It’s Indiana’s Bicentennial! 200 Fun Facts about Crown Point to Celebrate
In honor of the Indiana Bicentennial (2016), the Crown Point Community Library Indiana Room has developed this brochure and accompanying display to highlight 200 things that make Crown Point so unique. Both celebrate the history, people, and places that make Crown Point a fascinating city to live and visit. Crown Point’s storied history features many events and people that are well-known in the area, state, and beyond. One may have already heard about the Dillinger Escape, the Cobe Cup, or the Marriage Mill, but there is so much more to this city. The contributions to Indiana and national history are great, from the people who hailed from Crown Point to events that influenced other historical events and laws to farm equipment that was invented in this city that is still used today. The bicentennial is an excellent opportunity to reflect about the past and how that helped to shape the community we call home, The Hub City, Crown Point, Indiana.
Crown Point Community Library
As illustrated in the mission statement, the Crown Point Community Library is a community center for lifelong discovery through learning, social gatherings, and cultural exchange.
With the Old Lake County Courthouse as the focal point, The Square represents the immediate downtown area of Crown Point. It has served as the center of the community since 1834, when Crown Point was founded.
There are numerous historical homes and farms that represent the architectural and cultural history of the Crown Point community.
Businesses have come and gone, and some still remain, in Crown Point that have impacted the city into how we function today.
Arts and Culture
Discover the creative and entertaining side of the Hub City and Crown Pointers.
Our city was, and continues to be, influenced by the men and women who have called Crown Point their home.
General Crown Point History
Fascinating facts and anecdotes about The Hub City, some remembered and some forgotten, that effected the direction the city has developed OR directed the focus of the city.
Education was important to Crown Pointers from the beginning; learn about where our children learn about Crown Point and the world around us.
Crown Point Community Library
- The first Crown Point Library was established in 1857, with a gift from the William McClure estate.
- The Crown Point McClure Library ceased in 1885 when the collections were donated to the high school.
- The Crown Point Library opened in 1908 with the help of a $12000.00 gift from Andrew Carnegie, the building’s namesake.
- Winfield Township became a partner with the Crown Point Library in 1921.
- That large walnut bookcase in the Indiana Room was a gift, along with 270 books, from Mrs. Julian Youche, on November 30, 1938.
- 1954 brought many changes to the Crown Point Library Carnegie Center, including new electric lights, a wash bowl, and the start of the Summer Reading Program.
- In 1982, the Crown Point Library was renamed the Crown Point Community Library to include Winfield Township as part of its service area.
- In the 1980s the Crown Point Community Library hosted several Monopoly tournaments (sponsored by Parker Brothers) that had winners who went onto State Championships, like Noah Burcyk and Delbert Meyer.
- The Winfield Branch of the Crown Point Community Library opened in 1989. It resided in the same building as the Winfield Government Center from 1992-2016. The Winfield Branch moved to its new and current location in 2016.
- The Crown Point Community Library moved to its location on North Main Street in 2012, expanding many services and collections that the bigger building allowed.
- The Courthouse, built in 1878, is affectionately known as “The Grand Old Lady.”
- The Courthouse expanded in 1908 with the construction of two 2.5 story additions.
- The Courthouse expanded again into what we know today in 1928 with the construction of two additional 1.5 story additions.
- The Lake County Courthouse on the square ceased operations as the county’s government center in 1974, when county offices were moved to the new offices and courthouse on North Main Street.
- The old Lake County Courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
- The Historic Courthouse District (The Square) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
- The Courthouse tower bell was rung 200 times to bring in 1976 for America’s Bicentennial.
- The Courthouse shops in the basement began operations in 1978, after renovation of that level was complete.
- Presidential candidate Williams Jennings Bryan spoke on the steps of the courthouse October 7, 1896.
- The first electric arc lights hung from lines around the square at the corners and crossings in 1891; they were turned off at midnight.
- From May until August 1904, workmen laid the brick street pavement around the square.
