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La Porte, Indiana facts for kids

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City of La Porte, Indiana
LaPorte County Courthouse, La Porte, Indiana
LaPorte County Courthouse, La Porte, Indiana
The Maple City
"Live and Love"
Location of La Porte in LaPorte County, Indiana.
Location of La Porte in LaPorte County, Indiana.
Country United States
State Indiana
County LaPorte
Townships Center, Kankakee, Pleasant, Scipio
 • Total 12.68 sq mi (32.84 km2)
 • Land 11.92 sq mi (30.88 km2)
 • Water 0.76 sq mi (1.97 km2)
814 ft (248 m)
 • Total 22,471
 • Density 1,884.83/sq mi (727.77/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
46350, 46352
Area code 219
FIPS code 18-42246
GNIS feature ID 0450449

La Porte (French for "The Door") is a city in LaPorte County, Indiana, United States, of which it is the county seat. Its population was estimated to be 21,569 in 2019. 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, IllinoisIndianaWisconsin Combined Statistical Area.

La Porte is located in northwest Indiana, east of Gary, and west of South Bend. It was first settled by European Americans in 1832. The city is twinned with Grangemouth in Scotland.


The settlement of La Porte was established in July 1832. Abraham P. Andrew, one of the purchasers of the site, constructed the first sawmill in that year. The first settler arrived in October, building a permanent cabin just north of what would become the Courthouse square. In 1833 a Federal Land Office was established in La Porte. People would come to this office from newly established surrounding counties to buy land from the government, including Solon Robinson, founder of Crown Point. The office was moved to Winamac in 1839.

By 1835 the settlement had grown to the extent that it was decided that La Porte should become incorporated as a town. A newspaper was established in 1836 and La Porte Medical School was founded in 1842, the first of its kind in the Midwest. A former graduate of the school William Worrall Mayo established the famed Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in 1889. By 1852 La Porte had become a well-established settlement of considerable size for its time and vicinity, with 5,000 residents. In that same year it was granted a city charter by the Indiana General Assembly and the first mayor was elected. La Porte continued to grow, attracting numerous diverse industries, the largest of which became the Advance-Rumely company. Advance-Rumely was responsible for developing the Oil-Pull tractor engine, considered to have played a pivotal role in the agricultural development of the Great Plains. By 1869, Advance-Rumely was the largest employer in La Porte.

During the 1850s numerous maple trees were planted along Indiana and Michigan avenues in La Porte by local resident Sebastian Lay. Subsequently, La Porte became known as the 'Maple City'. Today, Indiana and Michigan avenues comprise a historic district in the city, containing many homes and other structures of architectural and historical interest. Between 1892 and 1894, the third and current LaPorte county courthouse was erected at a cost of $300,000. The structure is built of red sandstone from Lake Superior, shipped via boat to Michigan City and then by rail to La Porte. The courthouse is considered to be one of La Porte's best known structures. In 2007 the building had its exterior extensively restored at a cost of $2.9 million.


La Porte is located at 41°36′33″N 86°43′3″W / 41.60917°N 86.71750°W / 41.60917; -86.71750 (41.609057, -86.717567).

According to the 2010 census, La Porte has a total area of 12.37 square miles (32.04 km2), of which 11.66 square miles (30.20 km2) (or 94.26%) is land and 0.71 square miles (1.84 km2) (or 5.74%) is water. U.S Route 35 passes through La Porte.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,824
1860 5,028 175.7%
1870 6,581 30.9%
1880 6,195 −5.9%
1890 7,126 15.0%
1900 7,113 −0.2%
1910 10,525 48.0%
1920 15,158 44.0%
1930 15,755 3.9%
1940 16,180 2.7%
1950 17,882 10.5%
1960 21,157 18.3%
1970 22,140 4.6%
1980 21,796 −1.6%
1990 21,507 −1.3%
2000 21,621 0.5%
2010 22,053 2.0%
2020 22,471 1.9%
Source: US Census Bureau

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 22,053 people, 8,962 households, and 5,362 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,891.3 inhabitants per square mile (730.2/km2). There were 9,992 housing units at an average density of 856.9 per square mile (330.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.6% White, 3.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 4.9% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.2% of the population.

There were 8,962 households, of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.2% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.04.

The median age in the city was 36.2 years. 24.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 24.2% were from 45 to 64; and 15.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.


The famous Advance-Rumely tractor company was established in La Porte where it developed steam engines and eponymous green kerosene tractors.

