William Frederick Howat.

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

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that system, as well as the How in all its essentials, than by quoting
from Superintendent Holliday 's report for 1913, as follows:

"Whiting has a j>opulation of about eight thousand people and only
two and one-half square miles of territory. This makes it possible to
have all the public school buildings in one group. There are five build-
ings — three for the grades, one for the high school and manual training,
and another for an auditorium and gymnasium. These buildings are all
heated from the central heating plant located in the high school build-
ing. The McGregor building and the high school building are heated
by direct indirect system which is automatically controlled. The other
three buildings are heated by steam radiators and are ventilated by the
gravity system.

"The high school building is three stories high and has about
twenty-five rooms. On the lower floor are located the shops of the
manual training department, consisting of a bench rooom, a store room,
a turning room, a forge room, and a machine shop. On this floor also
are two rooms for the kindergarten, a kitchen, a dining room, a sewing
room, the boiler room and the pumping room. The second floor of the
building has an assembly room with a seating capacity of about two
hundred and fifty, the commercial department, offices for the superin-
tendent, the Board of Education, and the principal of the high school,
and several recitation rooms. On the third floor are located the botany,
chemistry, and physics laboratories, the mechanical drawing room, a
recitation room, and a lecture room, and a dark room. This liuilding


is modern and up to date in every particular and has been a great factor
in the growth of the high school and the efficiency of the work.

"The gymnasium is a two story brick building with a play room
60x80 feet on each Hoor. It has several dressing rooms and a shower
bath. Each floor is equipped for playing basketball. These rooms are
used in stormy weather as play rooms for the grade cliildren. Quite a
large number of dumbbells and Indian clubs have been made for the
gymnasium but as is usual in schools they are very little used, as the
boys and girls prefer to play basketball or some other game.

"Tlie other three buildings of the group are in very good condition
but have nothing of any special interest.

"Our grade pupils are given forty minutes each day for play,
twenty minutes in the forenoon and twenty minutes in the afternoon.
The daily program is so arranged that the children of only two rooms
are on the play ground or in the gymnasium at the same time. The
play is supervised closely by the teachers in order to give all pupils a
fair chance and to prevent accidents. The play ground is small in
extent but is well provided with play ground apparatus.

•'Practically all the work of making and putting up the apparatus
was done by the high school boys in the manual training department.
There are two steel vertical ladders, five pairs of flying rings, five see-
saws, three teeter ladders, six swdngs, two horizontal bars, two trapeze,
three slides, one giant stride, and uprights for pole vault and high
jump. We estimate that this apparatus, if bought ready made, would
cost about six hundred dollars. Its actual cost was one hundred and
fourteen dollars and thirty-three cents.

"AYhiting was among the first of the schools in the Calumet region
to make manual training and domestic art a part of the course of study.
It is possible that in our enthusiasm these have been somewhat overdone
in the past, but they have without doubt been of great value. During
the last seven years, 81 per cent of the pupils who have finished the
eighth grade work have entered the high school. Eighty per cent of
these have finished the first year's work; 78 per cent have completed
the second year's work; 65 per cent the third year's work; and 57 per
cent have graduated. Wliile these figures are not what they should be,
school men know that they are very high compared with the average
school. There is little doubt but w^iat manual training has kept many
boys in school. If so, it is a good thing even if it had no other value.
The boys of the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades are required
to work one hour and twenty minutes each week at manual training,
and the girls of these grades work the same amount of time at sewing.
In the seventh and eighth grades, the boys work one hour and twenty


minutes a week at mechanical drawing and the girls work the same
amount of time at cooking. It is veiy probable that manual training will
be discontinued in the fifth and sixth grades after this year. These
children are most too small to work successfully in the shop. Cooking
will probably be discontinued in the seventh and eighth grades or will
be made optional. ]\Ianual training and mechanical drawing are elective
in the high school. The percentage of boys taking these subjects at this
time is much lower than it was several years ago. This is probably
because the subjects were then novel.

