Skip to main content

Ghost Town Tuesday; the ghost towns of Indiana Dunes National Park and State Park (City West and Baileytown)

Recently while visiting Indiana I stopped at Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dunes State Park to find a couple ghost towns; City West and Baileytown.


The Indiana Dunes are notable not only for being scenic and recently being included as a full fledged National Park.  During the 19th Century the Indiana Dunes were host to several failed attempts to organize communities along the south shore of Lake Michigan.

City West was located in what is now Porter County along Dunes Creek of Indiana Dunes National Park just past the north terminus of Indiana State Route 49.  City West was settled on the former location of the fur trading post of Petit Fort which had been demolished in 1780.  City West was meant to be a rival port to nearby Chicago and investors plotted out twenty five blocks in 1836.  City West apparently had as many as forty homes, a pier and even a saw mill built between 1835 to 1837.  Investor panic in 1837 caused most of City West to be abandoned and the site was considered a ghost town by late 1839.  City West reportedly burned to the ground in 1854 due to wildfire and the last trace of the community was the pier which lasted until the 1870s.   More information on the back story of City West can be found at inportercounty.com.

inportercounty.com on City West 

City West is located within the boundary of Indiana Dunes State Park just past the north terminus of IN 49.  Interestingly IN 49 for unknown reasons sports a retro shield at it's north terminus.  The main park road of Indiana Dunes State Park leads straight to the location of City West on the shore of Lake Michigan at Dunes Creek.




 
The location of City West while not containing any remaining structures is easily recognizable by the site of the boarded up shelter along Dunes Creek.


From the mouth of Dunes Creek the City of Chicago can be seen to the northwest.  It is hard to envision someone really thinking that a port located on a massive dune could possibly rival Chicago.



The site of City West is host to several shore line and dune trails.  The Indiana Dunes formation are stabilized by rapid plant growth, similar formations can be found all across Lake Michigan.












The community of Baileytown was located to the west of high dunes of Indiana Dunes State Park in the National Park lands just south of US 12 along the Little Calumet River.  Baileytown as a town site was plotted in 1833 by French Canadian Fur Trader Joseph Bailey near his trade post but it was ultimately never actually constructed.  Baileytown was the last stage stop for travelers heading west towards Chicago via the south shore of Lake Michigan.  Baileytown became the common name for the Bailey trading post which was active into the 1870s when much of the land was sold to local ranchers.  Some of the land around what was Baileytown has been incorporated into the Dunes Learning Center. I'm uncertain of the vintage of some of the buildings in the Dunes Learning Center but they seem to be from the late 19th Century.





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

  Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

Ghost Town Tuesday; Vineland, Florida; the town killed by Disney

Vineland is a small ghost town located in southwest Orange County, Florida near the junction of Florida State Road 535 and Interstate 4.  Vineland is somewhat unique due to it largely being squeezed out of existence by Lake Buena Vista which is the company town where Disney World is located. Vineland was founded in the late 1800s as Englewood.  The town name of Englewood changed to Orange Center in 1911 before finally assuming the name Vineland in 1924.  Much like the rest of Orange County the community of Vineland was centered around Citrus Grove.  In the case of Vineland said orange groves were centered around Ruby Lake. The end of Vineland came as the Disney Corporation began purchasing parcels of citrus grove land to build Lake Buena Vista.  Vineland fell into a sharp decline in the 1960s but the community managed to continue to exist to modern times.  Much of the street grid of Vineland still exists east of FL 535 but most of the original structures are either gone or falle

Oregon State Highway 58

  Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del