|Michigan City is LaPorte County’s largest city. It is located on the shores of Lake Michigan at the mouth of Trail Creek. The town developed as an industrial center, and later gained a reputation as a popular recreation and resort community.
The “singing sands” of the Washington Park beach are famous, and a popular summer attraction. Adjacent to Michigan City is Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Mt. Baldy, the state’s largest moving sand dune.
In 1674, Father Marquette first mentioned a place where Trail Creek flowed into Lake Michigan. This land was purchased in 1830 by Michigan City founder Major Isaac C. Elston from Crawfordsville, Indiana. Elston saw such a great potential for the land that he bought, named, mapped out the area without laying eyes on it first.
By the mid 1800′s, the harbor at Michigan City was busy with regional trade via Great Lakes sailing vessels, and commerce and population boomed as a result. Even further increase occurred with the Chicago Fire of 1871 as Michigan City became an optional port while the Illinois city rebuilt.
As sailing ships were replaced by steam ships, and transportation vessels were needed at sea for the First World War, Michigan City transformed its focus from a port for ships to a haven for vacationers. Travelers were easily drawn to the beaches and attractive lake views.
Many of the resort homes of that time still exist in Michigan City, now as permanent residences. Today’s Michigan City makes claim to historic architecture, a welcoming and culturally-minded community, and a beachfront that is as impressive as it once was to those earlier travelers.