The businesses and museum here may carry a LaPorte address, but unincorporated Hesston, located a few miles northeast of LaPorte, is very much its own town with a history to match. For starters, there’s the Hesston Steam Museum, which celebrates the important railroad history of Northern Indiana with three different operating railroads so visitors can ride the rails themselves.
It’s like stepping into the past when you board the Steam Museum’s biggest train – a full-size Narrow Gauge locomotive like those once used to transport both passengers and freight. There also are two other trains to ride, a Kiddieland railroad and a small-scale hobby railroad. Visitors also learn about the importance of steam-powered engines when the Hesston Sawmill, the Electric Power Plant and Stationery Engine, the Steam Crane and the Steam Traction Engines operate on various scheduled days. You also can see a blacksmith at work when the Blacksmith Shop is open.
In addition to regular operating hours that begin in May, this living museum hosts special events throughout the year. Whenever you visit, stop in at Doc’s Soda Fountain restaurant for breakfast, lunch or ice cream treats. The gift shop features special train-related items.
Recall the community’s early days and enjoy a fabulous meal at the Heston Supper Club, located in a building that once housed a dairy and then a general store and tavern. In the old days, the town also had a post office and a grist and lumber mill. Those buildings are long gone, but the former tavern remained and donned its current name in 1982.
Today the warm atmosphere and delicious food draw visitors from a wide area. The restaurant is known for its award-winning prime rib, hand-cut steaks and chops, barbecued ribs and seafood as well as a substantial wine list.
Just down the road from the Hesston Steam Museum, you might mistake Mike’s Country Store for an ordinary convenience shop. But it’s so much more. There is a little bit of everything at this longtime establishment, including hunting and fishing paraphernalia, home décor, pet products, tools, gardening equipment and a huge selection of craft beer and wines. All that, along with lots of everyday needs too. It’s a must-stop for people traveling through Hesston.