|175 Years in Michigan City, Indiana|
Timeline of Michigan City
1679 - The Griffin (Le Griffon), the first ship larger than a canoe to navigate the upper Great Lakes, sets sail from the Niagara River, traveling through Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan to Green Bay (August 7). It was built by French explorer Rene'-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. After departing Green Bay for its return trip on September 18, it was never seen again, most likely sinking in Lake Michigan.
1780 - The Battle of the Dunes, the only Revolutionary battle fought in Northwest Indiana. A small group of American colonials and Frenchmen successfully raided Fort St. Joseph (near present-day Niles, Michigan). As the raiders returned home, British soldiers and allies overcame the colonials at a site along the Indiana Dunes.
1816 - The State of Indiana is formed, with Corydon as its capital. Its boundaries are expanded to include a ten mile strip on the south shore of Lake Michigan, originally part of Michigan Territory.
1824 - Capital of Indiana moves to Indianapolis.
1825 - New England settlers form the first congregation in the area.
1826 - The Pottawattomie Indians cede a ribbon of land 100 feet wide from the Ohio River to Lake Michigan, for the creation of Michigan Road (Oct. 16).
1827 - The U.S. Congress authorized the Indiana General Assembly to build Michigan road (March 2).
1828 - A group of surveyors sent by the state of Indiana determines that the mouth of Trail Creek is ideal for a harbor and shipping port.
1830 - Major Isaac C. Elston, the first postmaster appointed by President Andrew Jackson, purchases land at the mouth of Trail Creek for $1.25/acre, sight unseen. The land is divided into 206 lots, a public park, and a marketplace, all sold to the Michigan City Land Company.
1832 - Michigan City is selected as the endpoint for Michigan Road, having been called "the most suitable site for a commercial town and the place the best harbor could be had" by the selection committee. A survey of Trail Creek is ordered by the state legislature.
1832 - Michigan City's first mayor, Willys Peck, is elected.
1832 - Michigan City loses its bid to be county seat to La Porte.
1832 - Daniel Webster passes through Michigan City.
1832-1833 - The first log cabin in the city is constructed by Joseph Furman for Samuel Miller at the present-day intersection of 5th and Franklin. Samuel Miller becomes the city's first permanent resident.
1833 - The plat for Michigan City is recorded at the La Porte County Courthouse (September 17). In the fall, the population of Michigan City is about 50 people.
1833 or 1834- The first school building, known as the First Ward School, is erected at Fourth and Pine on land donated by Major Isaac Elston.
1834 - George Ames arrives in Michigan City. Ames owned a hardware store and was a noted philanthropist.
1834 - Joseph C. Orr opens a tannery. Michigan City in the 1830s also included a blacksmith shop, a tinsmith shop, a bank, taverns, shops, and hotels. It served as an outfitting location for settlers and recreation spot for travelers.
1835 - The Army Corps reports their survey of Trail Creek.
1835 - Congregational Church is built.
1836 - Michigan City is incorporated on February 8 and chartered on July 4. The boundaries encompass 15 square miles, making it one of the largest cities by area in the United States at the time. More than 1,500 people live in Michigan City. The state grants $20,000 for the creation of a port at Michigan City.
1836 - The first commercial ship, the Sea Serpent, enters Trail Creek (July 4).
1837 - The first harbor light is installed.
1837 - A Baptist congregation is formed.
1838 - Potawatomi Indians in Indiana are forcibly removed by the U.S. government to Kansas, a march called the Trail of Death.
1837 - The Michigan City Institute, a seminary (boarding school) is built at Tenth (Boston) and Franklin Streets. The School closed in 1841 for lack of funds. The building was moved to Second and Franklin Streets, where it was converted into the Lake House. The building was later destroyed by fire.
1844 - The first Congregational Church is completed.
1852 - The Michigan Central Railroad reaches Michigan City and connects the city to Eastern towns. A central depot is built for the railroad.
1852 - Saint Ambrose School, the first parochial school in Michigan City, opens at 2nd and Washington Streets.
1853 - The first scheduled train on the city's Monon Route leaves Michigan City for Lafayette (Oct.).
1855 - John Barker, Sr. buys into Sherman, Haskell, Aldridge & Company, a freight car and wagon firm. In 1858, the name changed to Haskell & Barker. Under Barker, Sr., and his son John Barker, the Haskell and Barker factory becomes the largest manufacturing plant in Indiana. Among its many achievements, the factory built the first modern assembly line and produced the PS-1 steel box car that became the standard for railroads.
1856 - the Monon freight house and depot are built.
1857 - The original Barker House, home of industrialist John Barker, is built.
1858 - The Old Lighthouse is built. The lighthouse is now the Old Lighthouse Museum, the oldest structure remaining in Michigan City.
1858 - The first Episcopal Church is completed.
1860 - Construction begins on the Indiana State Prison. The prison was completed in 1868. Charles Seely, the first warden, oversaw the construction.
1860s - The first bridge over Trail Creek is removed to develop the harbor into a shipping port.
1861 - The first keeper of the 1858 lighthouse, Harriet Colfax, is appointed. She operates the lighthouse for more than four decades.
1861 - The Civil War begins. Hundreds of area men join the conflict, overwhelmingly for the Union side. The area serves as a major troop shipping point and producer of war goods.
1861 - Michigan CIty's first volunteer fire department under one chief is formed (May 13). E. L. Valentine led Liberty Hose Co. #1.
1862 - The original school at Fourth and Pine is replaced by a two-story brick school called the Union School or the First Ward School. It later becomes Elston Elementary.
1865 - The funeral train of Abraham Lincoln passes through Michigan City on its way to Springfield, Illinois (May 1).
1865 - Greenwood Cemetery is relocated to Tilden Avenue.
1867 - The upper harbor is dredged for the first time, allowing the area to become a lumber port and shipping harbor. The harbor is dredged again in 1870, 1925, and 1953, until further dredging was considered financially inadvisable.
