East Chicago, Indiana - Brief History

East Chicago's official web site provides the following information about this Indiana city:

Incorporated in 1893 as a railroad and steel town, East Chicago was one of the Northwest Indiana Region’s first industrial cities, which was created to meet the needs of its workers.  At one time, East Chicago was the home of over seventy different nationalities complete with their own ethnic based neighborhoods.

We learn more about the town from Preserve Indiana:

East Chicago (pop. 33,892) is not a part of Chicago; in fact, it is not even adjacent to Chicago. It is actually in Indiana, several miles southeast of Chicago, separated from Chicago and the Illinois-Indiana border by the city of Hammond.

A port city on Lake Michigan, East Chicago is the site of blast furnaces, rolling mills, and oil refineries. The construction of the Indiana Harbor ship Canal, as well as the steel mills, attracted dozens of industries in the early 20th century. Recently, its economy has had to diversify due to the closing or downsizing of several industrial plants.

Many foreign-born workers were attracted to the city during its industrial expansion, drawn by the multitude of low-skilled industrial jobs and the opportunity to build a better life. Workers from Western and Eastern Europe, Ireland, Germany, Greece and other countries flocked to the area. Later they were joined by an influx of Mexican workers.

Media Credits

Map online, courtesy Epodunk.com.

Quoted passages from City of East Chicago and Preserve Indiana.


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