Four years ago, The Times Investigative Editor Marc Chase began chronicling the stories of Northwest Indiana's role in the Civil War.

It began as an effort to commemorate our own region's history for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's April 12, 1861, beginning.

Chase's reporting efforts brought him to the grave sites of hundreds of Lake and Porter county Civil War veterans, where he began to see the deteriorated state of old government-issued marble veterans markers. Dozens of the stones had worn inscriptions that were no longer legible or were broken or missing all together.

Chase founded the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project — a group of local volunteers, business owners, historians and Civil War veteran descendants — to address the issue.

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Throughout the four years of the Civil War sesquicentennial, the group successfully obtained from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — or purchased through private funds — about 90 new headstones or special markers for the graves of Civil War veterans or their wives.

This slideshow shows the extent of the grave preservation work, which has occurred at nine different cemeteries spanning Lake and Porter counties.

Nearly all of the headstones were personally installed by Chase and the donated efforts of a private Crown Point excavator, Kenneth Ziese, of Ziese & Sons Excavating.

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Marc Chase is a veteran investigative reporter, columnist and editor of more than two decades. He currently leads The Times news staff as local news editor. He can be reached at 219-933-3327.