Porter County, Indiana
Porter County Courthouse.jpg
Porter County Courthouse in Valparaiso, Indiana
Map of Indiana highlighting Porter County
Location in the state of Indiana
Map of the U.S. highlighting Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1836
Seat Valparaiso
Largest city Portage
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

521.61 sq mi (1,351 km²)
418.11 sq mi (1,083 km²)
103.50 sq mi (268 km²), 19.84%
 - (2010)
 - Density

393/sq mi (151.76/km²)
Congressional districts 1st, 2nd

Indiana county number 64

Porter County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2010, the population was 164,343. Much of the population growth has to do with the expansion of the Chicago Metropolitan Area eastward into Indiana. The county seat is Valparaiso[1]. This county is part of Northwest Indiana.


The area of Indiana, which became Porter County was occupied by an Algonquian people named by the archeologist as the Huber-Berrien.[2] 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.[3] 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.[2] 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.[4]

Porter County was formed in 1836. From 1832 to 1836, the area that was to become Porter County was part of La Porte County.[5] It was named for Capt. David Porter, naval officer during the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812.[6][7]


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 521.61 square miles (1,351.0 km2), of which 418.11 square miles (1,082.9 km2) (or 80.16%) is land and 103.50 square miles (268.1 km2) (or 19.84%) is water,[8] most of it in Lake Michigan.


Franklin Street, east side of the Courthouse Square, Valparaiso


  • Beverly Shores
  • Burns Harbor
  • Chesterton
  • Dune Acres
  • Hebron
  • Kouts
  • Ogden Dunes
  • Porter
  • Town of Pines


  • Boone
  • Center
  • Jackson
  • Liberty
  • Morgan
  • Pine
  • Pleasant
  • Portage
  • Porter
  • Union
  • Washington
  • Westchester


Amtrak's Wolverine passing through Porter, Indiana

  • Amtrak
  • Chesapeake and Indiana Railroad
  • Chicago Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad
  • Chicago, Southshore and South Bend Railroad
  • CSX Transportation
  • Norfolk Southern Railway
  • Canadian National(Formerly Grand Trunk Western)

Adjacent counties[]

National protected area[]

  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (part)

Climate and weather[]

Climate chart for Valparaiso, Indiana
temperatures in °Cprecipitation totals in mm
source: The Weather Channel[9]

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 (−31.7 °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.[9]


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.[10][11]

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.[10][11]

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.[11]

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.[11]

Porter County is part of Indiana's 1st congressional district and in 2008 was represented by Pete Visclosky in the United States Congress.[12]


Porter County
Population by year

2010 164,343
2000 146,798
1990 128,932
1980 119,816
1970 87,114
1960 60,279
1950 40,076
1940 27,836
1930 22,821
1920 20,256
1910 20,540
1900 19,175
1890 18,052
1880 17,227
1870 13,942
1860 10,313
1850 5,234
1840 2,162

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 146,798 people, 54,649 households, and 39,729 families residing in the county. The population density was 351 people per square mile (136/km²). There were 57,616 housing units at an average density of 138 per square mile (53/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.33% White, 0.92% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.91% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.26% from other races, and 1.32% from two or more races. 4.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 23.7% were of German, 12.3% Irish, 8.3% Polish, 8.0% English and 7.9% American ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 54,649 households out of which 35.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.80% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.30% were non-families. 22.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.80% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 28.90% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 10.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $53,100, and the median income for a family was $61,880. Males had a median income of $50,167 versus $26,347 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,957. About 3.90% of families and 5.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.80% of those under age 18 and 5.60% of those age 65 or over.


Higher Education Campuses include:

Valparaiso University Chapel

  • Valparaiso University [1]

Valparaiso University is a Lutheran 4-year degree granting institution.

