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Chesterton, Indiana
Calumet Ave, Downtown
Calumet Ave, Downtown
Location of Chesterton in Porter County, Indiana.
Location of Chesterton in Porter County, Indiana.
Country United States
State Indiana
County Porter
Townships Westchester, Jackson, Liberty, Pine
Settled 1833
Platted 1852
Incorporated (town) May 4, 1899
Government
 • Type Town Council
Area
 • Total 9.49 sq mi (24.59 km2)
 • Land 9.38 sq mi (24.30 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.29 km2)
Elevation
640 ft (195 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 14,241
 • Density 1,517.91/sq mi (586.09/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
46304
Area code(s) 219
FIPS code 18-12412
GNIS feature ID 432457
Website http://www.chestertonin.org/

Chesterton is a town in Westchester, Jackson and Liberty townships in Porter County, in the U.S. state of Indiana. The population was 14,241 at the 2020 Census. The three towns of Chesterton, Burns Harbor, and Porter are known as the Duneland area.

History

Chesterton was originally called Calumet, and under the latter name was platted in 1852 when the railroad was extended to that point. Chesterton was incorporated as a town in 1899.

In 1933, a United Airlines NC13304 flight became the first known case of an attack against an aircraft. It was downed by a nitroglycerine bomb above Chesterton on October 10, 1933. All 7 people aboard the aircraft—four passengers and a crew of three—were killed in the crash.

In 1958, Evan Murrs created and patented the first electric bicycle powered by Lithium-Ion batteries in the shop class at Chesterton High School.

The Chesterton Commercial Historic District and the George Brown Mansion are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

Chesterton is located at 41°36′15″N 87°3′30″W / 41.60417°N 87.05833°W / 41.60417; -87.05833 (41.604251, -87.058442)

Just north of the town is Indiana Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Most of the town is flat. However, going south into the city on the Route 49 overpass, one can see the Valparaiso Moraine in the distance.

According to the 2010 census, Chesterton has a total area of 9.44 square miles (24.45 km2), of which 9.33 square miles (24.16 km2) (or 98.83%) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km2) (or 1.17%) is water.

Climate

Climate data for Chesterton, Indiana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F 30.5 34.8 46.9 60.1 71.4 80.5 83.4 81.2 75.1 63.7 49.4 35.4 59.4
Average low °F 14.3 17.8 28.7 38.4 48.3 57.6 62.2 60.2 53.7 43 33.1 21.2 39.9
Rainfall inches 1.96 1.7 3.0 4 3.9 4.2 4 3.8 3.2 3.2 3.4 3 37.2
Snowfall inches 12 11.3 11.3 1.5 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 3.4 9.1 55.4
Average high °C -0.83 1.56 8.28 15.61 21.89 26.94 28.56 27.33 23.94 17.61 9.67 1.89 15.22
Average low °C -9.83 -7.89 -1.83 3.56 9.06 14.22 16.78 15.67 12.06 6.1 0.61 -6 4.39
Rainfall mm 49.8 43 76 102 99 107 102 97 81 81 86 76 945
Snowfall cm 30 28.7 28.7 3.8 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 8.6 23.1 140.7

Demographics

Chesterton Indiana Indian Boundary Development
Indian Boundary, where SR 49 and I-94 meet.
Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 488
1890 931 90.8%
1900 788 −15.4%
1910 1,400 77.7%
1920 1,604 14.6%
1930 2,231 39.1%
1940 2,470 10.7%
1950 3,175 28.5%
1960 4,335 36.5%
1970 6,177 42.5%
1980 8,531 38.1%
1990 9,124 7.0%
2000 10,488 14.9%
2010 13,068 24.6%
2020 14,241 9.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 13,068 people, 5,029 households, and 3,554 families living in the town. The population density was 1,400.6 inhabitants per square mile (540.8/km2). There were 5,354 housing units at an average density of 573.8 per square mile (221.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 92.7% White, 1.4% African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 1.8% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.9% of the population.

There were 5,029 households, of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.3% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.07.

The median age in the town was 37.8 years. 26.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.5% were from 25 to 44; 27.5% were from 45 to 64; and 11.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.

Culture

Festivals

Chesterton was home to the annual Wizard of Oz Festival, which is the largest and most famous of its kind. In 2006, former organizers Lakeshore Festivals and Events moved the event to the Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso, Indiana. After 3 years, LFE discontinued the festival and it was brought home to Chesterton by the Duneland Business Initiative Group in 2009. The Duneland Business Initiative later rescinded their support of the festival in 2013.

Historic Preservation



Education

Chesterton High School, or CHS, serves the tri-town area. Chesterton High School operates Chesterton's only local radio station, WDSO 88.3.

Two private schools also operate in Chesterton: St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School and Fairhaven Baptist Academy.

In Chesterton, there are 5 public elementary schools. These are Liberty Elementary School, Bailly Elementary School, Yost Elementary School, Jackson Elementary School, and Brummitt Elementary School. These schools serve grades K-4. After 4th grade, students from Jackson and Liberty will move to Liberty Intermediate School for 5th and 6th grade. Students from Bailly, Yost, and Brummitt will move to Westchester Intermediate School for 5th and 6th grades. After the 6th grade, all students from Liberty and Westchester will go to Chesterton Middle School for 7th and 8th grades. After 8th, students will move to Chesterton High School for their Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years.

The town has a lending library, the Westchester Public Library.

Transportation

The South Shore Line, operated by the Northwest Indiana Commuter Transportation District, is headquartered in Chesterton. The South Shore Line stops north of Chesterton at the Dune Park station with multiple trains per day to Chicago and South Bend. V-Line's Orange Line route stops near the South Shore station, indirectly connecting Chesterton to Valparaiso University on weekends.

Notable people

  • Jim Gaffigan, standup comedian and actor
  • Ron Kittle, former Major League Baseball player
  • Mitch McGary, University of Michigan basketball player, June 2014 1st round NBA draft pick with the 21st selection overall of the Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Mickey Morandini, former Major League Baseball player
  • Zack Novak, former NCAA (University of Michigan) and professional basketball player (Landstede Basketball)
  • Matt Nover, former professional basketball player and actor
  • Blake Pieroni, Gold medalist swimmer and current Indiana University swimmer
  • Eddie Wineland, professional MMA fighter (Bantamweight)
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