William Frederick Howat.

A standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) online

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evening to put ott" the empty cans. This was the commencement of a
very profitable ])usiness, which has since been developed by all the lines
operating in Nortliwestern Indiana.

The Nickel Plate, Erie and Monon Lines

But 1881 was the great year for railroad building in Lake County,
as before the close of 1882 tliree new lines were in operation, one of which
tapped southern and western townships which had heretofore been en-
tirely neglected. The three lines to which reference is made were the
New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate), which entered the county
parallel with the Pan Handle and a short distance south of it. branching
off at Hobart and passing westwardly through Hammond ; the Chicago
& Atlantic (E]rie), which created Palmer near the eastern county line,
cut through a corner of Crown Point, and included Griffith and High-
land before reaching Hammond on the extreme northwestern border;
and the Louisville, New Albany & Cliicago (]Monon), which made a
village of Shelliy on the Kankakee, gave to Lowell its first communica-
tion by rail and telegraph, furnished a place of shipment for Creston,
made a fine pleasure resort of Cedar Lake, making a station and town
of St. John, assisting in the growth of Dyer, befriending the industrious
Hollanders of tlie ^funster district, and adding to the transportation
facilities of Hammond. It also adojjted the milk train feature.

The I. T. I.

In 1883 the Illinois, Indiana & Iowa (the I. I. 1.) was ])^iilt across a
portion of Southern Lake County, adding perhaps some business life
to Shelby, founding Schneider and Lineville as stations, and making
the rich marsh lands of the Kankakee liottom more accessible and val-


Railroads of Thirty Years Ago

As this put the bold finishing touches to Lake County as railroad
territory, the editor pauses long enough to take a survey of the situa-
tion in 1884, through the eyes and pen of Rev. H. Wason, one of the
pioneers who founded that famous New Hampshire settlement in West
Creek Township. "Our local situation," he says, "gives, us a pre-
eminence. We stand as the door to Chicago for access to all the Atlantic
cities. This places us, for railroad facilities, at the head of all the coun-
ties in our state, and also of most counties in our land. Of the ninety-
two counties in Indiana, only four approach us in miles of roadbed, viz. :
Allen, Marion, Laporte and Porter. While we have 212 miles of road
in daily use, there are four counties in our State not yet touched by a
railroad — Brown, Ohio, Perry and Switzerland. There are also eleven
others that are only intersected by one road.

"The three best roads in our State, and great thoroughfares in the
nation, pass through Lake County and are assessed for taxation at $20,-
000 for each mile of roadlied, viz. : Michigan Central, Michigan South-
ern and Pittsburgh & Fort Wayne. The Joliet Cut Off, Grand Trunk
and Baltimore & Ohio are assessed at $10,000 per mile, only a little below
the three second best roads in the State. The railroad property in our
county is assessed at nearly three millions of dollars, and pays 341/2 per
cent of the money that goes into onr county treasury ; and no delinquent

■ ■ To give a better idea of the rank we hold as a railroad county let
us state some facts. We are a little above the average of the ninety-two
counties in territory, but we have only one-twenty-fifth of the railroad
miles imbedded on our soil, and more than one-eighteenth part of all the
railroad property in our State is tributary to our county treasury. An-
other peculiarity is that one or more of our eleven railroads intersects
each township in our county, so that but few families are more than
five miles from some railroad station. AVe have no city as a railroad
center, though one (Hammond) has just sprung into life, accommo-
dated by four roads.

"Some of our roads are among the oldest in the State. The Michi-
gan Central found its way through our county into Chicago in 1850.
The last road to make a home with us (the I. I. I.) came cpiietly creeping
up the Kankakee Marsh in 1883.

"Many of our roads have received material aid from the citizens of
the county, and I trust all have their good will. There should be no
conflict between the two. The one is dependent upon the other to a
certain extent. Railroads would be worthless without patronage, but it


would be a dire calamity to be thrown back fifty years and be depend-
ent on the old mode of travel and transportation. Companies build rail-
roads for profit, but many fortunes are sunk in their construction, and
rerj- many roads go iato the hands of receivers. Yet all persons use
them more or less for convenience and economy. For statistical pur-
poses I api>end the report of the State Board of Equalization on Rail-
roads for 18S4."

