Calumet Beginnings

Ancient Shorelines and Settlements
at the South End of Lake Michigan

Kenneth J. Schoon

For information call (219) 980-7766
or send email to

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Where you can buy Calumet Beginnings

Errata and Addenda

Calumet Area misconceptions

Where are they now?

Useful links

Where you can buy Calumet Beginnings

Cook County, Illinois

Borders, Chicago (N. Michigan Ave)  (312) 573-0564

Borders, Chicago (State St.)  (312) 606-0750

Chicago Historical Society, Chicago  (312) 799-2262

Seminary Coop Bookstore, Hyde Park  (773) 752-4381

Walden Books, Calumet City  (708) 868-2755

Lake County, Indiana

Miles Books, Highland   (219) 838-8700

Borders, Highland  (219) 922-1103

IUN Bookstore, Gary  (219) 980-6765

Barnes and Noble, Hobart  (219) 736-7788

Center for Visual and Performing Arts, Munster  (219) 836-1839

Purdue University Calumet Bookstore, Hammond  (219) 989-2322

Indiana Welcome Center (off I-80/94), Hammond  (219) 989-7770

Porter County, Indiana

Barnes and Noble, Valparaiso  (219) 531-6551

Valparaiso University Bookstore (219) 464-5421

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Visitors Center (219) 926-7561

LaPorte County, Indiana

Bookstore in the Works, Michigan City (219)-879-3993

Indiana University Bloomington Bookstore
various Barnes and Noble stores in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan

IU Press, Bloomington, Indiana

If you know of other locations selling this book, please let me know
Thanks so much.
You may email me at

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Errata and Addenda

Cover / Dust jacket
Unfortunately 2 errors are on the first set of dust jackets.  The inside front cover noted that the glaciers left the Calumet Area about 45,000 years ago.  This should be 14,000 years ago.  Then on the inside back cover, the photographer who took and gave permission for the use of the front cover was given credit for taking my photo.  IUPress corrected these errors with the second printing.

Page ix:  3rd paragaph
Printings 1 and 2 only:  Matt Figi was inadvertently omitted.
Mark Hankey's name is misspelled.  It should have been Hoenke.

Page 13
Printings 1 and 2 only:  The numbers in the text (#1 - #5) are reversed from the numbers in Figure 1 (#5 - #1).

Page 16
Caption: Diorama should read Mural

Page 17
Printings 1 and 2 only:  Last paragraph, sentence 3 should begin: "In 1941 Serbian mathematician Milutin Milankovitch . . . ."

Page 42
Explanation:  The Little Calumet River does have three outlets, but not all the time.  All three Calumet Rivers are extremely flat and water in sections can flow in either direction depending upon, among other things, rainfall and water level.  Burns Ditch and the Cal-Sag Channel are normal outlets for the Little Calumet River; however, the Calumet River which runs through South Chicago, which once was an outlet, is no longer.  The O'Brien Lock and Dam on the Calumet River normally prevents any water from the Little Calumet River from entering Lake Michigan.  However, if after heavy rains the Little Calumet floods, water may indeed go through the lock and flow northward into the Lake.

Page 63
Printings 1 and 2 only:  Paragraph 3, sentence 3, should read, "Finally, a few industrial sites were planned by speculators
who envisioned great ports on Lake Michigan and so platted cities on or near the lakefront."

Page 81: Sidebar about "air lines"
Explanation for printings 1 and 2:  In 1881 the Monon Railroad (then the Louisville, New Albany & Chicago Railway) merged with the Chicago & Indianapolis Air Line Railway (which at that time did not extend to either Chicago or Indianapolis).  The Monon then extended that line into Chicago.  Air Line Junction was the intersection of the Chicago and Cincinnati Air Line and the Chicago and Indianapolis Air Line.

Page 106
The last word of the second-to-last line should be "build."

Page 116
Line 7:  delete the words "South Carolina's."  Jefferson Davis was born in Kentucky, moved to, and was electecd to the Senate from Mississippi.

