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Porter County, Indiana facts for kids

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Porter County, Indiana
Porter County Courthouse in Valparaiso, Indiana
Porter County Courthouse in Valparaiso, Indiana
"Front Porch of the Dunes"
Location in the state of Indiana
Location in the state of Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Country United States United States
State Indiana Indiana
Region Northwest Indiana
Metro area Chicago Metropolitan
Established 1836
Named for David Porter
County seat Valparaiso
Largest city Portage (population and area)
 • Type County
 • Body Board of Commissioners
 • County 521.8 sq mi (1,351 km2)
 • Land 418.2 sq mi (1,083 km2)
 • Water 103.6 sq mi (268 km2)
 • Metro
10,874 sq mi (28,160 km2)
Area rank 29th largest county in Indiana
 • Region 2,726 sq mi (7,060 km2)
843 ft (257 m)
Highest elevation
– NE Jackson Twp
870 ft (270 m)
Lowest elevation
– at Lake Michigan
585 ft (178 m)
 • County 164,343
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 9th largest county in Indiana
374th largest county in U.S.
 • Density 393/sq mi (152/km2)
 • Metro
 • Region
Time zone UTC-6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (Central)
ZIP Codes
46301-02, 46304, 46307-08, 46341-42, 46347, 46360, 46368, 46383-85, 46391, 46393
Area code 219
Congressional district 1st
Indiana Senate districts 4th, 5th and 6th
Indiana House of Representatives districts 3rd, 4th, 10th, 19th and 20th
FIPS code 18-127
GNIS feature ID 0450382
Interstates I-80.svg Indiana Toll Road logo 1968.svg I-90.svg I-94.svg
U.S. Routes US 6.svg US 12.svg US 20.svg US 30.svg US 231.svg
State Routes Indiana 2.svg Indiana 8.svg Indiana 49.svg Indiana 130.svg Indiana 149.svg Indiana 249.svg Indiana 520.svg
Airport Porter County Regional
Waterways East Arm Little Calumet River
Kankakee River
Lake Michigan
Little Calumet River
Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor
Salt Creek
South Shore Line stations Beverly Shores – Dune Park Portage/Ogden Dunes
Public transit V-Line
  • Indiana county number 64
Demographics (2010)
White Black Asian
91.3% 3.0% 1.2%
Islander Native Other Hispanic
(any race)
0.0% 0.3% 4.2% 8.5%

Porter County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2010, the population was 164,343. The county seat is Valparaiso.

This county is part of Northwest Indiana as well as the Chicago metropolitan area.

Porter County is the site of the Indiana Dunes, an area of ecological significance. A museum called the Hour Glass located in Ogden Dunes, contains exhibits that document the ecological significance.


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

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


According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 521.78 square miles (1,351.4 km2), of which 418.15 square miles (1,083.0 km2) (or 80.14%) is land and 103.63 square miles (268.4 km2) (or 19.86%) is water, most of it in Lake Michigan. The highest point, at 870 feet (270 m), is in northeastern Jackson Township near County Road East 950 North and County Line Road. The lowest point, at 585 feet (178 m), is along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Major highways




Adjacent counties

National protected area


Franklin east of Courthouse(CLight)
Franklin Street, east side of the Courthouse Square, Valparaiso
Main Street Bldg Chesterton IN 2012
Calumet Avenue downtown Chesterton

The municipalities in Porter County and their populations as of the 2010 Census:




Census-designated places


The 12 townships of Porter County and their populations as of the 2010 Census:


Climate and weather

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

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 (−32 °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.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,162
1850 5,234 142.1%
1860 10,313 97.0%
1870 13,942 35.2%
1880 17,227 23.6%
1890 18,052 4.8%
1900 19,175 6.2%
1910 20,540 7.1%
1920 20,256 −1.4%
1930 22,821 12.7%
1940 27,836 22.0%
1950 40,076 44.0%
1960 60,279 50.4%
1970 87,114 44.5%
1980 119,816 37.5%
1990 128,932 7.6%
2000 146,798 13.9%
2010 164,343 12.0%
2015 (est.) 167,688 2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 164,343 people, 61,998 households, and 43,901 families residing in the county. The population density was 393.0 inhabitants per square mile (151.7/km2). There were 66,179 housing units at an average density of 158.3 per square mile (61.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 91.3% white, 3.0% black or African American, 1.2% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 2.3% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 8.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 29.1% were German, 18.5% were Irish, 10.1% were Polish, 9.7% were English, 5.8% were Italian, and 5.6% were American.

