Farming and Harvesting

Native Americans were the first to develop industry in the Calumet region, through the fur trade with European immigrants. As European settlers populated the region, they brought with them their agricultural practices, recreational pursuits, and other activities of daily life. The coming of the railroads offered opportunities for entrepreneurial local farmers and other small businesses to sell their products to wider markets–and for tourists to enjoy the lakeside and the woods.

This 20th century map of pre- to early-European settlement shows how over these centuries Native Americans had a widespread and enduring presence that included significant interactions with while traders, soldiers and settlers.

Mapmaker unknown
First half of 20th century
From the Norman Bergandahl collection, Calumet Regional Archives.

Perhaps most striking, compared to the Bergandahl map above, is that there is no depiction of Native Americans on the landscape. This omission reflects not only the removal of most Native Americans from their land, but also that the Native peoples who remained were not seen as part of the white settlers’ vision for the land. This map illustrates the land platted by Solon Robinson, who founded the city of Crown Point in 1834.

Map of “Unsold” Land
Crown Point Public Library

Lake Cedar Lake’s ice harvesting industry was an essential part of the emerging meat packing industry. Workmen wore metal cleats to keep from slipping.

Ice Harvesting
Cedar Lake Historical Association

This herd of Jersey cows was affiliated with a Cedar Lake resort, so may have provided the milk for guests and added the “countryside” feeling city visitors were looking for. 

Jersey cows grazing at Cedar Lake
Cedar Lake Historical Association

J.H. Meyer established his residential farm at Cedar Lake in the 1850s. From the time of the earliest Euro-American settlements, dairy farming was a main occupation for those living on the wet, poor farmland of northern Lake County.

Milk Can
Cedar Lake Historical Association

Explore more about Natural Opportunity

Recreation and Tourism
With the arrival of passenger rail in the Calumet Region…

Botanical Treasures of the Calumet Dunes
These botanical specimens document the Calumet’s biodiverse dune and swale landscape…

Saving Some Space for Nature
For the last century, Northwest Indiana residents have advocated…

Natural Opportunity: Introduction
Explore how natural opportunities have shaped–and continue to shape–the region...

Explore other themes by clicking the photos below

Industrial Opportunity

Social Opportunity

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