Discussion about the need for a good road from Chicago to Detroit was well
under way in 1921 and by January, 1922 the Chesterton Tribune
reported that the Dunes Highway from Miller to Michigan City would be built
that year. Automobiles were becoming more common and roads were built on a
state by state basis.
Ken Keller presented the story of the Dunes Highway (U. S. 12) and the
Roaring 20s for the Duneland Historical Society at the Library Service
Center on March 21. His research told of the road construction progress and
what was happening in the Duneland area at the time.
The construction plans were split into two parts, east and west. The eastern
half was completed first and opened from Kaiser to Michigan City by August,
1922. In September the Tribune reported that the road was completed
Problems with property owners and swampy land delayed the western half and
dedication ceremonies did not take place until November 16, 1923. Swampy
land east of Miller had to be built up to allow for road construction.
Marcia Gaughan played the part of a Mrs. Samuelson who protested having her
property purchased for the new road. Condemnation proceedings were needed to
acquire some of the property along the route from Baillytown to Gary.
The dedication ceremonies included the unveiling by Captain H. S. Norton of
Gary of a bronze tablet located at Baillytown. Keller said there were 300
people attending in rain and hail.
News of the day at the time included stories about Ku Klux Klan meetings,
motorcycle racing at Mineral Springs Race Track, railroad strikes,
prohibition, new radios, plans for Burns Ditch and talk of establishing a
The system of numbering highways across the country was started in 1926.
U.S. 20 was built in the early 1930s and referred to as the Dunes Relief
Road. The relief was needed because of the heavy traffic on the Dunes
Highway and the many serious, often fatal, accidents reported.
The Duneland Historical Society spring dinner will take place at 6 p.m.,
April 18 at the Library Service Center. Members have received information
about reservations. The program which is open to the public will begin at
7:30 and feature the Chesterton High School Sandpipers Show Choir.