Porter County, Indiana
Porter County, IN Events Directory
About Porter County, IN
Porter County, Indiana
Porter County Courthouse in Valparaiso, Indiana
Porter County Courthouse in Valparaiso, Indiana
Motto(s): "Front Porch of the Dunes"
Location in the state of Indiana
Location in the state of Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Coordinates: 41°51?N 87°07?W / 41.850°N 87.117°W / 41.850; -87.117Coordinates: 41°51?N 87°07?W / 41.850°N 87.117°W / 41.850; -87.117
Country United States United States
State Indiana Indiana
Region Northwest Indiana
Metro area Chicago Metropolitan
Established 1836
Named for David Porter
County seat Valparaiso
Largest city Portage (population and area)
 o Type County
 o Body Board of Commissioners
 o Commissioner John A. Evans (R, North)
 o Commissioner Jeff Good (R, Center)
 o Commissioner
 o County Council
 o County 521.8 sq mi (1,351 km2)
 o Land 418.2 sq mi (1,083 km2)
 o Water 103.6 sq mi (268 km2)
 o Metro 10,874 sq mi (28,160 km2)
Area rank 29th largest county in Indiana
 o Region 2,726 sq mi (7,060 km2)
Elevation[2](mean) 843 ft (257 m)
Highest elevation[3]- NE Jackson Twp 870 ft (270 m)
Lowest elevation[4]- at Lake Michigan 585 ft (178 m)
Population (2010)
 o County 164,343
 o Estimate (2015) 167,688
 o Rank
 o Density 393/sq mi (152/km2)
 o Metro 9,522,434
 o Region 819,537
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 o Summer (DST) Central (UTC-5)
ZIP Codes 46301-02, 46304, 46307-08, 46341-42, 46347, 46360, 46368, 46383-85, 46391, 46393
Area code 219
Congressional district 1st
Indiana Senate districts 4th, 5th and 6th
Indiana House of Representatives districts 3rd, 4th, 10th, 19th and 20th
FIPS code 18-127
GNIS feature ID 0450382

I-80.svg Indiana Toll Road logo 1968.svg I-90.svg I-94.svg

U.S. Routes

US 6.svg US 12.svg US 20.svg US 30.svg US 231.svg

State Routes

Indiana 2.svg Indiana 8.svg Indiana 49.svg Indiana 130.svg Indiana 149.svg Indiana 249.svg Indiana 520.svg


Porter County Regional


East Arm Little Calumet River
Kankakee River
Lake Michigan
Little Calumet River
Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor
Salt Creek

South Shore Line stations

Beverly Shores - Dune Park Portage/Ogden Dunes

Public transit V-Line
Website www.porterco.org
  • Indiana county number 64
Demographics (2010)[6]
White Black Asian
91.3% 3.0% 1.2%
Islander Native Other Hispanic
(any race)
0.0% 0.3% 4.2% 8.5%

Porter County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2010, the population was 164,343.[7] The county seat is Valparaiso.[8]

This county is part of Northwest Indiana as well as the Chicago metropolitan area.

Porter County is the site of the Indiana Dunes, an area of ecological significance.[9][10][11] A museum called the Hour Glass located in Ogden Dunes, contains exhibits that document the ecological significance.[12]


The area of Indiana which became Porter County was occupied by an Algonquian people named by the archeologist as the Huber-Berrien.[13] This was a subsistence culture that arrived after the glaciers retreated somewhere around 15,000 years ago and the rise of glacial Lake Algonquian, 4-8,000 years ago.[14] The Huber-Berrien people were a subsistence society. The native people of this area were next recorded during the Iroquois Wars (1641-1701) as being Potawatomi and Miami. The trading post system used by the French and then the English encouraged native people to live in central villages along major waterways. Therefore, there are no recorded villages within the current boundaries of Porter County. It was not until 1830 when Chiqua's town and Tassinong appear on maps and in records.[13] Chiqua's town is located a mile east of Valparaiso on State Route 2, the old Sauk Trail. Tassinong is south of Valparaiso about 5 miles (8.0 km) on State Route 49 at Baum's Bridge Road, the main route across the Great Kankakee Marsh.[15]