LaPorte has been featured in an occasional movie, including Prancer (1989), A Piece of Eden (2000), Treadmill (2006), Providence (2009) and Woman's Prison (2009).

LaPorte was once the home of the world-famous Parsons Horological Institute, founded in the 1890s and still extant as part of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

LaPorte was the eastern terminus of the Chicago – New York Electric Air Line Railroad, an ambitious early high-speed rail project.

Author J.K. Rowling has a Portkey (Key to the City) for La Porte. It was presented to her by Emerson Spartz.

Places of interest

Parks and recreation

La Porte has an extensive city park district.


Allesee Park , (Boyd Boulevard) – is a 6-acre neighborhood park on the south side of the city. It was developed adjacent to a housing subdivision to provide recreational facilities to the neighborhood. Park includes a Ball Diamond, Basketball Half-Court, Benches, Parking, Playground, and a Walking Track. Improvements were made in 2000 thanks to a donation by the Allesee family to the La Porte Park Foundation.
Ben Rees Park , (Scott Street) – Ben Rees Park is a 1.5-acre parcel that is half of a square block located near the Civic Auditorium. The park was the site of the Fourth Ward School in the early 1900s. The school was demolished in the 1920s and the property was donated to the city in the 1940s. The park was named in honor of Ben C. Rees, a local attorney and school board member. A new playground, basketball court and gazebo shelter were installed through the help of community volunteers and contributions.
Bill Reed Tennis Complex (2150 A Street) – Features several Tennis courts, parking, water fountains and Pavilion.
Charles W. Lindewald Park, (Park Street) – is considered La Porte’s first park. A parcel of land, 9.4 acres on Lower Lake, was purchased in 1890. The original parcel contained a notable grove of white oaks, of which a few stands of this native timber still remains. The park today is a popular site for family reunions and picnics. Facilities include a picnic shelter with grills, playground, restrooms, water fountains, ball diamond, Basketball Half-Court and 12 lighted horseshoe pits, which are home to the La Porte Horseshoe Pitches Association.
Clarke Field, (Farrand Avenue) – is a two square block area of 6 acres that was a donation to the city in the late 1930s. The park is generally surrounded with tall, mature fir evergreen trees that provide a buffer for the adjacent residential areas. The main recreational usage at Clarke Field are two ball diamonds, one used primarily by the La Porte High School junior varsity and La Porte Babe Ruth Baseball and the other for younger age levels. The park also contains a playground, Ball Diamonds ($50.00 Add-on), a Concession Stand, Water Fountains, and public restrooms.
Fox Memorial Park, (Truesdale Avenue) – originally started in 1911 with only 15 acres, has grown today to 170 acres of scenic beauty. In the early 1900s, flowers, shrubs, and trees were planted to further beautify the hills of mature oak, hawthorn and wild apple. The entire park was landscaped and strolling paths developed. Fox Memorial Park includes Clear Lake, which encompasses approximately 100 acres of the total park. Today, Fox Memorial Park can be considered one of La Porte’s finest parks. It still contains much of its scenic beauty. The trees planted in the early 1900s have matured to provide a scenic environment. Active recreational facilities have been developed at the park as the demand for such activities have increased. The park offers ball diamonds, including Ron Reed Field; basketball; playgrounds; picnic shelters with grills; fishing; boating; water fountains; walking and fitness trials; and Thrills ‘n’ Spills Skate Park. The park also contains the Dennis F. Smith Amphitheatre, home to various special events including the Arts in the Park program.
Hastings Park (Monroe St.) – Small park, features a playground and benches.
Kesling Park (2150 A Street) –is located on the southern edge of the community. It started with a small 2-acre land donation and has since grown through additional donations by the Kesling family to the present day size of 90 acres. Today, residents from all of La Porte enjoy the modern facilities including four ball diamonds, six tennis courts, a walking and nature trail, soccer fields, basketball courts, sledding hill and picnic shelters. The park also contains Fort La Play Porte, a large community-built playground.
Koomler Park (Miller Street) – covers 4 acres in southern La Porte. It was initially a play area developed by the federal government in the 1940s for children of the workers at the Kingsbury Ordinance Plant. In 1962, this land was transferred to the city for exclusive use as a park. Today, Koomler Park serves the residents of Maple Terrace and offers a ball diamond, basketball court and playground.
"LaPark" (1st Street) - adjacent to Bethany Lutheran Church.
Rumley Park (Home Street) is a 4-acre neighborhood park that was purchased and developed entirely with federal funds in 1980. It was actually a replacement park for the former Marquette Park, which was located four blocks away. Marquette Park was a piece of donated land that was unsuitable and unbuildable for a park. Rumley Park offers a basketball court, playground, picnic facilities and fishing.
Scott Field (Jefferson Avenue) was the result of another land donation of a developer. Originally, in the layout of Scott’s Second Addition, 5 acres in the middle of the new housing development was left as a neighborhood play area. The land was donated to the City of La Porte in 1923. It wasn’t until 1952 that the Park Department entered a 99-year lease, for $1 per year, with the school corporation. The park currently includes a shelter, playground, ball diamond, open play, half-court basketball and picnic facilities.
Soldiers Memorial Park (250 Pine Lake Ave.), dedicated in 1928 and containing 556 acres. It is the largest city park and widely known for its forested beauty, water sports and organized recreational activities. The park encompasses all of Stone Lake, 140 acres of water and all but 628 feet of shoreline. Also the park provides a variety of active and passive recreational activities including swimming, playgrounds, diamond sports (softball, baseball and t-ball), volleyball, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, fishing and boating. Within its gently rolling terrain, the property is approximately 85 percent woodlands and water. Access is available to Stone Lake, Pine Lake, Crane Lake and Craven Pond. Nature trails have been developed through a stand of native trees, allowing environmental education opportunities. Soldiers Memorial Park is also the site of the Park Department Office and maintenance facilities, as well as Cummings Lodge.
Stone Lake Beach (300 Grangemouth Drive) is a public beach with a volleyball courts, playground, picnic shelter, concession stand, and public restrooms.
Warsaw Tot Lot (Warsaw Street) is a small playground of less than 1 acre in size. The triangular piece of land was donated to the city in 1946 and was developed in 1980 with funding from a federal grant. The play equipment has been recently updated thanks to a donation from the La Porte Park Foundation. Park also has a basketball half-court.
Pine Lake Beach (Pine Lake Avenue) is a public beach with picnic tables, a newly built walk-way across the beach, and a picnic shelter including a grill.
Ski-Beach (Waverly Road) is a public beach with picnic tables and grills. This beach is commonly used by boaters, and has a channel connecting Pine Lake to Stone Lake.


