William Frederick Howat.

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

. (page 41 of 44)
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"The high school takes i)lcasurc in the fact that of twenty-three
graduates of the 1912 class eight are now taking university work ; and
of these eight students three have been awarded scholai'ships for excel-
lent work done in the high school and university.

"xMthough the high school is seriously handicapped through lack
of room and the equipment necessary to meet the growing demands of
the region, its enrollment has increased about 225 per cent A\athin the
past tive years."

The IMethodist CiirRCii

The churches of East Chicago and Indiana Harbor, like the schools,
have been organized to meet the peculiar conditions of an industrial
and business community drawn from many nationalities and races. They
are so numerous that we can do no better than to give an idea of the
nature of their diversity and mention some of them by name.

The fii*st churches to be established in East Chicago — and they are
still large and growing — were the Methodist and St. IMary's Catholic.

A few years after the organization of the church in Hammond an
organization was effected by the Methodist people in East Chicago, the
exact date of which is not known OAving to the failure of keeping a cor-
rect record, llowt-vcr. it is recorded that the first church was dedicated
ill 1889, when there was a membership of 36. R. C. Wilkinson being the
pastor. The frame structure was later enlarged to meet the demands
of the growing congregation. This answered the purpose, until 1912,
when owing to the rapid growth of the city and the prospect of a
much larger population in tlie near future, it was deemed advisable to
sell the old site and obtain a new location. This wa.s secured through
the generous gift of the East Chicago Land Company of four lots at
the corner of Chicago and Baring avenues, in the very heart of the city.
Here was ■erected in 1911-12, and dedicated in July, 1912, the present
commodious and well-appointed edifice, costing >1^30,000. The financial
burden necessary to the building and maintaining such a house of
worship presses heavily upon this heroic and self-sacrificing congrega-
tion. ])ut they are bearing their burdens cheerfully and successfully.
The board of home missions and church extension will undoubtedly
come to their relief in a generous appropriation. This church bids fair
to l>e one of the strong churches of Northern Indiana. The member-
ship is 275. Sunday School enrollment is 260. All the other depart-
ments are well organized and doing efficient work. This congregation


has been served by 16 pastors, some of whom are now occupying pulpits
in large city churches. The present popular pastor is R. H. Crowder.

St. Mary's Catjiolic Cjiurch
St. Mary's Catholic Church was founded by Rev. Henry M. Plaster,
so long in charge of St. Joseph's Church of Hammond. He celebrated
first mass in the old Tod Opera House, and in 1889 bought a site from
the East Chicago Company. General Torrence, who was so prominent
in the founding and upbuilding of East Chicago, donated the first
bell, which had originally belonged to the pioneer public school. Father
M. J. Byrne was the first permanent pastor of St. Mary's, after two
years of service being transferred to the Sacred Heart Parish at Whit-
ing. The charge at East Chicago again became a mission, its grov/th
into a. flourishing parish dating from 1899 and the coming of the pres-
ent pastor in charge, Rev. George Lauer. At his coming the strength
of St. Mary's was represented by about thirty families. The church
and priest's house on Forsyth Avenue were soon built, the latter being
afterward converted into a sisters' convent. In 1901 a schoolhouse was
completed just north of the church, and by the fall of that year 170
children were in attendance. A new schoolhouse was erected in 1913
with a capacity of 350 pupils. At the same time the rectory, built in
1902, was made into the sistei-s' convent, and tlie priest's residence
installed in the school building. Successive additions and improvements
have been made to the church building to keep pace with present-day
requirements and the constant expansion of membership, whicli now
represents about 160 families, or 850 souls.

St. . Stanisla is Pa risii

There are a number of other Catholic churches in East Chicago,
some of them founded on clearly defined racial membership, such as St.
Michael's and St. Stanislaus, both supported by the large Polish element.
St. Stanislaus Church was founded as early as 1896, but since 1888 the
community had been visited by various pastors of St. Casimir's Polish
Catholic Church in Hammond. In 1896 Father Casimir Kobylinski
secured a site at Baring Avenue and One Hundred and Fiftieth Street
and erected a church building thereon, the parish at that time number-
ing about two hundred souls. The present grounds were purchased
under the pastorate of Rev. John Kubacki in 1901, comprising a blo€k
fronting on :\Iagoun and Forsyth avenues. After the church w^as moved
thither it was enlarged and improved. In 1901 Father Kubacki also
erected a school building, residences for the sisters and the priest were
built, and the entire property has been continuously improved under


successive pastors. The present incumbent is Rev. Peter Budnik, who
was placed in charge of the parish in 1909. Under him a union church
and school building has been erected at a cost of $40,000, the old build-
ings being devoted to social purposes. St. Stanislaus parish claims 600
families, or about 3,500 souls.

