnets is a specialized industry in which quality alone governs the cost or selling factor of the article.

The factory on State Road 49, that houses the P. H. Kantro Industries, was first owned and operated by C. W. Hall in 1925. At that time toy specialties were made such as children's educational desks, cedar chests, and special orders. These were shipped allover the United States and to some foreign countries.

This factory was rented to the Conkey Coach Company, but later sold to Mr. Kantro, The present owner. The division on State Road 49 takes in old films from clinics, x-ray laboratories, and hospitals. It removes the exposure and brings out the natural state of transparent celluloid. They sell this to leather companies making pocket books, key cases, identification tags, etc. Crown Point is the nearest purchaser.

The other division is on Valparaiso street. They take in glass negatives from the same sources as above, remove the exposure, and bring out the natural glass. Some of this glass is sold locally.

The Lion Electric Appliance Corporation was sold on December 5, 1935 and the business was entirely discontinued. The factory buildings are now occupied by the Harrold-Fisher Company, metal refiners.

The Chautauqua Grade Products, located at  the west end of Chicago street and the Home Ice Company located on Monroe street are other factories doing business in Valparaiso at the present time.

The Foster Lumber and Construction company, incorporated, is the outgrowth of an organization established some forty year ago in the lumber and coal business, near the Grand Trunk railway. The business originated under the name of Kirk & Foster, but after the death of Mr. Kirk was conducted under the name of Charles E. Foster for several years. In 1920, however, a corporation was formed under the name of Foster Lumber & Coal company, Inc., with activities extending over Porter and surrounding counties.

Electric lights were introduced into Porter county in the year of 1894. Electricity was then manufactured in Valparaiso and service was available only in the city, and to a limited number of people. Service could be had only from dusk until twelve midnight.

The industry was started by an out of town man. This man sold his interest shortly afterwards to a number of local business men, who operated plants until 1905, when the utility again changed hands. The new owner completely remodeled the plant, changed the service from direct to alternating, and continuous day and night service first became available. In 1912 this man sold out to the American Public Utilities company of Grand Rapids, Mich. In 1926 the company was sold to the Calumet Gas and Electric Company. Later that year the company became a unit of the Northern Indiana Public Service company.

Electricity has not been manufactured in Valparaiso since the year of 1912. At the present time there are three sources of supply: The State Line Generating Station, Hammond, Ind.; the Michigan City Generating Station; and Hydro-Electric plants at Monticello, Ind. Service from these sources is supplied over three high voltage lines.

Gas service was introduced into Valparaiso prior to electric service. However, only a very limited number of people had this service. The utility was a separate company from the electric company at that time. In 1905, however, both gas and electric utilities were operated by the same concern. Gas was manufactured in Valparaiso until 1925. High pressure gas lines now bring the gas into the city from manufacturing plants in East Chicago, Ind., owned by the Northern Indiana Public Service Company.

Alexander Lippman came in 1900 from South Bend, Ind. He bought the store on Indiana avenue, now occupied by the Marks Barber shop. He just had the hide business at that time. In 1906 he moved to the John McGillicuddy property where the Post Office now is. This building was used for the warehouse and office. The junk business was then added.

In 1915 he sold this property to the government for the post office and moved to the present location. The son then became a partner in the business. At that time a modern building was constructed and the poultry and egg business was added. In 1933 it became Lippman Company, Inc.

The present Specht-Finney Department store was originally purchased by Claus F. Specht and Stephen L. Finney from A. Bartholomew in 1878 and located in the building now occupied by the Building and Loan company. Twenty years later the Specht, Finney, Skinner company was organized and a new building constructed on the corner of Lincolnway and Franklin avenue where the Farmers State Bank is now located. Later the Specht-Finney company was organized. The store is now located at 105-107 Lincolnway and owned by Herman E. Sievers.

J. Lowenstine & Sons Department store, located on Franklin avenue has been in business continuously since 1885. It is the largest department store in Valparaiso at the present time.

The J. C. Penny, a large department store, now located on Lincolnway, has been in business here since March 1926.

The "business district" which includes the district east and west from Morgan Boulevard to Napoleon street and north and south from Jefferson street to Indiana avenue, comprises various business concerns too numerous to mention.

The first city tavern was a frame building constructed in 1836 on the alley opposite the Court House on the east side of the public square which was later occupied by the Hans Bornholdt meat market. In 1839 Abram Hall opened a tavern, "The American Eagle House," on the southeast corner of Main and Franklin streets. There were no country taverns at an early day along the lines of travel for the shelter and refreshment of wayfarers. The latchstring of the settler was "out" and offered the only accommodation. The only public houses of the township were in Valparaiso.

"The Western Ranger," the first newspaper in Valparaiso, was published weekly by William Harrison and William Talcott from 1847 to 1949. The "Practical Observer," another newspaper, was published weekly by William Talcott. The "Vidette" and the "Messenger," two later papers published in Valparaiso, were on July 5, 1927 united under the name "Vidette-Messenger" and published daily by John Mavity and Lynn Whipple. Later Mr. Whipple took over the editing of the paper.

Outside the city of Valparaiso the most interesting region is the "lake district" north of the city. Here is found the source of the city's water supply. In 1885 the original pumping station was constructed by the Michigan Pipe company of Bay City, Michigan. All water was sent to Valparaiso in wooden pipes covered with tar and wrapped in iron bands. In 1904, the station was purchased and has since been owned and operated by the Valparaiso Home Water Company. The plant has been rebuilt and equipped and has a total daily capacity of 4,500,000 gallons.

From the year 1869 the lake district has furnished ice more or less to people of Valparaiso until three years ago when the Lytle family who had put up ice all those years sold out to the Home Ice company of Valparaiso.

In 1876 the district was also a scene of interest when a steamboat for pleasure was placed on the lake. It operated for six or eight years and then was taken to the Kankakee River.

Today the lake is used as a pleasure resort. The summer population is increasing yearly. On special occasions large numbers of people participate in the various amusements offered at the resort.

Roads and Transportation

Before the establishment of highways, the people depended to a large extent upon the water courses and the Great Lakes as avenues of travel and commerce. They also used the Indian trails.

In 1834 a road was established in township 35, Range 6.  It was possibly about one-half mile south of present State Road 2.

In June, 1836, the county commissioners took 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 by the best and nearest route to the new crossway between Andrew Taylor's and James Blair's thence to the county line, intersecting a road leading via Cathcart's Grove to LaPorte." In response to the petition the board appointed Wilson Malone, Morris Witham, and James W. Turners viewers.

Several new roads were projected at the September term of the commissioner's court, though not all of them were built. Isaac Morgan, Reason Bell, and Andrew Taylor were appointed viewers for a road from Portersville (Valparaiso) to the county line near the mouth of Taylor's Run. This became known as the Joliet Road.

Another road ran from the northeast corner of Section 22, Township 33, Range 7 to Portersville. Henry Rinker, Isaac Morgan, and John Shinabarger were the viewers. Other roads were those running from Portersville to Thomas Snow's store; from Portersville to Elijah Casteel's mill; from Portersville to Athens near Gosset's mill; from the new bridge on the Calumet river at the mouth of Salt Creek to Deep River; and from Portersville to the county line in the direction of Michigan City.

The construction of the early highway was a comparatively simple matter. The greatest labor involved was in the removal of the timber from the line of the road. Then the low places were filled up, ditches excavated along the side of road in places that needed draining, and crude bridges thrown over the streams. None of the early roads was more than what was 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. Probably the first effort of this nature was made in the fall of 1850. It was built from Valparaiso to Michigan City. Michigan City was still the leading supply and receiving point for the people of Porter county, and remembering the impassable roads at certain seasons during the preceding fifteen years, they gave an almost unanimous support to the plank road project, hoping thereby to enjoy better transportation facilities.