"Four years of mechanical drawing and four years of shop work are
offered in the high school. The first year of mechanical drawing con-
sists of: Construction, lettering, and orthographic projection. The sec-
ond year: Development of surfaces, intersection of solids, study of
screw , threads (conventional standard square and V), and machine
design. The third year: Study of gears, crank, and cams, machine
design studied from machines used in the .shop. The fourth year: Ad-
vanced machine design and blue printing. The first year of shop work
consists of: Several articles of cabinet work selected by the pupil, and
the instructor teaching shop methods and wood working. The second
year ; Wood turning and pattern making. The wood turning is prepara-
tory to pattern making and occupies four months' time. The pattern
making class makes patterns for machine parts to l)e cast and used in
the third year. The third year: Use of machinist's lathe, drill press,
shaper, and milling machine, completing the machine parts from designs
made in the second year's work. The fourth year: Advanced work
upon the iron working machinery and tools, completion of some tools,
machine, or machine parts to be determined by the pupil and the in-
structor. One year of domestic art is offered. This includes advanced
cooking and sewing. In the cooking, an extensive study is made of the
nutritive values of the different classes of foods, their selection in the
market, economy in buying, the planning of menus, the serving of meals,
and practical lessons in cooking the foods discussed.

"The sewing consists of simple liand and machine sewing, making
simple articles of underclothing and outside garments, simple drawn-
work and hemstitching. This work is applied towards garments made
for the pupil herself or for .some member of her family. It is our inten-
tion to put into the high school a good course in millinery and dress-

"During the last seven years the enrollment of the high school has
increased from forty-seven to one hundred and sixty. There are sev-
eral factors in the cause of this increase, the principals of which are an
excellent teaching force and splendid equipment.


"As is true in all the cities of the Calumet region, Whiting has a
large percentage of foreign born residents. The great majority of the
pupils in the school are of American birth but of foreign parentage.
Only 414 per cent of our pupils were born in foreign lands but 6214
per cent of the parents are of foreign birth. These are of twenty-five
different nationalities. A large part of the pupils are unable to speak
English when they enter the school. Some of our teachers, especially
the ones who have been with us for some time, have become very skillful
in handling these children. Twenty-nine and one-half per cent of all
the pupils in the first eight grades are retarded, that is, over age for
their grade. This retardation is most heavy in the first five grades and
is most common among children of foreign parentage. There are very
few retarded pupils in the seventh grade and almost none in the eighth

Sacred Heart Catholic Parish

The Catholics, now represented by the Sacred Heart Church, were
the first to be fairly established at Whiting. In the latter part of 1890
Rev. Joseph KroU was sent to the settlement centering in the Standard
Oil works for the purpose of selecting a suitable site for a church.
This he did, by purchasing four lots from Jacob Forsyth, who donated a
fifth. In February. 1891, Rev. M. J. Byrne arrived on the ground and
gathered a band of Catholics comprising twenty families and one hun-
dred unmarried men. The roughest part of Whiting was then known
as Oklahoma, and there, in a room over a saloon on 119th Street, Father
Byrne celebrated mass and conducted the services of his church until
May of 1891, when a little frame church building was completed, it
being dedicated by Father Bremmer, the vicar-general. In the following
October confirmation was administered for the first time in Whiting
by Bishop Rademacher, of Nashville.

Father Byrne afterward erected Oriental Hall, which was for a
time used by the public as well as the church. He also built a parochial
schoolhouse, a larger pastoral residence and a dwelling for the teachers.
In August, 1898, he was succeeded by Rev. Charles Thiele, under whose
pastorate the land was purchased on LaPorte Avenue, which is now
the site of the Sacred Heart Church. This location west of the old site
was deemed advisable, as the center of population had shifted in that
direction. Father Thiele was succeeded by Rev. John B. Berg, the
present pastor, in July, 1905. Under Father Berg's ministrations the
church debt has l)een wiped out, and in 1910 were completed a combined
(thurcli and scliool edifice and residences for the sisters and pastor. The


total cost of these buildings was $45,000. The church membership is
more than one thousand souls and the school attendance some three hun-
dred pupils.

