Historic Structures of
Crown Point, Indiana
For many years the Lake County, Indiana Seat (Pop: 16,455).
President Reagan got
married here (to Jane Wyman); so did Rudolph Valentino, who drove three
times around the ornate high-towered courthouse,
waving to assembled throngs. Today, "Valentino's," an ice cream parlor
in the basement of the courthouse, is named after him.
marriage-mill in the 'twenties, Crown Point's greatest international
fame came from the escape of desperado John Dillinger, after the famous
photograph with his arm around the prosecuting attorney, in 1934. You
can visit the jail cell where he was incarcerated, the jailhouse
museum, and dine at a jail-themed restaurant. The jail, by the way, is
the one from which Dillinger made his famous escape using a gun carved
from wood (not soap as is commonly believed)!
"The central business
district has bold architectural significance," said a spokesperson for
Design Organization Inc., a Valparaiso architecture firm commissioned
to find buildings in Crown Point worthy of preserving. "Several major
styles of American architecture from Victorian to modern can be found,"
found the front of the old Lake County sheriff's home and jail at 232
S. Main St. to be an excellent example of second Empire architecture
with its central tower topped with a mansard roof and bracketed cornice.
The Cheshire Hall,
103 W. Joliet, is considered a good example of the Italianate style,
and the columnated People's State Bank Building, 138 S. Main, brings a
touch of Neoclassical style to the downtown square.
The study classified
the Masonic Temple, 213 S. Main St., as an outstanding building in the
district because the brick structure has been little altered since it
was built in 1919.
attraction is the carefully restored courthouse with its historical
museum, basement of shops, and summer theatre in the county council
chambers on the third floor.
Drive down Court
Street to the Fairgrounds for a look at some fine stately old mansions.
An immense County Fair takes place here the first weekend of August.
As evidenced by its
recent success in achieving historic designation for the downtown area,
Crown Point Indiana has one of the most progressive attitudes toward
historic preservation in the region, as well as some of the best kept historic homes.