1867 - St. Mary's of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is built when two Catholic congregations unite.
1867 - The St. John's Evangelical Church building (now the site of the Uptown Center for the Performing Arts) ) is dedicated. The congregation was formed May 14, 1856.
1869 - The city forms a drum and bugle corps, the Ames Second Regiment Band.
1869 - John H. Barker takes over his father's interest in Haskell & Barker Car Company. He becomes president of the firm in 1883 and oversees an era of unprecedented growth for the company.
1869 - The original St. Mary's school opens in the remodeled St. Mary's Church building on the corner of Washington and Fourth St.
1870 - Saint Ambrose School moves to 4th and Washington St. St. Ambrose Academy, a boarding and day school, opens in the mansion of Chauncey Blair. Both schools are taught by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.
1870 – First transcontinental rail passengers travel Michigan Central route through Michigan City during seven-day journey from Boston to San Francisco.
1871 - The Zorn Brewery is opened. The brewery produced up to 15,000 barrels of beer a year.
1871 - Construction is begun on the Central School, a high school, at 8th & Spring (Oct). The School is dedicated on March 20, 1873. The Union School was used for elementary students.
1871 - A beacon light is installed on the east pier (November 20).
1874 - Canada School is built.
1874 - The east pierhead light is moved to the west pier. It is destroyed during a storm in 1886.
1876 - St. Paul's Lutheran Church is built, following a split with St. John's Church.
1877 - St. John's Hall or Saint Johann Verein's Hall, a striking example of the Italianate style, is constructed.
1877 - Mozart Hall is built on the south side of E. Michigan St. near Franklin.
1879 - The Michigan City Police Department is formed, replacing the town marshals (May).
1880 - The Roeske Mill is built by Christopher and August Roeske. The mill processed lumber, grist, bricks, and flour.
1880s - The Michigan Central Railroad swing bridge is built.
1881 - The Congregational Church is constructed on its present site.
1883 - The Jewell Hotel, soon renamed the Vreeland Hotel, is constructed. The hotel is expanded in 1898. The Vreeland is Michigan City's premier luxury hotel for decades. Later, it becomes the Adner Hotel, the Chapel Hotel, and the Franklin Hotel, before the building is destroyed by a fire in 1964.
1885 - Harrison School is built, replacing Canada School.
1885 - Park School is founded in a rented building.
1886 - St. Ambrose School, Saint Ambrose Academy, and Saint Mary's combine and reopen as Saint Mary's School on 10th and Buffalo.
1888 - The U.S. Life-Saving Station (later called the U.S. Coast Guard station) is completed at the mouth of Trail Creek.
1889 - Construction is completed on the present Trinity Episcopal Church, southeast corner of 6th and Franklin. The first Trinity Church was built in 1836 on Pine St. between 4th & 5th. A Gothic-style church was build on the 6th & Franklin lot in 185.
1889 - The German Methodist Church is built.
1889 - Garfield School, also known as the Fourth Ward School, is constructed on West 11th St.
1890 - The second Michigan Central railroad station is built, replacing the depot constructed in the 1850s. The first depot had been destroyed in a fire.
1890 - Eastport School is built.
1890 - Mayor Martin Krueger successfully lobbies the state legislature for a law that allowed city governments to buy, sell, and trade park land. Construction begins on a bridge over Trail Creek.The wooden single-leaf swing bridge cost $10,000 to construct.
1890s - Elston's Jim Eddy wins the high school state jampsionship in broad jump.
1890s - The Hoosier Slide Sand Company, operated by William B. Manny, begins mining sand from the Hoosier Slide.
1891 - Development of Washington Park begins.
1891 - John H. Barker donates the original band stand. It is destroyed in a fire in 1911 and rebuilt.
1892 - Mullen Hospital, the first hospital in Michigan City, opens (August 24). The hospital closed in 1894 followed the death of its founder, Dr. Alexander Mullen.
1893 - The cornerstone is laid for the Hermitage Social Club (April 15). Martin Krueger bought the land for the Hermitage in 1890 with the idea of building a religious center, which fell through. It became a social club, mostly for German Americans, instead. It was named the Hermitage because a hermit, Gust Anderson, lived on the property. Club disputes led to falling membership, and the property was sold around 1905 to pay its debt. In the 1920s, Haskell and Barker purchased the property to be used as a social club for its employees. Later, it was used as a rest home and health spa. The building was destroyed by arson on November 1, 1978.
1893 - The Winterbotham Soldier's Memorial at the entrance of Washington Park is dedicated on Decoration Day (May 31). The monument memorialized Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. The female bronze figure waving an olive branch represents Victorious Peace. The bronze belt around the monument include the shields of the United States and Indiana, soldiers responding to the call to arms, cannons, and battle accoutrements. The Latin phrase translates to "It is sweet and glorious to die for one's country." The monument was designed by M. Muldoon of Louisville, sculpted by William O'Donovan and Jonathan Hartley and donated by John H. Winterbotham. The inscription reads, "In memory of the Soldiers of the Civil War who gave their services to perpetuate the union of the States." Sixty-five feet tall, the monument is made of Vermont granite and weighs over 76 tons.
1893 - The peristyle in Washington Park is completed. The peristyle was donated by John Barker and copied after a building at the Columbian Exposition.
1894 - Marsh School is constructed on York St.
1896 - The Central School at 8th & Spring is destroyed in a fire (January 9) and rebuilt the same year.
1896 - A permanent Park School building is constructed. The school had met in rented facilities since its founding in 1885.
1898 - The first automobile in Michigan City is built by Roman Eichstaedt.
1884 - The East Pier is built.
1892 - St. Stanislaus Kostka church is completed.
1893 - Chicago's Columbia Club holds their first Race to Michigan City. This annual event is the oldest continually run freshwater race in the world.
1895 - The Michigan City Library Association is founded.
