Main Births etc
City of Michigan City
—  City  —
Streets scene of Michigan City
Motto: "Shop; Sand; Smiles"
Location in the state of Indiana
Coordinates: 41°42′34″N 86°53′13″W / 41.70944, -86.88694Coordinates: 41°42′34″N 86°53′13″W / 41.70944, -86.88694
Country United States
State Indiana
County LaPorte
 • Mayor Ron Meer (D)
 • Total 22.86 sq mi (59.21 km2)
 • Land 19.59 sq mi (50.74 km2)
 • Water 3.27 sq mi (8.47 km2)
Elevation 627 ft (191 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 31,479
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 31,150
 • Density 1,606.9/sq mi (620.4/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 46360-46361
Area code(s) 219
FIPS code 18-48798[4]
GNIS feature ID 0439078[5]

Michigan City is a city in LaPorte County, Indiana, United States. It is one of the two principal cities of the Michigan City-La Porte, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City Combined Statistical Area.

Located in the region known to locals as Michiana, it is approximately 50 miles east of Chicago and 40 miles west of South Bend. The city had a population of 31,479 at the 2010 census.

Michigan City is noted for both its proximity to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and for bordering Lake Michigan. Due to this, Michigan City receives a fair amount of tourism during the summer months, especially by residents of Chicago and of nearby cities in Northern Indiana. The lighthouse is a notable symbol for the city and is incorporated in the heading of Michigan City's sole newspaper The News Dispatch, as well as the official Michigan City logo designed in the 1990s by area artist James McDonald Weatherhill.[6]


Michigan City is located at 41°42′34″N 86°53′13″W / 41.70944, -86.88694 (41.709389, -86.886928).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.86 square miles (59.21 km2), of which 19.59 square miles (50.74 km2) is land and 3.27 square miles (8.47 km2) is water.[1]

Michigan City is also home to the stream Trail Creek which flows into Lake Michigan.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 999
1860 3,320 232.3%
1870 3,985 20.0%
1880 7,366 84.8%
1890 10,773 46.3%
1900 14,850 37.8%
1910 19,027 28.1%
1920 19,457 2.3%
1930 26,735 37.4%
1940 26,476 −1.0%
1950 28,395 7.2%
1960 36,653 29.1%
1970 39,369 7.4%
1980 36,850 −6.4%
1990 33,822 −8.2%
2000 32,900 −2.7%
2010 31,479 −4.3%
Source: US Census Bureau

2010 census[]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 31,479 people, 12,136 households, and 7,147 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,606.9 inhabitants per square mile (620.4 /km2). There were 14,435 housing units at an average density of 736.9 per square mile (284.5 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 64.9% White, 28.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 2.1% from other races, and 3.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.9% of the population.

There were 12,136 households of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.4% were married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.1% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.05.

The median age in the city was 37.1 years. 23.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.8% were from 25 to 44; 26.2% were from 45 to 64; and 13.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.4% male and 48.6% female.

2000 census[]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 32,900 people, 12,550 households, and 7,906 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,678.6 inhabitants per square mile (648.1/km²). There were 14,221 housing units at an average density of 725.6 per square mile (280.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.45% White, 26.31% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.10% from other races, and 2.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.15% of the population.

There were 12,550 households out of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.0% were married couples living together, 18.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.0% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 101.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,732, and the median income for a family was $39,520. Males had a median income of $32,194 versus $23,125 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,995. About 10.4% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.2% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.

Climate and weather[]

Climate chart for Michigan City, Indiana
temperatures in °Cprecipitation totals in mm
source: The Weather Channel[8]

The highest recorded temperature was 104 °F in 1953. The lowest recorded temperature was -23 °F in 1994.[8]

The city has a usual weather pattern for a temperate region with thunderstorms in the summer and snow during winter. Due to its location next to Lake Michigan the city frequently experiences lake-effect snows and rain showers.


Michigan City's origins date to 1830, when the land for the city was first purchased by Isaac C. Elston, a real estate speculator who had made a small fortune in Crawfordsville. He paid about $200 total for 160 acres (¼ square mile) of land. Elston Middle School, formerly Elston High School, is named after the founder.[9]

The city was incorporated in 1836, by which point it had 1500 residents, along with a post office, a newspaper, a church, a commercial district and 10 hotels. In these six year the town has grown to a size of 15 square miles. That same year, the State Bank of Indiana opened a branch in town.