- There was once a baseball diamond on the Crown Point Square.
- Cheshire Hall on the south side of the square was built in 1873. It was named for W. W. Cheshire, who became superintendent of the public schools after the war.
- It has been said that Susan B. Anthony once spoke at Cheshire Hall.
- Cheshire Hall has served many purposes, including a community hall to lectures, concerts and plays, an opera house, and a roller rink. It even housed the telephone company at one point.
- People’s State Bank was built in 1910 with Southern Indiana Limestone. It changed its named and operated as Peoples Bank from 1923 until it closed when the stock market crashed and the Depression set in 1931. When the building was purchased in 1997 to be renovated and reopened as the Crown Point Community Art Center branch of the Northern Indiana Arts Association, the keys to the vault were missing.
- Currently the courtyard at the corner of Joliet and Main Streets, the Cozy Corner Bus Stop and Restaurant was once a popular stop in Crown Point. Originally called the Friedrich Building, this and several other establishments around the square were owned and operated by Ovidio Vellutini from 1920 until he sold all his businesses around square in 1979.
- The Hack Hotel was built in 1851, located at corner South Main Street & Hack Court. President Grover Cleveland slept there on 8/22/1886.
- Today’s Safe House Bar and Grill was once George Hochbaum’s Sportsman’s Club that contained Crown Point’s first bowling alley.
- Crown Point had two movie theatres in the 1940s, both were located around the square and owned by the Rex Theater Corporation.
- On the Square Academy was once the Community Center Building. It was originally built by the American Legion in the late 1920s, and they turned the building over to the School City. The School City used the facility as a gymnasium and social hall for the high school, as well as a recreation center and meeting place for the general community.
- The Community Building served as a nerve center for civil defense in Lake County during World War II, which luckily was never needed.
- There is a marker in front of the Community Center building honoring the founding of Crown Point and Solon Robinson, whose home was once at that location. It was dedicated on November 11, 1939.
- The Masonic Temple was built in 1919 and has changed very little since that time.
- You didn’t always have to circle the downtown square. The one-way traffic pattern we travel today was implemented in the 1970s and modified in 2005.
- The Hot Dog Man was NOT the first long-term vendor on the Square. That distinction goes to the Popcorn Wagon; it parked in the center of the block from 1916-1940.
- The oldest surviving “intact” house in Crown Point and Lake County is the Wellington Clark House on South Court Street. It was built in 1847.
- The Wellington Clark Homestead was deeded to the city in 1965 upon the death of granddaughter Claribel Clark, who made it a life estate in 1959.
- The Clark Homestead was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, after restoration began in earnest in 1999 with stabilization of the roof and foundation.
- South Court Street from South Street to Greenwood Avenue is fondly known as Ruffle Shirt Hill. There used to be signs at the north and south ends of the area, but they were constantly knocked down, so the city ceased to put the up.
- Ruffle Shirt Hill received its name from John J. Wheeler, first publisher of the Lake County Star newspaper and the Postmaster at the time. Wheeler was quoted as saying the residents of the neighborhood were so affluent “Why, they even have ruffles on their shirts.”
- The boulder in the front lawn of the “Swisher House” on South Court Street was unearthed in the 1970s. The sewer department asked if it could remain there because it was too heavy. There is a plaque on the boulder commemorating the dedication on July 4, 1976.
- Governor Otis R. Bowen, who had ties to Crown Point via his first wife- she’s from here!, gave the dedication speech at the Ruffle Shirt Hill boulder dedication.
- The book House on the Hill by Anne Putnam Sanford scandalized the city and was blacklisted by residents “due to thinly veiled accounts of their upper crust lives.” Many thought it revealed the secrets of those living on Ruffle Shirt Hill.
- The Cheshire-Collins House located at 403 South Court Street has survived both a tornado and a fire! A tornado in 1870 tore the roof and chimney off and moved the house from its previous location by 5 inches. More damage was incurred by a fire in 1890; restoration wasn’t complete until 1996, when the Ox-Eye window was restored.
