The area which was to become Lake County, Indiana, was once a part of the Northwest Territory, which was north and northwest of the Ohio River. Originally owned by Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, it was ceded to the general government in 1780-83, and organized as the Northwest Territory by the Ordinance of 1787. It covered land that later became the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.
In 1800 the Indiana Territory, a part of the Northwest Territory, was organized into land including the present Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. When the population grew strong enough in the present boundaries of Indiana, it became a state in 1816.
The northwest corner of the state was the last area to be surveyed (1834), and the pioneer squatters began to make their claims. But according to an old map of 1836, the land that was to become Lake County belonged to Porter County and Newton County. The map, published by S. Augustus Mitchell of Philadelphia in 1836, shows Newton County boundaries touching the south end of Cedar Lake, with Porter County land stretching to Lake Michigan and Illinois. In 1837 a part of Porter County to the west and the land in Newton County north of the Kankakee River became the boundaries of Lake County.
Soon the county land was divided into townships and the boundaries of the three 'Creek Townships' were established from the Kankakee River to Lake of the Red Cedars. Streams ran south to the river in each of these three areas, and the townships were named West Creek, Cedar Creek and Eagle Creek.
Boundaries for some of the early pioneers who settled in the area which was to become the Town of Lowell were the claims made by each of them, with the Nichols brothers having their boundaries in the area now west of the railroad. Jabez Clark's land was in the central part of Lowell, and pioneer John Driscoll's boundaries were to the east and south of town. Boundaries for 1845 settler Melvin Halsted were for a time in West Creek Township, where he was a farmer, but he dreamed of other boundaries and moved into an old cabin near Lowell's present railroad depot in 1848. Soon the lines of his land in Lowell were extended to the area near Main St. and Cedar Creek, and he planned the Town of Lowell in 1852, platting it in 1853.
Those original boundaries of the new town included lots on both sides of Main St. from Mill to Clark Sts., and south to Jefferson St. Sixteen lots were plotted, all with alleys, and all the same size. Four of the lots were on both sides of Main, west of Mill St. Mill and Main Sts. were platted to be four rods wide (66 feet).
Halsted, Clark, Moore and Nichols all made additions to the town and changed the original boundaries. A map in an old atlas of 1875 shows the west edge of town at Cedar Creek, the north border at what is now Michigan St., with the creek turning east to form the south border, and with what is now Viant St. forming the east line. The map shows the large kidney-shaped mill pond to the north, with Cedar Creek wandering about on land that is now Liberty Park. The Old Timer believes that the printer at that time showed an older map, for we know some of the buildings west of the railroad were there before 1875. There were 106 families in Lowell in 1872
With the coming of the railroad in the early 1880's The Town of Lowell began a slow expansion, with the building of homes and businesses on the upswing.
The west border moved to Nichols St. which is also the dividing line between Cedar Creek Township and West Creek Township; the north border showed little change; a few additions were made to the south, with the east boundary stopping at the Lowell Cemetery. The population stayed around 1,200 for many years.
The Lowell streets shown in the Lake County Directory show Viant St. to be the last one east, Michigan St. to the north and "Kimmet St." to the south (now "Lincoln"). The west border of Lowell was still Nichols St. that year, with persons living there listed as rural patrons.
These boundaries were the same when the Old Timer roamed as a paper boy in the 1920's, when the signs at the edge of town still read "Lowell, Population 1,200."
The town began to grow again after the Depression of the 1930's, and after World War II in the 1940's, the boundaries slowly changed. One of the first additions in those years was developed on what was pioneer John Driscoll's homestead, south of the Lowell Cemetery. Subdivisions were developed west of Nichols St. in West Creek Township, and west of the present Lowell Middle School. Houses were built on many of the vacant lots throughout the town, and the population rose steadily, reaching 4,000 in 1970.
At the present time the boundaries have greatly expanded, and few of the early citizens of Lowell would believe that the borders now include part of Redwing Lake (once called Shurte's Marsh and Lafler's Lake). As a youngster, the Old Timer thought he was miles in the country when 'camped' near what is now Gatewood Dr., off Joe Martin Rd. "Sanger's Corners," now the east boundary of Lowell, at Holtz Rd., seemed to be miles away.
Indian Hts., the large subdivision to the west in West Creek Township is still growing and contains more homes than the central part of town. Many other subdivisions are being developed in every direction, and the boundaries are changing with the years. The population of Lowell in 1980 was 5,200.
A few of the old farmhouses that were taken into town within the new boundaries are still standing, while others were demolished to make room for developments of either homes or industry. But some of the land within the town's boundaries is still being farmed, including a field of corn close to the Lowell Shopping Plaza.
The unusual pattern that defines Lowell's boundaries in 1994 includes four square miles, with an estimated population of 7,000 residents (6,400 in the 1990 Census).
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