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CRA150 -- Harold Olin Papers


1.75 Linear Feet
November 1984


Mr. Harold B. Olin, of Beverly Shores, Indiana, donated the Harold B. Olin Papers to the Calumet Regional Archives on August 10, 1983.

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: 1.75 linear feet
Number of containers: 3 boxes
Calumet Regional Archives Collection 150
Processed By: Stephen McShane
Date: November 1984

Scope and Content

The Harold Olin Papers document the fight to establish and preserve the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (IDNL), as well as other issues affecting the quality of life in Northwest Indiana, from 1960 to 1976. A major component of this collection is a series of the many newsclippings (1964-1971) from local and national papers and magazines. Some of the diverse subjects covered are: Beverly Shores Dock on the Michigan City Lakefront, Chesterton Jet Port Proposal, and the NIPSCO Nuclear Power Plant controversies. A large amount of correspondence (1966-1971) between Harold Olin, Chairman of the Beverly Shores Action Committee, and various politicians and legislators documents local citizens' concerns regarding the lack of progress in the formation of the, lakefront erosion, permits for discharges or deposits into navigable waters, Inland Steel's quest for expansion, and Bethlehem Steel's desire to fill in 333 acres of Lake Michigan. In addition, the collection includes testimony and reports on these subjects which were presented to various government committees by engineers, scientists, and other concerned citizens. Photographs showing demonstrations, mill discharges, living dunes, and shoreline erosion, as well as maps of the area, and hydrographs of the Great Lakes Water levels from 1860-1979, provide visual images from this part of our recent history.

Researchers should note that historical information on Harold Olin is located in Box 1, File Folder 1. Other collections held by the Calumet Regional Archives pertaining to environmentalists in northwest Indiana include the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Collection (CRA 022); the Bailly Alliance Records (CRA 023); the Edward Newell Papers (CRA 064); the James Newman Papers (CRA 073); the Community Action to Reverse Pollution Records (CRA 099); the Thomas Dustin Papers (CRA 113); the Alton A. Lindsey Papers (CRA 118); the John Schnurlein Papers (CRA 140); the Save the Dunes Council Records (CRA 149); the Kay Franklin-Norma Schaeffer Papers (CRA 178); the James Fisher Papers (CRA 179); and the Edward Osann Papers (CRA 180).

Historical Sketch

Architecture, conservation, and community involvement were among the many activities enjoyed by Beverly Shores resident Harold B. Olin during the past six decades. After graduating with his architectural degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1954 (including study with Mies van der Rohe), Mr. Olin joined the office of Keck and Keck in Chicago, recognized as the first consciously solar architects. His later employment included positions with the Chicago Plan Commission, Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Pace Associates, Howard Fisher and John Randall Associates, and a partnership in the firm Olin and Kosover. He also pursued graduate work in Urban Studies at Roosevelt University from 1973 to 1975.

As an avid conservationist, Mr. Olin has been active in many national and regional environmental organizations. He served as president of the Lake Michigan Region Planning Council, the Lake Michigan Federation and the Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League and held the vice presidency of the Save the Dunes Council for many years. While holding these posts, Mr. Olin became involved in a number of environmental campaigns in northwest Indiana, such as the establishment and expansion of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; as well as control of lakefront industrial development, pollution, and erosion. Appointment by Interior Secretary Walter Hickel to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Advisory Commission also enabled him to participate in decisions affecting the establishment of a national park in a shoreline environment where environmentalists and industrialists were competing for prime land.

Mr Olin organized homeowners in his hometown of Beverly Shores IN to support Illinois Senator’s Paul Douglas’ bill to create the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and repeatedly testified at Congressional hearings in support of the national park bill. Indiana legislators eventually joined Sen. Douglas’ campaign and the bill became law in 1966.