- The house at 647 South Court Street is one of the oldest surviving home foundations in Crown Point. It was built c. 1839 and once served as an Indian Trading Post.
- Rodman Wells built his home on South Court Street in Crown Point after surviving the Great Chicago Fire.
- The brick sidewalk located at 523 South Court Street was once the pavement of Chicago’s State Street.
- There are only 4 pre-Civil War homes still surviving today in Crown Point.
- There are 4 city designated historic districts: Holley, Sunnyside, Eastside, and Commercial. The first was the Holley Residential District in 2003, organized with help from Indiana Landmarks Foundation of Indiana.
- In addition to public places and buildings, there are 4 private residences listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Crown Point – the Walter Allman House, the Crawford-Winslow House, the William Whitaker House and Landscaping, and the Albert Maack House.
- Famed Midwest landscape architect, Jens Jensen, designed the basically unchanged landscape of the William Whitaker house on South Main Street. Jensen’s signature plant, the Hawthorn, is present throughout the design, which includes paths, water features, and a council ring.
- The Fifield Mansion (Lucrezia) is listed on the Indiana State Register of Historic Sites and Structures, as are numerous public buildings, farms, and homes in Crown Point and Winfield.
- The Hart-Collins House on the corner of South Main Street and East South Street was built by Aaron Hart’s widow after his death and was designed by the same man who designed the Courthouse Clock Tower.
- The Assessor’s Office on South Court Street is known as the Marble House as well as the Hamacher House and Luther Home. It has a storied history that includes an attic fire rescue by the high school football team. While practicing, they notice the fire and save furniture and other items before the fire department could extinguish the flames. There are also folklore stories that it was moved at one point or that it was built several decades earlier than thought.
- There once was a house on the curve between Crown Point and Cedar Lake affectionately called the “Old Half Way House.”
- You used to be able to buy a house from Sear & Roebuck! Built c1914, the bungalow style home at 516 South Court Street arrived as a kit with numbered sections- some of the numbers are still visible in the attic.
- Geisen’s Funeral Home is the oldest business in Crown Point. It began as a furniture store and then expanded into making coffins, eventually became a funeral home.
- Geisen’s was the first licensed embalmers in Lake County and one of the firsts in Indiana in 1895.
- Their horse-drawn hearse was nicknamed “The Black Mariah.”
- The Crown Feed Store is the 2nd oldest business in Crown Point at 121 years. It has been in its current location since 1958 and was previously located on the Square.
- Letz Manufacturing opened in 1882, a year after Michael Holland-Letz came to Crown Point from Germany. It ceased operations in 1965, closing Crown Point’s then oldest factory.
- Letz Manufacturing invented the first corn husker and shredder, owning the patent and then placing it on the market. Letz later sold that patent to International Harvester Company. It’s most famous farm equipment was the Letz Feed Grinder that was featured at the 1893 World’s Fair Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
- Dillabaugh Inc. has been a family business for 100 years. It began as a house moving business when Charles Dillabaugh bought the business rights in 1916, using it as a part time occupation along with a cider mill and blacksmith shop.
- The first milk delivery service in Crown Point was in 1905 by August Guske.
- The Schmal Family owned and operated a dairy at 213 North Main Street from 1937-1984. During World War II, milk was delivery by horse and buggy to preserve gas.
- There were four newspapers in Crown Point in the mid-1800s: The Lake County Star (1880), The Crown Point Register (1858), The Cosmos, and the Frie Presse (printed in German, 1874-1895). The first newspaper “The Great Western” or “Western Ranger” was published irregularly by Solon Robinson from 1836-1842.
- The Wise Brickyard was located at present-day Wheeler Middle School. Wise Brickyard provided the bricks for the original center section of the majestic Courthouse. It closed in 1900.
- Part of Wise Brickyard became the city dump; it was filled and is now the parking lot for the Middle School and the football field.
