Publication: Year Book of the Society of Indiana Pioneers
Indianapolis, IN, United States
The 1973 Fall Pilgrimgae [sic] Pilgramage
By INA CRAWFORD HINES
THE 1973 FALL PILGRIMAGE of the Society of Indiana Pioneers started from the Greyhound Bus Station in Indianapolis at 8 o'clock on a dismal rainy Saturday morning, October 13, on a chartered Indianapolis-Vincennes bus. Mr. and Mrs. John L. Goldthwaite and Lyndon Beals followed by car, since all the seats on the bus were reserved. Mary Cedars was picked up at the King's Crown Inn in Lafayette. Mr. and Mrs. Howard B. Houghton met us at Kokomo, Helen C. Beatty joined the group for a light breakfast at the Holiday Inn at Logansport. Rain continued until we reached the new Howard Johnson Motel at Portage, where we had overnight reservations. Then the sun broke through the clouds. The weather became warm and beautiful for the rest of the trip.
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Perkins of Culver and the Harwoods, with two guests, from Muskegon, Michigan, joined the party and enjoyed a roast beef luncheon with us. Afterward we drove to nearby Burns Harbor. The party was divided into two groups. One group listened to an excellent talk by Jack Fitzgerald, Chief Executive Officer and Port Director, on the early history of the harbor prior to 1816 and its development down to the present time. Slides showed pictures of the operations of the two main users of the Port — Bethlehem Steel and the Midwest Division of National Steel. Ships from foreign countries are making use of this most modern deep-water harbor. The Port Director is hoping to attract many more ships from around the world. The Port gives easy access to overseas markets through the St. Lawrence Seaway. It also serves major United States overland markets throughout the midwest over excellent rail and highway facilities.
The second group received a Department of Natural Resources patrol boat ride over the harbor waters to the entrance. Then the groups exchanged places. Many thought the trip through the Port was the highlight of the Pilgrimage.
We returned to the Howard Johnson Motel where a dinner of Rock Cornish Hen was beautifully served. Miss Margaret Larson, a friend of the Bailly Family, gave a warm, absorbing story of the Bailly House. As a child she visited in their home. Later she and her mother lived in one of their houses. Joseph Bailly was born in Quebec in 1774 of a wealthy French family. He became a fur trader and missionary, settling, in 1824, on the Little Calumet River beside the Old Sauk Trail. He died in 1835 and was buried in a family cemetery on his property.
On Sunday morning we drove to the Bailly Farm. There a young Northern Illinois College graduate, a National Park Service guide, told us about the four buildings still standing today — reminders of this early historical family and its activities in the community.
After leaving the Bailly Homestead, we had a pleasant ride through the countryside to Michigan City, located at the mouth of Trail Creek, which empties into Lake Michigan. It was founded in 1832 as the northern terminus of the Old Michigan Road, which ran from the Ohio River at Madison. Our first stop was at the Old Lighthouse, built in 1858 and retired from service when a new lighthouse was built. In 1965 the Michigan City Historical Society signed a lease agreement with the City to restore the Old Lighthouse, and on June 9, 1973, the Museum was formally dedicated. It contains a large picture of Hoosier Slide, a dune 200 feet high which was the site of many outings and weddings. When it was found that the sand was good for glass making 13 1/2 million tons were shipped all over the country. The biggest users were Ball Brothers of Muncie, for fruit jars; Pittsburgh Plate Glass at Kokomo; and Hemingray Glass Company for glass insulators on telephone poles. A Northern Indiana Public Service Company electric plant now stands on the site. A few of our members were envious of a fisherman who caught a 17-pound chinook salmon while they watched from the lighthouse grounds.
One of the unplanned and unexpected pleasures of our trip came about by a chance meeting at the Lighthouse with the Director of the Barker Civic Center. He extended an invitation to tour the Barker Mansion of 38 rooms, seven fireplaces and 10 bathrooms. The home was copied after art English manor house and furnished with imported furniture and art objects purchased from New York collectors. It provided the utmost in comfort and luxury. Most of the wealth of the Barker family came from the building of freight cars. The company was merged later with Pullman Standard. The mansion, now serving as a cultural center, draws large numbers of people for meetings and tours. It has become a charming historical memorial available to all non-partisan, non-profit making groups — a heritage with a future.
From the Barker Mansion, en route to dinner, we passed the Indiana State Prison and did not lose a passenger.
The Sunday dinner of ham with raisin sauce was served at the Michigan City Holiday Inn. The Director of the Barker Civic Center, Mrs. Ferrel Speer, Mrs. William Dittrich, Eugene McDonald and Gretchen Tyler were presented to the group at this time and made short responses. Lyndon Beals offered the grace.
After the dinner we moved on to the International Friendship Gardens just east of Michigan City. Many nations have contributed plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees to its beauty. One hundred acres of land are set aside for these scenic gardens. Operatic, choral, and orchestral productions are offered during the summer season at two outdoor theatres. The park also provides a huge bird sanctuary attracting many song birds. After the long walk through the gardens we re-boarded the bus to head for home.
Our thanks for such an excellent trip go to our Chairman, Howard B. Houghton, and to his committee, and to President Wilson S. Daily, Troy Thurston, Treasurer Percy Weer, and Dr. I. George Blake of Franklin College. As expected, Dr. Blake provided tour booklets giving points of interest concerning the areas through which we traveled, and facts about the pioneers who made these scenes famous. Dr. Blake's timely and pertinent comments made the trip a more memorable occasion. Al Trefz and John Goldthwaite are to be thanked for memorializing many of the scenes of the trip on film and slide.
Fifty-five members and guests participated in the various activities of the tour, which ended at 6:30 P.M. on October 14.
|Date completed:||May 30, 2011 by: Bob Stahr;|