Congregational Church

The First Congregational Church of East Chicago was organized
December 31, 1889, in the Tod Opera House. A council met in response
to letters missive and was composed of the following congregations:
Hammond, Indiana ; South Chicago, Illinois ; Elkhart, Indiana ; Hobart,
Indiana; Michigan City, Indiana; Ross, Indiana. All of the following
churches were represented by pastor and delegates. Mrs. G. H. Bird
was elected moderator and Rev. D. W. Andrews, scribe. Mrs. W. H.
Penman was the first clerk. Rev. F. P. Sanders, the first pastor, had
been in the field previous to the above date.

The church was organized with a membership of eight, consisting of
Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Johnson, ^Ir. and Mrs. L. T. Loucks, Myrtle Berry,
Birdie and Laura Johnson, and ]\Irs. Lewis.

Regular services were held in the third fioor of tlie Tod Opera House
from that time on until a new stone church on the corner of Magoun
Avenue and One Hundred and Forty-fifth Street was completed.

The little church served as a church home for the Congregational
people from 1890 until June, 1913, when the building was razed to be
replaced by the large building that now stands on the site.

The present pastor. Rev. Alexander IMouroe, was called to the church
September 1, 1910. The congregation has prospered greatly under
Brother Monroe's administration. The beautiful church is due largely
to his efforts. The charter members of the church show six women and
two men. It now has a Congregational Men's Club numbering fifty men.
The Sunday school is one of the largest in the city, having an attendance
of 200. The membership of the church is now over three hundred and
fifty. The new building is one of the best planned church for work and
worship in the State of Indiana. The total cost of the building and
fixtures, including pipe organ, is $42,000.

Other East Chicago Churches

The Holy Trinity Hungarian Church, Rev. Stephen Varga, pastor,
has also a strong membership among his people, and the ]\Iagyar Re-
formed Church, under Rev. Ladislaus Gerenday, has also a large fol-

The Swedish Evangelical Lutherans have a representative organi-


The Methodists at Indiana Harbor

The Methodist was the first church to be founded in Indiana Harbor.
Meeting first in a small storeroom on Peacua Avenue, under the min-
istration of Rev. U. Gr. Leazenby, in 1901, it was planted with the found-
ing of Indiana Harbor. A little later the members met in Klein Hall
on Michigan Avenue, and the congregation a few years afterward
bought from the Evangelical Association the present location on Grape-
vine Street. Here they w^orshiped in the basement of the church,
expecting to finish the building according to the original plan, but the
city and congregation were growing so rapidly that the trustees wisely
decided to wreck the basement and to build instead a larger and more
modern edifice. This was done and on September 29, 1911, the present
beautiful house of worship was dedicated by Bishop John H. Vincent.
The church has a membership of about 260, a Sunday School enroll-
ment of 450, a vigorous Ladies' Aid Society and one of the largest
Men's Bible classes in the region. The following pastors have served
the congregation: U. G. Leazenby, H. P. Ivey. A. H. Lawrence, 0. B
Rippetoe. Israel Hatton. R. H. Johnston.

The Christian Church

The Disciples of Christ, or Christian Church, has been established at
Indiana Harbor since 1903. when Rev. C. J. Sharp commenced preach-
ing in Klein's Hall over a blacksmith's shop. Within the coming year
the society erected a house of worship. The present pastor of the
Christian church is Rev. Herbert A. Carpenter; membership about 150.

Other Religioi's Bodies

The First Baptist Church is under the pastorate of Rev. Joseph E.
Smith; St. Alban (Episcopal), Rev. M. M. Day; German Lutheran,
Rev. Bruno Schreiber ; First United Presbyterian, Rev. Allen J. Crooks,
and Evangelical Swedish Mission, Rev. Simon Carlson.

The B'nai Israel Congregation is a well-known organization of
Jewish residents.

Roumanians, who are non-Catholics, have a church known as St.
Joseph Roumanian Orthodox, Rev. Simon Mihaltian, pastor, while the
Catholics are represented by the following five churches: St. Francis
Lithuanian, Rev. Joseph M. Jazsztys; St. George's Servian, Rev. John
V. Markovich ; St. John Cantius Polish, Rev. Anthony Stachowiak ; St.
Patrick's, Rev. John C. Wakefer.