In connection with the construction of this plank road, the company organized a private bank and used bank bills of their own issue in paying for material and labor used in building the road. At that time there were numerous private banks scattered over the country, the issues of which were generally known as "wild-cat" money because of the uncertainty of its redemption in specie. The plank road bank, however, maintained its circulation at par with gold, redeeming the notes at any time upon demand.

With a company so strong financially, it would naturally be supposed that the plank road would be promptly constructed but such was not the case. Work was commenced soon after the right of way was secured, most of the road between Valparaiso and Chesterton was planked but between Chesterton and Michigan City there were stretches where a plank was never laid, the company depending upon the compact sandy soil to furnish a solid road bed without going to the expense of covering the surface with planks. Toll was collected for a few years upon the road, when the company ceased to exist, and the much talked of plank road fell into decay.

A company was organized in 1851 for the purpose of building a plank road between Valparaiso and LaPorte. About seven miles of plank were laid, part in Porter county and some in LaPorte county.

The act of 1877 serves as the basis of the gravel roads laws of the state. In 1898 work was begun on the Flint Lake Road, which was macadamized all the way to Chesterton. The auditor's report of 1911 showed that Porter County had issued gravel road bonds to the amount of $948,580 of which $274,748.50 had been paid. Macadamized roads lead from Valparaiso to Chesterton, LaPorte, Wheeler, Hebron, and southwest to one mile of the village of Hurlburt.

There are now several concrete state highways in Center township. State Road 2 runs from Valparaiso through Hebron; State Road 30 from Valparaiso to Fort Wayne and beyond; State Road 49 from Valparaiso to Dunes State Park; State Road 130 from Valparaiso to Gary.

By the middle of the nineteenth century it was apparent that Chicago was destined to be the great commercial metropolis of the Middlewest, and it was not a very difficult matter to interest capitalists in the proposition to build a line of railway from Chicago eastward with a view of ultimately touching the Atlantic Seaboard. About April 1, 1857 work was commenced in Valparaiso. The work was completed from Fort Wayne to Valparaiso about the first of October, 1858, and was finished to Chicago a year later.

The Peninsular Railroad reached Valparaiso in 1874. It soon passed into the hands of the Chicago and Port Huron Railroad company and not long afterwards became a part of the Grand Trunk system. The road was completed to Chicago in 1875.

In 1881 the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Line was completed through the county to Chicago. This road is popularly known as the "Nickel Plate." The road was built by Calvin Brice, at the time head of the Lake Erie System, and, as soon as it was completed, he offered it for sale to the Vanderbilt interests. At first Mr. Vanderbilt thought the price exorbitant but as it was a dangerous competitor to the Vanderbilt Lines, Mr. Vanderbilt purchased it at the original figure.

At the close of the year 1911 the valuation of railroad property of Center township was $701,650.

Education in Center Township

The character of the early inhabitants of Center township is indicated by the fact that teaching and preaching were of prime importance from the day they settled the land. Sometimes these were separate functions; very often the preacher also engaged in eking out the meager instruction possible in the crowded pioneer homes by holding school in his house or some other cabin, where the parents were anxious for their children's education. The number and close proximity of these schools was due to the difficulties of transportation, the ease with which an institution of learning was organized and also disestablished, and the desire of nearly every family that the teacher should be of the same religious faith as the families whom he served. The present Mennonite church was originally a school house; five blocks to the southeast, at the same time, stood another school building on the lot now occupied by the Immanuel Lutheran church. The home just north of the Saran Apartments was a schoolhouse. The first schoolhouse in the town stood for forty years where the Presbyterian church was erected in 1884. The Reverend J. C. Brown had a two-room school building on his lot. It was torn down when the public library was built there. The Grant Crumpacker house on Jefferson Street between Morgan and Valparaiso Streets occupies the site of another schoolhouse, and the red brick between Indiana Avenue and Monroe street on Morgan Boulevard was once a schoolhouse. Another, almost a facsimile of the last mentioned, stood at the corner of Valparaiso and Erie streets for many years, and another one on the lot now occupied by the Methodist parsonage.

A water course ran diagonally through the town, crossing Jefferson street a few rods east of the public library and Main street, now Lincolnway, about where French and Arnold have built their automobile sales room. The children west of the creek had to cross it each day going to and from school. Mrs. George Finney tells how each night the soles and vamps of the children's cowhide shoes were tallowed to keep out the water. Rubbers were unknown at that time.

As the religious distinctions, when the town boasted only six hundred inhabitants, the Methodists had erected in 1859 a seminary at the foot of College Avenue called the Valparaiso Male and Female College. The teachers in the V. M. & F. C. in 1859 were the Reverend C. M. Sims, F. D. Carley, Mrs. Loomis, Miss Hall, and Miss Moore. The Presbyterians had opened (1861) a similar institution of higher learning, Valparaiso Collegiate Institute, on the lot where the Central school now stands. The Methodists had much the more pretentious building, an upright, three stories high, with wings to the east and west of two stories. The Presbyterian academy of learning was a two-story building of four large rooms. The Methodist College building burned in 1923.

When a system of public schools was organized in 1871, the trustees purchased the Valparaiso Collegiate Institute and used the building for one unit of their enterprise. They built a third story on the original structure, and some hundred feet to the north erected an exact replica. They connected the two with an upright, also three stories, the northeast and southeast corners crowned with towers; one a belfry, the other an outlook. This gave them sixteen large rooms and a chapel of noble dimensions. Much space was wasted in large halls, four in number, with staircases running to the third story. A high picket fence enclosed the grounds and the pupils gained entrance by two stiles, one at the northeast corner, one at the southeast. A pulley over the south entrance made it possible to hoist heavy furniture and supplies to the third floor. This was the first effort to consolidation of public schools in Porter county. Until 1903, when it was torn down, it was a source of pride to the people of Valparaiso. Such were the roads up to that time, however, that pupils of high school age living near Sager's were obliged to board in town if they wished to pursue their studies farther than the lower grades. Out in the Mica Factory district a public school was maintained until late years because of the bad roads.

These little school-houses were a Godsend to young teachers, who frequently taught only ten or a dozen pupils. On the other hand, these pupils might be distributed through all eight grades. Double seats with desks were an innovation in 1871. Schoolhouses before that time had benches or seats accommodating three or even four pupils. A log was left out and the opening filled with oiled paper to let in light in the first schools. We should pity the pupils who sat in the middle of a bench. The monstrous wood stoves, often with the pipe running half way across the room and leaking creosote at every joint down on the heads of the pupils, were surrounded by a sheet iron screen in an effort to distribute the heat to all parts of the room; but in general the pupils were divided into two groups in winter, those who roasted and those who freeze. As to the size of the stoves, Dr. Andrew Letherman told that he was one day sitting on the dunce stool in the grade room of Mr. Brown's school, when he saw Dr. Brown coming for his morning inspection. Unwilling to be caught in his humiliating position, (this was in the summer) he opened the stove door and crawled in. When the inspection was over he emerged covered with soot. He said his condition was so comical that the teacher could not help smiling and sent him to the well to wash up. In these schools there were no libraries, no laboratories, few text books or equipment of any kind. Yet barring the hardships, these schools approached very closely to the goals set up by educators today -- a sense of responsibility, cooperation, and the ability to get along with one's neighbors by actually living with them under the guidance of a leader. Recess and the noon hour were given to the same recreations enjoyed today, under class leaders instead of coaches and supervisors.