From that report is extracted the following, showing the number of
miles of maia and side tracks of the various roads, as well as their roll-
ing stock, with the total valuation of these properties and right-of-way
improvements :

ilain Side
Xami^ of Eaflxoad Tra/;k Trari .Sl/x;k Tra/rks Ireiproveioents Total

'Miles Miles Value Value - Value Value

Baltiii^jre & Ohio 17.ftS .74 f S2,184 $ 1%0,650 $ 1.460 $ 214,2&4

CbitiLHO k. Atlautk 24,42 3.66 61,050 129,420 3,«s00 I94;270

CLifra^o & Grand Trunk.. 16.07 2.36 64J;fcO 167,780 4,220 236,280

Pan Handle 22.13 1.&4 55.32.5 200,564 2.175 2.58,064

JoLet Ciit 0« 15.47 2.79 46.410 163.070 710 210.190

Mkhigan .SoutlieaTi 18.25 5.23 78,475 385^20 2,100 466,495

Mon//n' 32.08 2.85 .57,744 166,100 1,900 225,744

Miehi^n Central 16.41 6.72 4&,230 3-55,080 1.510 405,820

Xiekef Plate 18.06 2.94 65,016 ]14i:4^J 1.820 181,076

Wabash 20.07 4.48 92,322 419,320 4,875 516,517

L, I. k 1 11.27 ,36 2,817 28,463 295 31,575

Total 212.11 34.07 $604,8-53 «2;il0,607 $24,865 $2,940/i25

Eakly Road Bmloing i.v tije Ka.vk.akkp: Mak-shek

The highways of the county were still imj^rfect and weak auxiliaries,
or feeders to the railways, the most marked early improvement in their
condition being made in Southern Lake Cotinty.

In the sommer of 1887 two .steam dredges were busily at work cutting
ditiihes in the Kankakee Region. Attemj^ts to drain the marsh land b>'
ditching had been made by .state legislation soon after 18-52. Some large
ditches had been dug, but the methods employed were costly and .slow in
attaining results. The newly employed* steam dredg*:* worked busily in
1888 and 1889 and in the latter year, by means of ditching through the
marsh, a road was opened from the Orange Grove p^^toffice to Water
Valley, on the east line of the town lots laid out that year by the Lake
Agricultural Company and called the Village of Shelby.

It was found that the sand brought up by the dredge made a g^xxl
roa/^1 WJ, and so bridges were built acrf/ss the dit/;hes thiat went w^rstward ;
a bridge for wagwis was also con.structed over the Kankakee River, and
at last there was a good wagon road from Lake County over into New-
ton. Soon there was another road passing by Cumb^^rland Ixxige in Oak


Grove. cUid aiiotlier bridge and a highway nmning directly south to
Lake Village iu Newton. "It was a new and pleasiint experience." says
a pioneer of that region, "after so many years, to be able to ride in a
carriage down to that long line of blue which had ended the view south-
ward in Lake County, and to pass that great barrier of marsh and river,
and visit the citizens of Ne^^^ou County. "Wliile as to distance they had
been neighbors, as to access to their homes they had Iven strangers for
more than litn- years."


The late *SOs developed railroiul and to\>-n-building on a broad scale
iu the Calumet Kegion. whoso remarkable gi\>wth really commenced at
that period. In ISSS the Elgin, Joliet Jc Eastern Kailroad commenced
running freight cars across the county from Dyer to Hobivrt. find the
siuue year the Chicago & Calumet Terminal Wgan operations iu tlie
northwestern portion of the Calumet Region. At that time the couutiy*.
north of the Grand Calumet Kiver and GtH>rgo and Wolf lakes to I«*ike
Michigan was a wilderness of sand ridges, marshes and thick. swan\py
underbrush, with the plucky Penman family "settled" iu the dreary

East Chicago Akisvs

But the building of the Calumet Terminal from Chicago brought
the wilderness iu closer touch with the great Magic City a few miles
to the west than it had ever been Ivfore. Attr:u-tiveuess of landscape
cut no tigure iu the matter, and within a few yeai-s East Chicagv^ arose
from the Calumet marshes beyond Hammond. Tlu^ sju\d ridgt^s were
leveled into the swamps, the underbrush cleared away, a saw mill built,
dwellings erected, more factories drawn to the spot which could so readily
send everything manufactured to Chicagv\ schix^ls, churches, ehvtric
lights, substantial business streets, an incorporated town and city —
within two yeai*s after springing from the mud and underbrush. East
Chicago had added 1.200 people to the lone renman family and within
ten. fully three thousand.

