Calumet: The Land of Opportunity

In this second of four Calumet Voices, National Stories exhibitions, local heritage organizations give voice to the region’s national significance. Through the stories of selected objects and images, they show how this unique landscape’s natural resources made its dramatic transformation into an industrial powerhouse possible, and how thousands of diverse people came to call this region home in the process.

Join Calumet Curator organizations Calumet Regional Archives at IUN, Cedar Lake Historical Association, Crown Point Public Library, Gary Public Library and Cultural Center (host site), Hammond Public Library, Lakeshore People’s Museum, & Northwest Indiana Steel Heritage Museum:

  • Discover how Natural, Industrial, and Social opportunities have shaped and continue to shape this dynamic region.
  • Explore how each main theme overlaps with the others. For instance, industrial heritage can be seen in the natural opportunity section and stories of social opportunity are linked to industry’s transformation of nature.
  • Learn how these kinds of intersections have created one of the most unique and special places in the country.

Natural Opportunity

Space to grow, land on which to build, and natural materials to harvest and transform, defined the first, and for a long time the enduring, opportunities people found in the Calumet region.
Click the image to the left to explore this theme.

Industrial Opportunity

Shaping the skylines of cities like Chicago and Detroit, providing what we need to drive cross-country or fly halfway around the world, these are opportunities made possible by Calumet Industry.
Click the image to the left to explore this theme.

Social Opportunity

With the concentration of so many people in places like Hammond, East Chicago, and Gary, it was inevitable that people would grasp opportunities to meet new people, learn new traditions, and harness the creative energy that comes of social friction.
Click the image to the left to explore this theme.

In addition to the highlights displayed here in this online version, the full exhibition includes a 1975 tapestry of Whiting, Indiana’s local industry and neighborhoods; a 1930s scale model of a Single Strand hot strip steel mill; a detailed schematic of Inland Steel; full protective gear worn by a U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal steel workers; historical maps and a range of local artifacts.

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