Of the 61,998 households, 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.2% were non-families, and 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.07. The median age was 38.4 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $73,065. Males had a median income of $59,542 versus $35,534 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,922. About 6.6% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.

Porter County Cemeteries

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

  • 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.
  • Calumet Trail. The trail is 9.1 miles (14.6 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.
  • Dunn's Bridge County Park. 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.
  • Sunset Hill Farm County Park. Located at 775 Meridian Rd, just south of U.S. 6 the Park consist of 238 acres (96 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.

Cultural Activities


  • Alton Goin Museum is operated by the Portage Community Historical Society at Countryside Park in Portage to preserve the city's history, including the Trager farmhouse.
  • Bailly Homestead & Chellberg Farm is part of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
  • Brauer Museum of Art is operated by Valparaiso University and is located in Valparaiso University Center for the Arts. It contains the largest collection of works by Junius R. Sloan.
  • Depot of Beverly Shores Museum & Art Gallery is a pink stucco museum to preserve Beverly Shores history through rotating exhibits of paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics and woodcarving.
  • Hour Glass House Museum contains the works of local artists.
  • Porter County Museum of History maintains the history of Porter County.
  • Stagecoach Inn & Panhandle Depot is operated by the Hebron Historical Society in Hebron.
  • Westchester Township History Museum is operated by the Westchester Public Library and is located in the The Brown Mansion, the former home of a wealthy family that exhibits local history of the Indiana Dunes.
  • Task Force Tips Fire Museum is operated by Task Force Tips in Valparaiso to preserve the history of fire equipment.

Live Theater

  • 4th Street Theater is a community theater in Chesterton.
  • Chicago Street Theatre is a community theater in Valparaiso.
  • Front Porch Music is a music supply store that offer a weekly 'open mic' night as sponsor concerts in Valparaiso.
  • Memorial Opera House presents live theater and a variety of other monthly programs.
  • Valparaiso Theatrical Company travels to different venues in Porter County presenting live theater with the proceeds benefitting a variety of charities.
  • Valparaiso University Center for the Arts is the Valparaiso University's performing arts center. They sponsor live stage performances of music, theater and dance.


VU Chapel(CLight)
Valparaiso University Chapel

Colleges and Universities

Public School Districts

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 – Jackson, Liberty and Westchester townships
  • East Porter County School Corporation – Morgan, Pleasant and Washington townships
  • Metropolitan School District of Boone Township – Boone Township
  • Michigan City Area Schools – Pine Township
  • Portage Township Schools – Portage Township
  • Porter Township School Corporation – Porter Township
  • Union Township School Corporation – Union Township
  • Valparaiso Community Schools – Center Township

High Schools and Middle Schools

  • Benjamin Franklin Middle School
  • Boone Grove High School
  • Boone Grove Middle School
  • Chesterton High School
  • Chesterton Middle School
  • Hebron High School
  • Hebron Middle School
  • Kouts Middle-High School
  • Morgan Township Middle/High School
  • Portage High School
  • Thomas Jefferson Middle School
  • Union Township Middle School
  • Valparaiso High School
  • Washington Township Middle/High School
  • Wheeler High School
  • William Fegely Middle School
  • Willowcreek Middle School

Elementary Schools

  • Aylesworth Elementary School
  • Bailly Elementary School
  • Boone Grove Elementary School
  • Brummitt Elementary School
  • Central Elementary School (Portage)
  • Central Elementary School (Valparaiso)
  • Cooks Corners Elementary School
  • Crisman Elementary School
  • Flint Lake Elementary School
  • Hayes Leonard Elementary School
  • Hebron Elementary School
  • Jackson Elementary School
  • John Simatovich Elementary School
  • Jones Elementary School
  • Kouts Elementary School
  • Kyle Elementary School
  • Liberty Elementary School
  • Liberty Intermediate School
  • Memorial Elementary School
  • Morgan Elementary School
  • Myers Elementary School
  • Northview Elementary School
  • Parkview Elementary School
  • Paul Saylor Elementary School
  • Pine Elementary School
  • Porter Lakes Elementary School
  • South Haven Elementary School
  • Thomas Jefferson Elementary School
  • Union Center Elementary School
  • Washington Township Elementary School
  • Westchester Intermediate School
  • Yost Elementary School

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Porter para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Famous Hispanic actors
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Chita Rivera
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