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

California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been

This past week I decided to take a small scale road trip on California State Route 190 from CA 99 east to the unbuilt section over the Sierra Nevada Range.  While I was in for what turned out to be a fun drive following the course of the Tule River watershed what I found researching the back story of CA 190 was one of the most complex and unusual stories of any California State Highway.  Given that I had a ton of older photos of the eastern segment of CA 190 in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County I thought it was time to put something together for the entire route. The simplified story of CA 190 is that it is a 231 mile state highway that has a 43 mile unbuilt gap in the Sierra Nevada Range.  CA 190 is an east/west State Highway running from CA 99 in Tulare County at Tipton east to CA 127 located in Death Valley Junction near the Nevada State Line in rural Inyo County.  The routing CA 190 was adopted into the State Highway system as Legislative Route 127 which was adopted in 1933 acc

I-73/I-74 and NC Future Interstates, Year in Review 2022

Another year over, already? 2022 turned out to be quite the year if you are a fan of new interstate routes, and it wasn't bad for some long standing favorites. As per the tradition, I will review what happened with I-73 and I-74, and then the other new and future interstate routes in North Carolina... Work continued on the one segment of I-73 under construction, the I-73/I-74 Rockingham Bypass. As of the beginning of December, work was getting close to being 2/3 complete at 60.1%. Progress could be seen from US 74 on constructing of the future interchange at the Bypass's southern end. Here's a look from US 74 East in September from Google Maps Street View: Here's a photo from US 74 West taken last week by David Gallo: Work is now scheduled to be completed in October 2025, though the road itself could open earlier that year.  Progress on I-74 earned more publicity in 2022 with the opening of 7.5 more miles of the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway from US 311 (Exit 49) to NC

Interstate 605

Interstate 605 is a 27.4-mile freeway located in the Los Angeles Metropolitain Area.  Interstate 605 begins at Interstate 210 near Duarte and terminates at the Interstate 405/California State Route 22 junction to the south near the boundary to the city of Long Beach.  Interstate 605 is known as the San Gabriel River Freeway and has three unconstructed miles which would extend it south to California State Route 1 near Seal Beach.  Much of the corridor of Interstate 605 was built up from what was the original California State Route 35.  The blog cover photo is taken from the July/August 1964 California Highways & Public Works which featured the initial segment of Interstate 605 to open between Whittier Boulevard and Peck Road  Part 1; the history of the San Gabriel River Freeway and Interstate 605 The origin of what is now Interstate 605 begins during 1933 with the addition of Legislative Route Number 170 (LRN 170) to the State Highway System.  The original definition of LRN 170 was