In 1906 Rev. Peter A. Budnik, of East Chicago, founded St. John's
Parish of Polish Catholics at the Harbor. The church has increased to


more than four hundred families, and some four hundred children
attend the parochial school.

St. George 's Servian Church, organized in August, 1912, has an esti-
mated membership of some four thousand souls. In October, 1914, a
building was completed as the religious home of one of the largest
foreign elements in the Calumet region. The pastor from the first
has been Father Markovich.

The I. 0. 0. F.

It was not until East Chicago had reached a population of twelve
or fifteen hundred that its English-speaking and thoroughly American-
ized citizens felt themselves strong enough to attempt the organization
of the various lodges and societies, without which the typical community
of the United States seems stagnant.

In June, 1891, the Odd Fellows entered the field and organized East
Chicago Lodge No. 677. Its charter members were Edward DeBraie,
Charles H. Hungerford, Heuiy Hanneman, Edwin C. Wedgewood, E.
G. Palmer, Frank W. Clinton, James Robinson, C. M. Baker and Rev.
J. H. Simons. One of the most prominent local members of the order is
Dr. Jacob Goldman. Lodge No. 677 owns the building in which its meet-
ings are held, which was erected in 1907 at a cost of $15,000, and has
a membership of nearly two hundred.

James A. Garfield Encampment No. 205, I. O. 0. F., was instituted
in November, 1913, by Dr. Jacob Goldman, 0. R. Rahr, E. L. Williams,
Prof. T. E. Williams. J. F. Thompson and W. A. Richeson. David J.
Reid and Professor Williams have held the office of chief patriarch, Doc-
tor Goldman being the present incumbent. ]\Ioses J. Hayward is scribe.
Present membership, forty-five.

The Odd Fellows have also a growing auxiliary, known as the Daugh-
ters of Rebekah, Miriam Lodge No. 407.

Knights of the Macc.^ees

The Knights of the Maccabees organized in 1892 as East Chicago
Tent No. 44. It has a present membership of over one hundred, and
its successive presiding officers have been S. W. Wintei*s, A. J. Whitmer,
A. J. Rieland, William Zybell, J. H. Jordan, F. G. Wall, J. L. Lund-
quist, R. Bird, A. E. Peters, E. C. Wedgewood and AVilliam Walsh.

^Masonic Bodies

East Chicago Lodge No. 595, F. & A. M., was organized in July,
1893. Among those who have been most prominent in its activities
may be mentioned Stephen W. Winters, John Sandiland, Henry M.
Brown, Joseph P. Hartley, Herbert E. Jones, Richard Jenkins, William



H. Jeppeson, Abraham Otteiiheinier, John H. Steele, Waldo C. Bailey,
David J. Lewis, Willard B. Van Home, William L. Babcock and W.
John MeRae. In 1913 the East Chicago ^lasons completed a fine temple
costing $30,000, at the corner of Magoun and Baring avenues. It is a
handsome three-storA' l)rick building, with tasteful stone trimmings.
Lodge No. 595 now numbers nearly three hundred members.

In June, 191-4, was organized East Chicago Commandery No. 58,
K. T. It has a present membership of over seventy, with the follow-
ing otlicers : Waldo C. Bailey, eminent commander ; Willard B. Van
Home, generali-ssimo ; Fred W. Gerdts, captain general ; William H.
Jeppeson, treasurer; Henry C. Knobloch, recorder.

^Iicjji(;ax Anen'ce. Lxdiana II arhok

The order in East Chicago also includes Chapter No. 141 and 0. E. S.
; Chapter No. 167.

Knights op Pythias and Pythian Sisters

East Chicago Knights of Pythias Lodge No. 477 was formed in
January, 1900, and since its organization the following have been
prominent: I. R. Ladd, Robert Spear, Joseph Galloway, John Hatfield,
John Steel, A. E. Roland, Lester Graliam, A. G. Slocoml), Roy Laundy,
J. R. Andrews, A. H. W. Johnson, A. A. Ross, Samuel Hensell, F. H.
Stephens, W. C. Jones, W. R. Diamond, Edward Green, Martin Peter-
son, W. D., E. J. Meredith and C. W. Haight. The Knights have
a membership of 125.

The Pythian Sisters are also organized under the name of East
Chicago Temple No. 391, and are making progress— as usual.