Porter County was formed in 1836. From 1832 to 1836, the area that was to become Porter County was part of La Porte County.[16] It was named for Capt. David Porter, naval officer during the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812.[17][18]


According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 521.78 square miles (1,351.4 km2), of which 418.15 square miles (1,083.0 km2) (or 80.14%) is land and 103.63 square miles (268.4 km2) (or 19.86%) is water,[19] most of it in Lake Michigan. The highest point, at 870 feet (270 m),[3] is in northeastern Jackson Township near County Road East 950 North and County Line Road. The lowest point, at 585 feet (178 m),[4] is along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Major highways


Adjacent counties

National protected area


Franklin Street, east side of the Courthouse Square, Valparaiso
Calumet Avenue downtown Chesterton

The municipalities in Porter County and their populations as of the 2010 Census:



Census-designated places


The 12 townships of Porter County and their populations as of the 2010 Census:


Valparaiso University Chapel

Colleges and Universities

Public School Districts

Public schools in Porter County are administered by several districts, most of which cover areas that roughly follow the county's township boundaries.

High Schools and Middle Schools

Elementary Schools

  • Aylesworth Elementary School
  • Bailly Elementary School
  • Boone Grove Elementary School
  • Brummitt Elementary School
  • Central Elementary School (Portage)
  • Central Elementary School (Valparaiso)
  • Cooks Corners Elementary School
  • Crisman Elementary School
  • Flint Lake Elementary School
  • Hayes Leonard Elementary School
  • Hebron Elementary School
  • Jackson Elementary School
  • John Simatovich Elementary School
  • Jones Elementary School
  • Kouts Elementary School
  • Kyle Elementary School
  • Liberty Elementary School
  • Liberty Intermediate School
  • Memorial Elementary School
  • Morgan Elementary School
  • Myers Elementary School
  • Northview Elementary School
  • Parkview Elementary School
  • Paul Saylor Elementary School
  • Pine Elementary School
  • Porter Lakes Elementary School
  • South Haven Elementary School
  • Thomas Jefferson Elementary School
  • Union Center Elementary School
  • Washington Township Elementary School
  • Westchester Intermediate School
  • Yost Elementary School

Public libraries

The county is served by two public library systems:

Porter County Public Library has its main branch in Valparaiso with branches in Hebron, Kouts, Portage and South Haven.[20]

Westchester Public Library has its main branch, the Thomas Library, in Chesterton with a branch, the Hageman Library, in Porter.[21]


  • Porter Health Care System - 301 beds[22]
    • Portage Hospital - Portage
    • Porter Regional Hospital - Valparaiso

Climate and weather

Valparaiso, Indiana
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[23]

In recent years, average temperatures in Valparaiso have ranged from a low of 15 °F (-9 °C) in January to a high of 83 °F (28 °C) in July, although a record low of -25 °F (-32 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in July 1934. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.82 inches (46 mm) in February to 4.66 inches (118 mm) in June.[23]


