Tassinong, a gathering place turned ghost town

2014-06-27T00:00:00Z 2014-07-01T00:30:11Z Tassinong, a gathering place turned ghost townJohn Hodson Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
June 27, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Tassinong has been identified the "oldest gathering place for humans in Porter County" by Vidette-Messenger reporter A. J. Bowser in a piece he wrote in 1934.

The town of Tassinong was located near the junction of Ind. 49 and Baum's Bridge Road. A Native-American village was located where the later town was built and it has been written that a French fortified trading post was at this spot as early as the 18th century.

This was a logical place for humans to settle. Tassinong was on high ground that led to one of the greatest natural food sources in North America, the Kankakee Marsh. The nearby Sandy Hook Creek gave access to the marsh, yet was far enough away at times of flooding.

Tassinong was the French name for the village. When England took possession after the French and Indian War they named it Bengal. With American occupation it was once again called Tassinong.

In 1840 a post office was established and by 1852 Tassinong was well on its way to be a major town. There were two stores, two blacksmith shops, a carpenter's shop, some shoe makers' shops and of course a tavern.

Why did this promising town "die on the vine?" In the 1860s the railroads were making their way across southern Porter County. At that time the railroads asked for contributions from towns to help fund the construction. Many towns, like Hebron, jumped at the offer that would put a station in their town. The leaders of Tassinong felt that they were large enough that the railroads would need to run to their town. Additionally, Tassinong citizens were not convinced that they even wanted a railroad to run through their town. They assumed that people would continue to shop and do business in Tassinong even if there was no rail line through it. They were gravely mistaken.

Railroad survey crews would stay at homes along the proposed route in 8 to 10 mile leaps. The crew stopped at the Trinkle home, where Baum's Bridge Road and Ind. 8 now intersect, and asked if the Trinkles' would put them up.

Mrs. Trinkle was occupied making apple butter, but suggested that they try the Kouts home a little further down the road. The Kouts family accepted and when the crew were finished they marked the spot Kouts Station.

Taking a look at southern Porter County from a historical perspective its development is clear. From earliest times Native-Americans would establish a village on this finger of high ground that led to the abundance of the Grand Kankakee Marsh. Later French traders would locate a trading post near the village. When the first American settlers arrived the town of Tassinong would be built at this same idyllic location. This stretch of high ground eventually leads to what was earlier known as Pottawatomie Ford and later as Baum's Bridge.

Technology changed the natural process of development, when railroads determined births of towns like Kouts and death of towns like Tassinong. Today there is absolutely no evidence that the Indian village and pioneer town of Tassinong ever existed.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion.

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