Methodism at Whiting

Methodism was organized in Whiting in 1891. It grew out of a
Sunday school which had been held in one of the rooms in the high
school of which Henry Schwalm and E. J. Lewis were superintendents,
alternating as their work required. The first preaching service was
held by Reverend ]\Ir. Reno, pastor of the East Chicago Church. An
organization was effected with three members. The first pastor was A. J.
Calvert. The present church building was dedicated in 1895. Three
years later it was remodeled and much improved. The interior has
recently been redecorated and put in fine condition. The property is
valued at $8,000. Last April the congregation purchased a parsonage at
a cost of $3,500. The membership numbers 205, the Sunday school 215.
The ladies' societies are especially strong and active, and to them is due
no little credit for the success of the church. The congregation has had
fifteen pastors. The present pastor is Rev. W. B. AVarriner, who is
serving his people very acceptably.

St. John Baptist Catholic Church

St. John Baptist Church was established in 1897 by Bishop Rade-
macher, especiall^y to accommodate the many Slavish Catholics who had
been in attendance at the Sacred Heart Church. Five years after his
ordination as a priest in Hungary, Rev. Benedict M. Rajcany was called
to that charge by his church and has been the guide and friend of St.
John Baptist Parish since its organization in 1897. Besides a large
church and school and a handsome priest's residence, Father Benedict,
as he is popularly called, established a cemetery at Hammond, purchas-
ing what Avas known as Greenwood and renaming it St. John Cemetery.
The total value of the church property, outside of the cemetery, is esti-
mated at $35,000 ; membership, about two thousand souls ; school attend-
ance, some three hundred and fifty pupils.

St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church

St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church, in charge of Rev. Valentine
Balogh, is an organization of American-Ruthenians, which since 1907
has been under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church. In


1899 they bought the church and parish house which had been erected
by the Gennan Reformed Lutherans and established an independent
organization. The pastors of this fii*st society were Rev. Father Sere-
gelyi, Rev. Eugene Satala and Rev. Father Parscouta. The appointment
of Father Balogh, in 1907, came through Rt. Rev. S. S. Ortynsky. who
had been selected from Rome as bishop of the Greek Catholic Ruthenians
in the United States. On account of legal complication with his prede-
cessor, Rev. Father Parscouta, he did not take active charge of the church
until May, 1908. Since that time the progress of the parish has been
steady and smooth.

St. Adalbert's Parish

The religious and social center of the Poles of Wiiiting is St. Adal-
bert's Parish of the Catholic Churcli. In 1901 it was found that .some
seventy families of Polish blood were worshiping at the Sacred Heart
Church and it was thought best to organize them into a separate parish.
This was done under the supervision of Father Peter Kahellek of Ham-
mond, and a site for a church and auxiliary' buildings was purchased
on Indiana Boulevard near 121st Street. As was customary,
the Forsyth estate donated a portion of the land. A house of wor-
ship was dedicated in the spring of 1902. In the meantime
Father Kahellek had been succeeded by Rev. Peter Budnik, who made
not only improvements in the church property, but organized a number
of strong societies for men, women and .juveniles. A brick schoolhouse
was completed in 1906, and in 1909 a new rectory was added to the
church properties. The parish now numl)ers some one hundred and
fifty families. The present pastor is Rev. Julian Skrzypinski.

The Christian Church

In August, 1905, Rev. C. J. Sharp, of Hammond, began preaching
the doctrines of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Odd
Fellows Hall of Whiting, and in August of the following year he and
his wife pitched a tent on Center Avenue and commenced a series of
revivals, which resulted in the organization of a church of seventy-five
members. In the spring of 1910 the lirick basement now occupied was
dedicated, having been built under the leadership of Rev. H. A. Carpen-
ter during the same time he was building the church at Indiana Harbor.