  • Ivy Tech Community College [2]

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

  • Duneland School Corporation [3] - Jackson, Liberty, & Westchester Townships
  • East Porter County School Corporation [4] - Morgan, Pleasant, & Washington Townships
  • Metropolitan School District of Boone Township [5] - Boone Township
  • Portage Township Schools [6] - Portage Township
  • Porter Township School Corporation [7] - Porter Township
  • Union Township School Corporation [8] - Union Township
  • Valparaiso Community Schools [9] - Center Township

High Schools and Middle Schools

  • Benjamin Franklin Middle School [10]
  • Boone Grove High School [11]
  • Boone Grove Middle School [12]
  • Chesterton High School [13]
  • Chesterton Middle School [14]
  • Hebron High School (Indiana)[15]
  • Hebron Middle School [16]
  • Kouts Middle/High School [17]

  • Morgan Township Middle/High School [18]
  • Portage High School [19]
  • Thomas Jefferson Middle School [20]
  • Union Township Middle School [21]
  • Valparaiso High School [22]
  • Washington Township Middle/High School [23]
  • Wheeler High School [24]
  • William Fegely Middle School
  • Willowcreek Middle School [25]

Elementary Schools

  • Aylesworth Elementary School [26]
  • Bailly Elementary School [27]
  • Boone Grove Elementary School [28]
  • Brummitt Elementary School [29]
  • Central Elementary School (Portage) [30]
  • Central Elementary School (Valparaiso) [31]
  • Cooks Corners Elementary School [32]
  • Crisman Elementary School [33]
  • Flint Lake Elementary School [34]
  • Hebron Elementary School [35]
  • Hayes Leonard Elementary School [36]
  • Jackson Elementary School [37]
  • John Simatovich Elementary School [38]
  • Jones Elementary School [39]
  • Kouts Elementary School [40]

  • Kyle Elementary School [41]
  • Liberty Elementary School [42]
  • Liberty Intermediate School [43]
  • Memorial Elementary School [44]
  • Morgan Elementary School [45]
  • Myers Elementary School [46]
  • Northview Elementary School [47]
  • Parkview Elementary School [48]
  • Paul Saylor Elementary School [49]
  • Porter Lakes Elementary School [50]
  • South Haven Elementary School [51]
  • Thomas Jefferson Elementary School [52]
  • Union Center Elementary School [53]
  • Washington Township Elementary School [54]
  • Westchester Intermediate School [55]
  • Yost Elementary School [56]

Places of worship[]

Porter County has many options for people of faith. There are over 100 houses of worship. They include 35 denominations of the Christian faith, two synagogues.[14] and the Islamic Center of Michigan City[15]