Points of interest[]

Mount Baldy, two miles west of Michigan City.

Michigan City is the home of the Old Michigan City Light, one of Indiana's few lighthouses.

The Pullman-Standard rail car plant was located in Michigan City. Marquette Mall, constructed in 1965, is Michigan City's sole conventional shopping mall. St. Anthony Memorial Health Center is Michigan City's sole hospital.[10]

Michigan City also houses a zoo, and art center, and also is the home of the Indiana State Prison.[11]

Michigan City also has one of the nation's oldest active municipal bands. Free concerts are performed for the public every Thursday evening at the Guy F. Foreman Amphitheatre located in Washington Park.

The eastern edge of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is also located in Michigan City. Features include Mount Baldy, a large wandering dune. A larger dune, Hoosier Slide, sat at the site of the current electrical generating station.[12] This dune was mined for its sand in the late 19th century. The sand found on the beaches in and near Michigan City is nicknamed "singing sand" because of the sound it produces.[13][14]

Cooling tower, Michigan City Power Plant.

Michigan City Power Plant lies along the shore of Lake Michigan west of the downtown core. The cooling tower of the coal burning plant is visible for miles around and is often mistaken for a nuclear power plant.

In recent years, Michigan City has added a riverboat, the Blue Chip Casino. This casino is the largest riverboat in Indiana. The Blue Chip just finished building the biggest building in all of northwest Indiana by adding a 22 story hotel to its offerings in 2009.[15] Michigan City has also added a new skatepark at Pullman Field to its tourism offerings.[11]

Going forward Michigan City is looking to revitalize much of its north end, which contains the oldest portions of the city. One plan that has been discussed is the Andrews Plan[16][17] The Andrews Plan also won an award for 2008 CNU Charter Award of Excellence.[18] Most discussion centers on maintaining and expanding open and accessible park areas on Lake Michigan and along Trail Creek.


Michigan City Courthouse

Michigan City City Hall

The mayor is Ron Meer.[19] Michigan City has a Council with nine members. Six are elected from geographic wards and three are elected as at-large members.[20]

City Council members are (as of Oct 2013):

  • Richard Murphy, First Ward
  • Marc Espar, Second Ward
  • Ron Hamilton Jr., Third Ward
  • Patricia Boy, Fourth Ward
  • Duane Parry, Fifth Ward, Council President
  • Chris Schwanke, Sixth Ward
  • Joseph Doyle, Councilman At-Large
  • Tim Bietry, Councilman At-Large
  • Donald Przybylinkski, Councilman At-Large, Council Vice-President

School system[]

Michigan City Area Schools, the city's public school system, includes one high school (Michigan City High School), two middle schools, and eight elementary schools. Michigan City previously also had three parochial high schools - Marquette, La Lumiere, and Duneland Lutheran but, due to a lack of funds, Duneland Lutheran closed down at the end of the 2008/2009 school year. There are several parochial elementary schools in the city, including St. Paul Lutheran School, St. Stanislaus Kostka School, Queen Of All Saints School, and Notre Dame Catholic School.

At one time Michigan City had two public high schools: M.C. Elston High School (Red Devils) (Elston is now the name of one of the middle schools located in the city and is located at the former Elston High School), and M.C. Rogers High School (Raiders). The two schools combined after the 1995-1996 school year and now constitute the present day Michigan City High School (Wolves). The school is located at the former Rogers High School site. Elston Middle School, along with elementary school Niemann, closed at the end of the 2013/2014 school year.



The News-Dispatch is Michigan City's only daily newspaper, covering the city and the surrounding municipalities in LaPorte and Porter counties.[21] The Beacher is a Michigan City based weekly newspaper that covers Beverly Shores, Michigan City, Long Beach, LaPorte, Michiana and New Buffalo.

Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, South Bend Tribune and LaPorte Herald-Argus are distributed throughout Michigan City. Off the Water, a free weekly art and entertainment newspaper published by Niles, Michigan-based Leader Publications, primarily focuses on Niles-Benton Harbor Metropolitan Statistical Area, but it is distributed in downtown Michigan City.


Michigan City is in Chicago's Area of Dominant Influence. Radio and television broadcasts from both Chicago and South Bend reach most of the population.


