By BETTY CANRIGHT
2008 is a year of many special anniversaries in the Duneland community.
Hearing that Augsburg Lutheran Church and St. Patrick Church both are
celebrating 150 years led to looking for other special anniversaries in the
Chesterton Tribune’s Echoes of the Past.
Chesterton Tribune is beginning Volume 125 marking continuous publication
since Arthur Bowser published his first issue dated April 2, 1884.
Subscriptions were $1.50 per year.
His was not the first Chesterton Tribune. An attempt to start a local weekly
paper was made in 1882 and a few issues survive. Volume 1, No. 1 is dated
October 28, 1882. Volume 1, No. 25, dated April 12, 1883, was found in 1986
when the Porter County courthouse cornerstone was opened on the 150th
anniversary of the county. Other issues in the Tribune files are from May 31,
1883 and a portion of the issue dated June 21, 1883.
All of the Chesterton Tribune issues, except for the old one found in the
cornerstone, are preserved on microfilm and are available at the Westchester
Other Tribune anniversaries are eighty years since the paper was purchased by
Warren R. Canright in 1928 and thirty years for Echoes of the Past in its
present form. As far back as the thirties there were columns of items from
past years called “From Our Files” or “This Was News”. The name “Echoes of
the Past” appears in the 1950s and was resurrected in 1978 in the present
The Tribune’s popular Pigskin Picks football contest has been going for fifty
years. The winners of the first contest were announced in the October 2, 1958
issue. Glen Markley was first and Jim Phillips was second.
Publication five days a week began in 1961, Since becoming a daily paper the
Tribune has missed publishing twice. The first was during the big snow in
1967 and the second in 1998 when a blizzard knocked out power for a full day.
Other notable anniversaries
Our anniversaries search was for organizations, businesses or public bodies
whose number of years in existence ends in a zero or a five.
St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church started here in 1858 with a small building
north of the Lakeshore and Michigan Southern Railroad even though the
congregation did not have a resident priest.
At about the same time Swedish immigrants founded the Augsburg Evangelical
Lutheran Church in the Baillytown area. It was sometimes referred to as the
Baillytown Lutheran Church and services were often conducted in Swedish.
The town of Porter is planning the observance of its founding in 1858 (150
years). The town voted to incorporate in 1908 (100 years). Elected to the
first town board were Ezra Brody, John P. Carlson and Frank Peterson.
Treasurer was H. L. Ruggles and clerk was Frank Dabbert. The Porter Fire
Department also dates its beginnings to 1908.
1868 is the founding date for Calumet Lodge F.A.&M. making it 140 years old
and the longest continuous lodge in the area. The lodge’s Masonic Temple on
Lincoln Ave. at Ninth St., built in 1958, is fifty years old.
Royal Neighbors of America Goldenrod Camp, which first met in 1908, is one
hundred years old. The camp began with 27 members and the first Oracle was
Mrs. Anna Tillotson.
The South Shore Railroad began running in 1908 under the name Chicago, Lake
Shore and South Bend Electric Railway, also referred to as an interurban.
The town of Dune Acres is 85 years old. It was incorporated in 1923 when
there were just five houses. Incorporators were William A. Wirt, Col. A. P.
Melton, C. R. Kuss, Harry Hall and C. V. Ridgely.
Chesterton Lions Club dates its founding to 1933 and can celebrate 75 years
of service to the community. Sponsor for the Chesterton club was the Michigan
City Lions Club. At the first organizational meeting at the Central Hotel,
Warren R. Canright was chosen temporary president.
Seventy years ago in 1938 the first Chesterton Park Board was appointed to
plan for development of Chesterton Park along Fifth Street between Morgan
Ave. and Porter Ave. Members of that first board were Hubert Barnes, Roy
Hubbard, Mrs. Roy Sherwood, Thomas Weisemann and Mrs. Charles Wiltfong.
Duneland Historical Society was started in 1948 and is observing its 60th
anniversary. Louis Menke was temporary chairman for the organizational
meeting at Eschenbach’s Restaurant. Edward L. Morgan was elected first
Fifty years ago Westchester Schools went from a trustee system to a school
board. Members of the first board were Arthur Pillman, Elizabeth Copp, Edwin
Nicholson, Donald Jensen and John Pillman. Ten years later in 1968
Westchester, Jackson and Liberty schools merged into the Duneland School
System and the first Duneland School Board was elected.
The first Porter County Park Board was appointed twenty-five years ago in
1983 when Sunset Hill Farm became the first Porter County Park.
When we note historical anniversaries, it is fitting that the list end with
the Westchester Township History Museum run by the Westchester Public Library
which is ten years old. It started in 1998 in the lower level of the Library
Service Center and moved to the Brown Mansion in 2005.