Scenic photo of the beaches and dunes

photo by: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore/Flickr/CC BY-NC ND 2.0

May 27, 2016

Discover 200 Years Of Architectural History In One Place

  • By: Katharine Keane

Just an hour from Chicago over the Indiana border sit 15,000 acres of dunes, swamps, bogs, and marshes overflowing with 350 species of birds and over 1,000 different plants. Established as a compromise in response to the controversial construction of the Port of Indiana in 1966, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at the southern tip of Lake Michigan is best known for its diverse natural history.

However, as settlers passed between the eastern seaboard and the cities of the west, the Indiana Dunes Lakeshore experienced continuous development and growth starting as early as the 19th century. Railroads were constructed and the onset of World War I accelerated the already burgeoning steel industry that both bolstered local economy and threatened the dunes and natural landscape.

On May 13 and 14, Indiana Landmarks will offer their second "Logs to Lustrons" tour, featuring 12 sites and over 100 years of architecture in the Indiana Dunes Lakeshore. Find all the important information here.

exterior of bailly homestead

photo by: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore/Flickr/CC BY-NC ND 2.0

The main house was under construction when Joseph Bailly died in 1935.

cabin at bailly homestead

photo by: Indiana Landmarks

The log structure was constructed around 1874 as a companion to a chapel also on the property.

Bailly Homestead

This National Historic Landmark was constructed by early Indiana Dunes settler Joseph Bailly who moved his family in 1824 to establish a fur-trading post. Bailly acquired over 2,000 acres of land during his lifetime spent in the Calumet region of the state. The Bailly Homestead holdings are a unique combination of the vernacular architecture of the main house with rustic log structures and even a family cemetery.

Chellberg Farm

Part of the Swedish community established in the 1850s, the Chellberg family arrived in 1863 and by 1869 had purchased 40 acres of land for a farm. After an earlier wooden-frame house was burned down, this brick farmhouse was constructed in 1885 and is often referred to as “Gabel Ell” house form—a very popular style among Swedish immigrants at the time. The kitchen was constructed around 1901 and the aerometer windmill is thought to be from between 1901-1907.

The NPS restored the farmhouse—with the exception of the Chellberg’s 1920s dining room—to its early 20th century appearance in the 1980s.

Exterior Peter Larson house

photo by: Indiana Landmarks

The Sears Catalog house features a gable roof and front porch.

Peter Larson Site

Built in 1910, this Sears Catalog House named “The Silverdale” is an example of the late 19th-early 20th century trend of catalog homes that dictated taste and architectural style throughout the region. This design was created in reaction to the extensive ornamentation of Victorian housing and instead emphasized simplicity and efficient use of space.

Homeowners could purchase the blueprints as well as the construction materials from companies such as neighboring Radford Architectural Company or Chicago House Wrecking Company in Chicago. It was often cheaper to purchase materials from companies like Sears.

This site was rehabbed in 2002 by the NPS for the Great Lakes Research and Education Center Field Station and is currently used as intern housing for the Dunes Learning Center.

Exterior Floriday Tropical house exterior

photo by: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore/Flickr/CC BY-NC ND 2.0

The Florida Tropical House

Century of Progress Homes

Constructed as part of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair “Homes of Tomorrow Exhibition,” structures like the Florida Tropical House, the House of Tomorrow (a National Treasure), the Armco-Ferro House, and the Cypress Log Cabin remain in the Beverly Shores area of Indiana Dunes Lakeshore. The exhibit was intended to show innovations in architecture, building materials, and design.

Designed in the Modernist style by Robert Law Weed, the Florida Tropical House is best known for its iconic Florida pink color and was constructed for around $15,000 in 1933.

Exterior of the Solomon Enclave house

photo by: Indiana Landmarks

Exterior of a split-level Solomon Enclave house.

Solomon Enclave

Credited as an example of the move toward modern architecture, the houses of the Solomon enclave were designed by Chicago architect Louis Solomon prior to those designed by Otto Kolb or the Lustron homes of the 1950s. Designed and used as summer homes, these houses are designed to reflect their individual typography as well as maximize views of Lake Michigan. With open layouts and simple furnishings, the interiors are considered to reflect the International Style. Solomon even designed the furnishings for two of the three homes.

Exterior of blue lustron house with porch view

photo by: Indiana Landmarks

The large screened-in porch was added to the original design upon construction.

The Jacob Lustron

Created in response to the housing crisis following World War II, prefabricated Lustron homes were shipped and constructed all over the United States in the late 40s and 50s. Constructed on average in 350 hours—or about two weeks—Lustron homes were made up of welded, porcelain enameled steel frames. The Jacob Lustron home is an example of the two-bedroom, “Westchester Deluxe” model and was constructed in 1950.

Katharine Keane headshot

Katharine Keane is a former editorial assistant at Preservation Magazine. She enjoys getting lost in new cities, reading the plaques at museums, and discovering the next great restaurant.

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