- Root Lumber Company was founded in 1892. It was family operated for almost 100 years before it closed in 1990. The company provided the lumber for the Courthouse expansions, as well as for the grandstands of the Cobe Cup race and the Lake County Fairgrounds.
- McLaughlin & Sons manufactured and distributed golf balls for 43 years from Crown Point. It was one of only nine companies in the United States to do so.
- The original Crown Brewing Company opened in 1895 and was on West Goldsborough and Pratt Streets. It was successful for most of its years, closing in 1918 due to Prohibition.
- Bill Carroll Ford opened on the southwest corner of the square in 1921, but soon became Carroll Chevrolet. The dealership was lost in 1929, but rebought by the Carroll family in 1933. It remained on the square until 1963, when it moved to north Main Street. It closed in 2009, a victim of the General Motors bankruptcy.
- Hub Bootery was established in 1949. It moved to its current location in 1996 when Huber’s Department Store closed. Huber’s started in 1932 as Royal Blue Grocery Store.
- First National Bank of Crown Point was founded in 1874; it is the oldest bank in Lake County.
- There have been several hotels in Crown Point. Many were around the square- Hack Hotel, Commercial Hotel, Rockwell Hotel, and Bastiani- and were closed by the mid-1900s.
- The longest open hotel was Hotel Crown Point on Nichols Street. Although opening dates vary depending on your source, it closed in 1997, after being in business about 100 years.
- The Gremmel family bought the Merriam-Little funeral parlor located along South Main Street, in the Fifield Mansion. It relocated and is now name Pruzin-Little on Indiana Avenue.
- Lucrezia was not the first restaurant at that location. After being a home for the Brown and then Fifield families, the building served as a funeral home, then a furniture store, before becoming Louis’ Bon Appetite in 1976.
- The Lake County Greenhouse Corporation (1913-2004) was most famous for its roses. They provided the roses for the official welcome when Queen Elizabeth came to the United States in 1957.
- The “friendliest restaurant Crown Point ever had” was Lamson’s Restaurant from 1930-1942. Lamson’s was well known for homemade desserts, which always seemed to make it to your seat, whether or not you ordered it.
Arts and Culture
- Crown Point’s “sister city” is Resen, Macedonia, declared so by Mayor Jim Metros in 1997.
- The Sherman Tank was turned to face north in 1987. Prior to that, it was facing the “wrong” direction since it was supposed to be protecting the town and not aiming at it.
- The First Lake County Fair was held at the Courthouse on October 28, 1852, presented by the Lake County Agricultural Society.
- Since 1856, the Lake County Fair has been held at its current location. It was put on hold only 10 times- 6 years due to the Civil War, 3 years from the fallout of World War I, and the Great Depression led to its cancellation for 1 year.
- Fancher Lake within the Lake County Fairgrounds was named for Richard Fancher, who settled in that area prior to the Lake County Agricultural Society purchasing the land.
- Local folklore states that Fancher Lake is connected to Lake Dalecarlia or even Cedar Lake, where it is said that horses that disappeared into Fancher Lake reappeared in Cedar Lake through a lake tunnel between the two.
- Fancher Lake’s storied history includes several successful ice making businesses from the mid-1800s through the last one that closed in 1945.
- The dirt race track around Fancher Lake at the fairgrounds held races for horses, motorcycles and automobiles.
- The Goodyear Blimp, Reliance, made an appearance at the 1935 Lake County Fair. Fair goers could grab a ride for an aerial view of the lake and fairgrounds.
- The Summer Follies of 1944 showcased scantily-clad girls at the Lake County Fair.
- One could watch zonkey races at the 1954 fair. A zonkey is half zebra/half donkey.
- In 1982, the Chicago Knockers Girls Mud Wrestling Team appeared at the Lake County Fair.
- Fancher Lake featured a high-diving elk and mule at the Lake County Fair several times.
- One year at the Lake County Fair, a monkey parachuted and was supposed to land on a mark; it landed in Fancher Lake instead.