Pages 125-26 (Lansing)
Second paragraph, page 125, should say August Hildebrandt not John Hildebrandt.
Third paragraph, page 126:  Trinith Lutheran began  . . . in 1864, not 1867.

Page 183
Printings 1 and 2 only:  First line of first new paragraph, should be Apollo 8 astronaut.

Page 198
Second paragraph notes that Bethlehem Steel's mills opened two years later [1971].   Not all of Bethlehem's mills opened at the same time.  The first, a 160-inch sheared plate mill, opened in 1964.  Mills to produce cold-rolled sheets and tin plate and hot-rolled sheet  were completed in 1965.  Others were completed later.  Bethlehem is now owned by ISG.

Page 217
Last full paragraph, 4th line.  Replace 350 with 546.

Page 219
First line:  After restored, insert: to something akin.
Second full paragraph:  Remove the words and the Clark and Pine.  Also remove the words Nature Preserves
Last paragraph, sixth line:  Repace three with four.

* * *

Do you know of any other errors in Calumet Beginnings?
Please tell me the error, the correction, and some documentation that verifies the correction.
Thanks so much for doing this.
Please email me at

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Misconceptions about the Calumet Area

Geological /Geographical Misconceptions

Misconception: "Lake Michigan used to be salty (like the ocean)."
In Fact Lake Michigan started out as glacial meltwater. It has always been fresh water.  Long before the Ice Age, before the dinosaurs (during the Paleozoic Era) this part of North America was evidently lower than it is now and was covered then by a warm shallow salt-water sea.

Misconception: "The Lake County Courthouse is on the highest land in Crown Point (or Lake County)."
In Fact neither is true.  There are a few places in the city south of the courthouse (including the fair grounds) which are on higher land.  Due east of Crown Point on 109th Avenue at County Line Road, the land is nearly 50 feet higher.

Misconception:"Fancher Lake in Crown Point is bottomless."
In Fact all lakes have bottoms.  How could it be otherwise?
According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the maximum depth of Fancher Lake has been measured at 40 feet.  Although not bottomless, this is quite deep for a lake of this size.

Misconception: "There is an underground tunnel between Fancher Lake in Crown Point and Cedar Lake.  They say that years ago a man drowned in Fancher Lake and his body was washed up in Cedar Lake."
In Fact "they" say lots of things, however, that doesn't mean that everything they say is true!  The ground between Fancher and Cedar Lakes is glacial till--primarily sand and clay.  No natural tunnel can exist in this kind of material (it would immediately cave in).  If such a body really did wash up in Cedar Lake, then surely foul play was involved.

Misconception: "Dinosaur bones have been found in the Calumet Area."
In Fact dinosaurs most likely did once live in this area, but all evidence of them was destroyed by glaciers during the Ice Age.  Mastodon bones, however, have been found in several places in the Calumet Area.  Mastodons were large elephant-like animals, not dinosaurs.

Conception:"Blue Island and Stony Island (Pill Hill) were once real islands."
In Fact this is true.  (Did you notice that it doesn't say "mis"conception.)  Both were once islands in Lake Michigan, Blue Island during the Glenwood and Calumet phases, and Stony Island during the Nipissing phase.

"Hobart Island" in the Hobart/Merrillville area was also an island during the Glenwood phase of Lake Michigan's history.

Historical Misconceptions

Misconception:"The first French explorers in the Calumet Area were Claude Allouez and Claude Dablon."
In Fact John Dillon in his History of Indiana (1859) only speculated that Claude Allouez and Claude Dablon were here first.  He said that they "probably visited that part of Indiana which lies north of the river Kankakee.” (p. 3)  He gave no source for his information. 

Unfortunately Goodspeed and Blanchard, in their Counties of Porter and Lake (1882) went one step further by saying“The first Europeans whose visits were recorded were fathers Claude Allouez and Claude Dablon [they again gave no source].  "These famous missionaries landed upon the lake shore, and traversed the country to the Kankakee River."  This error then was copied by numerous other early authors.