The Daughters of the American Revolution

The name ' " Calumet Chapter ' ' was given to this branch of the organ-
ization that it might be identified closely with this region. The blue-
fringed gentian, which grows in such profusion about, and the rarest of
lilies, "the Lotus," which grows in Little Calumet River, were chosen
for the flowers. "Calumet" means "peace-pipe," and in so naming the
chapter it was designed also to stand for the same principles that our
Indian progenitors intended when they named the rivers ; that name now
stands for unity of this diversified population.

The first member, ]\Irs. William R. Diamond, admitted l)y the National
Board to the Wythogan Chapter of Plymouth October 6, 1909, has been
most active in establishing this chapter. Living here her interest was
transferred to this place. Miss Lillian Maxey and Mrs. Eleanor M.
Creswell were admitted at the same time.

There being no public meetings of the organization here, it was difficult
to find those who would be eligible and sufficiently interested to look up
their ancestry, which must in fact have an established record as having
served in the War of the Revolution. Interesting it is to search out from
the records of genealogies, old people's knowledge of past events, facts of
births, deaths and marriages, which when verified ])y the military record
of Revolutionary soldiers at Washington, will entitle applicant to apply
for admission.

Mrs. George W. Lewis, present regent, her mother. ^Irs. Hinds, and
daughter, ]\Iiss Florence Lewis, were added to these January 5, 1910.
Informal meetings were held keeping the interest alive. Mrs. Evaline
Funkey, Mrs. George Miller, Mrs. V. Badeaux, Mrs. B. M. Cheney, Mrs.
E. B. Jones, ^Irs. F. L. Evans, Miss INIary H. Stone were admitted in
1911. completing the full quota of members required for application for
a charter. This was granted April 12, 1911. Printed yearly programs
made the meetings formal and the year's work outlined. From time to
time application blanks are .given out to guests, stimulating activities in
looking up ancestry. Once a year formal receptions are held, an event
looked forward to Avith much pleasure. The one in January of this year
in the JMasonic Temple was a notable one, bringing guests from surround-
ing towns. The members assisted the officers in receiving: Mrs. George
W. Lewis, regent ; Mrs. William J. Funkey, vice regent ; Mrs. Frank L.
Evans, secretary ; Mrs. Eleanor M. Creswell, treasurer. At the present
time there are enrolled nineteen members and as Hammond, Indiana Har-
bor and Whiting are represented, the number is rapidly increasing. The
chapter has presented the city with a sanitary drinking fountain, now
doing duty on Forsythe Avenue. Also the beautiful American flag which
adorns the walls of the public library. It was designed to have it decorate


the outside of the building, but our esteemed critics from Chicago news-
papers suggested it was just as well to have it flying there, as from the
diversity of languages heard any time on our busy corners, one would
imagine they were in some foreign quarter. This symbol of American
patriotism stands for the highest type of American citizenship and loy-
alty, as do each of the members of the Calumet Chapter, D, A. R.

Modern Woodmen of America

The Modern Woodmen of America have been represented since
March, 1910, by East Chicago Camp No. 13,078. William L. Cherry,
William J. Funkey, Max T. Rottenberg, Clifford H. Reed and Roy E.
Ayrs have successively filled the position of consul. Present member-
ship over one hundred.

Loyal Order of Moose

In January, 1913, the Loyal Order of Moose instituted East Chicago
Lodge No. 1,256, John Roberts being considered its founder. The
officers elected at the time of organization were : Past dictator, R. G.
Howell; dictator, Charles Johns; vice dictator, AVilliam Herbert; prelate,
D. J. Roberts; secretary (three years), John Roberts; treasurer, John E.
Jones. Mr. Jones resigned in October, 1913 ; Mr. Herbert was advanced
to the chair and J. S. Johnston was elected vice dictator. In March,
1914, new" officers were elected. Mr. Herbert thereby became past
dictator, M. H. Silverman, dictator, J. S. Jolinston, vice dictator and
D. J. Roberts, prelate. John Roberts, by virtue of his three years'
term, is still secretary. At present the lodge numbers 350 members m
good standing.

Other Fraternal Organizations

The Fraternal Order of Eagles has also a progressive aerie — East
Chicago No. 1127— which meets at Union Hall, Indiana Harbor. The
following may also be mentioned as in the live list of secret, benevolent
and protective bodies : East Chicago Tent No. 44, Knights of Maccabees ;
Rachel Hive No. 77, Ladies of the Maccabees ; East Chicago Division No.
1, Ancient Order of Hibernians; St. Joseph Court No. 999, Catholic
Order of Foresters ; Twin City Council No. 1700, Knights of Columbus ;
Blumer Lodge No. 86, Independent Order of the Western Star ; Royal
Neighbors of America; United Order of Foresters, and Amalgamated
Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers. Of course there are
scores of other associations organized by the workingmen of East
Chicago, but the organizations mentioned are perhaps the strongest and
best known.