The first school taught in the township was on Section 7, one mile north of the Fair Grounds near Road 49, close to the airport. Miss Mary Hammond opened the school in 1835. The first school in the village, 1837, was the one on the Presbyterian lot taught by a man named Masters. He was followed by Miss Eldred. Masters was a very severe man. Mr. William Bartholomew used to tell of the cruel punishments he devised. At the state centennial meeting in Schelling Theater, 1916, D. C. Herr told of his first days in Master's school. A lad of five, he was told to learn the alphabet by rote and to be able to recognize each of the letters before the close of school the first day. He was unable to finish the task and received a thrashing. The second day was a repetition of the first; but on the third he was able to satisfy the requirements of the master. He believed the man would have preferred to give him another licking. Several of the masters bear no better reputation than the one characterized above. Others were universally beloved. Ashley L. Peirce, the Reverend Horace Foot, Benjamin Wilcox, and James McFetrich were leaders in the community, as were also Sylvester Smith, S. L. Bartholomew, and the Reverend Blackburn. In the St. Clair neighborhood, called earlier the Hughart Settlement, Mrs. Emily Skinner taught school in the log cabin in which she lived for several winters and summers. She was a woman of unusual culture and refinement, a native of Vermont. The first school of record in the Cook's Corners district was a log building standing about one-half mile to the northwest of the present structure. The seats were arranged around the walls so desks could be formed by laying boards on pins driven into the logs.

The pay of the teachers was uniformly small and uncertain. Two dollars a week and board was munificent. Most of the districts insisted on the teacher spending his time equally in the homes of the patrons. A concession was made in the depth of winter in favor of the family living closest to the place of assembly. If the teacher had a family, wood, vegetables, meat, and grain were accepted for tuition instead of cash. A child whose tuition was not paid could not at one time sit near the stove.

For many years there were four terms in the rural schools -- spring, summer, autumn and winter. The big boys had time for study in the winter; the small children in the summer. Often there was a different teacher each term. This was true even after the schools had been organized under a county superintendent. By 1880 the pay was $25 a month for three terms, and $35.00 for the winter term, which was generally taught by a man. At this time the number of district schools had been reduced to nine: Clifford, Hayes, Leonard, Sager, Breyfogle, Cobb, Flint Lake, Cook's Corners, and St. Clair. The writer knew two teachers who taught in four of the country schools all in one year, going from one district to another to satisfy the caprice of some patron, school adviser, or trustee.

The Reverend J. C. Brown was the first apostle of higher education in the township. Miss Louise Benney assisted him. She was the first woman in the town to receive a college degree, being a graduate of Lake Erie college. Mr. Brown in the fifties prepared boys for Ann Arbor. Noah, Caleb, and Augustus Starr were among his pupils. They studied Greek, Latin, Ancient History, Mental Philosophy, and high mathematics under him.

In 1851 Ashley L. Peirce and Eliza Forsythe, later Mrs. William Wilson, Sr., organized the Union school on Monroe Street. Two years later Mr. Peirce, Marietta Skinner, and a Miss Fifield opened the Union school of Valparaiso.

By 1871 the protestant denominations generally had decided it was safe and sane to send their children to the new public school. For many years after 1864 the German Lutherans maintained their own school in a frame building where their parish hall now stands. Earlier, the house now occupied by John McFarline, corner of Academy and Erie, served the denomination as church, school, and manse, the front room being used for religious services, the middle one for instruction, and the back of the house for living quarters in the time of the Rev. C. Meyer.

Since 1862 the Roman Catholic church has maintained its own parochial school. The Rev. Michael O'Reilly in the beginning of his ministry gathered the children of his parishoners together for both religious and secular instruction. Within two years he had erected a building in Outlot 20 on Chicago street for a day school. He also built a home for the Sisters of Providence, who taught in his school. A twelve year course was maintained for many years, with particular emphasis on art and music in the upper grades. In the last few years the high school has been discontinued, the grade pupils graduating to the city high school.

The Methodist College ceased to function about the same time as the Presbyterian Institute. In 1873 Mr. H. B. Brown made arrangements to occupy the vacant plant and opened his school Sept. 16 with thirty-five students and four teachers -- Mantie E. Baldwin, M. E. Bogarte, B. F. Perrine, and Ida Hutchison. From the first it was a people's school. Students could enter at any time and pursue any course by which they could profit. Expenses of all kinds, tuition, board, room rent, and books, were reduced to a minimum. In 1881 board, room, and tuition for fifty weeks was $95.00. The cheapness, thoroughness, and other advantages of the institution were widely advertised. The names of the two owners, Brown and Kinsey, became known in every state in the Union. The school was famous for turning out men and women who became leaders in the communities where they settled. The school enjoyed wonderful success until the death of its founder. As the qualifications of the teachers were strengthened and new courses of instruction added, the school dropped the name Normal School and became Valparaiso university. It still retained, however, all its democratic characteristics. There were no fraternities and few frills, but to the students and townspeople were offered at minimum prices lectures and musical programs by some of the most distinguished thinkers and artists in the United States. The value of the institution to the culture of the township can scarcely be overestimated. Plain living and high thinking were taught by both precept and example. Recently it was taken over by the Missouri Synod Lutherans and is maintained as an institution of higher learning, where religion and character are fundamental. In the time of Mr. Brown there were as many as five thousand students present in one year.

Another institution which has proved of lasting benefit to Valparaiso is the Dodge Telegraphy school, founded in 1874 by the late G. A. Dodge, agent for the Pennsylvania in Valparaiso. The school is now directed by his son, G. M. Dodge. A technical and business school, it has not only trained many young men and women for business life, but has sent them into all parts of the world. Founded by a telegraph operator, G. A. Dodge, and continued under the management of the local manager of the Western Union Telegraph Company, G. M. Dodge, it has kept abreast of the times and now bears the name Dodge's Telegraph and Radio Institute. In December, 1909, a department of wireless instruction was added. In 1934 Dr. J. B. Hershman of Indiana University became the director of the courses in marine radio, radio engineering, and radio servicing. The school is the only one of its kind in the country housed in its own buildings, owned and exclusively occupied by itself. Radio students have the benefit of a large wireless station and completely equipped radio laboratory. Both the Western Union and Grand Trunk Railroad wires are connected in the school.

Polk's School of Piano Tuning is another institution which enjoyed fame and prosperity in Valparaiso. It occupied the three story structure at the corner of Washington street and Indiana avenue, known for many years as the Merchant's Hotel. Before Mr. Polk rented the hotel building, he conducted his school in the house at the southwest end of the block. The diploma of Mr. Wellington Huntington, one of his early pupils, is dated Nov. 30, 1896. When Mr. Polk's health failed, Powell Brothers bought the business and moved the school to LaPorte. All of the Polk family were musical and added much to the culture of the town.

Attracted by the large number of students at the college (Valparaiso university) several attempts were made by different persons at different times to establish music schools, dancing schools, art schools and schools leading to government service, but these were in the main sporadic.

A majority of the older generation of Center township have memories associated with the schoolhouse which stood from 1871 to 1903 facing Franklin street between Erie and Institute streets. Some reminiscences of those who attended this school while it was directed by Superintendent Banta are of interest not only because they occurred in Valparaiso, but because they were typical of the time. No matter how cold the weather the pupils must form in line after recess to march back into the school. An iron pump in front of the building supplied water. A tin cup hung from the spout. In each room stood a pail of water with a dipper hung beside it. To pass the water was one of the coveted jobs. Wraps were hung in a closet partitioned off from each room. Monitors, another coveted position, passed the wraps down the aisles at the close of school. From the big wood box in the hall, the heaviest lads brought logs, which they crowded into the stove in the center of the room. A mighty kick closed the door, to the admiration of every pupil who had stopped to watch the process. Head marks were honors sought by every good speller. The one having the largest number generally received a prize in the spring when school closed. At least once a year the tower door was opened and the girls and boys in squads trudged up the hundred steps to have an outlook over the city and surrounding country. The whole school marched out east some fine summer day to a picnic in Swank's woods. Exhibitions were held each year in the chapel and graduation exercises for some years. Later these were staged in the Academy of Music or in the Grand Opera House. Every graduate delivered an essay. Three extras were the salutatory, the valedictory, and the farewell address to the class by a junior. In the middle of the century the word theater was in ill-favor among the people of the Northwest Territory. Public halls were therefore named academies of music or opera houses. Every year the hundred seats in the chapel were raised, a fountain installed in the center of the room and surrounded by ferns from Sager's and potted plants from anyone who would lend them. Furniture was carried to the third story or hauled up by pulley, enough to give a drawing room effect to the big hall. An orchestra discoursed familiar airs throughout the evening, ending with the grand march to the dining room at the south, where a banquet that would put to shame by its variety and abundance the suppers of today was served by the best caterer the town afforded. Early in the annals of education the ministers of the town, the mayor, the school trustees, the whole teaching force, and the president of the college, as well as the graduating class, were honored guests. Thirteen was a large class up to the nineties. As the classes grew, the number of dignitaries dwindled. Gradually the number of toasts by congressmen, judges and ministers gave way to talks from the class. Youth had taken full possession of the prerogatives as well as the educational facilities of the public schools, and the banquets were now held in the Grand Central House.