Jewish Houses of worship Name Location Township Picture
Temple of Israel of Porter County Evans Ave, Valparaiso Center Temple Isreal Porter County Indiana 47.jpg
Messianic Hope of Israel Congregation Lincolnway, Valparaiso Center
Muslim House of worship Name Location Township Picture
Islamic Center of Michigan City County Road 500 East Pines
Christian Denomination Name Location Township Picture
Assembly of God Heartland Christian Center[16] 170 South State Road 49, Valparaiso Morgan
Baptist Old Pathway Baptist Church[16] 219 Francis, Porter Westchester
Baptist Kouts Family Baptist Church, Inc[16] 403 E. Indiana St, Kouts Pleasant
Baptist Emmanuel Baptist Church[16] 769 West 800 South, Hebron Boone
Baptist Calvary Church Harrison Rd, Valparaiso Center
Christian Central Christian Church[16] Glendale and Campbell Aves, Valparaiso Center
Christian First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)[16] 1507 Glendale Ave, Valparaiso Center First Christian Church DOC Valparaiso 18.jpg
Christ Presbyterian First Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso[16] 3401 Valparaiso St, Valparaiso Center
Evangelical Free Washington Evangelical Free Church 3805 LaPorte Ave, Valparaiso Washington
Lutheran St. Paul's Lutheran Church Kouts Pleasant 75 px
Lutheran St. Michael Lutheran Church[16] 805 S. County Line Rd, Hebron Boone
Lutheran Trinity Lutheran Church[16] 201 Washington St. Valparaiso Center
Methodist First United Methodist Church (Valpo Methodist)[16] 103 N. Franklin St, Valparaiso Center
Methodist First United Methodist Church (New Song Fellowship)[16] 212 E. Lincolnway, Valparaiso Center
Mennonite Valparaiso Mennonite, Valparaiso Silhavy Road, Valparaiso Center Valparaiso Menonite Church86.jpg
Nazarene Nazarene Church of Valparaiso Silhavy and Glendale Blvd, Valparaiso Center Valparaiso Nazarene Church 82.jpg
Non-Denominational New Hope Missionary Church[16] 402 S. SR 49, Valparaiso Morgan
Non-Denominational Faith Evangelical Bible Church[16] 305 E. 400 N, Valparaiso Washington
Non-Denominational Church of Christ[16] 219 S 15th St, Chesterton Westchester
Non-Denominational Vale Church of Christ Silhavy Road, Valparaiso Center Silhavy Church of Christ Valparaiso 84.jpg
Non-Denominational New Hope Church of God[16] 712 N. 450 W, South Haven Portage
Non-Denominational Full Gospel, The Faith Mission Church[16] CR 500 N, so of US 6 Jackson
Non-Denominational Healing Place[16] 2001 W Morgan Ave, Chesterton Westchester
Non-Denominational House of Prayer Church[16] 2738 Blake Rd, Portage Portage
Roman Catholic St. Mary's Church S.R. 8, Kouts Pleasant St Marys Catholic Church Kouts.jpg
Roman Catholic Nativity of Our Savior Willowcreek Road, Portage Portage
United Church of Christ Union Community Church[16] 602 Monroe St, Valparaiso Center

Porter County Cemeteries[]

The earliest Cemetery in Porter County is the Bailly Cemetery, 1827.[17] 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, to four, including: Calumet Trail, Dunn's Bridge, and the newest, Brinkca-Cross Gardens'[18]

  • Sunset Hill Farm County Park. Located at 775 Meridian Rd, just south of U.S. 6 the Park consist of 238 acres (96.3 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.[19]
  • Calumet Trail. The trail is {{convert}9.1|mile|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.[20]
  • Dunn's Bridge. 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.[21]
  • 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.[22]

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Porter County, Indiana


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ a b Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History; Helen Hornbeck Tanner; University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma; 1987; Map 5
  3. ^ Geology of the Great Lakes; Jack L. Hough; University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1958; p 276
  4. ^ One of the Earliest Authentic Histories of Porter County, Indiana; From 1832 to 1876; Deborah H. Shults-Gay; circa 1917
  5. ^ Calumet Beginnings: Schoon, Kenneth J.
  6. ^ Baker, Ronald L.; Marvin Carmony (1995). Indiana Place Names. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 133. ISBN 0-253-28340-X. 
  7. ^ De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & co.. pp. 570. 
  8. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-06. 
  9. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Valparaiso, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  10. ^ a b Indiana Code. "Title 36, Article 2, Section 3". Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  11. ^ a b c d Indiana Code. "Title 2, Article 10, Section 2". Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  12. ^ "US Congressman Pete Visclosky". US Congress. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ Yellowbook, Portage/Valparaiso; 2009–2010
  15. ^ Yellow Pages
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Family Flyer, August 2009
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ Porter County Parks and Recreation
  19. ^ Sunset Hill Farm Park
  20. ^ Calumet Trail
  21. ^ Dunn's Bridge
  22. ^ Binkca-Cross Gardens

External links[]


  • Forstall, Richard L. (editor) (1996). Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990: from the twenty-one decennial censuses. United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Population Division. ISBN 0-934213-48-8. 
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Coordinates: 41°31′N 87°04′W / 41.51, -87.07

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