LAKE COUNTY EARLY TOWNS
The following is a list of some of the earliest towns of Lake County
that I have found during my research of the county. They are in no
particular order, and some of the dates are only approximates. This
is also not a full listing of all the little villages and towns of
this areas early beginnings.
I will start with the county seat of Lake County...Liverpool. What??
You say "Liverpool isn't even a town...Crown Point is the county seat!"
Well, Liverpool WAS the county seat originally. In 1835 or 1836 three
men, Henry Frederickson, John B. Chapman and John C. Davis laid out a
town and began selling lots about 3 miles northwest of the present
town of Hobart. Liverpool became the county seat of Lake County in
1839 and they began construction of a courthouse. Before it was
completed though, in 1840, they relocated the county seat to Crown
Point where it still is today.
Crown Point 1840
William Butler was the first known to make claims in June or July of
1834. Four claims were made by him, one for himself, one for his
brother E.P. Butler, one for George Wells and the last for Thoedore
Wells. He did not settle on these claims at that time though. The
first settlement that I have found occured shortly after November 1,
1834, which is when he made claim, by Solon Robinson and family. He
held the deed to the land that the courthouse stands on today.
As of 1873, the courthouse that was prominent was one built in 1849
by George Earle, architect, and Jeremy Hixon, builder. The present
day courthouse was erected in 1878 and is now a well preserved museum
reflecting on the history of Crown Point. Population grew steadily
from about 1,300 in 1873, to about 2,300 in 1900. The town was
incorporated in 1868.
Indiana City about 1836
It, along with Chicago, Michigan City, and City West, struggled for
existence. Laid out by an Ohio company and was sold in 1841 for $14,000.
In 1873 T.H. Ball speculated that there would indeed be an Indiana City
on the old mouth of the Calumet "exceeding in size and wealth all the
existing towns and villages of Lake." But in a later book still said
it never had any inhabitants.
Lowell about 1836
M.A. Halstead, who, with his wife and mother, came into this county from
Dayton, Ohio, in 1845, and settled on a farm in West Creek Township, is
the proper founder of the town of Lowell. Samuel Halstead made his
claim August, 1835 and registered it in November of 1836. John P. Hoff
of New York City purchased "Mill seat on Cedar Creek," in the section on
which Lowell now stands, Oct. 7th, 1836. By the
very late 1800's it became the principal agricultural town of Lake
County. Some of the names from this town include: Wm. A. Purdy, H.R. Nichols,
J. Mendenhall, and Jabez Clark. Printing office established here in 1872 or
1873 called Lowell Star, edited by E.R. Beebe. The first store
and the first tavern here were opened by J. Thorn about 1852.
Deep River/Woodvale 1838
This was the home of one of the prominent early settlers of the area,
John Wood, who bought the indian reservation, which was patented to
Quashma, for one-thousand dollars. To keep out "strong drink" no lots
were sold and the land was kept primarily within the confines of
the Wood family. It was also referred to as the family "villa".
A store owned by Augustus Wood, Saw and grist mill by Nathan Wood,
the town physician Dr. Vincent, a son-in-law of John Wood and of
course no saloons. The date of 1838 was due to the saw mill coming
into operation but the family actually arrived here from Massachusetts
Would you like to see a picture of
Wood's Historic Grist Mill? Still in operation today as a mueseum.
Centreville (Merrillville) 1842
In 1835 and 1836 white settlers began to come to this area. The town's
date comes from when the first tavern was built by Miles Pierce. He is
known to have emptied a bottle of whiskey and then smashed it on the
frame naming it the "Centreville Hotel" such as ships are named in
this manner. The town was 6 miles north of Crown Point and in 1873 had
twenty-three families. The town's post office at this time was called
(think of it's distance from Crown Point) Merrillville.
This was the center early Lake County settlements (this is the reason
for the name Centreville) where a few families settled in the indian
village of McGwinns. The Merrill family was prominent and did much
for the growth of this town, which was slow, and so it was later
changed from Centreville to Merrillville.