W'lnriNc, ANP TtiK Stanpakp Ou Comtany

The foundii\g of Whiting, on the Michigan Soiuhern. by the Stand-
ard Oil Company in 1SS9 was an equally remarkable creation planted
in the CaUuuet Koirion. northeast of Hanuuond and northwest of l\ast


Chicago, and its growth during the succeeding decade to an industrial
center of nearly four thousand people made it the peer of any town in
the region. Unlike East Chicago and Hammond, however, Whiting de-
pended almost entirely on the support of one great corporation, and
within recent years its growth has not been so pronounced as its sister

Hammond Forges Ahead

During the wonderful decade, 1890-1900, when the Calumet Region
became firmly established as not only Chicago's most important manu-
facturing territory, but as one of the greatest industrial centers in the
country, Hammond also more than doubled her population; and the
railroads which had become established, and the new freight lines which
had just entered, shared in the growth and the prosperity which they
so largely created. »

The Wabash Line

Li 1892 the Wabash line was completed through Hobart and across
the county, in a northwesterly direction, touching the border of Tolle-
ston, and establishing stations at East Chicago and Hammond.

Prosperous Exposition Year

The year 1893 was remarkable in the history of Lake County rail-
roads, as of all others tributary to Chicago; the millions drawn to the
World's Columbian Exposition flooded the railroad treasuries with their
money. Lake County sent its delegations to swell their coffers, its school
children especially swarming to the great exhibition and educator known
as the White City. Probably never again will so many people pass over
the railroads of Lake County as during September, 1893.

Local Phases of Great Railroad Strike

The year 1894 was vastly different, as is proven by the following
quoted from the Report of the Historical Secretary of the Old Settler
Association, read in August, 1894: "This has been no ordinary year,
although vastly unlike the last. Over all our land it has been a year
of uncertainty, of unrest, of some conflict; and to some extent, in all
of these we of Lake County have shared. There have been the remark-
able inactivitv of the American Congress, the great stagnation in mining


and maimfaetures, the PuUiuan boycott, the De])s' strike, the miners'
strike, the assassination of the French president, and a war commenced
between the great powers of Eastern Asia, China and Japan. In our
narrow limits we have felt but little change from these events which
have made this year memorable ; Init in the northern part of the county
for a time the civil officers were unable to maintain law and order, and
the United States troops and some eight hundred militia upheld the
law, secured railway transportation and the passage of the mails in the
city of Hammond, and quelled disturbances also in East Chicago and
AA^'hiting. For a time in Crown Point, on both roads, no trains could go
through to Chicago, and passenger trains lay there for many hours,
reminding us of the scenes during our great snow blockade. The tents
of the soldiers, the soldiers themselves on guard duty, the presence of
the soldiers with their arms in various places, the guard around the
Erie station, the galling gun on the platform, caused Hammond to
appear for a number of days as a city under martial law.

"It \yas in our county a new experience to have almost a regiment
of soldiers under arms to preserve order, and to be able to reach the
Erie station passenger room only as one passed the sentry and the cor-
poral of the guard. AVe may well hope such times will not often come.
No mail, no travel, no daily papers, no intercourse wnth Chicago. Some
of the Crown Point grocerymen had supplies brought out from Chicago
by teams, as was customary Ijefore the railroads were built. Happily,
this condition of things did not last long. The president of the United
States exercised his authority, the governors of Indiana and Illinois
asserted theirs, troops poured into Chicago, and the gathering of mobs,
the lawlessness, the destruction of property, the impossibility of mov-
ing trains in or out of the city, ceased."

The Two Hammond Factions

T. H. Ball, in commenting on the exciting incidents of the great
railroad strike and disturbances which spread from Chicago into the
Calumet Region, adds: "Historic truth and justice to a part of the
citizens of Hammond seem to require some further record here. In one
of the city papers, under the heading 'To Maintain Law,' a notice ap-
peared of a meeting of Hammond citizens in the hall of the Sons of
A'^eterans, from which notice some extracts and statements are taken.
The first speaker was ex-Secretary of State Charles F. Griffin, who in
a speech that was full of patriotism and loyalty, paid a graceful com-
pliment to President Cleveland and Governor Matthews. He spoke for
half an hour, and said in closing: 'The law-abiding citizens of this


city have been outraged and their rights trampled upon. The fair name
of Hammond and Lake County has been blackened by the work of
rioters. The methods employed by the mob that had possession of
Hammond last week forcibly remind one of the days of bushwhacking.
It is high time the citizens take action.' He then read some resolutions,
which after discussion were adopted, strongly condemning the action of
the rioters, their upholders and of some local officers, and approving
heartily the action of the president and the governor in furnishing mili-
tary protection to life and property.

