We’re in the midst of history season. February is Black History Month, March is Women’s History Month. February also has become the unofficial presidential history month. If you find yourself itching for a history lesson or two, you’ll find many spots in the Region to learn a little about the past.
Buckley Homestead in Lowell gives visitors a look back at early farming in the area.
“It’s a working farm and a historic farm at the same time,” said Emily Trisler, communications specialist with Lake County Parks. The functioning farm has a barnyard, schoolhouse and cabin with animals living on site.
The grounds are open year round from 7 a.m. to sunset, but on weekends during September and October from noon to 4 p.m. (and other special events during the year) the buildings are open and staffed to answer questions and give explanations on the contents of the home.
“You can walk through the house and someone can explain the old stove and how it was used,” Trisler said. “The home is accurate to the historic time.”
When the buildings are open there is an admission of $2 for adults and $1 for children age 12 and younger and seniors age 60 and older.
DEEP RIVER COUNTY PARK
The 1300-acre Deep River County Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and features a working grist mill and saw mill. There’s also a historic church and gift shop within the park.
Interpreters are there during the May to October season to let visitors know a bit of history about the mill and how it works. You can even buy cornmeal in the gift shop that is ground on site.
You may also have a chance to take in a vintage baseball game of the Deep River Grinders in the summer, played by 1800s rules. Home games are typically played on Sundays, Trisler said.
For more info on either Buckley Homestead or Deep River County Park, visit lakecountyparks.com or call 219-769-PARK.
LOCAL HISTORICAL SOCIETIES
Across the Region, you’ll find historical societies run by volunteers that highlight the area’s history. Some societies run small one-room museums while others include restored structures filled with authentic furnishings to give a firsthand look at what life would have been like for early settlers. If your town doesn’t have a historical society, look to your neighboring communities. You’ll be surprised by how much information there is on those who lived and worked in the very places you frequent daily.
Portage dedicated a new museum last year in the Trager Barn located in Countryside Park and the restored Trager Farm House, also inside the park, gives a glimpse into early farm life in the Region.
Griffith has an interesting history that very much centers on the railroad. The Griffith Railroad Park covers railroad history with a number of structures and traincars, including the Grand Trunk Railroad Combination Depot, the Elgin Joliet & Eastern Road Caboose 503, Pullman Troopsleeper 8731 and the Elgin Joliet & Eastern Interlocking Tower. The park is open from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sundays from mid-June through late August. For more information, visit griffithhistoricalsociety.org.
The Munster History Museum is located in the historic Kaske House, which was built in 1910 and sits at the corner of Columbia Avenue and Ridge Road. The house and barn underwent renovations in the 1990s and a gazebo was added to Heritage Park that is used for summer concerts. The historical society hosts meetings and events in the home that is filled with period furnishings. Call 219-836-6530 or visit munsterhistory.org for more information.
COMMUNITY VETERANS MEMORIAL
A moving place to reflect and to view memorials dedicated to our nation’s wars, the commemorative brick pathway takes visitors on a chronological journey of military history of the United States.
With seven monuments, the memorial honors veterans of World War I, World War II in Europe, the Pacific and on the Homefront, the Korean War, Vietnam War and Persian Gulf War. It is free to stroll the grounds, but donations are always accepted to be used for maintenance of the memorial and can be made online at communityveteransmemorial.org.
PORTER COUNTY MUSEUM
Established in 1916, when a collection of local historical relics were compiled in celebration of Indiana’s Centennial, the museum’s exhibits even cover the prehistoric times of Porter County with portions of a mastodon discovered by a farmer.
Learn about some of the early setters to the area and see some of the equipment and tools they used and view an exhibit on the important role that women played in the Porter County’s history.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, call 219-465-3595 or visit pocomuse.org.