Some of the early settlers were the families of Dr. Henry Palmer 1837
(first licensed physician in Lake County); Duddly and William Merrill
by 1840; Bartlett Woods 1837; Andrew Popp 1845;
John Schnabel 1848; Johann Hein 1881; Gottlob Bach 1846; Balzar Franz
about 1860; George Phillips about 1885; Dr. Homer Iddings 1883; Waltz
1893; Elizabeth Kelly Boyd 1848; Dennis Mellon 1842; John Schillo 1849;
Patrick Sullivan 1850; Julius Demmon about 1855; Mathias Lennertz;
St. Johns 1846
Known now as St. John, I have found it was mostly called St. Johns when
it was first formed as a Catholic village. It's church, Church of St.
John, the Evangelist, was once the largest congregation in Lake County.
In 1873, 95 families were located here and the town had 10 brick
buildings, and included a frame church, a brick church, brick school
house and an art gallery owned by George Earle. John G. Earle and the
former senator of Lake and Porter Counties, Hon. C.R. Wadge made their
Settled in 1850 by Joseph Hess, a native of Germany who also became
township trustee for North Township which at the time extended to
Porter County. Hessville was the center of influence until Hammond
grew and gained importance in North Township.
Gibson's Station 1850
Located 17 miles from Crown Point and one mile from Hessville. In 1873
it contained 4 families.
Creston and Tinkerville about 1850
Located one mile south of Red Cedar Lake the town's school house was
also where the Cedar Lake Sunday School and the Cedar Lake Church. The
post office also bore the name Cedar Lake. I have found some of the
same people and places mentioned for both Creston and Tinkerville and
really do not know if they were one in the same. Most of the families
were related by blood, intermarriage etc., and from the first settlers
of this area.
Lake Station 1852
About 15 miles from Crown Point. Most families here were connected with
the railroad. In 1873 there were about 40 families, 3 grocery stores,
5 saloons, the spacious Audubon Hotel and the largest depot grounds of
the entire county.
Hanover Centre 1856
Two miles east of Brunswick and eight miles S.W. of Crown Point. This is
where the Church of St. Martin was located which had 5 acres of land and
Eight miles from Crown Point, built on a ridge of sand of about forty
acres. Was the home of Amos Horner Esq., one of the pioneers of Lake
County. There has also resided here for the last twelve years (written
1873) Rev. George A. Woodbridge, who settled near A. Humphrey's, in the eastern
part of Winfield, in 1839, and who spent two or three years in Crown Point.
Date corresponds with the first store yet many houses were here before
that and a tavern in 1837 or earlier. Was known as the best grain market
in the county. A.N. Hart, one of the large land owners of Lake County, resided
here for many years with his family, and has done considerable to improve
and build up the town. Dubriels' flouring mill has done a good business
at this location.
In Hanover township, about 10 miles from Crown Point, it was commenced
by it's first store in 1858. In 1873 it had a 2 story school building but
no church and had residents such as H. C. Beckman County Commissioner,
Dr. C. Groman, J.H. Irish, J. Schmal and A. Farwell.
This village located 12 miles south of Crown Point on the Illinois
border was founded by H. Klaas, the first German in this area of Lake
County, in about 1850. The Church of St. Anthony was located here,
erected in 1860 and connected to a cemetery.
Located four miles north of Crown Point and was on a wagon
trail that took many settlers on their way westward. In 1900 it
boasted a large Roman Catholic Church in which many families were
members of. This may have been St. Michaels church if I'm remembering
it's history correctly.
20 miles from Crown Point. In 1873 contained 12 families.
Some 20 miles from Crown Point. In 1873 contained 15 families.
Located about half way between Crown Point and Hebron in Eagle Creek twp.
Dr. Cass of Porter and Judge Niles of LaPorte were wealthy non-residents
of this little town that failed to flourish yet A. Edgerton, a merchant,
did quite a bit of business from here. Near it resided J. Q. Benjamin and
the McLaren family.
I decided to include this note because I remember an old query asking about the naming of the
town. It was named for Judge E. H. Gary the founder of the United States Steel Corporation.
If you're looking for old streets in Gary keep in mind...Dec 1, 1908 the names of many streets
changed. For example, 163rd changed to 9th, 164th to 10th and so on. And also, Highland Avenue
to Washington St, Irving Avenue to Adams St, Eastern Avenue to Jefferson St, Washington Blvd to
Madison St, Bell Ave. to Monroe St., Triet Ave. to Jackson St., Eddie Ave. to Van Buren St.,
and Broemmell Ave. to Harrison St.
I will be writing more as time allows so visit again soon.
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