Presidential Elections Results[24]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 49.6% 38,832 43.0% 33,676 7.3% 5,745
2012 46.9% 34,406 50.8% 37,252 2.2% 1,645
2008 45.6% 33,857 52.8% 39,178 1.6% 1,211
2004 53.6% 34,794 45.3% 29,388 1.1% 691
2000 52.5% 31,157 45.1% 26,790 2.4% 1,431
1996 42.0% 22,931 44.0% 24,044 14.0% 7,621
1992 39.7% 22,644 36.8% 21,022 23.5% 13,401
1988 60.4% 29,790 39.3% 19,390 0.3% 165
1984 64.1% 32,505 35.2% 17,862 0.6% 315
1980 64.2% 30,055 27.5% 12,869 8.3% 3,892
1976 59.8% 25,489 38.6% 16,468 1.6% 701
1972 74.6% 26,877 24.8% 8,943 0.6% 210
1968 53.2% 17,328 27.4% 8,914 19.5% 6,340
1964 52.5% 14,480 47.0% 12,975 0.6% 152
1960 59.2% 15,666 40.5% 10,733 0.3% 75
1956 72.7% 14,970 27.1% 5,574 0.2% 45
1952 68.8% 13,194 30.8% 5,909 0.5% 87
1948 62.2% 8,907 36.1% 5,161 1.8% 250
1944 60.5% 8,561 39.1% 5,528 0.4% 57
1940 58.4% 8,270 41.2% 5,840 0.4% 51
1936 52.6% 6,278 46.6% 5,560 0.8% 98
1932 49.5% 5,631 48.7% 5,542 1.8% 209
1928 70.4% 7,107 29.0% 2,921 0.6% 62
1924 67.8% 5,613 19.8% 1,640 12.5% 1,031
1920 72.7% 5,570 21.8% 1,671 5.5% 423
1916 59.2% 2,913 38.0% 1,871 2.8% 135
1912 35.3% 1,510 31.6% 1,352 33.1% 1,418
1908 59.9% 2,940 36.4% 1,789 3.7% 181
1904 66.4% 3,162 30.2% 1,437 3.4% 164
1900 59.5% 2,797 39.3% 1,848 1.2% 57
1896 58.1% 2,853 41.2% 2,026 0.7% 35
1892 49.7% 2,187 44.0% 1,937 6.2% 274
1888 52.8% 2,427 43.9% 2,018 3.3% 150

The county government is a constitutional body, and is granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana, and by the Indiana Code.

County Council: The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four-year terms. They are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes and service taxes.[25][26]

Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, the collection of revenue and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.[25][26]

Court: The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable who is also elected to a four-year term. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.[26]

County Officials: The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and to be residents of the county.[26]

Porter County is part of Indiana's 1st congressional district and in 2008 was represented by Pete Visclosky in the United States Congress.[27]

County elected officials


As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 164,343 people, 61,998 households, and 43,901 families residing in the county.[34] The population density was 393.0 inhabitants per square mile (151.7/km2). There were 66,179 housing units at an average density of 158.3 per square mile (61.1/km2).[19] The racial makeup of the county was 91.3% white, 3.0% black or African American, 1.2% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 2.3% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 8.5% of the population.[34] In terms of ancestry, 29.1% were German, 18.5% were Irish, 10.1% were Polish, 9.7% were English, 5.8% were Italian, and 5.6% were American.[35]

Of the 61,998 households, 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.2% were non-families, and 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.07. The median age was 38.4 years.[34]

The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $73,065. Males had a median income of $59,542 versus $35,534 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,922. About 6.6% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.[36]

Porter County Cemeteries

The earliest Cemetery in Porter County is the Bailly Cemetery, 1827.[39] After the original burial in 1827, numerous other burials occurred. Additional cemeteries were created as the population grew. Early cemeteries were often family owned or church related. As communities grew, community cemeteries developed. The newest cemetery in the county is Angel Crest Cemetery, just off Indiana State Road 49, north of Valparaiso.

Porter County Parks

Porter County has grown from a single park, Sunset Hill Farm County Park, to four, including: Calumet Trail, Dunn's Bridge County Park, and the newest, Brinkca-Cross Gardens.[40]