1897 - The former Michigan City Public Library building is dedicated (October 9). The library was the result of a $5,000 bequest in the will of George Ames. The library was built using citizen donations, including John H. Barker, who donated 1/3 of the cost. The building serves as the library until 1977.
1899 - President William McKinley speaks from his train at a rail crossing in Michigan City.
1899 - The Chief Justice Waite, a passenger steamer built in 1874 which traveled between Michigan City and Chicago, is destroyed at sea (September). A month prior, it had been boarded by Chicago police, who arrested the owner, captain, and 160 passengers for gambling offenses.
1900-1908 - Amusement area is built in Washington Park. Initially, it contains a wooden roller coaster, large carousel, Whirligig, and miniature locomotive train. Later, a Ferris Wheel, boat ride and other rides and games are added.
1902 - Frederic H. Burnham Glove Company, founded in Chicago in 1891, moves to Michigan City. A new 30,000 square foot plant is built at 1602 Tennessee St. The plant was expanded in 1975, and in 1977 a retail outlet was added. Manufacturing was ceased in the Michigan City location in 1980, but the retail outlet remains open.
1902 - Michigan City and La Porte are connected by an electric interurban line.
1903 - Electric street cars begin operation in Michigan City. Three routes were included - a west side route ending at the prison, an east side route running on Franklin Street, Ninth Street, and Michigan Street, and a south side route on Franklin to Coolspring Avenue.
1904 - The original Saint Anthony Hospital is built, partially funded by a donation in the name of Mrs. John H. Barker.
1904 - The current pierhead light (referred to as a lighthouse), east pier, fog signal tower and catwalk are built. The old lighthouse is remodeled and the living quarters are enlarged. The lantern is moved from the old lighthouse to the new pierhead light (October 20).
1904 - The first Jewish services are held during the High Holy Days in a rented space.
1905 - Michigan City's first paid fire department is organized (May 1).
1905 - The Paper Box Company begins operation.
1905 - The Michigan City Yukons, the city's first semi-professional baseball team, debut at Donnelly Field.
1905 - The expansion of the Barker Mansion is completed. The mansion includes 38 rooms.
1905 - Oscar Wellnitz builds a cottage at Sheridan Beach, the beginning of development of the Sheridan Beach area.
1906 - The first Franklin Street lift bridge over Trail Creek is completed. The lift bridge replaced the swing bridge built in the 1890s.
1906 - The Grand Opera House, a 1,500 seat performance hall, opens. "The Umpire" is the first play performed. The Grand Opera House becomes the orpheum Vaudeville Theater and then the Garden Theater, which burns down in 1921. The Tivoli Theater is built on the site in 1922.
1906 - Charles Lawrence wins the state shot put title, the first high school state championship for Michigan City.
1907 - The Michigan City YMCA is formed as a result of a citizen meeting organized by Mr. and Mrs. John H. Barker.
1907 - Adath Israel, the first Jewish congregation in Michigan City, builds a synagogue on Seventh Street. The building was torn down in the late 1960s during urban renewal.
1908 - The first South Shore train arrives in Michigan City from Chicago, under the name "Chicago, Lake Shore and South Bend Railroad." The first South Shore train runs between Michigan City and South Bend (June 30). The South Shore is the oldest remaining interurban train in the U.S.
1908 - A headless body suspected to be Belle Gunness is found in a fire at her La Porte farmhouse. The remains of at least ten bodies are found buried on her property. She is suspected of killing at least 25 people.
1909 - The old Elston School is built at Spring and Detroit streets, and serves as the high school. It becomes Elston Junior High is 1924, when the new Elston High School is built adjacent to the old school.
1909 - The Superior Courthouse and old post office are built.
1909 - Two South Shore trains collide head-on near Shadyside Crossing in Porter (June 19). Eastbound South Shore train No. 59 was returning from the Cobe Cup automobile races in Crown Point when it overran a crossing point of tracks and collided with westbound train No. 58. At least 10 people were killed, and 40 passengers were injured.
Around 1910 - Doll's Park, a popular picnic grove, sports facility, and dance hall, opens on Carroll Avenue near the southwest corner of Carroll and Michigan Boulevard. Doll's Park was a popular picnic grove with benches, tables, an open-roofed lunch counter, and an open dance hall with elevated bandstand. Doll's Park began to deteriorate and was torn down in the early 1940s. Eastgate Plaza was built on the site in the 1950s.
1910 - The Franklin Street Bridge collapses after the excursion ship United States collides with it (June 24). The bridge is rebuilt in 1911.
1910 - The Ahksakewah Canoe Club builds its clubhouse on the east side of the basin. The clubhouse served as a boating and social center, but the condition of the basin steadily deteriorated due to dumping. The building was torn down in 1931, and the club faded into obscurity.
1911 - The first plane lands in the city. Donald Gregory landed the plane on a test strip in a vacant field between Barker Avenue and Greenwood Avenue.
1911 - The original band shell is destroyed in a fire. A band stand designed by H.M. Miles is constructed and rededicated on July 6, 1911. The Michigan City Municipal Band held weekly summar band concerts at the band stand until 1978, when the amphitheater was completed.
1912 - The Michigan City YMCA facility is opened.
1912 or 1913 - The Sinai Congregation is organized by Moses Moritz.
1912 - Calumet Electric Company is incorporated on August 2, 1912. The company merges on June 2, 1926 to become the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO).
1913 - The biggest fire in the history of Michigan City begins in the south lumber yards of the Haskell & Barker Car company. It burns for 10 hours over 20 acres, causing $700,000 in damages, before it is brought under control.
1914 - Marquette Hall is built.
1914 - The Bader Elmoneer Society is founded to teach the history and practice of the Islamic faith.
1914 - The second Michigan Central Railroad depot is destroyed in a fire. A new depot (currently occupied by Swingbelly's Restaurant) is built and completed the following year. The site still functions as an Amtrak stop.
1914 - First Baptist Church is completed.