SS. Peter and Paul Church

The Church of SS. Peter and Paul was organized in June, 1910,
and is composed entirely of American-Croatians. It is an offshoot of


the Sacred Heart Church, and is presided over by Rev. Francis Pod-

Secret and Benevolent Bodies

On account of the large foreign element in the population of AVniting,
the secret and benevolent societies which flourish in more Americanized
communities have not obtained a strong foothold in the city. Most of
the societies formed, in fact, are church auxiliaries. Both the Odd Fel-
lows and Masons have had organizations for a number of years, the
Masonic Lodge (Whiting No. 613) dating from 1897. The worshipful
masters of the latter have been George W. Graj^ Edward J. Greenwald,
Charles C. Etheridge, James E. Evans, James Burton, Sr., George H.
Hoskins, William Schneiderwendt, Alexander Vincent, Daniel M. St.
John, John C. Hall, James W. Burton, Jr., Ray G. Walker, Edward C.
Holmes, George M. Baum, Edwin B. Green and W. W. Holliday.

At Whiting are also organizations representative of the Ancient
Order of United Workmen, Knights of Pythias, Knights of the ]\Iacca-
bees, Knights and Ladies of Honor, Knights of Columbus, and other
substantial orders, while the number of labor unions and other protective
bodies is legion.



greneral advantages and special attractions town corporation

— Public Improvements and Utilities — Healthful Location —
Telephone Service — Business Men's Association and Carnegie
Library — Public Schools of Crovv^n Point — Churches — First
Presbyterian Church — St. Mary's Catholic Parish — Evangel-
ical Lutheran Trinity — Other Churches — Lodges.

Crown Point, the quiet and beautiful county seat, is a town of some
four thousand people lying very nearly in the geographical center of
the territory for which it is the chief headquarters for the administra-
tion of justice and government. Most of its early history has already
been given, as well as some of the late features of its activities connected
especially with the finances and the press of the county. For this chap-
ter is reserved the description of its life as a corporation, with a notice
of its various departments and institutions, and sketches of its churches,
industries and other matters of moment which have tended to make
Crown Point a vantage ground of progress and culture, somewhat re-
moved from the more strenuous energies of the Calumet region.

General Advantages and Special Attractions

Crown Point has broad railway connections through the Erie and
Pennsylvania lines, and also enjoys good county service through the
Gary & Southern Suburban Electric Railroad. It is the center of a
varied and fertile country of woodlands, groves and prairies, and is
the objective of not a few summer tourists, as well as of many shy and
sly couples who are drawn thither by its reputation as a Gretna Green.
Besides its marital and natural attractions, it is also the headquarters of
the county fair, whose beautiful grounds just soutli of its limits have
been the scenes of many pleasant and well-attended gatherings for the
past fifty-five years. Two and a half miles east is the County Alms
House, which, since its late improvements, is well worth inspection.
Crown Point is also only five miles from Cedar Lake, the most popular
resort for summer visitors and residents, with sporting proclivities, in
the county. With its 130 stores and business enterprises, three banks,



two newspapers, and half a dozen churches, the town is able to make
both its home people and its visitors comfortable, interested and happy.
It claims, moreover, fully one hundred lawyers, doctors, teachers and
other professional men and women, so that if anyone gets into bad com-
plications, or becomes dangerously ill or lamentably ignorant — such a
condition is difficult to explain.

According to the latest figures, the assessed valuation of Crown
Point property is $1,138,545.

Most of the foregoing facts were presented to the writer by the
Crown Point Chamber of Commerce, which was organized in January,
1914, and already has a membership of about one hundred and eighty.
It is doing much to push along the practical interests of the county seat.

The location of Crown Point is not favorable to the establishment
or development of industries. The most promising line is the manufac-
ture of agricultural implements. The Letz ^Manufacturing Company
has an established business in that line, employing about fifty men, and
the Crown Point Manufacturing Company is talking of establishing a
plant to manufacture farm machinery.

