Calumet Region

Coordinates: 41°33′N 87°27′W / 41.55°N 87.45°W / 41.55; -87.45
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

41°33′N 87°27′W / 41.55°N 87.45°W / 41.55; -87.45 The Calumet Region is the geographic area drained by the Grand Calumet River and the Little Calumet River of northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana in the United States. It is part of the Great Lakes Basin, which eventually reaches the Atlantic Ocean. It is a sub-region of the greater Northwest Indiana region and the even larger Great Lakes region.

This region includes the northern parts of Lake and Porter counties and the western portion of La Porte county in Indiana, as well as the eastern counties of northern Illinois, Will and Cook.[1]

Since much of this region is on the south shore of Lake Michigan, it is sometimes referred to as the "South Shore". Because it was initially cut off from the rest of the state due to natural geographic barriers like the Kankakee Marsh to the south, the Calumet Region was the last-settled portion of Indiana.[1]

The area is known for its industrial heritage and history as a center for production of steel, minerals and chemicals. The toxic byproducts of these industries present major issues for public safety and natural resource management today.[2] The region was a center for the labor rights movement of the 1930s. The Memorial Day massacre of 1937, where ten steelworkers' rights activists were killed by police officers during a demonstration, occurred on Chicago's southeast side.[3]

Today, Calumet is notable as a site of many habitat restoration projects. The area contains many endangered dune, Swale, and moraine based ecosystems.[4] Many Forest Preserve District of Cook County sites, such as Powderhorn Prairie, 95th/Dan Ryan Woods, and Eggers Grove are being restored under the care of volunteer stewards.[5] In addition, nonprofit groups partner with the Forest Preserve District and Chicago Park District to complete larger-scale restoration projects. Major partners include The Field Museum, the Wetlands Initiative, and local branches of The Nature Conservancy, Green Corps and the Student Conservation Association.[6] Many of these sites have become host to locally rare and threatened species like Blanding's turtle, Wilson's phalarope and the least weasel.[7]


The Calumet Region includes the Indiana cities of Gary, East Chicago, Hammond, Highland, Griffith, Munster, Merrillville, Schererville, Hobart, Whiting, Crown Point, Dyer, Saint John, and Valparaiso.

In Illinois a number of cities and villages lie in the Calumet watershed including: the southernmost part of Chicago, Lansing, Calumet City, South Holland, Riverdale, Burnham, Calumet Park, and Blue Island


The Calumet Region includes land from the following Indiana townships in Porter County: Portage, Union, Westchester, Liberty, Center, Pine, Jackson, Washington. It includes land located within the following townships of Lake County: North, St. John, Calumet, Hobart, and Ross. It also includes Coolspring Township in La Porte County.


The name Calumet is said to come from French interpretations of either the Potawatomi name for the rivers and lake in question (“low body of deep, still water”)[8] or is a corruption of the Old French term Chalemel, which means "reed". The word appears on early maps as Cal-La-Mick, Kil-La-Mick, Calumic, etc.[1]


Historical population
2015 (est.)813,915[9]−0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census (Calumet Region in Indiana)[10]

The first known print reference to refer to this area as a distinct geographical region is the 1755 map created by John Mitchell. In this map, however, he referred to the geographic region as "Quadoche", a name that the Iroquois had given to the Potawatomi that were known to occupy the region at that point in time.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Moore, Powell A. (1959). The Calumet Region: Indiana's Last Frontier. Indiana Historical Bureau. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  2. ^ Reese, Sarah (2016), Northwest Indiana Times
  3. ^ Franklin, Steven (2017), The Chicago Tribune
  4. ^ US Geological Survey, Great Lakes
  5. ^ Vaisvilas, Frank (2018). The Chicago Tribune
  6. ^ Calumet Stewardship Initiative
  7. ^ Dorworth, Leslie (2010). Grist
  8. ^ Calumet River-Frontal Lake Michigan Archived 2015-10-21 at the Wayback Machine, Watershed Central Wiki, U.S. EPA, quoting from the "City of Chicago Calumet Land Use Plan"
  9. ^ "US Census QuickFacts". Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  10. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 7, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  11. ^ Meyer, Alfred H. (September 1954). "Circulation and Settlement Patterns of the Calumet region of Northwest Indiana and Northeast Illinois (The First Stage of Occupance-the Pottawatomie and the Fur Trader-1830)". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 54 (3): 245–274. doi:10.1080/00045605409352136.