"Rev. T.H. Ball is no doubt doing a work which future generations will appreciate," wrote a prescient Lake County newspaper editor a century ago. The editor was correct, for Rev. Ball's writing has been used for reference for decades. Rev. Ball, a Baptist minister and circuit rider, often wrote reports as the secretary of the Old Settler and Historical Association of Lake County.
The following items are from those early reports:
1901 - For a time this spring, the prospect was quite bright for a sugar beet factory to be built at the village of Shelby. Many acres were planted with beet seed, the plants grew well, but for some reason not made public, no building was erected.
August 1901 - Rev. Ball visited the site north of Cedar Lake, where the Monon tracks sank into the old cranberry marsh. Thirty rods [495 feet] of the railroad right of way fell into the muck of the swamp. He said that an immense quantity of stone and clay had to be used to fill up the cavity.
April 11, 1902 - The wheels of the big steel mill at Indiana Harbor were started for the first time at the Indiana Steel Mill [Inland]. Indiana Harbor is becoming a city.
May 12, 1902 - A very large fire at Lowell started in the rear of a blacksmith shop and spread to nearby buildings. Total loss was over $3,000. [The shop was in the building now occupied by a furniture store in downtown Lowell.]
Nov. 1903 - The old log house erected by Crown Point founder Solon Robinson was demolished. The old landmark, which served as the first court house, was near the northwest corner of the square.
May 1904 - Workers commenced laying the brick pavement around the public square at Crown Point.
1905 - Only four Crown Point men were proud owners of automobiles, often scaring the horses.
June 9, 1905 - An estimated 4,000 persons were present as the veteran's monument at Lowell was dedicated by the Governor of Indiana. Over 200 old soldiers assembled at the town square to honor their comrades.
Sept. 2, 1905 - One hundred and forty members of the Dinwiddie Clan met for a reunion at the Plum Grove home of Oscar Dinwiddie. The lawn was decorated on two sides with flags from 22 nations.
1905 - A cheese factory started operations at Woodvale [Deep River] and excellent cheese was being made. In a single day that summer, 5,200 pounds [650 gallons] of milk was accepted.
Nov. 1905 - The Lowell Post Office had 364 boxes, four rural routes supplying 400 households, with proceeds for the year totalling $1,400. The Crown Point Post Office had seven rural routes, serving 500 homes. There were 33 post offices in the county in 1905.
October 1905 - Twenty-five veterans of the noted 20th Regiment Indiana Vol. Infantry held a two-day reunion at Crown Point. Their Colonel, John Wheeler, was killed at Gettysburg during the Civil War.
1905 - A verdict of $1,500 was rendered by a jury in Chicago against the Chicago City Railway in favor of the estate of George W. Waters of Lowell, who was fatally injured by a street car on March 20, 1902. Water's name can still be seen in stone atop the facade of the Colfax Lodge building in downtown Lowell, where he owned the drugstore on the lower level.
March 23, 1906 - The big grain elevator at Creston, owned by J.E. Love, was set on fire by a passing steam engine. Nearly 3,000 bushels of grain were destroyed.
1906 - A tract of 1,500 acres between Lake Michigan and the Calumet River was purchased by two railroad companies for nearly one million dollars. Steel mills are to be built on this land, as well as a new city, named Gary. The largest steel mill in the world is planned for the site.
June 1906 - Three hundred happy persons enjoyed an excursion on the new Gifford railroad. Some boarded at the village of Dinwiddie, east of Lowell, and were joined by others at the Range Line Stop. The trip took them to McCoysburg and returned. [A part of the old railroad right-of- way can still be seen just to the west of I-65 and south of State Road 2, near an A-frame home.]
1906 - John Sanger found an old Spanish coin, 12-and-a-half cents, dated 1752. The old coin was found near "Sanger's Corner," now Holtz Road and State Road 2.
1906 - It was reported that Lake County had three cities, six towns and 40 automobiles, with railroads and telephone wires nearly all over.
September 1906 - Five hundred United States Army troops from Indianapolis, with wagons and teams, rested at Crown Point on their way to Fort Sheridan, Illinois. They had camped at Orchard Grove the night before. Rev. Ball noted their courtesy and their quiet, perfect discipline.
1907 - Total eligible voters in Eagle Creek Township was 194, Cedar Creek Township, 653, and West Creek Township, 316. There was a total of 16,336 schoolchildren in Lake County.
October 1908 - The Moon and Hale Construction Company commenced running their cars on a little narrow gauge train road from the Pan Handle Station to the public square. Towed by four horses, the cars were hauling gravel for the rebuilding of Main Street in Crown Point.
February 1908 - A newspaper reported that two daredevils, Dr. Hauk and Marshall Young, drove their automobiles across Cedar Lake on the ice. They claimed to have the honor of being the first to take such a chance.
July 9, 1908 - Miss Edith Dinwiddie went to her basement and found herself surrounded by a little army of lizards - "over a hundred"! She called help and soon found that they were not dangerous.
Nov. 30, 1910 - A huge fire at the Kankakee Marsh Ranch of John Brown destroyed two large hay barns, a corn crib and a granary. Lost in the flames were 70 tons of hay, 1000 bu of corn, 1800 bu of oats, 300 bu of barley, and food for the stock.
1911 - The citizens of the Town of Crown Point cast their ballots to become a city. H.H. Wheeler was elected as the mayor of the new city.
Summer of 1911 - The Cedar Valley Creamery was making 3,000 pounds of butter each week. [The creamery was in what is now the west part of the American Legion building in Lowell.]
1911 - A total of 311 children attended schools in the Town of Lowell.
Pioneer historian Rev. Timothy Horton Ball passed away at Alabama in 1915, at the age of 88. The above information is taken from the last of his reports as secretary of the Old Settler and Historical Association of Lake County, now the Lake County Historical Society.
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