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Historic Structures of

Michigan City, Indiana

Incorporated in 1836, Michigan City is a manufacturing center with products that include air compressors, boilers, furniture, and clothing. A historic state prison and a U.S. Coast Guard station are also here.

The city, located near Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, is a summer resort and yachting center. Other recreational amenities include a zoo and Lighthouse Place, a large shopping center located on the former site of John Barker's Pullman car manufacturing complex, just a few blocks away from the historic downtown area. Most of the factory buildings burned down years ago, but two original buildings remain and have become part of the popular outlet center.

The community was settled in the early 1830s and named for Michigan Road (a route linking the Ohio River with Lake Michigan), of which it was the Northern terminus. During the 19th century it was an important grain- and lumber-shipping port. Pop. (1980) 36,850; (1990) 33,822.

Michigan City is home to a fair amount of historic architecture, but it desperately needs preservation programs and historic district legislation to preserve its important historic and architectural heritage.

Photos by Tim Arends

Michigan City, Indiana Historic City Hall

City Hall


Michigan City, Indiana Historic Barker Mansion

Barker Mansion

This stately residence, designed by Chicago architect Frederick Perkins, was built in 1900-1905 for John H. Barker, freight car industrialist. The mansion overlooked a massive Pullman car manufacturing compound. Now a museum, this 38-room English manor-style home is filled with original furnishings, imported art objects, rare woods and imported marble. This mansion is a must-visit at Christmastime, when nearly every major room is decorated for the holiday.

Call (219) 873-1520 for tour information.


Michigan City, Indiana Historic Commercial Building

A beautifully maintained corner building. Italianate.


Michigan City, Indiana Historic Gothic Revival style church

This church is a fine example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture characterized by pointed arches and ribbed vaulting. This broad style of architecture stemmed from a movement of the 18th and 19th centuries aimed at reviving the spirit and forms of Gothic architecture.


A bank building in downtown Michigan City of unusual design,one of the original "green" buildings. The trellis at the top of the building is an original part of the design; its purpose was to allow vinelike foliage to grow, forming a sort of rooflike canopy for the building.


Michigan City, Indiana Historic Italianate style church building

Italianate style church. Italianate, fashionable in England and the U.S. in the 1840's and 1850's, is characterized by low-pitched, heavily-bracketed roofs, asymmetrical informal plan, square towers, and often, round-arched windows.

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