- The World’s Tallest Sunflower at 16 feet 10 inches was exhibited at the Lake County Fair in 1975.
- There was once a zoo at the Lake County Fairgrounds that featured mostly native to Indiana animals. It opened in 1921 (or a few years later, depending on the source) and its most famous resident was Cinnamon the Bear, who died in 1958. Located along Lake Street, north of the Lake Street gate, the zoo declined in the 1970s, removing the coyote pen in 1978, and then closing the rest of the zoo in 1979.
- An alligator escaped the zoo in 1929; Fancher Lake was closed for several weeks until it was shot by fairground officials. Or was it? An article several years later in The Lake County Star claims that it actually escaped and was found about a mile southeast of the fairgrounds in another body of water on a farm.
- The roads in the fairgrounds were paved along old Indian trails of the Potawatomi Indians.
- The covered bridge located in the Lake County Fairgrounds was originally built over the Little Flatrock River in Rush County in 1878 by A.M. Kennedy and Sons. In 1933, John Wheeler bought the bridge for $25.00 to save it from demolition; it was dismantled and rebuilt at its current location with the help of the WPA (Works Progress Administration).
- The log cabin along U.S. 41 in front of St. John Catholic Church was once the Boy Scout hut located at the Lake County Fairgrounds. It was relocated to St. John in 1963, after initially being relocated from St. John to the fairgrounds by the scouts in 1922.
- The oldest church in Lake County is First United Methodist Church, which organized in 1838. It moved to its current location in 1857, on the property once known as Youche Mansion.
- Organized in 1844, First Presbyterian Church is the second oldest church in Lake County. After several expansions, the current building was built in 1999, after the original building was torn down.
- There are over 30 places of worship in Crown Point.
- Like Christmas light displays? So do the residents of Holton Ridge – they decorate their yards and homes every year and the street has been nicknamed “Candy Cane Lane.”
- One could listen to Crown Point’s very own WLBT on the radio from 1926-1928. It had no regular schedule, but programming consisted of news, public service programs, limited music, and the local people features.
- Crown Point had a semi-pro football team from 1946-1952; it was known by many names, including the Legionnaires, the Goldbricks, Hub Sports, and Boosters.
- The American Legion’s “Last Man Club” was composed of 158 World War I veterans. They sealed a time chest in 1934, planning for it to be opened in 1984. Instead, 26 members opened it in 1959 to mixed opinions and emotions.
- The Crown Point Post Office mural “From Such Beginnings Sprang the County of Lake, Indiana” was completed in 1938 by George Melville Smith as part of the WPA (Works Progress Administration).
- Painted Bulldogs were on display around the city in 2005. Today, you can still see many of them around Crown Point, including the library dog, on display in the Crown Point Community Library meeting rooms.
- Patrick’s Day is not the first cultural holiday to be celebrated with flair in Crown Point. Louis Retailleau of Bon Appetite led a festival-type celebration of Bastille Day for the 27 years he owned and operated the restaurant.
- Solon Robinson was a prolific writer after he left Crown Point. His “biggest seller” was Hot Corn written in 1853, over 60,000 copies sold!
- Solon Robinson left Crown Point for good in 1852. He didn’t return until 113 years after his death, when a group of citizens and his school namesake students raised money to bring his remains back. He is now buried in Maplewood Cemetery.
- Timothy H. Ball became de facto Crown Point historian due to his frequent writings about the area and those who lived here. Crown Point owes much of its early history to TB.
- Colonel John Wheeler was the commanding officer of the 20th Indiana Infantry when he was killed on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. Prior to the Civil War, Wheeler was the Lake County Surveyor and founded the Crown Point Register
- Colonel John Wheeler is the namesake of Wheeler Middle School in Crown Point.
- Lillian Holley died in 1994 at the age of 102. Holley was a generous patron to the Courthouse. Her generosity allowed for the large clocks in the central tower to be restored to working order, which occurred during the nation’s bicentennial.