Consolidation has gone on in the township as well as the town. At present there are three grade schools in Center township: Flint Lake School, built in 1895, enlarged in 1917 and again in 1918; Cook's Corners, built in 1894, enlarged in 1915 and again in 1928; and Hayes-Leonard, erected in 1929. The idea of a second teacher in a rural school was tried out at Flint Lake in 1917, before the building was rounded out to its present proportions. At Cook's Corners the original building is now the primary room. The successive additions added three study rooms, an office, a library, and a large gymnasium. Thus this rural school offers all the advantages of a town unit to both old and young in the community, advantages which are appreciated and enjoyed by everyone in the neighborhood.

In the city the oldest public school building now in use is the Columbia, dating back to 1892. Superintendent W. H. Banta, who organized the classes in the Valparaiso high school, was still superintendent when the Columbia was dedicated. The Gardiner, named for Joseph Gardiner, was erected in 1899; the Banta, named for the first city superintendent, in 1924. In 1903 the old high school was torn down and the Central building erected in its place. The new high school was opened in 1927, and Boucher gymnasium in 1928.

Instruction and equipment have kept pace with the size, beauty, and convenience of the new structures both in town and rural schools. Music, art, domestic science, and physical education have been added to the academic courses of earlier years. The use of modern reproductive processes to bring appreciation of art within the training of all is well illustrated in the school orchestras and bands, the manual training shops and the drawing and painting classes. Valparaiso high school is believed to be the first school of its kind to include a series of lectures on illustrative methods. These lectures by N. S. Amstutz, a scientist and technician of national repute, present intaglio, relief, surface printing and all the related steps of each process.

The health of the schools is a matter of cooperation between parents and teachers, under the supervision of a school nurse. The school buildings are becoming more and more community centers, where parents, teachers, and pupils meet to discuss matters of general interest. Several flourishing Parent-Teacher Associations in the different school districts have done much to bring about the best of relations between the home, the school, and the community. Flint Lake P. T. A., being the first in Porter County, was organized by Mrs. T. E. Billings in 1917. Mrs. Louise Shauer organized the second at Cook's Corners in the spring of 1919. In the upper grades today the teachers are chosen for their special training and knowledge of child and adolescent psychology.

Churches of Center Township

In the pioneer days of Center township's history, society was, as now, divided into two classes. Some were sober, honest, industrious moral and religious, and attended church and Sunday school from a sense of duty and for the purpose of gaining spiritual instruction and blessing. Others cared for naught but the lower, baser, more gross and impure phases of life and we would hardly expect to find them at divine service. But, in those days, other forms of entertainment, amusement, or recreation were not so numerous as now and even the roughest of our citizens were glad of the opportunity to spend a few hours with their neighbors, even if they had to listen to a sermon for which they cared little or nothing. Church and Sunday school served as a place of worship, rest, and social gathering.

Thus, almost the entire population of a community would be found at "meeting" on Sabbath morning. There was no leaving of the babies at home or part of the family attending one service and the others waiting for the next. All were there, old people, young people, married folk, single folk, boys, girls, children, babies, all and everybody. Even the dogs came and it was not unusual for some good brother to leave the room during service to stop the dog fight outside or, perchance, under the floor before the speaker could make himself heard. Some came in farm wagons or ox carts, some on horseback, some walked, while a few had buggies or carriages. The hitch-rack was as necessary as the alter and both were often too small to accommodate the crowd. All day services were common with a basket dinner and social hour at noon.

Usually a little log church was to be found at the crossroads, but if it had not yet been built, services could be held in the schoolhouse or at some settler's cabin. For a number of years all denominations in Valparaiso held their devotions in the little frame court house on the west side of the square, but in 1840 four of them were wishing to use the building at the same time. This led to trouble and the county commissioners forbade its use to any of them. This led to worse trouble and the worthy board were denounced as heathens, infidels, and anything except Christian gentlemen. The pressure was too great; the edict was revoked; and the doors were again opened to leading members of the congregation who came together and formulated a schedule of service which was satisfactory to all parties concerned.

Sabbath morning found the little sanctuary, wherever it might be, well filled with worshipers, all dressed in simple garments of homespun wherein style was not on display. In summer the men and boys were usually without coats or vests, the children were barefooted, and on the ladies side of the aisle palm-leaf fans were numerous. In winter almost everyone wore coonskin caps and fur coats, but they were there for warmth and not for ornament. The men occupied the right-hand side of the room while the women were supreme on the left. If a young chap was seen on the wrong side, it was a sure sign that he was "sparking" the lady by whose side he was sitting.

Sometimes the preacher was ignorant or bigoted, but usually he was honest, earnest, well versed in Bible doctrine, and proclaimed divine truth and not petty church doctrine to his audience. All honor to those who gave their lives in the labor of love for the scattered settlers on the frontier. Often they traveled long distances and endured great hardships in filling their appointments while their reward, in the good of this world, was woefully small. If the minister was not able to navigate the sea of mud or climb the snowdrifts; or if a pastor had not yet been called, the worshipers were not seriously perturbed. Some elderly brother would talk or exhort while many in the congregation were capable and willing to send a prayer of praise and thanksgiving along with an earnest plea for forgiveness and mercy, to the throne of grace.

Musical instruments were seldom found in the home and never in the church. In fact, many of the members of seventy to ninety years ago thought it positively wrong to have an organ in church, while some believed that the very devil lurked among the strings of the violin. Be this as it may, if you have never heard a congregation of elderly country people singing a good old-fashioned religious hymn without music other than the human voice, you have missed a rare treat and a soul-stirring experience.

On June 10, 1837, the Reverend Alphens French organized the First Baptist Church of Valparaiso with twelve members. Among the members were John and Drusilla Bartholomew, Edmond and Charity Billings, James and Rebecca Witham, John Robinson, Warner and Adelia Pierce. John Robinson and John Bartholomew were the first deacons, and Jacob C. White, the first clerk. On February 8, 1840 the name was changed to "The First Baptist Church of Valparaiso."

For some time the congregation was without a permanent house of worship, the meetings during this period being held in various places. Elder French served as pastor until 1842. He was succeeded by Harlowe S. Orton, who served for about two years. The Rev. W. T. Ely was then pastor until 1847, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Alexander Nickerson. Under his ministry a church building was erected at a cost of $2,200.00. It was dedicated on March 13, 1853, and since that time the congregation has had a permanent home, though the old church edifice has been supplanted by a new one which was dedicated on November 13, 1881. It is located on the northwest corner of Lafayette and Chicago streets and was erected at a cost of $6,100.00. It is a brick building, in the form of a Greek cross, with two entrances and has a seating capacity of about 600.

In June 1912 the seventy-fifth anniversary of the church was celebrated with appropriate services, meetings being held daily from the 9th to the 16th of the month.

During the seventy-five years of its history the church has had twenty-two pastors. The Reverend Robert Ryerse is pastor at the present time.

History tells us that it was Father Gillen who gave St. Paul's Catholic Church its name in honor of the great apostle of the Gentiles. The sacrifice of the mass was first offered near Valparaiso, very close to the center of Section 15, not far from the old home of P. T. Clifford, the father of P. W. Clifford.

