LaPorte, (French for "The Door") is a small town located in LaPorte County, Indiana. Its population was 22,053 at the 2010 census. LaPorte is in Northwest Indiana and is in the Chicago Metropolitan area. Laporte is also in the Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin Combined Statistical Area.
LaPorte was first settled in 1832. By 1835, LaPorte's settlement had grown and it was decided that LaPorte should become incorporated as a town. During the 1950s, numerous maple trees were planted along Michigan and Indiana avenues in LaPorte by a local resident, Sebastian Lay, giving LaPorte its nickname, 'Maple City'. In 1894, the third and current LaPorte County Courthouse was built at a cost of $300,000. The structure was made of red sandstone from Lake Superior, shipped by boat to Michigan city, then by railroad to LaPorte. The courthouse is considered one of the city's best-known structures. In 2007, the building had its entire exterior restored at a cost of $2.9 million. In 2011, the current, and youngest mayor in the city's history, Mayor Blair Milo, was elected at age 28.
LaPorte is also well known for the area of which Belle Gunness' serial murders took place. Belle moved to the United States in 1881 in search of wealth. Belle had posted many notices in lovelorn columns in hopes to attract wealthy men. She would lure these men to her farmland in LaPorte, Indiana, and mysteriously, they would all disappear. Not only did she murder the wealthy men she attracted after gaining their trust and riches, but also her adopted daughter, and her foster children. She did this to receive insurance claims. The remains of over forty men and children were found buried on her property. Belle eventually burned her own estate down and made it look as if she died inside also, although the body found inside was not hers. Belle withdrew most of her money from her bank accounts and skipped town before anyone even noticed. She never was tracked down, and her death has still never actually been confirmed.
The 2010 census states that the city of LaPorte has a total area of 12.37 square miles; 11.66 square miles of land and 0.71 square miles of water.
Parks and Recreation
Allesee Park (Boyd Boulevard)- 6 Acres, includes a ball diamond, basketball half-court, parking, benches, walking track, and a playground.
Ben Rees Park (Scott Street)- 1.5 acres, includes a basketball court, open field, pavilion, and a playground.
Bill Reed Tennis Complex (A Street)- Has multiple tennis courts, a pavilion, water fountains, and parking.
Charles W. Lindewald Park (Park Street)- This is LaPorte's first known park. 9.4 acres of land and is located in Lower Lake. This park has a large picnic shelter with many grills, a playground, restrooms, water fountains, ball diamond, basketball court, and horseshoe pits.
Clarke Field (Farrand Avenue)- This park is on 6 acres of land and includes ball diamonds, water fountains, a playground, restrooms, and a concession stand.
Fox Memorial Park (Truesdale Avenue)- This is LaPorte's largest park. It is on 170 acres of land. About 100 acres of this park is taken up by Clear Lake. This park offers two playgrounds, a basketball court, baseball diamonds, many picnic shelters, grills, water fountains, walking trails, fishing and boating, and also 'Thrills 'n' Spills Skate Park'.
Hastings Park(Monroe Street)- Small park with a playground and benches.
Kesling Park(A Street)- 90 acres of land, includes basketball courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, walking and nature trail, picnic shelters, tennis courts, a sledding hill, and Fort La Play Porte, a large community-built playground.
Koomler Park(Miller Street)- 4 acres of land offering a playground, basketball half-court, and a ball diamond.
Rumley Park(Home Street)- 4-acre park that has fishing, a playground, picnic facilities, and a basketball court.
Scott Field(Jefferson Avenue)- This park has 5 acres of land which include a picnic shelter, many benches, a basketball court, a ball diamond, and a playground.
Soldiers Memorial Park(Pine Lake Avenue)- This park is located on Stone Lake and offers swimming, volleyball, walking trails, picnic shelters and benches, two playgrounds, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, a baseball diamond, fishing, and boating. This park also has restrooms, water fountains, and a concession stand that are open to the public during the summer months.
Warsaw Tot Lot(Warsaw Street)- This is a small park on less than one acre of land that includes a small playground, benches, and a basketball half-court.
Pine Lake Beach(Pine Lake Avenue)- This is a public beach with a pavilion, picnic tables, a newly built walk-way going across the beach, parking, and a large grill.
Ski-Beach(Waverly Road)- Public beach with picnic tables and grills. Commonly used by local boaters, also contains a channel connecting Pine Lake to Stone Lake.
LaPorte County Fair- Indiana's oldest county fair. Consists of carnival games and rides, fair food, demolition derby, live musical performances, and Monster truck races. The next county fair is scheduled for July 12th-18th, 2015.
LaPorte Cruise Night- This cruise is annually held in LaPorte and is open to all of the public to attend. You may also be part of the cruise if you own your own antique vehicle. This cruise goes down Lincolnway Avenue. The next event is expected to be held on June 13, 2015.
Maple City Grand Prix- This event attracts many to the Stone Lake Beach. This event contains 15 F1 boats and 13 F-Lights boats racing around the lake for 3 full days. Also, this event contains a Saturday night boat parade and block party. The 3rd Annual Event will be help May 29th- May 31st.