- In honor of Lillian Holley, 24 flags were donated for the courthouse. The last one was replaced in 2002, by Mike Remlinger, who made the climb to the top of the courthouse several times.
- Gunnar Maki was a Crown Point resident who emigrated from Finland in the 1950s. Starting in 1965, Maki devoted over 28 hours per week for more than 20 years to renovating the Courthouse- all volunteer service. The ballroom of the Lake County Courthouse is named in his honor.
- Alonzo James was the first Santa to sit in the Courthouse Rotunda, starting in 1979. He portrayed the jolly man every year until his death in 1995.
- Crown Point resident Heather Harder ran for president in 1996.
- State Representative Rodman Wells lived in Ruffle Shirt Hill and was one of the richest men in all of Lake County.
- Rodman Wells was famous for breeding horses and people came from eight different states to have their horses bred here in Crown Point.
- Michael Grimmer was the first school teacher in St. John, traveling by horse every day from his home on South Court Street. Grimmer Middle School in Schererville was named after Mr. Grimmer.
- Frances Grimmer was the clerk who Rudolph Valentino woke in order to get married, by knocking on her bedroom window!
- Rose Ellen Drive was named in honor Rose Schmal, longtime resident and school teacher in Hammond.
- Alfred A. Winslow founded the newspaper that eventually became The Times in 1881. He lived in Crown Point from 1925, when he bought the Crawford home, until his death in 1929.
- Aaron Hart was a large landowner in Lake County; he is credited for draining a series of ditches to make the primarily swampland of Lake County tillable for farmland.
- Aaron Hart is named for Hart Ditch in Highland. He died in 1883 digging his now namesake ditch when a piece of frozen ground crushed him.
- Aaron Hart named the town of Dyer after his wife Martha Dyer Hart.
- W. Cheshire’s wife, Bessie Boone, was a first cousin of Daniel Boone.
- Tom Becke participated in the 1980, 1984, and 1992 Paralympics playing on the soccer team.
- Edward Glover was not only Crown Point mayor from 1921 until 1929, but he was also a Bronze medalist in pole vault during the 1906 Athens, Greece Intercalated Olympic Games.
- Murrell Belanger won the 1951 Indy 500 while driving #99. He is honored by having a portion of IN55 is dedicated to him as one of the winningest race car owners in all of Indy Car history.
- 1980 Crown Point High School graduate Dan Plesac was a professional baseball player for Brewers, Blue Jays, Pirates, Cubs, and Phillies.
- Crown Point native Dean White may have “made it big” but he never moved away or forgot the town that reared him. White gave generously to Crown Point, funding various projects that helped shape our community.
- Edith Sautler, class of 1924, lived to 107 years. She commented in 2012 that of her class of 32 students “I’m the last one.” She died in 2014.
- Ernest Anderson owned a grocery store in Crown Point. During the Depression, Anderson’s home was partially built by people paying off their grocery bill.
- There have been four Crown Point recipients of the Sagamore of the Wabash Award (a statewide award honoring citizens who have contributed to Hoosier heritage): Stephen Luerck 1997, Byron “B.J.” Hubbard 2002, Don and Alice Burrell 2004, and George Roberts 2004.
- Crown Point boasts 2 astronauts- native son Jerry Ross and adopted son Frank Borman. Frank Borman, who flew on the record-breaking Gemini 7 flight, was born in Gary, but often visited his grandmother in Crown Point. Jerry Ross flew in 7 space shuttle missions from 1958-2002. Ross shares the record for the most space flights and has logged almost 1400 hours in space.
General Crown Point History
- Crown Point was first known as Robinson’s Prairie when it was founded in 1834.
- Crown Point was once known as “King’s Point” after Solon Robinson’s nickname of the Squatter King.
- Crown Point became the county seat in 1840, beating out Liverpool and Cedar Lake.
- The first Post Office in Lake County opened in Crown Point in 1836.
- In addition to being the founder of Crown Point (among other things), Solon Robison was appointed Post Master by President Andrew Jackson on March 14, 1836.
