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CRA049 -- Michigan City Collection


0.75 Linear Feet
Collection Begun: July 1986
Revised September, 1994
Revised September 1997
Revised February 1998
Revised June 2000
Revised February 2002


Property rights in the collection are held by the Calumet Regional Archives; literary rights are dedicated to the public. There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Linear Feet of shelf space: 0.75 linear feet
Number of Containers: 1 box
Calumet Regional Archives CRA 049
Processed by: Timothy Beverly
Date: July 1986

Scope and Content

These records document the history of the city of Michigan City, Indiana. They cover the period from 1914 to the present date. In this collection a series of pamphlets called "Our Heritage" give a brief history of Michigan City and its founders with detailed stories and pictures.

The collection includes newspaper articles about the court trial of former Michigan City mayor Randall Miller. The articles cover Miller's trial on accepting bribes from his indictment in 1976 to his early release in 1977.

Several reports from the late 1950's and early 1960's provide land use, economic base, and population information.

Also in this collection is something great for people who want to look up the residents of Michigan City in the year 1951: an original Michigan City Telephone Directory which includes the yellow pages. A pamphlet about Purdue University North Central gives a brief history and registration information for the year of 1984.

Other documents in the collection include a 1983 issue of "Dunebeat", which is a weekly pamphlet on local things happening in Michigan City, a 1983 Sesquicentennial calendar which celebrates Michigan City's 150th birthday by giving things which happened in the past as well as currently on each day, and a detailed map of most of Michigan City.

Historical Sketch

Joseph Bailly is given credit as the first white man to settle in the area which is now Michigan City in 1822. He was very successful in his business of shipping and trading furs. Joseph Bailly was also a very good friend to the Indians. He and his wife dedicated themselves to educating the Indians in the region. Joseph Bailly even wrote a translation of the New Testament in Potawatomi language to benefit the Indians. While Bailly was the first to settle in the Michigan City area, the city was actually founded by Major Isaac Elston.

Elston, who had made some money in real estate and in developing town sites, figured that the newly found Michigan Road would need a town at its northern terminus. Elston then learned where the terminus would be and bought a quarter of a mile of land at the mouth of Trail Creek, for $1.25 an acre in October 1830. In 1831, he added most of what remained of the square mile.

When Elston and his neighbor General Joseph Orr arrived to inspect his purchase, Elston noticed that his assumption of which direction the lakeshore would run was wrong; therefore the whole area would have an odd shape to it. General Orr suggested that they bring the new road to Spring Street, then turn it so that it would cut across the planned streets at a right angle. Elston agreed and this is the reason for the configuration of Michigan Boulevard as it stands today. Elston never lived in the town he created but he was one of its staunchest supporters through the years. He lived in Crawfordsville. Elston was not forgotten by his town for he has had a street and several schools named after him.

In the 1840's the first railroad came to Michigan City . This led to the establishment of Michigan City's first major and long-time industry known familiarly as the "car factory". Perhaps the most significant of these railroad car shops was the brain child of three young men from Odenburg, New York, who wondered why it should be necessary to bring freight cars all the way from the east when the natural resources to build them were plentiful here. The three were Dr. Mason C. Sherman, Frederick Haskell, and Hiram Aldridge, Haskell's brother-in-law. Together they formed the first car shop corporation in 1852. When Dr. Sherman left, the other two took on John Barker as a partner and the company became known as Haskell, Barker, and Aldridge. The company flourished for many years and was the largest employer in the city with nearly 2,000 people employed at their plant.

Another rising industriy that began in 1863 was the Indiana State Prison. Many of the prisoners were under contract for labor. Other industries Michigan City has had include the manufacturing of wood, cane, reed, rattan chairs, gloves, bricks, and cigars.

