Valparaiso Downtown Commercial District
Valparaiso Downtown Commercial District
Franklin east of Courthouse
|Location||Roughly bounded by Jefferson, Morgan, Indiana, and Napoleon, Valparaiso, Indiana|
|Area||14 acres (5.7 ha)|
|Architectural style||Italianate, Commercial Style|
|NRHP Reference #||90000327|
|Added to NRHP||February 23, 1990 name=Mullins|
Valparaiso has retained an active downtown. It remains a mix of government, retail and business center, with a mixed residential and service area (retail and restaurants). Numerous economic changes have not changed the basic character, historic courthouse area. The historic district retains the distinctive turn-of-the-19th-century architecture, supporting numerous small specialty shops, shaded sidewalks, and a people friendly environment. The Downtown District, is anchored on the Porter County Courthouse. It includes 14-blocks surrounding the square, bounded on the north by Jefferson Street, on the east by Morgan Street, on the south by Monroe Street, and on the west by Napoleon Street.
The Portersville Land Company platted the town of Portersville in 1836. The next year, the town was renamed in honor of Commodore David Porter’s last battle outside the Chielean port of Valparaiso. The County had been named in honor of Commodore Porter. The first building were constructed near the Morgan Street bridge (corner of Morgan Street and Lincolnway). The town did not begin to grow until 1850, when the first railroad was completed through town. The first courthouse was completed in 1837. This frame structure was replaced in 1852, and again in 1885 with a limestone structure. The current courthouse is the 1885 structure, restored after the 1934 fire, which destroyed the disticnctive clock tower. The county jail was located on Mechanic Street (Indiana Street today). The log buildijng was replaced in 1871 with a modern limestone building. It was attached to the Sheriff’s residence, which had been built 11 years earlier. Public programs were held in the Grand Opera House when it opened in 1874. Originally known as the Fiske Opera House, it was the first public space in Valparaiso. The first floor was retail space and the second floor could hold up to 700 people. In 1893 the Memorial Hall was built to honor Civil War Veterans and could hold an audience of 1,000.
- 1860, Sheriff’s Residence, 102 East Indiana
- 1871, Porter County Jail, 102 East Indiana
- 1885/1934, Porter County Courthouse, Courthouse Square
- 1893, Memorial Hall, 104 East Indiana
- 1903, First State Bank of Valparaiso, 14 East Indiana Ave
- 1917, Valparaiso Post Office, 170 West Lincolnway (City Hall) 
- 1924, Elks Temple, 150 West Lincolnway
- 1927, Farmer’s State Bank, 101 E Lincolnway
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Valparaiso Downtown District Comprehensive Plan 1996; Valparaiso Downtown District, City of Valparaiso, IN; 1996
- Porter County Interim Report, Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory; Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana; July 1991; pg 43-47
Historic Districts and Structures
- David Garland Rose House
- DeForest Skinner House Built in 1860, it is of Italianate design.
- Dr. David J. Loring Residence and Clinic Built in 1906, this house served Dr. Loring as a home and a business.
- Heritage Hall Built in 1875 as Flint Hall, to day, it is part of the Law School.
- Immanuel Lutheran Church In 1862by a German congregation, the church is today known as Heritage Lutheran Church.
- Josephus Wolf House, outside of city limits, with Valparaiso address.
- Porter County Jail and Sheriff's House The residence was built in 1860 and the jail was added in 1871. Today, the Historical Society of Porter County has the County Museum in the Jail.
- Porter County Memorial Opera Hall The Memorial Opera House opened in 1893 as a monument to the men who served during the American Civil War.
- Valparaiso Downtown Commercial District