  • Clear Lake
  • Crane Lake
  • Fish Trap Lake
  • Horseshoe Lake
  • Lily Lake
  • Lower Lake
  • Orr Lake
  • Pine Lake
  • Stone Lake


Public Activities

  • Fitness Fridays
  • Saturdays in the Sun
  • Saturday Farmers Market

City events

La Porte hosts several festivals and events every year:

  • The La Porte County Fair is Indiana’s oldest County Fair. The County Fair consists of carnival attractions and hosts a variety of shows such as a demolition derby, Monster truck races, and live musical performances. The next County Fair is scheduled for July 12–18, 2016
  • The Sunflower Fair held in beautiful, historic Downtown La Porte is one of the largest area festivals with over 100 craft and nonprofit vendors, food, entertainment, rides and more. A unique fair that celebrates everything fall and community. The Fair comes downtown every 3rd Saturday in September. Save the Date for the 17th Annual Sunflower Fair September 19, 2015!
  • La Porte Cruise Night, sponsored by the Michiana Antique Auto Club, is held annually in La Porte. More than 400 antique vehicles drive around the city. The next Cruise night is expected on June 13, 2015
  • The Maple City Grand Prix will be holding their 4th Annual event June 3-5, 2016. The full field of 15 F1 boats and 13 F-Lights boats excited the thousands who lined Stone Lake Beach and Lakeshore Drive for three full days of racing, as well as the great crowds that ventured downtown La Porte Saturday night for the boat parade and block party.


The La Porte Community School Corporation serves approximately 6,500 students.

Primary and secondary education

  • Public schools
    • La Porte Community Schools
      • La Porte High School
      • La Porte Middle School
      • La Porte Intermediate School
      • Crichfield Elementary
      • Hailmann Elementary
      • Handley Elementary
      • Indian Trail Elementary
      • Kingsbury Elementary
      • Kingsford Heights Elementary
      • Lincoln Elementary
      • Riley Elementary
      • South LaPorte County Special Education Cooperative
  • Private schools
    • La Lumiere School (9–12)
    • Saint John Lutheran School (K–8)
    • St. Joseph's School (PK–5) – closed June, 2012
    • Door Prairie Adventist Christian School (PK–8)
    • Renaissance Academy (PK–8)

With eight state baseball titles, La Porte High School holds the distinction of winning the greatest number in Indiana.

Public library

The city has a public library, a branch the La Porte County Public Library.

Notable people

See also

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