Chesterton Tribune

Historical Society hears ice age history

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Using detailed maps and old photographs, author Kenneth J. Schoon took members and guests of the Duneland Historical Society back through 17,000 years of the history of the Calumet Region at the society’s March meeting.

Schoon is Associate Dean of Indiana University Northwest’s School of Education. His new book, “Calumet Beginnings, Ancient Shorelines and Settlements at the South End of Lake Michigan,” published by Indiana University Press, explores that history from many angles.

Maps showed the Lake Michigan shoreline at different times in history and the extent of glaciers plus the many moraines (including Valparaiso Moraine) left by the glacial activity in the region. Evidence shows that mastadons inhabited the area.

Early human history begins with Indians who left their marks with remains of their villages and their trails many of which followed the glacial moraines, and some of which are followed by modern roads.

The first recorded European exploration of the south Lake Michigan area was by Father Marquette in 1673. Schoon says that Calumet history is tied to Montreal because of the French explorers and fur traders.

Trading posts, such as that of Joseph Bailly, were established and stage coach routes, which were wider than Indian trails, were put to use.

Beginning in 1851 railroads began to provide transportation and population grew.

Schoon spoke of the many activities in the Calumet region and the dunes which are tied to the area’s geology—excellent beaches, a ski jump in Ogden Dunes, Chanute’s flight experiments, sand mining, brickyards, logging, farming, ice harvesting, industry and many types of communities.

Chesterton and Porter were described as railroad towns; Dune Acres, a lakefront town; Valparaiso, a county seat and Lakes of the Four Seasons, a designed residential waterscape.

The author gave credit to local people for their help in research including Jane Walsh-Brown, Nancy Vaillancourt and Dan Bruhn.

The Duneland Historical Society spring dinner for members and their guests catered by Popolano’s will be April 15, 6:30 p.m. at the Library Service Center. The public is invited to the program at 7:30 p.m. Janice Slupski and Chris Light from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will present “The Bailly Cemetery”.


Posted 3/24/2004