History does not record the name of this priest, but it is believed to have been Father Strenka. In the original settlement of Valparaiso there were very few Catholics. Those who came in the thirties were mostly of the Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist faith. These few families were served by priests of the society of the Holy Cross, of Notre Dame, Ind. Among these was Father Paul Gillen. "Father Paul," as the people called him, began the construction of the old St. Paul's church building on a lot two blocks west and on the southwest corner of the present structure on Chicago street.

Until the coming of Father O'Reilly, the "Groves" were God's first temples, and they, too, served for the first Catholic church of this township. The first class of children prepared for Holy Communion was instructed by Father Paul, under large oak trees then standing on what was afterwards called Emmettsburg, now an addition to Valparaiso.

Then came the man who really was the father of old St. Paul's. His name was Father Michael J. O'Reilly who arrived in Valparaiso on January 1, 1863, just ordained. Father O'Reilly found a state of affairs that would have appalled an ordinary man. The church building was in the hands of the sheriff and closed under an injunction, law suits pending on every hand, debts unlimited to be paid, a bitter division of sentiment among the members, no pastoral residence, no school for the youth, and no free schools of any kind.

In the face of these difficulties this good priest went to work. He went from house to house and told the people of his faith as far as he could find them, that he had come to stay. He rented Hughart's Hall, now the upper story of the old Empire building next to Meagher's drug store, for two dollars per Sunday. There he celebrated mass on an extemporized altar, preached and taught a few children. For mass on week days he went from house to house, as people who knew his wants, might invite him. It was on Easter Sunday, 1863, he first secured use of the old church. The building had been permitted to run into partial decay.

The next step was to procure a site for all future buildings for the congregation. He was given outlot 20 by T. A. E. Campbell, consisting of one acre of ground, the present site of the church and school, and soon after began erection of an $8,000 school building thereon. He started with $35.

To create interest among the young people of the congregation, this good priest organized a dramatic society and a band. The old Columbian Society put on some really good shows, not only in Valparaiso, but also in LaPorte, South Chicago, Wanatah, and Chesterton. One time they were selected to go to Anderson, Indiana, to open the Doxie Opera, a one hundred thousand dollar play house.

The trouble with Father O'Reilly was that he never could stop. It was in the late seventies that he conceived the idea of building a great cathedral with the idea that with the growth of population in his end of the state that a new diocese should be formed and Valparaiso would be its seat. Up to that time Valparaiso had been doubling its population every decade, and it was natural to believe that this growth would continue. But something went wrong with the cooper shops, the factory, the railroad division, and other things. Many of the families of the congregation left forever. The church debt was $40,000, which for that congregation was larger than the present national debt. The time came when Father O'Reilly's lawyer advised him to let the mortgage, which was held by Betty Green, be foreclosed, and let the congregation buy it in for a few cents on the dollar. The good priest .indignantly rejected the advice, and said that a Catholic loan was never made to be repudiated. Eventually the debt was paid in full, but the strain broke the health and the spirit of the good priest, and it was not long after that he died, a comparatively young man.

In the Catholic cemetery rests the remains of this good old Father, and erected to his memory is a shaft, simple, yet majestic.

The Valparaiso Christian church was organized on a Sunday near the middle of June in the year 1837 with eleven members. Until 1852 the members of this society worshipped in private houses. In 1852 Elias Axe bought one of Mrs. Hamel's lots east of her present house on Jefferson street between Washington and Franklin streets (now occupied by the Methodist parsonage) .It was the old brick schoolhouse. This was occupied as a church until about 1869 when it became too dilapidated. The meetings were held in private dwellings again, in the old court house, and in the old German Lutheran Church at the corner of Washington and Institute streets.

Then Elias Axe sold to the society the lot where the present church stands. In the summer of 1874, work was begun on the first brick church, and it was completed in the following November. This structure cost about $3,200.00, and seated about 200 persons. It was dedicated by the Rev. L. L. Carpenter of Wabash, Indiana. The Rev. W. R. Lowe was the pastor. In June, 1888, it was demolished to make room for the present structure, which was dedicated that December. This was under the first pastorate here of the late J. H. O. Smith. Since 1888 the church has had but ten ministers, the Reverend C. M. Smail serving at present.

We find first, among leading officers and Christian workers in this church, Elias and Phoebe Axe. Next come into the purview of memory, Thomas M. Shreve and wife, and H. B. Brown and Neva Axe Brown. Then M. E. Bogarte, the cultured orator, mathematician, college and Sunday school teacher, is to be remembered.

The St. Andrew's Episcopal church was organized here in a home about 1896. Under the pastorate of the Rev. L. W. Applegate, St. Andrew's was erected, being remodeled in 1916. Services are still continued there.

Early in 1877 a few devoted believers in Christ began "remembering the Lord" in private homes. This assembly has continued in various halls since 1908 gathering in Gospel Hall, 56 Lincolnway. Judge H. A. Gillette, followed by S. N. Kinne, taught the Bible class until their "home call."

Several German families settled at Valparaiso about 1850. Most of them were Lutherans, though no effort was made to organize a church of that denomination until 1862. By that time there were forty or fifty German families in or near town, and when a Lutheran minister named John came from Holstein in that year they asked him to organize a church and become its pastor, which was done. Not long afterwards a division occurred, some of the members going to the Reformed church, but the Lutheran congregation went on, and the Rev. J. P. Beyer was engaged as pastor. Under his ministry the church was fully organized, and services were held in rented quarters until 1865. A frame building to be used as both church and schoolhouse was erected in that year on the corner of Pearl and Academy streets, and the Rev. C. Meyer was engaged to succeed Mr. Beyer. Under his administrations the church increased its membership, and the congregation began to look about for more commodious accommodations. At this juncture it was learned that the property belonging to the Unitarian church was to be sold by the sheriff, and in 1880 the Lutherans made an offer for it, which was accepted, and the church passed into their hands. Here their meetings were held until the present building of the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran church was erected on the corner of Washington and Institute streets in 1891.

In 1850, a reformed Mennonite church was organized in Valparaiso. After holding meetings in private residences for about twenty years, they purchased the old brick schoolhouse on Willow street where the church still has its home. Although the membership is small, and the congregation is frequently without a regular pastor, meetings are held regularly, all the forms and ceremonies of their faith being faithfully observed.

The Rev. W. J. Forbes organized the first Methodist class in Valparaiso in 1840. The First Methodist church in the city was organized in 1847 in a small frame building, and the following year work was commenced on the first house of worship under the pastorate of the Rev. W. G. Stonix, who left before the building was completed. It was finished in 1849 under the Rev. J. C. S. Pettijohn. The same year a parsonage was purchased at the corner of Monroe and Franklin streets, but in 1853 it was sold and a new parsonage erected in the rear of the church, at a cost of $900. The new congregation grew rapidly, and after some $5,000 had been expended in enlarging and improving both church and parsonage, the quarters became too small and it was decided to build a new church.

It was under the second pastorate of Mr. Brooks that the present church edifice was erected (1886). It is located at the northwest corner of Jefferson and Franklin streets, in the form of a cross, 65 feet by 105 feet, with basement, etc. Art glass windows giving a pleasing and soothing effect and the church is equipped with a fine pipe organ. The total cost of the building was about $23,500. The Rev. Russell Kern is now pastor.

The Nazarene church of Valparaiso was organized in 1924 with about eighteen members, the Rev. Mertie Hooker being pastor for several years. Through efforts of Dr. Broad of Chesterton their church was erected, under the Rev. Nyhart, in 1925. The Rev. L. E. Myers, present pastor, has a membership of sixty-four.

Among the institutions that have helped shape the spiritual destiny of Valparaiso, the Presbyterian church has been an important factor. March 3, 1935 the congregation celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the dedication of the third and present edifice of the church in this city.