  • Brinkca-Cross Gardens Located at 27 E. Furness Rd. in Pine Township the garden offers 4 acres (1.6 ha) of trees and shrubs. Slopes and hills create vistas that of flower gardens and numerous hidden plantings, imported by the team of William Brincka and Basil Cross. The Hosta Garden contains many species propagated by Mr. Brincka.[41]
  • Calumet Trail. The trail is 9.1 miles (14.6 km) long, parallel to U.S. 12, at the north end of the county. The trail is a mixed use trail, designed for walking, running, biking and cross-country skiing. Its eastern end is just north of where U.S. 12 crosses the tracks in The Town of the Pines. The trail follows the power line west, ending at Mineral Springs Road, where it crosses the railroad track. A restroom can be found at the western end. Water is not available.[42]
  • Dunn's Bridge County Park. Located on the southern boundary of the county on County Road 500 East, Dunn's Bridge spans the Kankakee River to Jasper county. It is one of the oldest landmarks in the region. Built over a century ago across the Kankakee River by a resident farmer named Dunn, legend suggests that its origins may be traced to the famous George Ferris, creator of the first 'Ferris Wheel'. The park provides small boat access to the Kankakee River and a parking lot.[43]
  • Sunset Hill Farm County Park. Located at 775 Meridian Rd, just south of U.S. 6 the Park consist of 238 acres (96 ha). There are several habitats accessible by trail, including; prairie lands, ponds and woods. Built around the Col. Murray farm, the open meadows are used for festivals and events. Colonel Robert Heffron Murray, a Chicago businessman. He and his first wife, Sue Horton Murray purchased 80 acres (320,000 m2) in 1934. With additional purchases, the farm grew to its present size. After the Colonel's death, his second wife Elizabeth Murray and ownership was placed in the county.[44]

Cultural Activities


  • Alton Goin Museum is operated by the Portage Community Historical Society at Countryside Park in Portage to preserve the city's history, including the Trager farmhouse.[45]
  • Bailly Homestead & Chellberg Farm is part of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.[45]
  • Brauer Museum of Art is operated by Valparaiso University and is located in Valparaiso University Center for the Arts. It contains the largest collection of works by Junius R. Sloan.[45]
  • Depot of Beverly Shores Museum & Art Gallery is a pink stucco museum to preserve Beverly Shores history through rotating exhibits of paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics and woodcarving.[45]
  • Hour Glass House Museum contains the works of local artists.[45]
  • Porter County Museum of History maintains the history of Porter County.[45]
  • Stagecoach Inn & Panhandle Depot is operated by the Hebron Historical Society in Hebron.[45]
  • Westchester Township History Museum is operated by the Westchester Public Library and is located in the George Brown Mansion, the former home of a wealthy family that exhibits local history of the Indiana Dunes.[45]
  • Task Force Tips Fire Museum is operated by Task Force Tips in Valparaiso to preserve the history of fire equipment.[45]

Live Theater

  • 4th Street Theater is a community theater in Chesterton.[46]
  • Chicago Street Theatre is a community theater in Valparaiso.[46]
  • Front Porch Music is a music supply store that offer a weekly 'open mic' night as sponsor concerts in Valparaiso.[46]
  • Memorial Opera House presents live theater and a variety of other monthly programs.[46]
  • Valparaiso Theatrical Company travels to different venues in Porter County presenting live theater with the proceeds benefitting a variety of charities.[46]
  • Valparaiso University Center for the Arts is the Valparaiso University's performing arts center. They sponsor live stage performances of music, theater and dance.[46]

See also


  • Cutler, Harry G. (1912), History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People and Its Principal Interests, Volume 1, Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company 
  • Eggleston, Larry G. (2004), Porter County Lakes and Resorts, Arcadia Publishing 
  • Shults-Gay, Deborah H. (1917), One of the Earliest Authentic Histories of Porter County, Indiana from 1832 to 1876, s.l.: s.n. 


  1. ^ Other = Combined percentages for American Indian or Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; other races; and two or more races
  2. ^ a b Population is 3,097 within Porter County; 3,936 reside in Lake County


