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Michigan City, Indiana facts for kids

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City of Michigan City
A South Shore Line train stops at 11th Street station.
A South Shore Line train stops at 11th Street station.
Location of Michigan City in LaPorte County, Indiana.
Location of Michigan City in LaPorte County, Indiana.
Country United States
State Indiana
County LaPorte
Townships Michigan, Coolspring
 • Total 20.59 sq mi (53.33 km2)
 • Land 20.41 sq mi (52.85 km2)
 • Water 0.18 sq mi (0.48 km2)
627 ft (191 m)
 • Total 32,075
 • Density 1,571.76/sq mi (606.87/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 219
FIPS code 18-48798
GNIS feature ID 0439078

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. In the region known to locals as Michiana, the city is about 50 miles (80 km) east of Chicago and 40 miles (64 km) west of South Bend. It had a population of 31,479 at the 2010 census.

Michigan City is noted for both its proximity to Indiana Dunes National Park and for bordering Lake Michigan. It receives a fair amount of tourism during the summer, especially by residents of Chicago and nearby cities in Northern Indiana. The lighthouse is a notable symbol of the city and is incorporated in the heading of its sole newspaper, The News Dispatch, and its official seal.


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

According to the 2010 census, Michigan City has a total area of 22.855 square miles (59.19 km2), of which 19.59 square miles (50.74 km2) (or 85.71%) is land and 3.265 square miles (8.46 km2) (or 14.29%) is water.

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


Historical population
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%
2020 32,075 1.9%
Source: US Census Bureau

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 31,479 people, 12,136 households, and 7,147 families living 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.

Climate and weather

Weather chart for Michigan City, Indiana
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: The Weather Channel

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

The city has a usual weather pattern for a temperate region with thunderstorms in the summer and snow during winter. Summers are often warm with humidity. 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.

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 years the town had grown to a size of 15 square miles. That same year, the State Bank of Indiana opened a branch in town.

Points of interest

Indiana dunes
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.

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

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. 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.

Cooling tower, Michigan City, Indiana
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. Michigan City has also added a new skatepark at Pullman Field to its tourism offerings.

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 The Andrews Plan also won an award for 2008 CNU Charter Award of Excellence. Most discussion centers on maintaining and expanding open and accessible park areas on Lake Michigan and along Trail Creek.

The Barker House, John H. Barker Mansion, Elston Grove Historic District, First Congregational Church of Michigan City, Franklin Street Commercial Historic District, Garrettson-Baine-Bartholomew House, Haskell and Barker Historic District, Michigan City East Pierhead Light Tower and Elevated Walk, Michigan City Light, Michigan City Post Office, MUSKEGON Shipwreck Site, and Washington Park are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.



07 21 09 006xRP - Flickr - drewj1946
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). A third stop, at Willard Avenue and 10th Street, closed in 1994. 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, the South Shore Line is cheaper and runs more frequently.


Michigan City operates a bus service. 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 Indiana Airport SuperSaver service between The University of Notre Dame and O'Hare airport stopped at Michigan City at the La Porte County Convention and Visitors Bureau at Marquette Mall (4073 S. Franklin St). The service made stops at Notre Dame, South Bend, Portage, Highland, Crestwood and O'Hare and Midway airports. Buses ran from 4:10 am – 1:10 am (US Central Time). Buses ran 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. On December 10, 2019 Coach USA announced it will cease operations of its Indiana Airport SuperSaver service effective January 1, 2020.


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

Options for commercial air service include 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.


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 was the name of one of the middle schools located in the city and was located at the former Elston High School), and M.C. Rogers High School (Raiders). The two schools combined after the 1994–1995 school year – the first graduating class was the Class of 1996 – 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.

Michigan City has a lending library, the Michigan City Public Library. In addition, the La Porte County Public Library operates the Coolspring branch library just outside Michigan City city limits.

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
  • Howard G. "Ward" Cunningham, author, software developer and inventor of the word and concept of the "wiki"
  • Marilla Waite Freeman was the first Librarian of the Michigan City Public Library upon its opening in 1897.
  • 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



  • Alvera Mickelsen, writer, journalism professor, advocate of Christian feminism, and co-founder of Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE)
  • 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


  • Naomi Anderson, a black suffragist
  • Richard G. Hatcher, mayor of Gary, Indiana
  • John Huppenthal, Republican State senator in the Arizona State Legislature
  • David E. Lilienthal, Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority 1941–1946; Chairman, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, 1947–1949
  • Zeola Hershey Misener, suffragist and one of the first women elected to the Indiana General Assembly
  • Scott Pelath, former Indiana House of Representatives member
  • John L. Sieb, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, barber



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

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See also

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