Among his other accomplishments, Mr. Olin co-authored three architecture related books, Construction Lending Guide,Construction: Principles, Materials, and Methods, and the Housing /Planning Glossary. The Construction Lending Guide has undergone many revisions since its first publication 50 years ago and is currently being published by John Wiley & Sons under the title Olin’s Construction. Mr. Olin has produced a number of other educational materials such as clip-books and slide shows detailing principles of good design, durable construction, environmental quality, and energy conservation. In addition, he served on a committee advising the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress on residential energy conservation and acted as an advisor to the National Solar Heating and Cooling Information Center, Mid-America Scholar Energy Complex, Illinois State Energy Office, and Argonne National Laboratories.

An architect licensed for many years in both Indiana and Illinois, Mr. Olin served for 25 years as Director of Architectural and Construction Research for the United States League of Savings Institutions, a national organization representing the majority of U.S. savings institutions.

From the town board of Beverly Shores to the environment of the Indiana Dunes, Harold B. Olin has dedicated and continues to devote his skills, time, and energy to improving the quality of life for residents of northwest Indiana.

Box File Description
1 1 Historical Information, Harold Olin, (1954-1983)
2 Correspondence, Beverly Shores Action Committee, 1963-1966
3 Correspondence, Businessmen for the Public Interest, 1970-1971
4 Legal Correspondence, B.P.I., 1970-1971
5 Correspondence, NIPSCO Michigan City Plant, (1970-1972)
6-9 Correspondence, General, 1964
10 Newsletters, Beverly Shores Citizens Committee and Concerned Women's Council, 1963-1966
11 Newsletters, Save-the-Dunes Council (1962-1967)
12 Complaint, Save-the-Dunes Council vs. Corps of Engineers, NIPSCO Michigan City Plant, 1971 Motion,
13 Motion, SDC vs. Sec. of Army re: Michigan City Harbor, 1973
14 Petition List, 1965-1966
15 Hearing Statements, Indiana Dunes Park bills, 1962, 1964-1966
16 Hearing Statements, Expansion of IDNL, 1971,1974
17 Hearing Statements, NIPSCO Michigan City Plant, Sept. 10-11, 1976
1 18 Chesterton Jetport, 1969-1971
19 Erosion, (1960-1973), 1976
20 Expansion Bill, IDNL, 1976
21 IDNL, General Information, 1962-1966
22 Monon Coal Dock, 1963-1966
23 NIPSCO, 1968-1970
24 NIPSCO and Erosion, 1971
25 Nuclear Power, 1970-1971
26 Steel Companies, 1964-1965
27 "The Indiana Dunes--Staging Area for a National Land Use Policy", by Harold Olin, n.d.
28 Reprints, Indiana Dunes Magazine Articles, 1962-1964
29 Great Lakes Harbor Study-Interim Report on Burns Waterway Harbor, 1963
30 "The Building of Burns Harbor", 1966
31 Booklet, Indiana Dunes, 1966
32 Report, "Feasibility of Alternative Means of Cooling for Thermal Power Plants Near Lake Michigan" 1970
33 Report, NIPSCO Michigan City Generating Station, Water and Air Pollution Control, 1970
34 Reports, Shore Protection Programs, 1970, 1972
35 Report to the Congress, "Environmental and Economic Problems Associated with the Development of the Burns Waterway Harbor", 1971
1 36 Report, "Evaluation of Proposed Additions to the IDNL," 1972
37 Petition to Include Beverly Shores "Island" in the IDNL," 1972
38 Statement, International Great Lakes Levels Board, 1973
39 W J. Beecher, Science Notes, n.d.
40 Notecards, Indiana Dunes, n.d.
41 Profiles, Flora and Fauna, Dunes Parks, n.d.

Box File Description
2 1 Newsclippings, Air and Water Pollution, 1965 - 1967
2 Newsclippings, Dunes Legislation, 1964-1965
3-9 Newsclippings, General, (1963-1975)

Bumper stickers and buttons

Subject Tracings

  • Bethlehem Steel
  • Beverly Shores
  • Burns Harbor
  • Businessmen for the Public Interest
  • Environment/Ecology
  • Indiana Dunes
  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Industry
  • Michigan City