1915 - The lake front amusement grounds catch on fire, heavily damaging the roller coaster and other attractions.
1915 - The Eastland Disaster, the largest loss of life from a shipwreck on the Great Lakes - An excursion ship named the S.S. Eastland is commissioned to take the families of Western Electric Company workers from Chicago to Michigan City for a picnic. The overloaded ship rolls over while tied to the dock in the Chicago River, killing 844 passengers.
1915 - The Life-Saving Station is adopted into the U.S. Coast Guard.
1916 - Sacred Heart Church is built.
1916 - A six-day Homecoming celebration is held (August 21-26).
1917 - The United States enters World War I. More than 2,000 Michigan City men register for service. A total of 30 Michigan City men are killed in action, in training, or as a result of the pandemic flu outbreak during the conflict.
1917 - The Michigan Central Railroad Repair Shops, employer of hundreds of skilled laborers, moves from Michigan City to Niles, Michigan.
1917 - Central School at 8th & Spring is renovated.
1918 - The Chamber of Commerce is formed by a group of citizens headed by Joseph Hays of the Hays Corporation. It soon attracts 22 new factories to town.
1918 - The Long Beach Company is formed. The first subdivisions are platted the following year.
1918-1920 - The Spanish Influenza Pandemic strikes Michigan City, requiring the city to temporarily close church services, public gatherings, and most commerce. As many as 200 new cases a day were reported in the worst of the outbreak.
1919(?) - Martin Krueger donates virgin woods for the creation of a Memorial Park honoring the men killed in the Great War.
1919 - The YMCA Seniors, the city's first semi-professional basketball team, begin play.
1920 - The Dunes Highway, the shortest direct route between Detroit and Chicago at the time, is approved by the state.
1920 - Warren G. Harding meets with political leaders at the Vreeland Hotel prior to the Republican Convention, at which he is nominated for President.
1920-1924 Twenty-two new factories, including Weil-McLain, Hoosier Factories (Jaymar-Ruby), and Steel Fabricating, open in Michigan City during a time of great economic growth.
1921 - The Garden Theater (formerly the Grand Opera House and then the Orpheum) is destroyed in a fire (February 4).
1921 - The Spaulding Hotel is completed.
1921 - The Town of Long Beach is incorporated.
1921 - Captain Joseph O. Simmerman and Patrolman George Spencer are killed in front of the Faroh Bros. store on Franklin St.
1922 - The Tivoli Theater opens at the site of the Grand Opera House, showing films for a nickel.
1922 - The Lakeview Casino opens in Washington Park. It includes table games, slots, an entertainment hall, and an eatery.
1922 - The Masonic Temple is built.
1922 - Haskell & Barker merges with the Pullman Company, which is later called Pullman-Standard.
1922 - Automatic electric coaling station for Michigan Central Railroad is completed and placed in operation (Dec. 15).
1920s - Sheridan Beach Hotel are constructed.
1922 - Floyd Fitzsimmons, Benton Harbor boxing promoter, builds the Sky Blue Arena, an open-air 30,000 seat concrete arena. Over the next five years, it features title fights and exhibitions from such boxers as Jack Dempsey, Benny Leonard, Tommy Gibbons and Georges Carpentier. The arena was demolished on September 14, 1927.
1923 - The Second Street brige is built.
1924 - The Bader Elmoneer Society is reorganized and renamed the Asser El Jadeed (now The Islamic Center of Michigan City). The Asser El Jadeed building, built in the early 1920s, was the first Shi'i mosque in the United States.
1924 - John Lloyd Wright builds his house and studio in Long Beach. He designed the Long Beach Elementary School (1927) and Long Beach Town Hall (1931), among other properties in the area.
1924 - Elston High School is constructed at Detroit & Spring on the site of the old cemetery, which largely had been removed to Greenwood. The building features the well-known Robert Grafton mural of life along the Michigan City harbor in the 1840s. The building also includes Elston Junior High. Additions are added in 1931, 1954, 1966, 1977, and 1980.
1924 - The Elston Red Devils advanced to the state basketball tournament for the first time.They were defeated in the opening game.
1925 - The Chicago, Lake Shore and South Bend Railroad is bought in receivership by Samuel Insull and organized as the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad.
1925 - Niemann School is built.
1925 - The Warren Building is completed.
1926 - World War I "doughboy" monument in Washington Park is dedicated on Armistice Day, November 11, 1926. The Service Star Legion War Mothers conducted a fundraising drive to erect the monument. It is composed of granite with a marble base, and features a life-sized figure of a "doughboy" and names of the servicemen.
1926 - The Merchants National Bank is built.
1926 - The Sixth Street bridge is constructed at a cost of $100,000.
1926 - Several utility companies, including Calumet Electric Company, merge to form NIPSCO. Samuel Insull is NIPSCO's first chairman.
1927 - The Eleventh Street Station for the South Shore Line opens (May). The two-story building cost more than $200,000 to complete. It has a terra-cotta facade and neoclassical design. The station was the longest lasting storefront urban depot, closing in 1986. The building is still standing.
1927 - The Oasis Ballroom opens in the building of the Lakeview Casino, which went out of business. The ballroom retains the desert oasis theme of the casino. It was one of the largest dance halls in the Midwest, holding in excess of 2,400 people. Many top entertainers performed at the Oasis, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, and Lawrence Welk. After the big band era was over, a game center was added to the building to try to capitalize on the pinball craze.
1927 - Long Beach Elementary School, designed by architect John Lloyd Wright, opens at Belle Plaine and Oriole Trail.
1927 - The Benevolent Protective Order of Elks building on Franklin Street is completed. The building is in use today as an office building.
1927 - The "E" Street bridge over Trail Creek, a frame structure, is built.
1928 - The Washington Park Zoo is built. It expands throughout the 1930s with the assistance of WPA workers. The WPA built Monkey Island in 1934 and the Zoo Castle in 1937, along with other installations.
