La Porte, Indiana
|City of La Porte, Indiana|
LaPorte County Courthouse, La Porte, Indiana
|Nickname(s): The Maple City|
|Motto(s): "Live and Love"|
Location of La Porte in LaPorte County, Indiana.
|Townships||Center, Kankakee, Pleasant, Scipio|
|• Mayor||Mark Krentz (R)|
|• Total||12.38 sq mi (32.05 km2)|
|• Land||11.67 sq mi (30.24 km2)|
|• Water||0.70 sq mi (1.82 km2)|
|Elevation||814 ft (248 m)|
|• Estimate (2016)||21,732|
|• Density||1,861.57/sq mi (718.75/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP codes||46350, 46352|
|GNIS feature ID||0450449|
La Porte (French for "The Door") is a city in LaPorte County, Indiana, United States, of which it is the county seat. Its population was 21,732 as of 2016. It is one of the two principal cities of the Michigan City-La Porte, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Chicago–Naperville–Michigan City, Illinois–Indiana–Wisconsin Combined Statistical Area.
La Porte is located in northwest Indiana, east of Gary, and west of South Bend. It was first settled by European Americans in 1832. Blair Milo was one of the youngest mayors in the city's history, elected to the position in 2011 at the age of 28. She resigned in August 2017.
The settlement of La Porte was established in July 1832. Abraham P. Andrew, one of the purchasers of the site, constructed the first sawmill in that year. The first settler arrived in October, building a permanent cabin just north of what would become the courthouse square.
After the US extinguished land claims by the Potowatomi and other historic tribes of the area by treaty and removal to Indian Territory, in 1833 a Federal Land Office was established in La Porte. People would come to this office from newly established surrounding counties to buy land from the government, including Solon Robinson, founder of Crown Point. The office was moved to Winamac in 1839.
By 1835 the settlement had grown to the extent that La Porte was incorporated as a town. A newspaper was established in 1836. La Porte Medical School, the first of its kind in the Midwest, was founded in 1842. An alumnus of school, William Worrall Mayo, established what became the famed Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in 1889.
By 1852 La Porte had become a well-established settlement of considerable size for its time and vicinity, with 5,000 residents. In that same year it was granted a city charter by the Indiana General Assembly, and the first mayor was elected. La Porte continued to grow, attracting numerous diverse industries, the largest of which became the Advance-Rumely company. Advance-Rumely developed and manufactured the Oil-Pull tractor engine, considered to have played a pivotal role in the agricultural development of the Great Plains. By 1869, Advance-Rumely was the largest employer in La Porte.
During the 1850s numerous maple trees were planted along Indiana and Michigan avenues in the city by local resident Sebastian Lay. Subsequently, La Porte became known as the 'Maple City'. Today, Indiana and Michigan avenues comprise a historic district in the city, containing many homes and other structures of architectural and historical interest. Between 1892 and 1894, the third and current LaPorte county courthouse was erected at a cost of $300,000. The structure is built of red sandstone from Lake Superior, shipped via boat to Michigan City and then by rail to La Porte. The courthouse is considered to be one of La Porte's best known structures. In 2007 the exterior of the building was extensively restored at a cost of $2.9 million.
La Porte is well known as the area where the Belle Gunness serial murders took place. Gunness moved to the United States in 1881 in search of wealth. Belle had posted many notices in lovelorn columns in hopes of attracting wealthy men. After she persuaded these men to visit her farm, they mysteriously disappeared. She was found to have murdered several such men, and her adopted daughter, and her foster children. The remains of more than forty men and children were eventually found on her property after Gunness burned her house down. Searchers found a body in the ruins, but it was not hers. Gunness withdrew most of her money from her bank accounts, and skipped town. She was never tracked down, and her death has never been confirmed.
La Porte is located at (41.609057, −86.717567).
