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

Former California State Route 1 over Old Pedro Mountain Road

California State Route 1 in western San Mateo County traverses the Montara Mountain spur of the Santa Cruz Mountains.  In modern times California State Route 1 passes through Montara Mountain via the Tom Lantos Tunnels and the highway is traditionally associated with Devils Slide.  Although Devils Slide carries an infamous legacy due it being prone landslides it pales in comparison to the alignment California State Route 1 carried prior to November 1937 over Old Pedro Mountain Road.   Old Pedro Mountain Road opened to traffic in 1915 and is considered one of the first major asphalted highways in California.  Old Pedro Mountain Road clambers over a grade from Montara towards Pacifica via the 922 foot high Saddle Pass.  Pictured above an overlook of Old Pedro Mountain Road facing southward towards Montara as it appears today.  Pictured below it the same view during June 1937 when it was part of the original alignment of California State Route 1.  Today Old Pedro Mountain sits abandoned a

California State Route 232

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 232 in Ventura County. CA 232 is an approximately 4 miles State Highway aligned on Vineland Avenye which begins near Saticoy at CA 118 and traverses southwest to US Route 101 in Oxnard.  The alignment of CA 232 was first adopted into the State Highway System in 1933 as Legislative Route Number 154 according to CAhighways.org. CAhighways.org on LRN 154 As originally defined LRN 154 was aligned from LRN 9 (future CA 118) southwest to LRN 2/US 101 in El Rio.  This configuration of LRN 154 between CA 118/LRN 9 and US 101/LRN 2 can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Ventura County. 1935 Ventura County Highway Map According to CAhighways.org the route of LRN 154 was extended west from US 101/LRN 2 to US 101A/LRN 60 in 1951.  Unfortunately State Highway Maps do not show this extension due to it being extremely small. During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering LRN 154 was assigned CA 232.  Of n

Former US Route 101 and California State Route 1 in San Luis Obispo

Originally US Route 101 upon descending Cuesta Pass southbound entered the City of San Luis Obispo via Monterey Street.  From Monterey Street US Route 101 utilized Santa Rosa Street and Higuera Street southbound through downtown San Luis Obispo.  Upon departing downtown San Luis Obispo US Route 101 would have stayed on Higuera Street southward towards Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande.  Notably; beginning in 1934 US Route 101 picked up California State Route 1 at the intersection of Monterey Street/Santa Rosa Street where the two would multiplex to Pismo Beach.  Pictured below is the 1 935 Division of Highways Map of San Luis Obispo County depicting the original alignments of US Route 101 and California State Route 1 in the City of San Luis Obispo.   Part 1; the history of US Route 1 and California State Route 1 in San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo lies at the bottom of the Cuesta Pass (also known as the Cuesta Grade) which has made it favored corridor of travel for centuries.  Cuesta Pass