January, 2003 - La Porte to Valparaiso Stagecoach Line
La Porte and Valparaiso were connected by a stagecoach line from the 1840’s to 1870. Westville’s William S. Parkinson was the line’s last owner. The fare to Valparaiso was $1.25; La Porte to Westville cost 75 cents. The coach carried nine people crowded inside, and ten outside on top. The trip from La Porte to Westville took about 2 hours.
February, 2003 - The Vreeland Hotel - Michigan City
The Vreeland Hotel, the main building in this photograph, was built by Albert T. Vreeland. He came to Michigan City in 1855, working in the car shops of the Michigan Central Railway Company. He later entered the real estate business, owned the hotel, and served as director of the First National Bank. This photograph was taken July 4, 1913 and shows the hotel located at 218-222 Franklin Street.
March, 2003 - La Porte Railroad Depot
This recently discovered photo is the only known view of La Porte’s first train depot. Built on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern line, which later was the New York Central, it exhibited elements of the Italianate style, with influences of Gothic Revival. The round-headed windows are typical for Italianate buildings, but the drip mouldings over them and the vertical board and batten siding are more common on Gothic Revival buildings. The east end of this building was constructed soon after the tracks were first laid through La Porte in 1853. The two-story west end, housing the Depot Hotel, was erected in 1862. At one point it was described as a “ramshackle structure, a disgrace to the city,” and it met its fate on Sunday, 14 April, 1907 in a fire that completely destroyed it. It was emphasized that a new structure would not be of wood. Larson & Danielson constructed the new station from 1909 – 1910, and that building still stands, however precariously. (Information from Fern Eddy Schultz.)
April, 2003 - La Porte Drum and Bugle Corp
This photograph, dated 1936, shows the La Porte American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps proudly displaying their uniforms. The back of the shirts say “Crane Water Heaters,” apparently a sponsor for the corps. As the banner indicates, this group was successful in state competitions, and went to national competitions as well. The setting is the front lawn of the old Bay Tree Inn on Michigan Ave., at the southwest corner of Maple Avenue.
May, 2003 - Walker-Decker House
This expansive Italianate style house was built in La Porte by Benjamin Walker between 1856 and 1860. The tall, narrow windows, bracketed cornice, and round window in the gable are all hallmarks of the style. The house was located on what is today the northeast corner of East Lincolnway and Boston St. In 1891 this large home was made into an orphanage, the Northern Indiana Children’s Home. The house was also known as the Decker house for a former owner. Eventually it was torn down to make way for the East Side Shopping Center, home today to Ace Hardware and several discount stores.
June, 2003 - Hildebrand & Schultz Store Front
This photograph shows the Hildebrand & Schultz store at 715 Main St. (Lincoln Way) in La Porte. Today, the King Gyros restaurant is at this address. Hildebrand & Schultz were decorators and painters, and this photograph appears to be from the WWI period, with an “in service” star displayed in a second story window and the flag prominently exhibited on the front of the “102 bundles.” The description on the back of the photograph does not say what is in the bundles, but it does include these names: Harry A. Moist, F. C. Schultz, Leo Miller, unknown, and Henry Hildebrand. Note the lettering on the curb states “Wallpaper & Paints” and to the right of that, it appears to say “Auto Tires” which may apply to the bicycle shop to the right. Indeed, the tires used on automobiles, c. 1915, were not much larger or wider than bicycle tires.
July, 2003 - Washington Park, Michigan City
This photograph is of Washington Park in Michigan City, showing the handiwork of the W.P.A. The fieldstone bridge and water wheel visible in the photograph were just part of the many construction projects in the park completed during the Depression Era. In the background is the Oasis Ballroom. The photograph was printed in May, 1938.
August, 2003 - Allis-Chalmers Factory
This photograph of Allis-Chalmers employees at the La Porte Works shows a World War II scene typical of U.S. factories. Having converted to war production from their regular line of agricultural harvesting equipment, Allis-Chalmers was busy with government contracts for machinery to be used in the war effort. In this view, the workers are shown finishing a 90 m.m. gun. Also made at the La Porte facility during the war was the "Ontos", and the M-6, both track vehicles somewhat like a tank. Allis-Chalmers La Porte Works reached an all time high of 3,200 employees during the war.
September, 2003 - La Porte High School Seniors - 1908>
This beautiful photograph of the proud graduating class of 1908 shows the students in their "Sunday Best". The High School building at the time was the 1894 brick building with turrets, designed by Wing and Mahurin of Ft. Wayne.
October, 2003 - 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago
The 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago was a chance for industry to show off its latest products. This photograph from the end of the show in 1934 documents the sanitary conditions of the U. S. Slicing Machine Company’s efforts at self-promotion. Seen here is their bacon slicing assembly line staffed by immaculately clad workers. Through the windows can be seen the curious onlookers visiting the “Century of Progress” show.
The end of the slicing machine in the foreground is clearly marked “La Porte, Ind.”
November, 2003 - Show Car at Michigan City, Indiana
This photograph of a 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt custom show car was taken at a Michigan City Chrysler-Plymouth dealership. There were six of these cars custom made for Chrysler, and they toured the country doing promotions at local dealerships. A car behind can be seen to have a large loudspeaker on top, with “Chrysler Thunderbolt” painted on the side. Why the two people are dressed in Victorian costumes is a mystery. The Thunderbolt was designed by Alex Tremulis who is better known for his design of the ill-fated Tucker. The show car was built on a Chrysler Crown Imperial frame and had a straight eight engine.
December, 2003 - Winter Scene in downtown La Porte, 1959
This photo was taken on Lincolnway looking west from the 500 block. A 1956 Pontiac has just started its engine, and a truckload of new Studebaker Lark models sits at the stoplight. Several signs for businesses now long gone are visible.