- Timothy Ball once wrote about the forcible removal and destruction of their burial grounds of 1,100 Potowatami Indians from the Cedar Lake and Crown Point area in 1840.
- The Underground Railroad has ties to Crown Point. Evidence shows a route through Crown Point to Crete, IL.
- Tarn Cottage, on Court Street, has history indicating it was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
- A farm that was located on Arizona Street housed fugitives traveling along the Underground Railroad.
- Crown Point incorporated as a town in 1868.
- The Crown Point Police Department organized the same year the town incorporated in 1868.
- The Crown Point Fire Company was established in 1873.
- Crown Point official became a city in 1911.
- Winfield Township was established in 1843. Winfield was incorporated in 1993.
- Crown Point is the apex of the watershed between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Mexico. There is a marker near the fairgrounds indicating such.
- There is a cement marker in the front garden of 454 South Court Street that measures the distance from the Lake Michigan shoreline.
- Besor Ditch snaked through Crown Point, traveling north of the Christian Science Center on South Main Street, over to Court Street, then turning north toward west of South Ward school, and then back toward Main Street north of the square.
- When Crown Point was incorporated as a town in 1868, the first speed limits were established where one could travel no faster than a “running gait of one mile in six minutes.”
- The first sidewalk was built in Crown Point in August 1868. It was built from the southwest corner of Square to southeast corner of fairgrounds along the west side of Court Street. City ordinance prohibited horses or other animals from walking or running on the 5’ wide 1 ¼” pine lumber that sat on top of 2x4s.
- Only four automobiles traveled the streets of Crown Point in 1904.
- Affectionately known as “The Nine Mile,” Indiana Avenue was nicknamed so after the Cobe Cup race in 1909 since it was the Nine Mile Stretch of track from Lowell to Crown Point.
- The Gary Railway started an hourly bus service between Gary and Crown Point in the 1910s. It ceased service in the early 1970s.
- Youche Country Club was founded in 1928, as the Crown Point Gun Club that also included a nine-hole golf course. It was expanded in the late 1930’s after a land donation of Julian W. Youche, for whom the club was renamed.
- No homes were built along Court Street during World War II due to rationing and supply shortages. Building resumed in 1946.
- Crown Point once had its own an airport where the Fountain Ridge subdivision is now located on the north end of Crown Point. It operated from 1946 until the early 1970s (or 1970).
- The Christian Science Church purchased the land for its current location on South Main Street in the late 1930s; it was used as a city park until they could build in 1957.
- There was a 1000 pound cake made by Crown Point Bakery for the 125th Anniversary Celebration in 1959. It stood 7 ½ feet tall!
- Crown Point suffered damage from hurricane force winds during the early morning on August 27, 1965. The damage included downed trees, power and telephone lines, and many homes; fortunately, no lives were lost.
- Hub Swimming Pool opened in 1969. It was the only community pool in the Midwest built with no tax dollars – only with private funds and a land donation for the Sauerman family. It was affectionately referred to as the “Hub Tub.”
- Although he stood tall in several locations around Crown Point, “The Doughboy” was not dedicated until 1979 when he found a permanent home at the Veteran’s Garden in the southeast corner of Maplewood Cemetery.
- August 6, 1983 was Crown Point Night at the Chicago White Sox Comiskey Park. 700 tickets were sold locally for the game and the White Sox presented a check for $700.00 to Crown Point to help with the 150th Anniversary celebrations the following year.
- The industrial neighborhood to the southwest corner of Summit and Indiana Avenues is called Bridgeport. Residents don’t seem to know why since there is no water, bridge, or port in the area.
- At one time, there were two railroads that crossed through and had daily stops in Crown Point. The Pennsylvania Railroad (with service from Chicago to Indianapolis) had its depot, as known as the Panhandle Depot, on Goldsborough near its curve into Jackson Street. The Erie Railroad (with service from Chicago to New York) Depot was located at the corner of Foote Street and Indiana Avenue.
