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 4, Page 9.



The house at the northeast intersection of Chicago and Washington street is one of the old landmarks. It was built in 1894 by Lorenzo Freeman. The Freemans came from Connecticut and their homestead is still standing there, a house whose corner stone relates that it was laid July 4, 1776. It is a square frame with high ceilings. Lorenzo, Azariah, and Truman Freeman and their sister, Mrs. Philura Freeman Crosby, came to Porter county between the years 1837 and 1840 and furnished with the Buels a New England strain to the village. Azariah built the brick house that was pulled down when Walter Clifford wished to erect his home next to his father. Lorenzo bought the lot across the street north of Benj. McCarthy, who made the original plat, in 1849.

The entrance in those days was on Chicago street. The bay windows were the first ever seen in Valparaiso and evoked great admiration. The hall, stair case and particularly the fine stair rail were among the first efforts of elegance in workmanship. Lorenzo and Truman Freeman had earlier built homes on the east side of Franklin street. By 1853 they were ready to change their habitat again. Lorenzo sold to his brother-in-law Morgan Crosby, and the two brothers erected the two houses on the hill facing the Nickel Plats station.

Mr. Crosby lived in his new home only three years, selling to Wm. Wilson in 1850. From that date until 1935 it remained in the Wilson family, father, son and grandson. Last year Rev. Strecker bought the house and put it into the hands of Jack Burt for Rejuvenation. It still presents an exterior of substantial comfort, practically the same appearance it exhibited in the time of the Wilsons, who changed the entrance to Washington street. The interior has been modernized, the front and back parlor are now one large living room with a fireplace at the east end. The high ceiling of the kitchen has been lowered; two complete bathrooms added; the rear of the hall has been turned into a cozy library. In fact the house is one of the convenient and commodious as well as one of the most attractive in the city.

From another angle this house has a remarkable share in the town's annals. The Freemans were people of taste and refinement, they enjoyed the social amenities. From the home on Franklin street coffee and doughnuts were served to the men who built the first Presbyterian church. Church social gatherings were held in the new home on Washington street during both the days of when Mrs. Harriet Cheney Freeman presided there and when Mrs. Philura Freeman Crosby was hostess. Mrs. William Wilson was from New York and came to Valparaiso to teach. She was well educated in books and in the traditions of refined living. Her furnishings and her domestic economy gave the impression of thrift and elegance. She opened her house to the missionary society and the mile societies of her church, which were the social gatherings of that time. She had many curios which the children loved to gaze at. Mrs. James Wilson, a sister of Mrs. A. L. Eaton, was a Methodist, and in her day the Methodists held their aid societies there. Mrs. Strecker is identified with the Methodist church and is also active in club work as under her regime the hospitality of the house will continue.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


CSS Template by Rambling Soul