By ALEXANDRA NEWMAN
Third Grade students at St. Patrick’s School left their own pages of history
at the local museum after studying the history of the local community.
A book entitled “1816-2002 Chronology of Duneland, Illustrated by St.
Patrick’s Third Grade, 2003-2004,” is now part of the archives at the
Westchester Twp. Historical Museum, 100 W. Indiana Ave.
“The book was a thank-you to the volunteers at the museum for the very
successful program,” said Teacher Pam Rearick in an interview with the
“The docents (Betty Canright, Nancy Vaillancourt, Eva Hopkins and Joan
Costello, are extremely knowledgeable about the history,” she continued.
Rearick said this is the second year her classes have made the visit to the
The project follows the state requirement for third grade history: They must
be able to explain why and how the local community was established; identify
the founders and early settlers; describe the role of special communities of
the region; give examples of people, events and development that brought
important changes to local community or region; develop a simple time line
of events in the local community and use a variety of community resources.
For example the library, museum and community historians, she explained.
Rearick, a native of South Bend, said she researched the timeline prepared
by Betty Canright on the Chesterton Tribune website, and contacted the
museum, whose docents planned a tour, according to those dates significant
to the timeline Rearick prepared for the class project.
During the tour, half of the class viewed slides about Chesterton while the
other half viewed artifacts and then they switched places.
The children then were assigned specific dates to illustrate through crayon
drawings the history of the area. They began with 1816, when Indiana became
a state and the Potawatomi Indians lived in the area. In 1822, Joseph Bailly
arrived in the area and started a trading post.
In 1833, Jesse Morgan started a school in his home. A crayon picture shows a
school with a red roof and a teacher telling the children to line up single
file in front of the school.
The next drawing in the time line is 1834 depicting the Thomas family who
settled here and shows Hannah Morgan as their first child.
In 1935 Joseph Bailly died and Coffee Creek opened a Post Office with Jesse
Morgan as Postmaster.
In 1936 Porter County was created by the Indiana General Assembly. The
illustration shows legislators voting.
In 1847 William Thomas built the first home in Coffee Creek and the
illustration shows a log cabin being built.
In 1857, the first Catholic Church was built north of the railroad tracks,
and in 1863, Chellbergs arrived from Sweden. In 1869 Chesterton became a
town and in 1870, the name of the U.S. Post Office was changed to
In 1876 St. Patrick Church was built at 3rd St. and Indiana Ave. The church
is made of bricks.
In 1879 a two-story brick schoolhouse was built at a cost of $6,000.
Telephones came to Chesterton in 1898 and a Catholic school was being built.
The students who depicted the 1902 fire in Chesterton, used red, orange and
yellow for the flames and showed a chain line of residents with buckets
attempting to douse the flames.
In 1922 a new high school was built at the corner of 6th St. and Morgan Ave.
and in 1924 a bandstand was built in Railroad Park.
“I made it a point to select 1928 for them to be award Calumet Rd. was paved
for the first time. It is not easy for them to realize it was once a dirt
road,” Rearick said.
The history continues with 1948, ‘50, ‘56, ‘62, ‘66, ‘71, ‘81, ‘89 and 2001
“They are able to relate to the more recent dates,” she said.
Rearick laminated the drawings and had Data Graphics put it into book form.
“This year we also took a walk down Calumet Rd. and Broadway with photos of
what the town used to look like. They were able to see many of the buildings
are the same buildings,” she said.
Students who participated in the project include Daisy Costello, Kevin
Fekete, Spencer Gordon, Shannon Howe, Alex Hughes, Adam Kerr, Max Kirchner,
Bryce Klawson, Kathryn Knight, Ariane Mahaffey, Jasmine Maletta, Francesca
Meffert, Mary Mochen and Kylie Moore.
Also, Jesse Mudd, Nicole Needham, Kaylee Oates, Christian O’Brien, Joey
Ponda, Eric Quinn, Nicholas Raffin, Emily Roberts, Jack Schroeder, Sonny
Solar, April Spenny, Larissa Valdez, Samantha Wesley and Jennifer Williams.