According to the 2010 census, La Porte has a total area of 12.37 square miles (32.04 km2), of which 11.66 square miles (30.20 km2) (or 94.26%) is land and 0.71 square miles (1.84 km2) (or 5.74%) is water. U.S. 35 passes through La Porte.
|Source: US Census Bureau|
As of the census of 2010, there were 22,053 people, 8,962 households, and 5,362 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,891.3 inhabitants per square mile (730.2/km2). There were 9,992 housing units at an average density of 856.9 per square mile (330.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.6% White, 3.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 4.9% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.2% of the population.
There were 8,962 households of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.2% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.04.
The median age in the city was 36.2 years. 24.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 24.2% were from 45 to 64; and 15.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 21,621 people, 8,916 households, and 5,545 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,886.8 people per square mile (728.4/km²). There were 9,667 housing units at an average density of 843.6 per square mile (325.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.60% White, 1.92% African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 3.39% from other races, and 1.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.52% of the population.
There were 8,916 households out of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city, the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,376, and the median income for a family was $45,784. Males had a median income of $32,319 versus $22,756 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,900. About 7.7% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.2% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over.
The government consists of a mayor and a city council. The mayor is elected in citywide vote. The city council consists of seven members. Five are elected from individual districts. Two are elected at-large.
The La Porte Community School Corporation serves approximately 6,500 students.
Primary and secondary education
- Public schools
- La Porte Community Schools
- La Porte High School
- Kesling Middle School
- Boston Middle School
- Crichfield Elementary
- Hailmann Elementary
- Handley Elementary
- Indian Trail Elementary
- Kingsbury Elementary
- Kingsford Heights Elementary
- Lincoln Elementary
- Riley Elementary
- South LaPorte County Special Education Cooperative
- La Porte Community Schools
- Private schools
- La Lumiere School (9–12)
- Saint John Lutheran School (K–8)
- St. Joseph's School (PK–5) – closed June, 2012
- Door Prairie Adventist Christian School (PK–8)
- Renaissance Academy (PK–8)
The famous Advance-Rumely tractor company was established in La Porte where it developed steam engines and eponymous green kerosene tractors.
Places of interest
- La Porte Little Theatre Club, founded in 1925 is one of the oldest and longest running live community theatre groups in the country.
- LaPorte County Historical Society which features several historic displays including the Kesling Automobile Collection which consists of more than 30 vintage and rare automobiles.
- The Indiana and Michigan Avenues Historic District, Downtown LaPorte Historic District, Francis H. Morrison House, and Marion Ridgeway Polygonal Barn are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Parks and recreation
This section is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (July 2015)
La Porte has an extensive city park district.
Allesee Park , (Boyd Boulevard) – is a 6-acre neighborhood park on the south side of the city. It was developed adjacent to a housing subdivision to provide recreational facilities to the neighborhood. The park includes a baseball diamond, basketball half-court, benches, parking, playground, and a walking track. Improvements were made in 2000 thanks to a donation by the Allesee family to the La Porte Park Foundation.
Ben Rees Park , (Scott Street) – is a 1.5-acre parcel that is half of a square block located near the Civic Auditorium. The park was the site of the Fourth Ward School in the early 1900s. The school was demolished in the 1920s and the property was donated to the city in the 1940s. The park was named in honor of Ben C. Rees, a local attorney and school board member. A new playground, basketball court and gazebo shelter were installed through the help of community volunteers and contributions.
Bill Reed Tennis Complex (2150 A Street) – features several tennis courts, parking, water fountains and a pavilion.
Charles W. Lindewald Park, (Park Street) – is considered La Porte’s first park. A parcel of land, 9.4 acres on Lower Lake, was purchased in 1890. The original parcel contained a notable grove of white oaks, of which a few stands of this native timber still remains. The park today is a popular site for family reunions and picnics. Facilities include a picnic shelter with grills, playground, restrooms, water fountains, ball diamond, basketball half-court and 12 lighted horseshoe pits, which are home to the La Porte Horseshoe Pitches Association.