History tells us that there were a few families who professed the faith of this church previous to 1840, but it was not until Friday afternoon, July 3, 1840, that actual steps were taken to form a church here. The meeting was called by the Rev. W. K. Marshall of LaPorte, and J. C. Brown for the purpose of organizing a Presbyterian church in Valparaiso. Upon examination these gentlemen were satisfied by certificate or otherwise that the following persons had been members of the Presbyterian church in other communities: James and Isabel Blair, his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Martin, Henry Batten, Morgan B. Crosby, Mrs. Elizabeth D. Marshall, Mrs. Bathsheba Elizabeth Hamel, Mrs. Mary E. Brown, and Mrs. Nancy Buel.

The records show the following: "Thus signifying their desire, they were constituted the Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso, and proceeded to the election of two elders and trustees. The same evening being appointed for the ordination and installation of the elders -- Morgan Crosby was ordained to the office of ruling elder by prayer and the imposition of hands -- Mr. Blair having heretofore been an elder in the Presbyterian Church." (Signed) J. C. Brown, W. H. Marshall, Committee, Logansport Presbytery.

It is of interest to note that descendents of two of these founders are active in the church today, Mr. Crosby's daughter being Mrs. Emma Joseph Skinner, who united with the church Feb. 25, 1854. In Shirley Foster and Molly and Jimmie McGill the Crosby line reaches the fifth generation. Mrs. Nancy Buel's granddaughter was the mother of Mrs. A. F. Zimmerman. The Buel line reaches the sixth generation in Arthur VanArsdel and Herbert F. Mitchell, Jr. The Blairs' daughter, Mrs. Finette Pinney, and granddaughter, Mrs. Myra Pinney Clark, were active in the church while residing in Valparaiso.

The real founder of the congregation was the Rev. James Caldwell Brown, D. D., who organized the Valparaiso church on July 3, 1840, and became its pastor, remaining until September, 1860.

Under the administration of the Rev. Brown two churches for this congregation were erected. The first one was located at the corner of Franklin and Monroe streets. In 1857 this building was moved to Jefferson street, on a lot now occupied by the Beach Plumbing Co. The structure was rebuilt and served until 1875 when it was again enlarged. This building was used as a circuit court room during the construction period of the present court house in 1885.

During its existence the Valparaiso Presbyterian church has had eleven ministers, Chester W. Wharton being in charge since 1922.

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, was organized in Valparaiso in 1901. They met in various locations until 1931, when their present church was erected.

The Trinity Lutheran Church was organized on Trinity Sunday, 1934, with 155 charter members. The Rev. George F. Schutes was called as pastor. The property on the northwest corner of Chicago and Washington streets was acquired and converted into an attractive church auditorium. In 1935 pastor and congregation were received into affiliation with the United Lutheran Church of America.

Cities and Villages

In 1836 Center township had three villages, viz., Portersville, Flintville, and Talbot. A little later Emmetsburg, of which little can be found, was established in Section 23. The first three were about equal in size, but Portersville being chosen county-seat, Talbot, being near it on the southeast, soon disappeared.

Flintville, though losing in its race for county-seat, continued until 1900, being the site of various factories and shops aforementioned.

Portersville was platted June 7, 1836 by Benjamin McCarty, local secretary for the Portersville Land Company, composed of J. D. F. Lanier and others. The name was changed to Valparaiso in 1837. On December 2, 1866, it was incorporated as a city with T. J. Merrifield as mayor.

During its century it has enjoyed a steady growth, being now a city of the fifth class with a population in 1930 of 8,079. Being a clean community, it is an excellent place to establish a residence for one wishing a quiet home in a modern city.

A private company constructed a water system with pumping station at Flint Lake, the source of supply, in 1885. A filter plant was installed during 1903, and large wells have been added since. To increase the water supply Loomis Lake was created in 1924 and a drain tunneled through the divide. Flint Lake was in the Mississippi basin, whereas Spectacle was in the St. Lawrence basin. In 1925 the water system was turned over to the city. Joseph Bradley who first began with the company in 1887, has been its chief engineer since September, 1896.

The city had a sewer system constructed over fifty years ago; but it became inadequate and in 1928 a large system was installed, costing nearly half a million dollars.

The manufacturers mentioned in a previous chapter varied from DuLaney's Electric Clocks of 1894 (one still being owned by Joseph Bradley) to a machine for cleaning goose-berries, invented by William Urschel.

Valparaiso is often referred to as the "city of schools and churches,” both of which are dealt with in former chapters. Dr. C. L. Bartholomew is its present mayor.

Professional, Military, and Educational Citizens

The first physicians who located in Valparaiso were Miller Blachley, Seneca Ball, G. W. Salisbury, Dr. Robbins, and Dr. Kersey. They represented various schools of practice. Since that time, the number has been great, many staying long enough to make an unsatisfactory trial, and others -- charlatans -- staying long enough to bleed numerous victims and then going off to fresher fields and newer pastures.

On Oct. 1, 1887, Dr. Ryan initiated the practice of his profession in the City of Valparaiso, where he continuously devoted his time.

Ranking high among the more prominent and successful physicians of Valparaiso was A. P. Letherman, M. D., who was distinguished not only for his professional knowledge and skill, but as being the longest established physician in Porter County. He served ten years as coroner of Porter county.

Through long continued and well directed effort Robley D. Blount, M. D., had acquired knowledge, skill, and proficiency in his profession, and attained a noteworthy position among the successful physicians and surgeons of Valparaiso.

Dr. David Loring was for years an outstanding surgeon, having started what is now the Christian hospital, which he operated for years before selling to establish another in what is now the Woman's Club Building.

The physicians now residing here are Drs. Davis, DeWitt, Dobbins, Douglas, Frank, Fyfe, Lewis, Miller, Powell, Seipel, Stoner, Brown, Eades, Kleinman, Van Winkle, and Corboy.

One of the most successful and long established dentists of Valparaiso was Dr. James R. Pagin. He received his early education in the rural schools of Washington township, then attended Valparaiso public schools, and was graduated from the Chicago College of Dental Surgery.

Among the earlier dentists was Dr. George Porter. There was also Dr. B. M. Thomas, and Dr. Boyd.

The dentists now practicing here are Drs. Conover, Dolson, Jones, Keehn, Nixon, Ruge, Shurr, Stoler, and Robinson.

The first member of the legal profession who came to this place was Josiah S. Masters. He did very little business in his profession, and taught the first school in Portersville in a house on the northwest corner of Indiana avenue and Morgan Boulevard, the present home site of John Sieb. M. L. DeMotte came early in 1855, having attended the law school of Asbury University and graduated with a degree of LL. B. Mr. DeMotte, aside from being a prominent public man, was an influential and esteemed private citizen. He was very influential in the organization of the law department of the Northern Indiana Normal school of which he was one of the instructors.

Another one of our prominent attorneys was William Johnston. He was reared in Porter county, being educated there and at Asbury university. He occupied a leading position at the bar of Porter and neighboring counties.

Long numbered among the representative members of the bar of his native county, and holding the distinction of having been the oldest practicing lawyer of the city of Valparaiso is Alvin D. Bartholomew.

Another who served with marked ability in the office of prosecuting attorneys of Porter county and for about a decade was Thomas H. Heard.

High up in the roster of politicians and statesmen is found the name of Edgar Dean Crumpacker, who has sat through eight terms of Congress of the United States, and endeavored to give his best in the service of the people who placed him in this seat of honor and responsibility. As a lawyer he was well and favorably known.

Hiram R. Gillette was judge of this judicial circuit and an instructor in law in Valparaiso university. His sound advice in legal matters was sought alike by clients and attorneys.

The resident attorneys at present are the following: Grant, Owen, and John Crumpacker, Agar, Barrington, Bartholomew, Bailey, Burns, Clark, Crisman, Daly, Freund, Fleishbein, Kelly, Lease, H. H. and Bruce Loring, McCray, McGarvey, Pillard, Ryan, Schenck, Tilton, and Frances T. Weaver. Mark B. Rockwell is now Superior judge.

