There are many reasons to visit LaPorte County, and one of them is the train connection tour.
The opening of the county’s first railroad line in 1852 was followed by many more during the next 40 years. It initiated a period of rapid industrial growth. Both Michigan City and LaPorte gained prominence as major manufacturing centers. The rise of railroad towns such as LaCrosse, Wanatah, and Union Mills, linked the primarily agricultural area of the county’s southern townships to urban markets.
President Lincoln’s funeral train passed through LaCrosse, Wanatah and Westville and it stopped for a memorial service in Michigan City. Every year on May 1st at 6 AM some of the citizens of Wanatah gather at the spot where the funeral train passed. They say if you are very quiet and listen closely you can still hear the train’s whistle.
Amtrak’s Wolverine Line makes 2 stops a day in Michigan City and the South Shore Interurban Line still runs between South Bend and Chicago with 2 stations located in Michigan City. One station is located at 503 S Carroll Avenue and the other is at the intersection of 11th Street and Franklin Street. Visitors can reach Michigan City downtown or Lake Michigan by train whenever they wish.
Be sure to visit these destinations too.
The John H. Barker Mansion is a historic home located at 631 Washington Street in Michigan City.
The Mansion lives on as a monument of industry, charity, and turn-of-the-century life in Michigan City. John Barker saw the potential of railroads, so he bought an interest in the manufacturing of freight cars. Shortly after his purchase in 1855, the company was renamed Haskell & Barker Car Company. The factory was located just behind the mansion on Wabash Street at the spot where Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets is located today. www.barkermansion.com/
Hesston Steam Museum
Located in the rural countryside of LaPorte County the Hesston Steam Museum, 1201 E 1000 N, LaPorte, is a unique outdoor museum featuring one of the most varied collections of steam equipment of its kind in the country. The collection includes stationary and traction engines, a steam-operated sawmill, and steam train rides on full-sized and scale model locomotives through 155 acres of natural meadows and forests. www.hesston.org/
Hoosier Valley Railroad
Are you ready to take a journey back to a bygone era? Then visit the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum. Situated near the former junction of the Erie, PRR, C&O, and NYC in historic North Judson, HVRM offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and smells of railroading during its heydays. The museum and train yard are located at 507 Mulberry Street in North Judson. www.hoosiervalley.org/
LaPorte County Historical Society Museum
The La Porte County Historical Society Museum, 2504 Indiana Avenue, LaPorte, filling an acre of land with old cars, permanent exhibits include several model train layouts and a room devoted to trains. www.laportecountyhistory.org/
South Shore Train
During your stay in LaPorte County, you can easily take a daytrip into Chicago, South Bend or Gary by taking advantage of the South Shore Train, one of the last electric inter-urbans in the country, an affordable and stress-free way to travel. The South Shore trains travel from South Bend to Millennium Station in Chicago. Parking is free at both Michigan City stations. www.mysouthshoreline.com/
The Wanatah Historical Society Museum
The Wanatah Historical Society Museum housed in a converted box car from 1888 is dedicated to the preservation and display of historical objects and photographs with significance to LaPorte County and the Wanatah Area. www.wanatah.org/museum.php