As A Town — City Improvements — Whiting's Public Park — Municipal
Departments — The Public Library — The Public School System
— Sacred Heart Catholic Parish — Methodism x\.t Whiting — St.
John Baptist Catholic Church — St. Adalbert's Parish — The
Christian Church — Secret and Benevolent Bodies.

The introduction to the corporation of Whiting has already been
written in the collation of the facts picturing the purchase of its site
by such land speculators as George W. Clarke, George M. Roberts and
Jacob Forsyth, the actual settlement there of Henry Schrage, the
establishment of a postoffice in 1871, and the forming of a village com-
munity in 1888, coincident with the coming of the railroads which gave it
special transportation advantages.

As A Town

The village was only a community, however, until 1895, for it was not
until that year, when a population of probably twenty-five hundred had
gathered around the plant of the Standard Oil Company, that it was
incorporated as a town. Its first officers, chosen in October of that
year, were as follows: W. S. Rheem, president of the board of trustees;
Henry Schrage, Fred Smith and George Humphrey, other trustees;
Claire V. Crane, clerk; P. Hickey, treasurer; C. Collins, marshal.

''During the six years which Whiting was under the administra-
tion of a town government," says one of its citizens, "our neighbor,
Hammond, showed an inclination to annex the wdiole town, and, in fact,
did annex all except that part owned by the Standard Oil Company,
which included the works and eighty-five cottages. Legal steps were
taken to recover those parts which Hammond had annexed, and all was
recovered except Robertsdale. In order that it might be impossible for
our larger neighbor to repeat the annexation scheme. Whiting was
incorporated as a city early in 1903, and its first officers were elected
May 4th of that year."



City Improvements

W. E. Warwick served as mayor of the new city from May, 1903, to
May, 1906, and during his administration the first steps were taken
toward improving the streets, most of the wooden sidewalks being
replaced by cement. The main-traveled thoroughfares were afterward
paved with brick and Westrumite, the latter being a patent asphalt
cement manufactured by a local plant.

Whiting's Public Park

In 1908, during the administration of Fred J. Smith, the city pur-
chased twenty-two acres of barren sand dunes along the lake front.
The tract was bought from the Forsyth estate for $75,000, wliich sum,
with an additional $25,000 for improvements, was raised by a bond
issue. Within two years that unsightly spot had been converted into
a pretty park of lawns, tlowering plants and shrubbery, and buildings
and conveniences for pleasure, exercise, rest and recreation. A play-
ground in which are swings, slides and merry-go-rounds, has been
provided for the children, while four tennis courts attract those who
enjoy this vigorous sport. The grounds, upon which these courts are
situated, are quite low, so that when flooded in winter, a perfectly
Bafe skating pond is provided. This is lighted at night so that those
who desire may enjoy skating after working hours. When tired and
chilled the skaters may rest in a heated building only a few feet from
the lagoon. A recreation pier is contemplated.

]\IuNiciPAL Departments

Whiting's city hall and police station are included in one building,
which was erected when the town incorporation was effected in 1895.
It originally cost about ten thousand dollars and a handsome municipal
structure of modern constraction is believed to be a city improvement
which is not in the far future.

Whiting has its special fire department housed in the city hall, and
is also within prompt calling distance of the Robertsdale division of the
Hammond department; it is also within a ten minutes' call of the East
Chicago station and its big motor-driven engines; the Standard Oil
works have also special fire fighting apparatus ; so that Whiting feels
comparatively safe from a serious invasion of the — but the fire fiend
has been canned these many j^ears.


The Public Library

The Carnegie Library building was erected in 1905 and represents an
investment of $30,000. It is of brick construction, somewhat Gothic
in style, with a pretty entrance and a rather ornate tower as its main
features. It houses about ten thousand volumes, is conveniently located
on Oliver Street near Ohio Avenue, is well patronized and is satis-
factorily conducted by Louisa Randall, the librarian.

The public schools of Whiting are under the control of the Board
of Education, of which T. S. Boyle is president, J. E. Evans, secretary,
and Charles Naef, treasurer. The superintendent of the system is
W, "W. Holliday and the high school principal, C. C. Whiteman.

The Public School System

Whiting has five schools within its public system — the high school,
completed in 1910, the primary school, old high school and Steiglitz
School, and we can give no better idea of what is accomplished through

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 41 of 44)