Clarke Field, (Farrand Avenue) – is a two square block area of 6 acres that was a donation to the city in the late 1930s. The park is generally surrounded with tall, mature fir evergreen trees that provide a buffer for the adjacent residential areas. The main recreational usage at Clarke Field are two ball diamonds, one used primarily by the La Porte High School junior varsity and La Porte Babe Ruth Baseball and the other for younger age levels. The park also contains a playground, ball diamonds, a concession stand, water fountains, and public restrooms.
Fox Memorial Park, (Truesdale Avenue) – originally started in 1911 with only 15 acres, has grown today to 170 acres of scenic beauty. In the early 1900s, flowers, shrubs, and trees were planted to further beautify the hills of mature oak, hawthorn and wild apple. The entire park was landscaped and strolling paths developed. Fox Memorial Park includes Clear Lake, which encompasses approximately 100 acres of the total park. Today, Fox Memorial Park can be considered one of La Porte’s finest parks. It still contains much of its scenic beauty. The trees planted in the early 1900s have matured to provide a scenic environment. Active recreational facilities have been developed at the park as the demand for such activities have increased. The park offers ball diamonds, including Ron Reed Field; basketball; playgrounds; picnic shelters with grills; fishing; boating; water fountains; walking and fitness trials; and Thrills ‘n’ Spills Skate Park. The park also contains the Dennis F. Smith Amphitheatre, home to various special events including the Arts in the Park program.
Hastings Park (Monroe St.) – is a small park, featuring a playground and benches.
Kesling Park (2150 A Street) – is located on the southern edge of the community. It started with a small 2-acre land donation and has since grown through additional donations by the Kesling family to the present day size of 90 acres. Today, residents from all of La Porte enjoy the modern facilities including four ball diamonds, six tennis courts, a walking and nature trail, soccer fields, basketball courts, sledding hill and picnic shelters. The park also contains Fort La Play Porte, a large community-built playground.
Koomler Park (Miller Street) – covers 4 acres in southern La Porte. It was initially a play area developed by the federal government in the 1940s for children of the workers at the Kingsbury Ordinance Plant. In 1962, this land was transferred to the city for exclusive use as a park. Today, Koomler Park serves the residents of Maple Terrace and offers a ball diamond, basketball court and playground.
LaPark (1st Street) – is adjacent to Bethany Lutheran Church.
Rumley Park (Home Street) is a 4-acre neighborhood park that was purchased and developed entirely with federal funds in 1980. It was actually a replacement park for the former Marquette Park, which was located four blocks away. Marquette Park was a piece of donated land that was unsuitable and unbuildable for a park. Rumley Park offers a basketball court, playground, picnic facilities and fishing.
Scott Field (Jefferson Avenue) – was the result of another land donation of a developer. Originally, in the layout of Scott’s Second Addition, 5 acres in the middle of the new housing development was left as a neighborhood play area. The land was donated to the City of La Porte in 1923. It wasn’t until 1952 that the Park Department entered a 99-year lease, for $1 per year, with the school corporation. The park currently includes a shelter, playground, ball diamond, open play, half-court basketball and picnic facilities.
Soldiers Memorial Park (250 Pine Lake Ave.) – was dedicated in 1928 and contains 556 acres. It is the largest city park and widely known for its forested beauty, water sports and organized recreational activities. The park encompasses all of Stone Lake, 140 acres of water and all but 628 feet of shoreline. Also the park provides a variety of active and passive recreational activities including swimming, playgrounds, diamond sports (softball, baseball and t-ball), volleyball, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, fishing and boating. Within its gently rolling terrain, the property is approximately 85 percent woodlands and water. Access is available to Stone Lake, Pine Lake, Crane Lake and Craven Pond. Nature trails have been developed through a stand of native trees, allowing environmental education opportunities. Soldiers Memorial Park is also the site of the Park Department Office and maintenance facilities, as well as Cummings Lodge.
Stone Lake Beach (300 Grangemouth Drive) – is a public beach with a volleyball courts, playground, picnic shelter, concession stand, and public restrooms.
