Turns out, no one
really knows why, in the years of the Civil War, the little train town known
as Calumet--formerly known as Coffee Creek--changed its name to Chesterton.
thought to be derived from Westchester Township, but why folks on a
stop along the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern thought a new handle a good
idea has never been satisfactorily explained by local historians.
That’s just one of
the nuggets one of those local historians dropped on the Chesterton Town
Council at its meeting Monday night. Kevin Pazour, executive director of the
Porter County Museum, was in town to introduce himself, tout the museum, and
also to speak a bit about his appointment as official Porter County
Pazour, as it
happens, is the fifth person to serve as Porter County Historian, since the
program was established in 1981 by the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) and
the Indiana Historical Bureau (IHB). He’s also the youngest county
historian in the state.
The post is
actually an unpaid one. A person is appointed to it by the IHS and IHB after
being nominated by local historical organizations, like--for instance--the
Duneland Historical Society. A county historian acts, among other things, as
a clearinghouse of historical resources and information on his or her
county; an emissary of the IHS and IHB, promoting cooperation among local
historical organizations and reducing duplication of effort; and both a
teacher and student of a county’s heritage.
encouraged members and the public to visit the Porter County Museum--located
at 153 S. Franklin St. in Valparaiso--to see the current exhibit on Camp
Good Fellow, in honor of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s 50th
anniversary. The exhibit runs through September and includes artifacts and
photos narrating Camp Good Fellow’s mission as social project, in which a
generation of diverse children from across the region have learned about the
Dunes’ history and environment.
Pazour noted that
Camp Good Fellow was originally a camp for the children of steel mil
And Pazour had one
more nugget with which to regale the council: Chesterton’s population in the
latter half of the nineteenth century would grow from roughly 300 to 700
people, who at one time were served by 19 different saloons.
Pazour said, Chesterton had the reputation of being an “upright and