"The names of others given as taking an active part in this meet-
ing of citizens who pledged themselves to the enforcement of law, are
the following: Professor AA^. C. Belman, Rev. F. W. Herzberger, G. P.
C. Newman, J. B. AVoods, Rev. August Peter, Colonel LeGrand T.
Meyer, one of the governor's staff, AA^. G. Friedly and E. E. Beck, who
was chairman of the meeting.

"It was a time of no little excitement; the results in Chicago were
then uncertain; Hammond was the same as a part of Chicago in its
locality; and some who were called Hammond citizens had held a
meeting not long before heartily endorsing the conduct of the officials
whose action the citizens of this meeting condemned, and denouncing
the sending of troops by the president to quell the disturbances. One
of the resolutions, therefore as read by Hon. C. F. Griffin, contained
this strong language: 'Resolved, that the business men and law-abid-
ing citizens of Hammond repudiate with disgust and alarm the disloyal
sentiments expressed by the resolutions of the so-called citizens' meet-
ing of last Tuesday, and assert that they are not indorsed by the masses
of Hammond citizens.'

' ' Quiet was at length restored, the soldiers were removed from Ham-
mond, and trains could pass and repass without molestation.

"In this record of an experience as a part of modern railroad life,
it is not strange that in Hammond at this time there should have been
two very different positions taken ; for, unlike Michigan City and Laporte,
which were early settled localities — unlike AVinaniac, Rensselaer, Mon-
ticello and Valparaiso, early settled localities all — Hammond, a city so
recently become populous, separated from a part of Chicago and so
from Illinois only by an air line, partakes very little in the charac-
teristics of Lake County and of Indiana. Geographically in Lake
County and in Indiana, few of its thousands of inhabitants have a
share in the traditions and associations, as they had no share in the
trials and privations and successes, of the earlier inhabitants of North-
ern Indiana; and so, in what is called the nature of things, they can-
not be expected to be identified, to much extent, with the interests of


Lake County. They form a community of their own. and must be ex-
pected to have the characteristics of the manufacturing portions of
Chicago, a part of which, locally, Hammond is. But a few descendants
of quite earh^ settlers, as Charles F. Griffin, A. Murray Turner and
others from Crown Point and from old settled parts of the county,
have homes now in that rapidly growing and enterprising city, while
the thousands are, for Lake County and for Indiana, 'new comers.'
And this same fact has its bearings in making not only Hammond, but
East Chicago and Whiting, with their gathered thousands, quite differ-
ent from the other towns in Northwestern Indiana. It should receive
due consideration from those living in those three contiguous cities, as
well as from those outside, especially as more than one-half the popu-
lation of Lake County, as claimed, will no doubt this year he found
inside of those three corporations and all living within about three
miles of the city limits of Chicago. :

"It is sufficiently easy to see how natui-al it was, at the time of ithe
great Chicago strike, that two very different positions should be taken
in Hammond."

First Electric Line

The intimate relations between Chicago and the Calumet Region of
Lake County were further cemented, in jMay. 1896, by the opening of
the electric railway from Hammond direct to South Chicago, between
Lake George and Wolf Lake, thus enabling one for three fares only
to get into the heart of Chicago.

Building op Gravel Roads

During that year also a good gravel road was built through Hobart
Township, from its south line, through Hobart and Lake Station, to
Lake Michigan. It was a fair beginning in that line of construction
which, especially within the past fifteen years, has so improved the
townships of Northern Lake County and gladdened the hearts of all
who are advocates of good roads as a blessing to thv^ mass of people, even
in districts which are favored by the railroads.

In connection with these improvements personal mention is due
James M. Bradford, who was county commissioner from 1894 to 1900.
Both during that period and afterward, his enthusiasm and success in
the construction of these substantial highways of rural travel won for
him the name of Gravel Road Bradford. He can afford to be well pleased
to be thus known and remembered — even if that were the scope of his



For the year 1899 no one public improvement in the county assumed
greater prominence than that of road-making. Some of the roads were
called gravel and others stone roads. Befoi'e tliis eleven miles of gravel
road had been built in Hobart Township.

