Calumet Beginnings

Calumet Beginnings

Ancient Shorelines and Settlements at the South End of Lake Michigan
Kenneth J. Schoon
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/28/2013
Format: Paperback 152 b&w photos, 20 figures, 1 map
ISBN: 978-0-253-01222-7
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The landscape of the Calumet, an area that sits astride the Indiana–Illinois state line at the southern end of Lake Michigan was shaped by the glaciers that withdrew toward the end of the last ice age—about 45,000 years ago. In the years since, many natural forces, including wind, running water, and the waves of Lake Michigan, have continued to shape the land. The lake's modern and ancient shorelines have served as Indian trails, stagecoach routes, highways, and sites that have evolved into many of the cities, towns, and villages of the Calumet area. People have also left their mark on the landscape: Indians built mounds; farmers filled in wetlands; governments commissioned ditches and canals to drain marshes and change the direction of rivers; sand was hauled from where it was plentiful to where it was needed for urban and industrial growth. These thousands of years of weather and movements of peoples have given the Calumet region its distinct climate and appeal.

Author Bio

Kenneth J. Schoon is Professor of Science Education at Indiana University Northwest. He is author of Dreams of Duneland: A Pictorial History of the Indiana Dunes Region (IUP, 2013) and City Trees.


“A detailed portrait of the thousands of years of weather and movements that give the Calumet region its distinct climate and appeal.”
 — Chicago Post-Tribune

“What Schoon—an earth science teacher and associate dean of education at Indiana University Northwest—unravels is an academic read that is still understandable for everyday folks seeking more thorough information about the subset of Earth they inhabit.”
 — Porter County Sunday Post Tribune

“Calumet Beginnings is very well-written celebration of place. The content is a meticulous compilation of secondary sources enhanced by archival materials. Schoon's passion for local history is evident throughout the volume—enough so that my family and I exited the interstate to explore the Calumet area several times this summer. Ancient moraine and shoreline remnants, ditch and levee systems, immigrant churches and cemeteries, and historic architectural edifices offer testimonials to the rich history of the Calumet area. These vestiges of the Calumet area's past will be far more meaningful to anyone reading Calumet Beginnings,33 2005”
 — Historical Geography

“We always think of a historian as giving accounts of events and people and places of note... Calumet Beginnings was quite a different take on that. He approached history from more of a scientific bent.”

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Table of Contents


Prologue: The Calumet Area

Part One. The Physical Setting
1. Seas, Sediments, and Glacial Ice: Forming the Landscapes
2. Water and Wind: Interpreting Lake Michigan's History

Part Two. The Human Touch
3. The Calumet Area before 1833
4. The Pioneer and Stagecoach Period: 1833-1858
5. Railroads and Everyday Life: 1852-1899
6. Altering the Landscape

Part Three. Community Beginnings
7. Cook County Communities
8. Lake County Communities
9. Porter and LaPorte County Communities
Epilogue: Preserved Natural Areas

Bibliographic Essay
Works Cited and Suggestions for Further Reading