  1. ^ a b "County Council". Porter County. Retrieved . 
  2. ^ "Porter County". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  3. ^ a b Westville Quadrangle - Indiana - Porter Co (Map). 1:24,000. 7.5-Minute Series (Topographic). United States Geological Survey. 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Dune Acres Quadrangle - Indiana - Porter Co (Map). 1:24,000. 7.5-Minute Series (Topographic). United States Geological Survey. 2013. 
  5. ^ "USA Counties in Profile". STATS Indiana. Retrieved . 
  6. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics 2010, Table DP-1, 2010 Demographic Profile Data. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  7. ^ a b "Porter County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved . 
  8. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved . 
  9. ^ Smith, S. & Mark, S. (2006). Alice Gray, Dorothy Buell, and Naomi Svihla: Preservationists of Ogden Dunes. The South Shore Journal, 1.http://www.southshorejournal.org/index.php/issues/volume-1-2006/78-journals/vol-1-2006/117-alice-gray-dorothy-buell-and-naomi-svihla-preservationists-of-ogden-dunes
  10. ^ Smith, S. & Mark, S. (2009)
  11. ^ The Historical Roots of the Nature Conservancy in the Northwest Indiana/Chicagoland Region: From Science to Preservation. The South Shore Journal, 3. http://www.southshorejournal.org/index.php/issues/volume-3-2009/83-journals/vol-3-2009/75-the-historical-roots-of-the-nature-conservancy-in-the-northwest-indianachicagoland-region-from-science-to-preservation
  12. ^ Smith, S. & Mark, S. (2007). The cultural impact of a museum in a small community: The Hour Glass of Ogden Dunes. The South Shore Journal, 2. http://www.southshorejournal.org/index.php/issues/volume-2-2007/82-journals/vol-2-2007/104-the-cultural-impact-of-a-museum-in-a-small-community-the-hour-glass-in-ogden-dunes
  13. ^ a b Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History; Helen Hornbeck Tanner; University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma; 1987; Map 5
  14. ^ Geology of the Great Lakes; Jack L. Hough; University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1958; p 276
  15. ^ One of the Earliest Authentic Histories of Porter County, Indiana; From 1832 to 1876; Deborah H. Shults-Gay; circa 1917
  16. ^ Calumet Beginnings: Schoon, Kenneth J.
  17. ^ Baker, Ronald L.; Marvin Carmony (1995). Indiana Place Names. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 133. ISBN 0-253-28340-X. 
  18. ^ De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & co. p. 570. 
  19. ^ a b "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved . 
  20. ^ "Porter County Public Library". Retrieved . 
  21. ^ "Westchester Public Library". Retrieved . 
  22. ^ "Porter Health Care System". Retrieved . 
  23. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Valparaiso, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved . 
  24. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS
  25. ^ a b Indiana Code. "Title 36, Article 2, Section 3". IN.gov. Retrieved . 
  26. ^ a b c d Indiana Code. "Title 2, Article 10, Section 2" (PDF). IN.gov. Retrieved . 
  27. ^ "US Congressman Pete Visclosky". US Congress. Retrieved . 
  28. ^ "Commissioners". Porter County. Retrieved . 
  29. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved 2017. 
  30. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014. 
  31. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 2014. 
  32. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014. 
  33. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014. 
  34. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved . 
  35. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES - 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved . 
  36. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS - 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved . 
  37. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table DP03, Selected Economic Charactaristics. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  38. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table DP04, Selected Housing Charactaristics. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  39. ^ Bailly Cemetery, at Baileytown, near Porter, Westchester Township, Porter County Indiana; Cemetery of the Pioneer family of Honore Gratien Joseph Bailly de Messein and Marie LeFevre, Burials 1827 to 1918; compiled by Olga Mae Schiemann; Chicago, Illinois; 1952
  40. ^ "Porter County Parks and Recreation". Retrieved . 
  41. ^ "Porter County Parks and Recreation - Binkca-Cross Gardens". Retrieved . 
  42. ^ "Porter County Parks and Recreation - Calumet Trail". Retrieved . 
  43. ^ "Porter County Parks and Recreation - Dunn's Bridge County Park". Retrieved . 
  44. ^ "Porter County Parks and Recreation - Sunset Hill Farm County Park". Retrieved . 
  45. ^ a b c d e f g h i Indiana Dunes Country Activities Guide, The Official Guide to Porter County, Indiana; The Indiana Dunes: 2015, pg 19
  46. ^ a b c d e f Indiana Dunes Country Activities Guide, The Official Guide to Porter County, Indiana; The Indiana Dunes: 2015, pg 22-23

External links

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