There are now (Novemlier. 1914) nearly four hundred and twenty-
three miles of gravel roads in Lake County, constructed at an approx-


imate cost of DO cents per s<|uare yard. The banner year in tlu' pushing
of these improvements by the county commissioners antl the county sur-
veyor, who have charge of all such work, was 1900. County Surveyor
Seely. to whom the editor is inde])ted for the facts stated in this par-
agraph, reports the mileage l)y townships as follows: North, 94.8 miles;
Calumet, 68..") : St. John, 46.7; Hobart, 46.2; Ross, 88.7; Center, 37.3;

Cedar Creek

West Creek. 23.4; Wiufield. 12.9; Hanover, 12.1; Eagle

Creek, 11.1. Total, 423.7 miles.


The Newest Railroads

In 1899 a freight line was constructed from Grifdtii to Lake Michi-
gan and thence westward, called the Griffith & Northern Indiana and in
1903 the Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville Railroad was completed to the
town named.

The Chicago, Indiana & Southern, controlled by the New York Cen-
tral, is also one of the late roads, which runs from Indiana Harbor,
through the four w^estern townships of Lake County to Danville, Illinois,
crossing the Monon at 8t. John. In combination with the Indiana Har-
bor Belt Line it has large freight yards in the western part of Indiana

The Belt Lines

Besides the sixteen main lines which traversed Lake County by 1904:
or 1905, there were such belt lines as the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern, Chicago
Junction, Chicago Terminal Transfer, Chicago, Lake Shore & Eastern,
Chicago & Western Indiana, East Chicago and Griffith & Northern

The four main l)elt line systems of the Calumet region have more than
eight hundred miles of trackage, and may be briefly described as fol-
lows: The Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Road has 200 miles of tracks, 25
of which are along the lake shore in Indiana. It circles around Chi-
cago, at an average of about thirty miles from its business center, and
touches Waukegan on the north. West Chicago and Aurora on the west,
and Joliet, Coal City and the Indiana lake shore on the south. It inter-
cepts every road that enters Chicago.

The Chicago Terminal Transfer Railroad runs from Mayfair on the
north, through ]\Iaywood, Blue Island and Chicago Heights, on the south
of Chicago ; skirts the Calumet River region and reaches East Chicago
and Hammond. It is especially important in tlie develoi^meut of the
Hammond district.

The Chicago & AVestern Indiana, or inner belt line, closely binds the
Stock Yards district and the Calumet region.

The Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Company operates one of the
best known lines of that character in the Calumet region. Its history
and financial status are thus set forth by W. S. Osborn, its auditor :

''This company, under the name of East Chicago Belt Railroad Com-
pany, was incorporated under the law^s of the State of Indiana on May
16. 1896, and constructed certain lines of railroad in the vicinity of
Hammond. On June 29, 1907, the name of East Chicago Belt Railroad
Company was changed to Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Company.



' ' On June 29, 1907, the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Company ac-
quired, and on October 31, 1907, purchased the properties of the Chi-
cago Junction Railway Company, extending from Whiting, Ind., to
Franklin Park, 111., including rights of the Chicago Junction Railway
Company as common user of the Chicago Terminal Transfer Railroad
Company, extending from Blue Island, Hi., to McCook, 111. ; also rights
of the Chicago Junction Railway Company to operate over the Calumet
Western Railway, the South Chicago and Southern Railroad and the
Calumet River Railroad.

Gary Union Railroad Depot

'"On July 1, 1907, the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Company began
operating, and on October 31, 1907, purchased from the Indiana Harbor
Railroad Company of Illinois, formerly the Terminal Railroad Company,
the property owned by that company extending from Chappell, 111., to
the Union Stock Yards, including interest in leasehold covering the right
of way along Forty-ninth Street owned in fee by the Grand Trunk Rail-
way Company, and rights of joint user of property and facilities of tlie
Chicago, Indiana and Southeiii Railroad Company north of the Little
Calumet River near Osborn, Indiana.


"Chicago Junction Railway Company was formed on January 1,
1898, by the consolidation of the Chicago, Hammond and Western Rail-
road Company and the Chicago and Indiana State Line Railway Com-
pany. The Chicago, Hammond and Western Railroad Company was

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 27 of 44)