Warsaw Tot Lot (Warsaw Street) – is a small playground of less than 1 acre in size. The triangular piece of land was donated to the city in 1946 and was developed in 1980 with funding from a federal grant. The play equipment has been recently updated thanks to a donation from the La Porte Park Foundation. Park also has a basketball half-court.
Pine Lake Beach (Pine Lake Avenue) – is a public beach with picnic tables, a newly built walk-way across the beach, and a picnic shelter including a grill.
Ski-Beach (Waverly Road) – is a public beach with picnic tables and grills. This beach is commonly used by boaters, and has a channel connecting Pine Lake to Stone Lake.
- Clear Lake
- Crane Lake
- Fish Trap Lake
- Horseshoe Lake
- Lily Lake
- Lower Lake
- Orr Lake
- Pine Lake
- Stone Lake
- Fitness Fridays
- Saturdays in the Sun
- Saturday Farmers Market
LaPorte Herald-Argus is the only newspaper serving the City of La Porte.
Radio stations in La Porte include WCOE, 96.7 FM, and WLOI, 1540 AM.
- Dick Alban: former NFL defensive back and Pro-Bowler
- Abram Andrew: United States Representative from Massachusetts
- Chuck Baldwin: Baptist minister and 2008 Presidential nominee of the Constitution Party
- Chris Bootcheck: Major League Baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- John C. Chapple: Wisconsin legislator and newspaper editor
- Dorothy Christ: All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player
- Art Cross: former race car driver; first Rookie of the Year at the Indianapolis 500
- Brian Ebersole: MMA veteran; UFC welterweight division fighter
- Peter Kesling, American Orthodontist
- Daniel Edwards: figurative sculptor and artist
- Charlie O. Finley: owner of the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics 1960–80
- Belle Gunness: serial killer
- Harold Handley: Governor of Indiana
- Hazel Harrison: pianist, known as the premiere black pianist of her time
- Ashley Hinshaw: actress and Abercrombie & Fitch model
- Rear Admiral Royal R. Ingersoll: U.S. Navy veteran
- Landsman Walter P Johnstone (a.k.a. William P Johnston, USS HIndmand, Civil War Medal of Honor recipient (source canadianmedalofhonor.com)
- Paul Rowland Julian: meteorologist who with Roland A. Madden discovered the atmospheric phenomena known as the Madden-Julian oscillation
- Karl Paul Link: biochemist best known for his discovery of the anticoagulant warfarin
- Alvera Mickelsen: writer and advocate of Christian feminism
- William Worrall Mayo: founder of the Mayo Clinic
- Isamu Noguchi: Japanese-American artist and landscape architect
- Tom Nowatzke: former National Football League running back
- Tony Raines: NASCAR driver
- Ron Reed: MLB pitcher, All-Star and World Series champion
- John G. Roberts: Chief Justice of the United States
- William Scholl: founder of Dr. Scholl's
- Slug Signorino: commercial artist; illustrator for The Straight Dope
- Scott Skiles: head coach of NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic
- Emerson Spartz: founder of MuggleNet, most-visited Harry Potter web site in the world, and GivesMeHope
- Wilbur F. Storey: newspaper publisher
- David Willis: web cartoonist known for It's Walky!, Shortpacked! and Dumbing of Age.
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- http://www.cityoflaporte.com/vis_history.asp Official Website of the City of La Porte, History of La Porte. Retrieved 10/10/10.
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- "IHSAA State Champions by School". IHSAA. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
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- "Library Hours & Information". La Porte County Public Library. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 9/29/14 through 10/03/14. National Park Service. 2014-10-10.
- Painter, Kristen Leigh (2016-07-20). "Obituary: Professor, nonprofit leader Alvera Mickelsen blended feminism and Christian teaching". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
- City of La Porte, Indiana website
- Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce
- The LaPorte County Herald-Argus website
- What's New La Porte? Community Stories website
- The LaPorte County Public Library
- The Internet Movie Database – Titles with locations including La Porte, Indiana, USA
- La Porte, Indiana: A Documentary Film