It is impossible to ascertain just how many from Center Township were engaged in the wars. The only soldiers of the War of Independence who lived in the county were Henry Batten and Joseph Jones. Isaac Cornell and Robert Folsom were soldiers of the War of 1812. The only soldiers of the Black Hawk War were Ruell Starr and James M. Buel. In the War of the Rebellion one outstanding name stands high, that of General Isaac C. B. Suman, the record of whose life offers much inspiration and incentive. He served with marked distinction and gallantry as a soldier in the Mexican War and later as a Union officer, in the Civil war. At the age of fifteen he enlisted in Ringgold's Battery, First United States Artillery, and in command of General Zachary Taylor, took part in the engagements leading up to the capture of the city of Mexico. In the War of the Rebellion, Mr. Suman was the second man to sign the muster roll of a volunteer company. A few days later the company was mustered in as Company H, of the Ninth Regiment and Mr. Suman was commissioned first lieutenant of his company. He was commissioned colonel of the Ninth Indiana and continued in that command until Sept. 28, 1865. On March 13, 1865, President Lincoln appointed Colonel Suman a brigadier general, for gallant and meritorious service but he declined the commission.

Other military men were Charles S. Arnold, Colonel George S. Haste, Tipton S. Louderback, Captain Thomas G. Lytle, Captain Aaron W. Lytle, and First Lieutenant Mark L. DeMotte.

Foremost among the educational men and women of Center township is Henry B. Brown, who founded Valparaiso university in 1873. Possessing great personal magnetism, he drew students from every state and territory of the United States, as well as many foreign countries. He remained president until his death in 1917.

Oliver P. Kinsey and wife became associated with Valparaiso university in 1885, Mr. Kinsey being vice-president till 1920. Through economy he held down the cost of living and made possible the name of "Poor Man's Harvard."

Other professors worthy of mention were Miss Mantie Baldwin, rhetoric; M. E. Bogarte, mathematics; H. N. Carver, Latin; B. F. Williams, literature; and George Neet, education.

Chauncey W. Boucher was for fifteen years city superintendent of schools. Previous to this he was connected with the university here; then in Dixon, Illinois. Following this he and his wife operated the Marion Normal school from where he went to Muncie Normal. Mrs. Boucher still resides in Valparaiso.

County superintendents still living in Valparaiso are H. H. Loring, A. A. Hughart, and Fred H. Cole. M. E. Dinsmoore, present county superintendent of schools, taught the Clifford School in 1903 and 1904.

Recreation Resorts

Sager's is an artificial lake fed by numerous springs, and created when the huge dam was erected to store water to be used in running Sager's Mill. It lies just outside the limits of Valparaiso to the southeast and was for years a pleasure resort for fishing, boating, and bathing. The students of Valparaiso university strolled out thither in large numbers when not engaged in class work. Since the closing of the mill, however, the property has been sold to a Chicago club, which has fenced it from view and created what is called a "Health Resort."

How Flint lake got its name is not definitely known. Many Indians must have hunted in the vicinity, judging from the numbers of arrow heads and other relics of theirs found there. About 1862 George Merrill started a fishing and boating resort on the south shore of this lake. A few years later John McQuiston started a resort on the east shore called Sheridan Beach. In company with his son, Sampson, he built a steam boat there which was used for pleasure parties. About 1890 Howard Dickover procured the north shore and named it Edgewater, where he built a popular resort. Later Charles Specht purchased the south resort and rejuvenated it, as did Sigmund Freund with Sheridan Beach in 1906.

The building of the Valparaiso and Northern Street Car Line in 1910 boomed these resorts and linked them to the Calumet district.

In the spring of 1924 the Kilmer-Fraser Company took over a large portion of the south shore, which it sub-divided and improved. On July 4, 1925, this company purchased Sheridan and renamed it Blackhawk. It has expanded these into a community for "gentiles only."

Bullseye lake, named for its shape, is the subject of several stories which when subjected to the light of investigation are found to be either exaggerated or entirely unfounded. Most of these are concerning its depth. State Geologist Blatchley, in his report for 1889, gives its depth as about two hundred feet. About 1870 Marion Kinne measured it from a boat and found it to be about forty feet deep. Having read the geologist's report, the writer measured it in sixteen different places in January, 1912. He found the bottom to slope from all sides to a point about three-fourths of the way to the west end, where its depth was slightly less than thirty-eight feet.

Spectacle lake is like Bullseye in being named for its shape and in being a "kettle-hole" lake. Therefore, although small in size, they are quite deep. In 1924 the Valparaiso Water Company put a large tiling through the divide between Flint Lake and Spectacle Lakes to increase its water supply. They also erected a dam at the outlet of Spectacle Lake and caused it to overflow the low lands around it, and the large body of water thus formed was named Loomis lake. Messrs. Hughart, Erickson, and Knapp have boating and fishing resorts on their respective shores. Mr. Hughart's grounds afford a very pleasant grove for picnics.

From 1865 to 1880 McConkey's Pond, then larger than Sager's is now, was a noted resort for fishing and the hunting of water fowl. P. W. Clifford states that although he has fished from the Gulf to Canada, he never found better fishing for bass and the like than he had there in those days. In winter skating frolics and contests were the source of pleasure to the happy young folk for miles around.

Valparaiso Country Club, just east of Bullseye Lake, was the first to create golf links in the county. A few years later Forest Park, at the northwest limits of Valparaiso, did likewise. Two miles west of Valparaiso, the Lincolnvale Golf Course was constructed soon after.

Clubs and Lodges

The American Association of University Women was founded in 1930 with twelve members. It is affiliated nationally and internationally and is educational in scope. Its local project is hospital aid -- the buying of dishes, silver, and scales; and folding bandages.

The Catholic Woman's Club was organized Feb. 5, 1919, with 22 members. Its members have taken an active part in Valparaiso's religious and civic affairs. Their largest contributions have been to St. Paul's Church and School.

The Cecilia Club was organized by Bessie Brown Fisher in 1929, having ten members. It is directed by Anne Morony and is one of the most outstanding musical organizations of the state. It renders a very real service, much of which is given gratis.

"Charity" Rebekah Lodge, Valparaiso Chapter, was first organized May 1, 1871, with eighteen members. This lodge functioned until 1892. A few years later it reorganized with fifteen members. It now numbers 123, who render assistance to the community in general.

The American Legion Auxiliary of Charles Pratt Post, Unit No. 94 was organized May 11, 1920, with 103 members. Among its members are three World War orphans and three Gold Star mothers.

The Conversation Club was organized June 13, 1903. Meetings are held twice a month on Saturday. Current events and scientific discoveries are thoroughly discussed by the members. Refreshments have always been restricted. Since 1922 the officers have been elected for life.

The William Henry Harrison Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was organized May 18, 1903. Its object is to perpetuate the memory and spirit of those who achieved American independence, and to foster true patriotism and love of country.

Valparaiso Chapter of Delta Theta Tau was organized in June, 1919, with nine members; at present there are thirty active members. It strives for the welfare of its members, and for the advancement of philanthropy. Miss Audrey Shauer is now Province Officer of Indiana Alpha District which is made up of 22 chapters. This sorority has chapters throughout the United States.

Valparaiso Chapter, No. 164, Order Eastern Star, was chartered Jan. 4, 1895. Instituted by Spencer Baker, Chapter No.119, Hebron, Ind. First Worthy Matron was Mrs. Kate Agnew, and First Worthy Patron was J. C. Carson. Five charter members still survive.

The Flint Lake Mother's Club was organized Feb. 9, 1921, by Mrs. Louise Shauer at her Flint Lake Orchard Home, with 24 members. Its purpose was to cooperate in social and educational activities of that neighborhood. Membership is now thirty.