Many famous and important people have made Michigan City their home. Abijah Bigelow, who was a minuteman in the Revolutionary War, moved to Michigan City in 1836. Marlin T. Krueger, who was elected mayor of Michigan City six times, lived there from 1864 to 1941. Some famous people have visited Michigan City. Sports figures such as Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, and Benny Leonard have held boxing exhibitions in Michigan City while baseball players like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Felipe Alou, and Manny Mota have all appeared there. Political figures have also stopped in Michigan City. Among them were Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Webster, Robert Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.

Box Folder Description
1 1 Pamphlets, "Our Heritage", The News Dispatch, 1976
2 Press Releases: Randall Miller Trial, 1976-1977
3 Report: A Report onEconomic Base, Existence Land Use, Population, Michigan City, Indiana, 1959
4 Report: A Management Audit of Michigan City's Industrial Climate, 1960
5 Booklets, Michigan City Chamber of Commerce, 1972, 1988
5a Advertisement, Pinkston Sand Co., 1907
6 Michigan City Issue, Indiana Business and Industry, May, 1964
7 Newsletter, Joy Manufacturing Company, 1977
8 Michigan City Telephone Directory, 1951
9 Pamphlet: Purdue University North Central, 1984
10 Pamphlet: "Dunebeat", 1983
11 Sesquicentennial Calendar, Michigan City, 1983

Series: "Getting There" Project, Indiana Heritage Research Grant, 1993-1994; Oral Histories About Transportation in Michigan City
Box Folder Description
1 13 Transcript: Lucius Donkie, October 13, 1993, "Getting There" Project. (Save Our South Shore Committee)
14 Transcript: Steve Eldridge, March 15, 1994, "Getting There" Project. (South Shore Railroad Collector-Brakeman/Conductor
15 Transcript: Harry Frey, September 17, 1993; "Getting There" Project (Michigan City aviation history)
16 Transcript: John Griswold, February 1, 1994, "Getting There" Project (Michigan City aviation history)
17 Transcript: William H. Harris, November 15, 1993, "Getting There" Project (Pullman Standard rail car engineer)
18 Transcript: Ed Hedstrom, March 22, 1994, "Getting There" Project (South Shore Railroad Brakeman/Motorman)
2 1 Transcript: Henry "Bud" Kintzele, Jr. March 19, 31, 1994 "Getting There" Project (Reminiscences of mid-twentieth century Michigan City and work in the Pullman Standard car shops)
2 Transcript: Eugene Moldenauer, October 19, 1993, "Getting There" Project (Describes jobs on various railroad lines in mid-twentieth century)
3 Transcript: Joe, Dale, and Darin Philips, February 4, 1994, "Getting There" Project (Three generation history of aviation in Michigan City)
4 Transcript: Tom Ringo, August 20, 1993, "Getting There" Project (Michigan City aviation history)
5 Transcript: Burton "Bud" Ruby, September 17, 1993, "Getting There" Project (Michigan City aviation history)
6 Transcript: Al Spiers, July 9, 1993 "Getting There" Project (Michigan City aviation history)
7 Transcript: George and Dorothy Verdos, September 3, 1993, April 11, 1994, "Getting There" Project (Midcity Airport and aviation history)
8 Transcript: Rex Westphal, September 17, 1993, "Getting There" Project (Aerial surveying and aviation history)

Box Folder Description
2 9 Newsarticles, Michigan City, 1993--
10 Booklet, Michigan City Blues, by David Sander (photocopy), 1996, c. 1965
11 Booklet, The Works Progress Administration: The Legacy of New Deal Work Programs in Indiana (features photo of Washington Park observation tower)
Videotapes, (15), correlating to the "Getting There" transcripts, stored in CRA Vidoe Collection
Oversize (Auxiliary Storage)
Maps, (2), Michigan City Harbor, 1853, 1882

Subject Tracings

  • Airports
  • Harbors
  • Industry
  • Michigan City
  • Michigan City Chamber of Commerce
  • Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD)
  • Parks -- Michigan City
  • Pullman Standard
  • Purdue University North Central
  • Railroads
  • South Shore Railroad