- The Old Sheriff’s House and Jail is probably most famous for the escape of John Dillinger in 1934. It served Crown Point and Lake County from 1882-1974, until the new jail was built by the new government center on the north end of the city.
- The Old Sheriff’s House and Jail was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
- The movie Public Enemies filmed several scenes, including the Dillinger escape, in Crown Point in 2008. The star, Johnny Depp, patronized many local establishments including Diamond Jim’s and Lucretia’s.
- The Old Lake County Jail and the Lake County Criminal Court Building were once connected on the second floor by an enclosed walkway known as the “Bridge of Sighs.”
- Crown Point was known as one of the country’s “Gretna Greens” since a couple could marry here fast. There was no waiting period between obtaining a marriage license and the ceremony. Physical examinations or blood tests were not required.
- The marriage license could even be obtained from another location and still have the wedding performed in Lake County! An interesting fact, since many licenses were from other counties and states, they do NOT necessarily appear in Lake County Marriage Record Books.
- The Marriage Mill, as it came to be known, operated from 1915 to 1940; the height of its popularity was from 1937 until 1940.
- An estimated 175,000 marriages took place in Crown Point during The Marriage Mill era.
- Most of the marriages were performed by four Justices of the Peace: Harvey Minas, John Krost, Arthur Taylor, and Neil Platt. Other Justices of the Peace during this time included Howard H. Kemp, Harry B. Nicholson, William Keane, and Alvin Guske.
- Rudolph Valentino famously married his sweetheart at the courthouse in 1923- after waking up the clerk at 3:00 AM!
- Colleen Moore, an actress who later donated her dollhouse to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, married her second husband in Crown Point.
- “Red” Grange, the famous football player, and his bride, Margaret Hazelbriej, were married in Crown Point on October 13, 1941.
- Ever wonder about the dog statue on South Court Street? The dog has been there since the early 1900s (different dates according to different sources); legends include that it barks when a fire truck passes or used to when the clock tower would strike the hour on the Courthouse. The statue even predates the house it sits in front of!
- Harriet Holton established the first school in Crown Point. She taught out of her home starting in 1836.
- The Crown Point Institute School opened in 1865, at the present location of the Crown Point School Corporation Administration Building.
- The Crown Point School Corporation Administration Building was the former site of Timothy Ball School, as well as North Ward School which burned down in 1839.
- South Ward was built in 1911 for $35,000 as the Crown Point High School for 600 students that also included 7th and 8th. South Ward was an elementary building from 1939-1975 when it then became the Southlake YMCA, which remained there until 1997.
- Crown Point High School was built in 1939 at the present location of Wheeler Middle School. It was torn down and the Middle School was built in its place in 2007.
- The third and current Crown Point High School on South Main Street opened in 2003.
- There are 2 Middle Schools in the Crown Point School Corporation- Taft Middle School, built in 1954 and once served as the Junior High, and Wheeler Middle School.
- Former school Washington Elementary closed in 1975. It is now a private residence.
- Other historic schools within the current Crown Point School Corporation boundaries include Lew Wallace, Binyon, Riley, Leroy, and Palmer schools.
- There are 6 elementary schools currently in the Crown Point School Corporation –Timothy Ball, MacArthur, Solon Robinson, Lake Street, and Eisenhower are in Crown Point and Winfield Elementary and Jerry Ross are in Winfield.
- In addition to the public schools, there is also Trinity Lutheran School and St. Mary’s Catholic Community School.
- Crown Point High School has won 6 state high school sport championships: Boys Tennis 1971, Girls Basketball 1984 and 1985, Wrestling 2009, and Boys Soccer 2011 and 2013.
- The Crown Point High School Lady Bulldogs were State Champions for Basketball in 1984. They repeated in 1985, the first state title team from Crown Point to do so.
- There were 6 in the first graduating class of Crown Point High School. In this bicentennial year, just over 700 students graduated.