1929 - Stock market crashes.
1929 - John Dillinger is imprisoned for almost a year at Indiana State Prison. A few years later, he is credited with facilitating the escape of ten inmates.
1929 - NIPSCO begins construction on the generating plant at the site of the former Hoosier Slide, once a 200-foot sand dune that had been mined for 30 years for glassmaking. The plant is completed around 1931.
1930-1937 The Civilian Conservation Corps, Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and Works Progress Administration (federal programs employing people during the Great Depression) renovates and restores Washington Park. Workers build lakefront walls, many installations at Washington Park Zoo, the Washington Park Observation Tower, gardens, tennis courts, parking lots, picnic areas, and more.
1930 - A new airfield is dedicated (June 18). Construction of the airfield, located on the site of the old Majot farm off U.S. 212 near the intersection of U.S. 20 & 35, began in the fall of 1929. The airport was operated by the private Michigan City Airport Corporation. The city had planned to purchase the field, but was unable to do so after the onset of the Great Depression. In the mid-1940s, the field became the Joe Phillips Airport. Service was offered to Midway Airport (beginning in 1946) and O'Hare (beginning in 1955). In 1986, the Joe Phillips Airport was sold to the city and became the new Michigan City Municipal Airport.
1930 - Patrolman Charles L. Glafcke is shot and killed by a Chicago man who had fled to Michigan City following a shooting (December 14).
1931 - The Michigan City Yacht Club is organized.
1932 - The George Washington Bicentennial Bridge, where Franklin St. spans Trail Creek, is dedicated (May). The bascule-style bridge replaced the lift bridge..
1932 - After years of financial turmoil, electric street car service is discontinued.
1933 - A centennial celebration and pageant is held on the lakefront (July 1-3).
1933 - The lighthouse gets electricity and an electronic foghorn.
1933 - The Michigan City Yacht Club is formed. The club purchased their building at 12 on the Lake in 1938 and renovated it extensively in the following years to serve as a clubhouse.
1934 - Michiana Shores is incorporated.
1934 - Franklin Street is paved.
1934 - Amelia Earhart visits Michigan City to speak in support of the city's new airfield.
1934 - A mass tree planting takes place in Washington Park on Arbor Day (April 9). Many of these trees still grace the park today.
1934 - A major fire destroys the Henry Lumber Company's planing mill (June 5). The company was founded in 1894 and remained in business until the early 1970s.
1935 - The city constructs a water filtration plant and sewage treatment plant.
1935 - The first Indiana Days festival is held (July 4-7). An estimated 200,000 people visited the city during the 1935 Indiana Days celebration.The festival is held annually until 1938.
1935 - The Elston Red Devils advance to the state basketball tournament after an undefeated season. They lose in the final match to Jeffersonville after Johnny Flotow, the star player and captain, contracts the flu.
1936 - International Friendship Gardens opens. It was built by the Stauffer brothers, a trio of master gardeners whose exhibit at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair inspired the garden.
1936 - Michigan City donates land for the construction of an armory, to be built by the WPA.
1937 - Coolspring School is built.
1937 - The Engineer's castle and observation tower in Washington Park Zoo are dedicated (May 6).
1938 - Crackdown on slot machine gambling.
1938 - The Michigan City News and Evening Dispatch are consolidated into the News-Dispatch.
1938 - The Moose Home at 1108 Franklin St. is destroyed in a fire (Dec. 19).
1938-39 - Elston's Richard "Fuzzy" Stephenson wins the high school state championship in shotput two years in a row.
1939 - Hirsch's Department Store is destroyed in a fire (April 25). Ten firefighters were injured fighting the blaze. The store was remodeled and reopened in June.
1939 - U.S. Coast Guard takes over servicing the lighthouse (July 1).
1939 - Construction of the Naval Armory, designed by John P. Parrish and Ben H. Bacon, is completed. It is part of the 9th Naval District until 1965, when the Navy deactivates its Naval Reserve in Michigan City. Ships assigned to the Armory included the USS Hawk, USS Sacramento, and HSS Havre.
1939 - The La Porte County Courthouse in Michigan City is completed.
1939 - Hirsch's Department store is destroyed in a fire (April 24).
1940 - Washington Park's Midway, including games and concessions, is added.
1940 - Babe Ruth makes a guest appearance with the Michigan City Cubs, a semi-professional baseball team that played in Ames Field throughout the 1940s.
1940 - The Old Lighthouse is closed following the retirement of Assistant Keeper Ralph Moore.
1940 - Elston's golf team wins the high school state championship.
1941 - Ninth Naval Reservists aboard the USS Sacramento leave Michigan City for the Hawaiian Islands to serve as defense patrol. The ship and its crew are present during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
1941 - The United States enters World War II. Ninety-nine Michigan City men are killed in action during the war. Michigan City citizens contributed $18 million in war bonds.
1941 - Workers at Michigan City's prosperous Pullman-Standard plant go on strike to secure union representation.
1941 - A new Garfield School is constructed. It is remodeled in 1974.
1945 - A fire erupts in the south yards of Pullman-Standard, destroying a shed and 22 new cars and causing $125,000 in damage (June 7).
1946 - An American Airline passenger plane crashes at the east edge of International Friendship Gardens, killing the pilot and co-pilot. All passengers survived (Dec. 28).
1947 - Elston's Jim Weisflog wins the state track championship in 880-yard run.
1948 - Construction begins on the Michigan City Municipal Airport off U.S. 421, in the area where Menard's and Lowe's are now located. The initial runway and most of the clearing are completed in one weekend, December 4-5. The first plane to land on the new runway was piloted by Al Spiers, News-Dispatch editor, with passenger M.B. Wilson, president of the Booster Club. The plane, a Vultee BT-13, took off from the Joe Phillips Airport and landed at the new airport on December 11, 1948.
1948 - Elston's tennis team goes undefeated and is rated Indiana's No. 1 high school aggregation.
