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Historic Homes of Valparaiso

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Historic Structures of

Valparaiso, Indiana

Commercial Structures

At the heart of this 160-year-old city is the Courthouse Square, the city center of business and shopping. Built mostly in the 1850's and 1860's, the structure of Courthouse Square forms an historic arrangement of public and commercial buildings. Almost 150 years and several makeovers later, the square displays a delightful variety of architectural history in its structures from 19th century Greek and Roman forms of the Porter County Courthouse, to the ornate Victorian Opera House, to the neoclassical First National Bank.

To further strengthen "a living city image," Valparaiso adopted a strategy of downtown beautification, an example of cooperation between the city and its residents. Unfortunately, late in 1996, an arson fire occurred in a major historic department store building (not shown here) while it was undergoing renovation .

To visit downtown Valparaiso, from the intersection of routes 30 and 130, go north 2.3 miles to Center.


Porter County Courthouse is located at the center of the Downtown Valparaiso, Indiana

The Porter County Courthouse is located at the center of the Downtown Valparaiso city square.

Click the above picture for a view of the Courthouse at night.


A downtown Valparaiso, Indiana street

A downtown Valparaiso street.


Two-part commercial block building, Valparaiso, Indiana

A respectfully maintained clothier's shop in downtown Valparaiso.

This is a two-part commercial block building, the most common form of architecture for small and moderate-sized commercial buildings in the United States. The style is characterized by a horizontal separation into two distinct zones, reflecting differences in use of the upper and lower floors of the building. The street-level zone serves as a public space (in this case, a retail shop), while the upper floor may serve as living quarters, meeting rooms or offices.


Elks Temple Building, downtownValparaiso, Indiana

Elks Temple Building, downtown Valparaiso.


Valparaiso Indiana City Hall

Valparaiso City Hall also houses a Post Office.


Memorial Opera House


On the National Register and hosts regular community enrichment events. Stone plaque on the front reads:

OF 1861-5

Interior pictures of this building
Courtesy of Dan Orr

Historical Society of Porter County museum Valparaiso, Indiana

This Italianate-style building located at 153 Franklin (next door to the opera house above) served as a jail and sheriff's residence from 1871 to 1974. It is now the Historical Society of Porter County museum. Fashionable in England and the U.S. in the 1840's and 1850's, the Italianate style is characterized by low-pitched, heavily-bracketed roofs, and round-arched windows.


Historical Society of Porter County museum Valparaiso, Indiana

The jailhouse portion of the building, built of rusticated stone, is almost castle-like. The design suggests security and great soundness. The great care that went into the design of this building is reflective of the sensitivity of the era in which it was built. Since this building had to house hardened criminals in the heart of the downtown area, it was designed to not only be as unobtrusive as possible, but to actually be picturesque. And it succeeded grandly.


Richardsonian Romanesque building, Valparaiso, Indiana

This grand Richardsonian Romanesque building, a former school, now houses a boy's and girl's club of Indiana, an excellent example of a new use for an historic building.


Historic Homes of Valparaiso


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