Valparaiso Chapter of Kappa Kappa Kappa was organized Feb. 5, 1903, by twelve girls. It now numbers 124. Beulah Bondi, Paramount Star, and Grace Urbahns-Reynolds, Republican National Committeewoman from Indiana, are associate members. This chapter has assisted many girls through college.

Valparaiso Chapter of Lady Foresters was organized in March, 1910, with about sixty members, Mrs. Christ Lembke being "Chief Lady." Social and beneficial relations are its aim. Its membership at present is about forty, Mrs. Edna Tuthill now being "Chief Lady."

The Magazine Club of twelve members was organized late in 1904. At the first meeting a magazine was selected for each member, to be passed to the nearest member the next week. Magazine articles of outstanding importance or interest are discussed.

The Neighborhood Sisters of Cook's Corners was organized in February, 1902, at Mrs. John Collin's home. The membership of fourteen chose officers March 15 at Mrs. John Anderson’s home. Its purpose was to assist one another with sewing, etc.

College City Camp No. 3122, Royal Neighbors of America, founded on the teachings of the Bible, “to love thy neighbor as thyself,” was organized June 24, 1902, with twenty members. Jointly with the Modern Woodman, they own a comfortable hall.

The Auxiliary to Camp No. 116, Sons of Union Veterans organized in Valparaiso on Nov. 24, 1905, with forty-four members.  Its purpose is both patriotic and social.

Valparaiso Sphinx Club was organized in 1920 with a small membership of business and professional women. In 1927 it affiliated with the National Federation of Business and Professional Women. It now has fifty-two members, and sponsors two girls through high school yearly.

The Vivian Society was organized April 9, 1917 with seventy-five members. Their aim is to promote greater sociability among wives, widows, unmarried daughters, and sisters of the Elks. They are saving toward furnishing a room in the proposed county hospital.

Valparaiso Review No. 204, Woman’s Benefit Association, was organized Feb. 11, 1902, with fifteen members. Its purpose is to protect all within reach. This Review has $47,750 protection, and has paid $24,500 in benefits. Present membership numbers 110.

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in Valparaiso was organized as early as 1890 with about fifty members. Its pledge in part is, "I hereby solemnly promise, God helping me, to abstain from all distilled, fermented, and malt liquors including wine ----."

Valparaiso Women’s Club was organized in February, 1895. It affiliated with Indiana Union Literary Clubs in May, 1897, with Indiana State Federation of Women’s Club in November, 1900, and with General Federation in April, 1904. It has six departments. Its beautiful home, purchased in 1908 from Elks, is unencumbered.

Valparaiso Chapter, No. 437, Women of the Moose, was organized Aug. 20, 1920, with twenty-five charter members. At present there are thirty members, although it has numbered as high as eighty.

The Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic, was organized Jan. 2, 1886 with twenty-two members. Their work is along the lines of national defense, patriotism, education, Americanism, pensions, soldiers' homes, scholarships and child welfare.

Charles Pratt Post, No. 94, American Legion, was organized Oct. 2, 1919 with fifteen charter members. Its purposes are: serving deserving men entitled to compensation, caring for widows and orphans, promoting Americanism and national defense. One hundred three men and Mrs. Hans Anderson are members at present.

The Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce is an organization of business men and others who share their point, to promote the commercial, industrial, and civic interests of the community. Its work is to ascertain what the local problems are, formulate plans for their solution and then proceed to solve them. It was organized June 7, 1912, and incorporated as a not for profit corporation, having twelve charter members.

Ypres Chapter No. 4, D. A. V. Delegations from local organizations of disabled veterans were represented at Cincinnati, Ohio, Sept. 25, 1920, in the first national caucus to form the only veteran organization incorporated by act of the congress of the United States. With only one plank in its platform, that being, "Help the Disabled," the organization has a membership entirely of wounded, gassed, or disabled soldiers, sailors, marines, and women who served the colors in the World War. At the present time the Department of Indiana is commanded by a local man, State Commander Hans Andresen.

Valparaiso Lodge No. 500, B. P. O. Elks, was organized May, 1899, with thirty members. Its Temple, which is among the finest, was erected in 1924 at a cost of $230,000. Its purposes are charity, justice, brotherly love, and fidelity. Present membership is 235.

Chaplain Brown Post No. 106, Grand Army of the Republic, was organized Oct. 24, 1882, with twenty-six members. Wilbur Brown was the first commander of the post. Jacob Mooker, Charles Doty, Harry H. Knickerbocker, and Valentine Kretli are the only members left in Porter county.

Valparaiso Lodge, Knights of Pythias, was organized about 1880, and was very prosperous for years, but disbanded about five years ago. W. W. Huntington of Valparaiso and E. E. Drum of North Manchester, Ind., survive of charter members.

Porter Lodge No. 137, F. & A. Masons. On May 11, 1842, six Masons met at the home of Adam S. Campbell to organize a lodge in Valparaiso, and received a dispensation dated June 22, 1842. In 1843 charter No. 49 was granted, but disallowed in 1844. A second dispensation was granted May 27, 1850. Though growth was slower at first, it had become rapid so it now boasts 621 members in its own spacious temple dedicated June 29, 1926.

The "Study Club" was organized in 1897. On November 13, 1898, the name was changed to the Mathesis Club. It was not until September 22, 1899, however, that the club was organized and officers were elected. Its roll contains 150 names.

Valparaiso Camp No. 4654, Modern Woodman of America, was organized about 1890. It is a fraternal and beneficiary secret society, furnishing life insurance to its membership, which is confined to white American citizens. It admits women and maintains a special department for children under sixteen.

Valparaiso Lodge No. 1357, Loyal Order of Moose, was organized June 23, 1913. It has 78 members. Beautiful Mooseheart in Illinois is maintained for dependent wives and children of Moose; likewise Moosehaven, Florida, for aged members, by the national organization.

Valparaiso Kiwanis Club was organized in 1921, but disbanded about 1931. Dr. Douglas was its first president and the late Dr. Blount its last. On June 11, 1936, however, it reorganized with thirty members, Attorney McCallum being chosen president.

Chequeuk Lodge No. 56 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized Dec. 2, 1848. Later fire destroyed its books, records, and charter. Shortly afterwards a new charter was issued, Nov. 15, 1859, to the same nine members. Mt. Pisgah Encampment No. 107 was organized Feb. 14, 1871, and Canton Valparaiso No. 27 was organized July 2, 1921.

The Valparaiso Rotary Club was chartered March 20, 1921, with 23 members. The present membership of 42 is a cross section of the business and professional life of the community. Its objects are to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of all worthy enterprises. Motto: "He profits most who serves best."

Valparaiso Council No. 738, Knights of Columbus, was instituted March 22, 1903 with thirty charter members. Its first Grand Knight was P. W. Clifford, who had joined the first lodge in Chicago. James Comeford is Grand Knight at present.

Sons of American Legion, under Charles Pratt Post No. 94, American Legion, a squadron of eighty-seven members, was organized in 1935 through the efforts of John Shatz.

Porter Camp No. 116, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, was organized April 14, 1905. Rodney Kitchen was the first commander. Under the county commissioners they have had charge of Memorial Opera House of late years.

Space forbids further detailed accounts; yet this would not be complete without mentioning Spanish American War Veterans, several troops of Boy Scouts of America, church and university organizations, 4-H Clubs, and Center Township Farm Bureau, all of which are outstanding among organizations of their kind in the county. The Porter County Farm Bureau and its Cooperative, with headquarters in Valparaiso, are rated among the most prosperous in the state.


The Committee desires to express its thanks to Raymond Handschy, Miss Mabel Benney, Miss Audrey Shauer, and each of the teachers, whose tireless efforts made this compilation possible. Also all those who loaned books, furnished pictures, reminiscences, or data of any kind for our use.

Care has been taken to avoid any mistakes in this work. We are aware, however, that in such an adventure errors are likely to occur. Therefore, if there are any, we humbly beg forgiveness of the wronged party.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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