However, the first explorers for whom we really do have any written records were Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet.  He crossed the Chicago Portage in 1673, wintered near the portage in 1674-75, and then passed through the Calumet Area (most likely down the Grand Calumet River) in the spring of 1675.

Misconception:"The Kankakee River was explored by the French as early as 1620."
In Fact the first First French map shows all five Great Lakes wasn't even published until 1650.  The first explorer of the Kankakee who left us written records was LaSalle in 1679.

Misconception:"Lake County's first courthouse, a log building, was floated down the Little Calumet River to Blue Island."
In Fact Solan Robinson in 1847 and many other authors (who probably based their story on Robinson’s text) all did state that that the Liverpool courthouse was floated down the river to Blue Island and transformed into a tavern.  Arthur Patterson in 1929 however, insisted that the “old Liverpool tavern" was what was sent down the river.  Trying to clear up the misconception, he emphatically stated that the old courthouse was left standing and that it simply rotted away.  He recalled his chasing rabbits out from under its old timbers.  The old tavern (now cut in half) still stands at 2336 West Collins Street in Blue Island. 

Misconception: "More earth was moved in building U.S. Steel's Gary Works than was moved in building the Panama Canal." 
In Fact much less was moved.  According to a report by U S Steel Executive, W. P. Gleason (1922) eleven million cubic yards of earth were moved in the construction of U.S. Steel’s Gary Works while 268 million cubic yards were moved during the construction of the Panama Canal.


Do you know of other common Calumet Area misconceptions?
Please let me know and I'll add them to the list.
Email me at

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Where are they now?

Historian Timothy Ball (in his 1873 book) noted that in1850 a steel nail was found inside the trunk of a huge oak tree growing near Cedar Lake.    He noted that it was covered by 170 of the annual rings of the tree.  That would date the nail’s insertion into the tree to about 1680--the same time as LaSalle's expedition down the Kankakee River.

Does anyone know where that nail is today?

Both George Brennan in 1923 and Powell Moore in 1959 referred to a silver lavorium (baptismal font and lid) that was found in the sand at Miller Beach, near the former mouth of the Calumet River.  According to Moore, the object was sent to Paris where scholars dated it as a 16th century object.  Moore also noted that it was in the posession of Daniel Kelly, a Valparaiso lawyer.  Both historians speculate that it might have been dropped by Father Jacques Marquette who camped at or near this beach in 1675.  Through the efforts of the Valparaiso Public Library, I was able to contact Mr. Kelly's nephew, now a west coast lawyer.  Unfortunately, the nephew had no knowledge of the story and after checking with family members could shed no light on it.

Does anyone know where that lavorium is today?

Does anyone know of any descendants of Allan and Julia Brass?

Does anyone know of any descendants of the Green family or information about the Green Tavern at New City West?

Does anyone have information about the Underground Railroad in the Calumet Area?

Can you help locate these artifacts?
It would have been nice to include a picture of them in Calumet Beginnings.
Now, it would be nice to place those pictures here on the web.
If you can offer help, please email me at

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Useful links to historical, geological,
and environmental organizations

historical (regional groups)
Chicago Historical Society Illinois State Geological Society The Nature Conservancy
Lake County Historical Museum Indiana Geological Society Cook County Forest Preserves
Historical Society of Porter County
Lake County Parks
LaPorte County Historical Society
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Historical Landmarks Foundation
Indiana Dunes Environmental Learning Center
Illinois State Historical Society
Izaac Walton League
Indiana Historical Society
Save the Dunes Council

Shirley Heinze Land Trust

regional libraries
other sites

Chicago Public Library Port of Indiana

Calumet Regional Archives Indiana University Press

Lake County Public Library

Porter County Public Library

LaPorte County Public Library

Newberry Library (Chicago)

Do you know of other links I should have here?
Please let me know and I'll add them to the list.
Email me at

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Go to Dr. Schoon's Home Page

Go to the School of Education Home Page

Go to the IUN Home Page