1949 - A new Central School building is constructed at 8th & Spring. It is dedicated on December 17, 1950.
1949 - Firefighter Cherles Neulieb is killed while fighting a fire at Modern Trend Furniture Factory, 208 Franklin St. (August 22).
1949 - Pine School is built.
1949 - The Michigan City Symphony Orchestra gives its first concert (February 27). It was founded by Palmer Myran.
1949 - Frank Hobart and Norm Ross win the Indiana State Three-Cushion Billiard Tourney, the first win for the city in the tournament's 43 years. Hobart was undefeated.
1950s - The decade marks the end of large ferry service to Michigan City. Throughout the preceding 50 years, ferries such as the Theodore Roosevelt, Eastland, Missouri, and United States brought hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to the city.
1950 - The Korean War begins. Over the next three years of the conflict, 10 Michigan City men are killed in action.
1950 - A senate investigation of race betting draws public attention to several Michigan City bookie storefront operations.
1950 - Springfield School is built.
1951 - A five-day old infant is stolen from the St. Anthony Hospital nursery, making national news. The case was never solved.
1952 - The Red Devils win the first of 24 consecutive basketball sectional championships.
1952 - Former Fire Chief Alfred Zoch is fatally injured while in route to a Beverly Shores fire (March 10).
1952 - The Rose Bowl bowling alley is heavily damaged in a fire (September 10).
1953 - The Sinai Temple is dedicated (May 1-3).
1953 - The new Eastport School building opens.
1955 - The first Summer Festival is held.
1955- Eleanor Roosevelt speaks at the Sinai Sunday Evening Forum.
1955 - Dan's Body Shop, 208 E St., is destroyed by a massive fire.
1955- Edgewood School is constructed.
1955 - The old Central Fire Station on West 4th Street is torn down (September 2). A new station is built on the site.
1956 - The Michigan City White Caps, a New York Giants affiliate in the Midwest League, are formed. They play for four seasons before dissolving. Notable players included Juan Marichal, Manny Mota, Jose Tartabull, and Matty Alou.
1956 - Michigan City native and New York Yankee Don Larson pitches the only perfect World Series baseball game in history.
1956 - St. Mary's Marquette High School opens following remodeling.
1956 - Four inmates from the Dr. Norman Beatty Memorial Hospital, located at the present-day Westville Correctional Facility, escape. They are captured the next day. An uprising at the facility a month later leads to the resignation of the superintendant.
1956 - The Cargill grain elevator at the harbor is built.
1957 - Michigan City is the site of the first official Miss Indiana Pageant, held in the Tivoli theater.
1958 - Michigan City and Lakeland merge.
1958 - The Big Snow of 1958 cuts off Michigan City for nearly a week, requiring assistance from five surrounding municipalities to help dig the city out from feet of snow dumped during the freak snowstorm.
1958 - Captain George Dabagia dies from smoke asphyxiation while fighting a fire at 227 Huron St. (December 15).
1959 - The Liberty Theater (formerly the Lake Theater and Starland Theater) and Edwards Store burn down in an overnight fire on January 22. Fire Captain Lee Brady perished in the fire, and several other firefighters were injured.
1959 - The Smith Brothers Cough Drop Factory closes.
1959 - A Red Devil basketball player is stabbed by a classmate in the school cafeteria, requiring nine stitches to close the wound.
1959 - Midwest Steel constructs a $100 million mill at Burns Harbor.
1959 - Michigan City Port Authority is formed.
1961 - The first two apartment buildings of Harborside Homes, a low-income housing development, are constructed off Michigan Boulevard, on Canal and Fourth Streets, in the neighborhood commonly called "the Patch." Nine row houses are added two years later. Harborside included around 120 apartments. The opening phase of construction cost $2.1 million.
1961 - The first person swims across Lake Michigan, ending at Michigan City. Ted Erickson from Chicago accomplished the feat in 36 1/2 hours.
1961 - Knapp Elementary School (Oct. 8), Barker Junior High School (Oct. 15), and Joy Elementary School (Oct. 22) are dedicated.
1961 - Elstonian, Elston High School's yearbook, wins first place in the Columbia University Scholastic Press Association yearbook contest (October 16).
1962 - A court injunction blocks the renewal of the lease for Washington Park's amusement area, stating that public property could not be leased for private use. The Oasis Ballroom and amusement area at Washington Park are demolished.
1963 - Work begins on the building of Bethlehem Steel mill, the largest steel mill in the world at the time.
1963 - Krueger Junior High School is built.
1963 - Michigan Boulevard is paved.
1963 - The City purchases the Old Lighthouse for historical purposes. It leases the building to the Michigan City Historical Society.
1963 - A children's library is opened at 314 E. 8th St. It moves to a house at 320 E. 8th St. in 1966. When the new library opens in 1977, the youth and adult collections are reunited.
1964 - The Franklin Hotel burns down in a fire (Nov. 20). It was formerly the Vreeland Hotel, Michigan City's luxury hotel. The Franklin Hotel had closed in 1958 and reopened the next year. It was sold several times and was under foreclosure at the time of the fire. Its ownership at the time was disputed.
1965 - Michigan City is named an All-America City by the National Municipal League.
1965 - Heisman Harbor, a 30-acre marina, is developed.
1965 - Building begins at Purdue North Central. The campus opens in 1968.
1965 - South Shore Railroad is purchased by Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.
1965 - Plans for Marquette Mall are unveiled. Sears, J.C. Penney, and other retailers move from downtown to the new shopping center.
1965 - The U.S. commits troops to the conflict in Vietnam. Many Michigan City men serve bravely as troops.
1965 - The Naval Reserve in Michigan City is deactivated. The Armory is leased to the city from 1968 to 1977. It is used for a teen center and Parks Department basketball games during this time.
Late 1960s - The amusement area at Washington Park demolished.