Town Corporation

Crown Point wa.s incorporated as a town in June, 1868, three years
after the Pan Handle Railroad had clinched the county seat to the rest
of the world. In 1869 a fire company was organized, and substantial
blocks of brick and stone commenced to be erected around the court-
house square. In one of these, erected in 1873, was Cheshire Hall,
afterward known as ]\Iusic Hall. After the brick blocks and society halls
came the banks, electric lights, telephone service and the waterworks,
with a better class of school buildings.

Public Improvements and Utilities

j\lain Street was first paved with cedar blocks in 1891, and since that
year both the business and residence districts have been improved to
meet the wishes of the people. In that year, also, the first electric lights
appeared. Since then the plant of the Crown Point Electric Company
has been expanded into one of the most valued of the town institutions.
It not only supplies electric light and power to Crown Point and Lowell,
bvit operates the waterworks.

The water supply is from driven wells, and is good in quality and
sufficient in quantity. Two modern pumps with a daily capacity of
750,000 gallons force the supply into a large standpipe. In case of fire
the power plant can force streams of 120 gallons to the cubic inch pres-


sure into the mains of the town. So that the Crown Point Electrie
Company stands in the triply-important class of water dispenser, light
and power supplier and fire protector.

Healthful Location

Crown Point has always been acknowledged to be one of the most
healthful localities in Lake County. Its location, high and dry and
outside the malarial belt of Northern Indiana, was a strong inducement
to the early settlers to bring their families thither and fix their homes
where there was an unusually strong assurance of health and prolonged
life. Crown Point is located on the watershed, 714 feet above sea level
and 132 feet above Lake Michigan on the north and 90 feet above the
Kankakee River in the south. It has therefore an excellent natural
drainage, which has been well improved by the town authorities. One
of the best evidences that the water supply and the drainage of the
Crown Point district are what they should be, is that it has been free
from epidemics and its schools have never been closed by reason of con-
tagious diseases.

Telephone Service

The county seat has enjoyed the benefits and privileges of telephone
service since 1896, when the Crown Point Telephone Company was organ-
ized as an independent company, operating exchanges at Crown Point,
Dyer and Merrillville.

The Northwestern Telephone Company, connecting with the Inter
State Company, reaches all points in Illinois, Iowa and the greater por-
tion of Indiana. It has exchanges at Crown Point, St. John and Lowell.

Business Men's Association and Carnegie Library

A Business Men's Association was organized as early as 1896. Before
it dissolved to give place to the present Chamber of Commerce it accom-
plished a number of useful works. Its efforts secured the Carnegie
Library for the town, paved two square miles of its streets and induced
the Gary & Southern Traction Company to include Crown Point in its
system. John Brown was long president of the association. The Car-
negie Library Building was erected at a cost of $35,000 and is main-
tained by the Town Board in the usual manner.

Public Schools op Crown Point

The efficiency of the public school system of Crown Point has kept
pace with its high sanitary standard. In 1880 there was erected what



was then considered a very presentable union school. In 1911 a fine
high school building was completed at a cost of $40,000 and the old
union or high school became the North AVard Schoolhouse. The new
high school is three stories in height and is constructed of pressed brick,,
with stone trimmings.

The development and the present status of the Crown i'oiut public
schools are thus traced by Superintendent W. S. Painter in his annual
report for 1913: "Located in the geographical center of Lake County,
the city of Crown Point is admirably located for the county seat of this
progressive county. Two steam roads and one electric line give excellent

Public Library, Crown Point

connection with the larger cities along the northern end of the county
and also Chicago, thirty-six miles away, while fine stone highways lead
to all points of the county.

"Being the center of the earliest settlement of this section, it was
but natural that the first schools of the county should be opened here.
Many changes have taken place in the educational affairs of the county
since Mrs. Holton opened the first school here in 1835. These changes
came slowly as population grew, ideas changed and wealth permitted.

' ' At present there are two buildings in use — the North AVard building
and the new Crown Point high school building. The North Ward build-
ing was erected in 1880 and is still in good repair. The large grounds
surrounding it furnish ample playgrounds. Playground equipment is
being added from time to time, and soon there will be enough material
and of sufficient variety to attract all children w^ho care to play.

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 42 of 44)