It also has one FM radio station, WEFM, and one AM radio station, WIMS AM 1420.[22]


The city has one Government-access television (GATV) station, Access LaPorte County.[23] As well as one channel operated by the local school system (MCAS).[24]



A South Shore train passes Cedar Street at 11th.

Michigan City is a major stop along the South Shore Line, one of the last interurban rail lines in the U.S. The train runs directly through on 11th Street (it has no separate right-of-way, and shares the street with automobiles and other road traffic), making two stops in Michigan City's downtown area (11th Street and Carroll Avenue). This rail line connects Michigan City with downtown Chicago westward as well as the South Bend Regional Airport to the east.

Amtrak serves the city with Wolverine trains, which run from Chicago to Detroit, and Pontiac three times a day in each direction. Under the current schedule, Wolverine fills in several gaps in South Shore Line's weekday service and augments weekend service. While Wolverine trains are faster, South Shore Lines are cheaper and run more frequently.


Michigan City operates a bus service.[25] Officially known as Michigan City Transit, it is made up of four routes that run on Monday-Saturday. All routes originate at Michigan City Public Library and travel around the city in (largely mono-directional) loops until they return to the library. Route 3 connects to Carroll Avenue South Shore Line station, while other routes connect to the 11th street station. In addition, Route 1 passes near the Amtrak station on the way to Washington Park. Michigan City also operates a Dial-a-Bus service.

Coach USA's Tri-State/United Limo service between The University of Notre Dame and O'Hare airport stops at Michigan City at the Clarion Hotel (5820 Franklin St).[26] The service makes stops at Notre Dame, South Bend, Portage, Highland, Crestwood and O'Hare and Midway airports. Buses run from 4:10 am – 1:10 am (US Central Time). Buses run once every hour in both direction between Michigan City and O'Hare and Midway and once every two hours between Michigan City and Notre Dame.[27]


Michigan City Municipal Airport has a 4,100 foot asphalt runway and averages 118 operations per week.

Options for commercial air service include the Gary/Chicago International Airport in Gary, and the South Bend International Airport in South Bend. The South Shore Line terminates at the South Bend airport, while there is a train stop serving the Gary airport.

Notable people[]

  • Jean Baptiste Point du Sable is regarded as the first permanent resident of Chicago, Illinois. In 1779, he was living on the site of present-day Michigan City, Indiana, when he was arrested by the British military on suspicion of being an American sympathizer in the American Revolutionary War.
  • Daniel D. Bruce, United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in March 1969
  • Allan Spear, eminent U.S. historian and political progressive, author, Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto; president Minnesota State Senate, early advocate for gay people
  • Howard G. "Ward" Cunningham, author, software developer and inventor of the word and concept of the "wiki"
  • Emerson Spartz, media mogul and founder of MuggleNet, GivesMeHope
  • John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court


  • Anne Baxter, Academy Award-winning American actress


  • Achy Obejas, writer and journalist
  • Amy Spindler, fashion critic and style editor of The New York Times Magazine
  • Ted Thorne, Chicago news anchor, local radio host


  • John Huppenthal, Republican State Senator in the Arizona Legislature
  • Scott Pelath, current Indiana House of Representatives member
  • David Lilienthal, Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority 1941–1946; Chairman, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, 1947–1949


  • Anita King, racecar driver, actress, and thoroughbred racehorse owner
  • Mike LaRocco, professional Supercross and Motocross racer
  • Don Larsen, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Abe Gibron, Chicago Bears football player and head coach
  • John Parry, National Football League official


  • Charles Freeman Lee, jazz trumpeter in the 1950s and 1960s, taught Science at Krueger School in Michigan City after retiring from music


  1. ^ a b "Places: Indiana". 2010 Census Gazetteer Files. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Michigan City, IN (46360)". Thw Weather Channel. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  9. ^ Michigan City Area Schools
  10. ^ State of Indiana, Indiana 2009 Travel Guide. Indianapolis, Indiana; 2009.
  11. ^ a b Indiana 2009 Travel Guide
  12. ^ "Hoosier Slide". Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Best Beach: Washington Park Beach". Lake Magazine (electronic version). July 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-29. 
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Mayors Office". Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  20. ^ "City Departments - City Counci". Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  21. ^ "The News Dispatch". Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "WIMS". Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  23. ^ "ACCESS LA PORTE COUNTY". Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "MCAS T.V.". Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^


External links[]

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