1966 - Michigan City Red Devils win the state high school basketball tournament against Indianapolis Tech, 63-52 (March 19).
1966 - The Spaulding Hotel closes.
1966 - The Elston Occupations building is constructed at Elston High School. It is later renamed the A.K. Smith Area Career Center in honor of Superintendent A.K. Smith.
1967 - 26 inches of snow fall in two days during a major snowstorm.
1967 - A major new air pollution control ordinance is enacting, improving the community's air quality.
1968 - Senator Robert Kennedy visits Michigan City and speaks at the courthouse.
1968 - Saint Anthony Hospital is expanded, culminating in the opening of a new five-story building on January 10.
1969 - The peristyle in Washington Park is demolished (October 7).
1969 - Mullen Elementary School is constructed. It is dedicated on November 9, 1969. The school was named in honor of attorney Thomas C. Mullen.
1969 - Franklin Square, a citypark and pedestrian shopping area covering the 500-900 blocks of Franklin Street, is completed. It is dedicated on November 22, 1969.
1970 - The Pullman-Standard factory closes on December 18, after more than 1,000 workers had already been laid off.
1970 - Construction begins on the new NIPSCO generating plant and cooling tower.
1970 - Elston students John Christopher and Kevil Mansfield win federal court ruling that they could not be suspended from school for having long hair (February 20).
1970 - Two days of riots/civil disturbances occur in the city's North End following the Summer Festival Parade. The disturbances were sparked by an incident in which three black men were arrested and subdued with mace by police in front of a local tavern, in what began as a parking violation. For the next two days, windows were broken, firebombs and rocks were thrown, stores were looted, and sporadic shots were fired. Fourteen-year-old Emmett Wright was shot in the left leg, and eight other people were injured. The Star Laundry was destroyed in a fire, and Henry Lumbr and Kaeding Boats were damaged by fire. A state of emergency was declared and a force of 150 police and 150 National Guardsmen patrolled the city (July 11-12, 1970).
1971 - Rogers High School, the second high school in Michigan City, opens on Pahs Road. It was named after physician Jesse B. Rogers (1865-1938).
1972 - The I-94/U.S. 421 interchange is completed, linking Michigan City to the interstate.
1972 - The Tivoli Theater closes (November 30).
1973 - The Pullman-Standard property, in use by manufacturing companies Bobco Inc. and Poloron, burns down in a major fire that spreads to other North End properties on July 18. Fire departments from other towns are called in to battle the fire, which encompassed eight square blocks.The cleanup was not completed for five years.
1973 - The Old Lighthouse Museum opens to the public (June 9).
1973 - The Old Band Stand is renovated by the Questers, a community group that continues to maintain the structure.
1973 - The new post office at Washington & 4th St. begins operation (October 22).
1974 - The Old Lighthouse is placed on the National Register of Historic Places (November 5).
1975 - Horizon Bank is built.
1976 - Johnny Cash's "Michigan City Howdy Do" is released on the album One Piece at a Time.
1976 - The Wonderland Discount Store is destroyed in a fire (November 22).
1976-1978 - The old Michigan Central shops, later used by Tonn and Blank, are demolished. A condominium community is built on the site.
1977 - The Michigan City Public Library moves to a new facility designed by Helmut Jahn. It is dedicated on October 30, 1977. The old library building is sold to John Blank to be used as a community art center.
1977 - The Army National Guard takes control of the Armory. Company B, 113th Engineer Battalion, is stationed there until 1986.
1978 - The John G. Blank Art Center opens.
1978 - The Bicentennial Amphitheater (Guy Foremen Amphitheater) is built. Michigan City Municipal Band's last concert at the Old Band Stand is held.
1978 - A fire causes $100,000 in damage to the Rogers High School auditorium (June 16).
1978 - The Sheridan Health Spa, previously the Hermitage Social Club, is destroyed by arson (Nov. 1).
1978 - The original Saint Anthony's Hospital building is demolished.
1979 - The city's first City Hall is opened.
1979 - The Spaulding Hotel, Sears building, and Lido Theater are demolished.
1979 - The library's Mall Branch is closed.
late 70s - new police station
1980 - The first Michigan City In-Water Boat Show is held.
1980 - Plans for the new North End are released.
1980 - Elston Junior High building (the old Elston High School) at Detroit & Spring Streets is closed and building is demolished (April 2). A performing arts center, gymnasium and new entryway are constructed on the site.
1980 - United Steelworkers Union goes on strike against NIPSCO.
1980 - A siege at Indiana State Prison, during which seven men are taken hostage, lasted for 16 hours. All hostages were released safely.
1980 - Production ends at Burnham Glove Company factory in Michigan City, but the retail outlet store remains open.
1980 - A fire destroys nine businesses at Evergreen Park Shopping Center (April 8).
1980 - The former Kubik South Side Hardware building is destroyed by fire (May 22).
1981 - Cable television is brought to Michigan City.
1981 - Rogers player Dan Palombizio is named Mr. Basketball, the first from Michigan City. Delray Brooks of Rogers won Mr. Basketball in 1984, and Charles Macon of Elston won in 1992.
1981 - Rogers High School girls' golf team wins the state championship.
1981 - Amtrak begins making scheduled stops in Michigan City. The first Amtrak train, the Wolverine, stopped at Michigan City on April 26.
1982 - LaPorte mayor A.J. Rumely and his wife are shot during a break-in at their home. Rumely's wife dies.
1982 - Three business at 11th & Franklin are destroyed in a fire (February 2-3).
1982 - Rodini Restaurant is destroyed in a fire (January 15). The restaurant is later rebuilt.
1984 - Rogers basketball player Delray Brooks is named Indiana Player of the Year and co-Mr. Basketball, along with Troy Lewis of Anderson.
1984 - The catwalk (elevated walkway) to the east pierhead light is placed on the National Register of Historic Places (February 17).
1985 - Michigan City teachers strike for the first time (February 19). The strike last 18 days.
1980s - Laser light shows are held at the NIPSCO plant, projecting images on the cooling tower.
1986 - 1st Squadron, 238th Cavalry, LRSD, is stationed at the Armory.
1986 - The Municipal Airport on U.S. 421 closes (December 21). The city sells the land and purchases the Joe Phillips Airport on U.S. 35. That airport is developed into the new Michigan City Municipal Airport.
1987 - Construction begins on the bridge on U.S. 12 over Trail Creek, replacing the Second Street Bridge.
1987 - Lighthouse Place outlet shopping center opens.
1987 - Michigan City hosts the Pan Am Games yacht races.
1988 - South Shore Railroad announces that it will close. The railroad is purchased by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.
1988 - The Coast Guard station is rebuilt.
1988 - 1015th AG Company Postal is stationed at the Armory until 1993. They are deployed in Operation Desert Storm.
1989 - The movie Prancer, filmed in LaPorte County and Three Oaks, MI and directed by LaPorte native John Hancock, premieres.
1990 - Franklin Square is demolished. Franklin Street reopens to traffic in the uptown area (August 10).
1990 - The Michigan City Downtown Boosters are formed. They later become the Mainstreet Association.
1990 - 1015th AG Company Postal is mobilized to Saudi Arabia (October 25). They provide mail services for more than 250,000 soldiers. Half of the unit members are from Michigan City. They leave Saudi Arabia on April 27, 1991.
1990 - Crowds take to the streets and march to City Hall calling for racial change in the city. Rocks and bottles are thrown.
1992 - Elston High School basketball player Charles Macon is named Mr. Basketball.
1993 - Elston High School girls' cross country team wins the state championship. The team wins state again in 1994.
1993 - Company E (Bridge) 113th Engineers are stationed at the Lakefront Armory until 2003.
1994 - Memorial Plaza is dedicated to all veterans on Veterans' Day (November 11). A monument honoring Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Daniel D. Bruce is in the center of Monument Circle. Other monument honor all branches of sevice at the POW-MIA.
1995 - Ames Field is rebuilt and used as a football stadium and site for drum and bugle corps.
1995 - Rogers and Elston are consolidated into Michigan City High School, housed in the Rogers building. Elston is converted into a junior high. The school board's vote to consolidate took place Oct. 25, 1994. The newly-combined Michigan City High School open on August 25, 1995 with 1,612 students.
1995 - Harborside Homes is demolished.
1995 - The City purchases the elevated walk to the east pierhead light.
1996 - Crescent Dunes is purchased by the National Lakeshore from NIPSCO.
1996 - President Clinton visits Michigan City, speaking from his train en route to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
1997 - Blue Chip Casino opens.
1997 - Meijer opens on S. Franklin St.
1997 - Long Beach Elementary School and Eastport Elementary School are closed.
1999 - Marquette Blazers win the first of nine state volleyball championships in eleven years. Between 1999-2009, the Blazers played in every championship match.
1998 - The last year the Miss Indiana Scholarship Pageant was held in Michigan City.
2001 - The September 11th terrorist attacks lead to an outpouring of local donations and charitable efforts.
2001 - LaPorte County Hazmat receives 45 reports of suspicious white substances after the national anthrax scare. All were benign.
2001 - Bethlehem Steel files bankruptcy.
2002 - Franklin St. is repaved and remodeled.
2003 - Bethlehem Steel is taken over by the International Steel Group, keeping the mill operating.
2003 - St. Mary's School, Park School, and the Michigan City Alternative High School close (June).
2003 - The Art Center moves to its current location on 2nd Street and is renamed the Lubeznik Center for the Arts.
2003 - The 938th Military Police Detachment of the Army National Guard is stationed at the Lakefront Armory. They are deployed to Iraq from September 1, 2004 to May 13, 2006. The detachment's location is changed to Gary in 2009.
2004 - LaPorte County-based 113th Combat Engineers and 938th Military Police are deployed to Iraq.
2005 - The Pullman Park skate park opens in early May. It is dedicated July 16. World-ranked skateboarder Anthony Furlong attends the dedication.
2007 - Blue Chip Casino begins construction of a hotel tower and events center. The 22-story tower, completed in 2009, is now the tallest building in the county.
2007 - Michigan City YMCA closes, losing its charter.
2007 - The body of the person believed to be serial killer Belle Gunness is exhumed for DNA analysis. The search for a reliable source of DNA comparison continues.
2007 - Michigan City Municipal Airport named Airport of the Year by the Aviation Association of Indiana.
2008 - Property tax reassessments fail to pass state requirements, delaying the finalization of tax bills and property tax disbursements to local governments for several years.
2008 - Michigan City takes over jurisdiction of Michigan Boulevard from U.S. 12 to Indiana 212 and begins plans for rehabilitating the infrastructure.
2008 - The global financial crisis leads to increased unemployment and fiscal challenges in Michigan City and elsewhere.
2008 - A new terminal building is contructed at the Michigan City Municipal Airport.
2009 - The organization overseeing the South Shore proposes realigning the tracks and removing the embedded tracks in 11th Street, provoking discussion and criticism.
2009 - The first Great Lakes Grand Prix is held. An estimated 80,000 spectators watch the professional boat race.
2009 - The HHD 190th Transportation Battalion of the National Guard are stationed at the Armory.
2010 - State and federal agents search the Sanitary District for evidence of environmental crimes. A whistleblower complaint brought by the Indiana Attorney General's Office is settled with the district awarding a settlement of $215,000. The Wastewater Treatment Plant supervisor retires. He later pleads guilty to making false statements under the Clean Water Act.
2010 - Michigan City is ranked #1 in the Culture and Leisure category in Forbes "Best Small Places for Business and Careers."
2010 - The Uptown Arts District is formed.
2010 - Michigan City's Pop Warner Jr. Pee Wee team wins the national championship.
2012 - The City purchases the East Pierhead Light Tower (lighthouse).