The Horse Racing and Gambling capital of the midwest
There were three horse racing tracks in the far northern end of Hammond, a boxing arena which hosted championship bouts, and an off-track betting facility that drew thousands. The full story could fill a book. So, let’s just look at how it all came about, and what it looked like at the start of our brief reign as a gambler’s paradise.
St. Michael’s School
As Sacred Heart Parish celebrated its 130th anniversary on June 28, it’s interesting to note that its first school, the first Catholic parochial school in Whiting, was not named Sacred Heart.
While there are amusement parks which date back long before the opening of Disneyland in the 1950s, it was Disneyland that popularized the idea of the theme park. Whiting, Indiana was home to one of these early amusement parks.
Clark High School - Part Three
This short history of George Rogers Clark High School is taken from the Golden Anniversary booklet published in 1982. It will cover the years from 1960-1982.
Whiting, Before There Was A Whiting
If Standard Oil had not come here; if the industrial barons of the early 20th century had not decided that Northwest Indiana was a wonderful place to locate their mills, refineries and factories; if Chicago had not grown into a major world city, would our naturally sandy corner of Indiana be like the Indiana Dunes?
The building we all know as City Hall served many roles over the years. It started as a church, became an armory, shared time as a boxing arena, dance hall and eventually became Whiting’s municipal center.
Clark High School - Part Two
This short history of George Rogers Clark High School is taken from the Golden Anniversary booklet published in 1982 by the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee. It will cover the years from 1946-1959.
Though it may be hard to believe, over the years there have been four other movie houses besides the beloved Hoosier plus an Opera House in the city of Whiting.
The Supreme Court cleared the way in May 2018 for states to legalize sports betting, striking down a federal law that had prohibited most states from authorizing sports betting. However, some people in Whiting did not let a little law get in the way of running gambling dens throughout the city.
Clark High School
This short history of George Rogers Clark High School is taken from the Golden Anniversary booklet published in 1982 by the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee. It will cover the years from 1932 to 1945.
It was the city’s tallest building, on its most expensive lot, on its busiest intersection. The Central State Bank Building, and its journey from being “The Pride of Whiting,” to its days as “A Dangerous Eyesore.”
Gruener’s Grove was an entertainment area at the turn of the century. It was located on Sheffield Avenue, where the Family Dollar is today.
Door-to-Door on 119th Street
A snapshot of what was on 119th Street in downtown Whiting in 1939, 1948, 1958, 1969, 1977, and today.
The History of the Hoosier Theater
Read about the history of the Hoosier Theater, one of the last remaining movie palaces in the country.
The History of White Castle
Selling ‘em by the Sack in Whiting since 1935.
The Birth of the Water Gardens
It was envisioned as a neighborhood of natural beauty along the shores of Wolf Lake, a place for people to escape from the refineries and factories of Whiting-Robertsdale. The Water Gardens were born in 1919.
Phil Smidt’s - Now Just A Memory
On October 20, 2007, one of our oldest and best known landmarks closed its door. Phil Smidt’s, the restaurant that lasted almost a century and was famous far and wide served its last plate of perch and has not a frog leg left to stand on.
Benjamin Franklin School HISTORY
Going back to the earliest days of Robertsdale.
The Stories Behind (Some) Whiting-Robertsdale Street Names
Before it closed in 1997, after more than 75 years of operation, Vogel’s was the oldest family run restaurant in the Calumet region.
While the Madura name is synonymous in the Chicago land area with ballroom music, Mike’s first claim to fame was being owner of the Indiana Gardens Roller Rink.
What Used To Be There?
Have you ever driven by a new building and wondered, “What used to be there?” Fortunately, a collection of city directories at the Whiting-Robertsdale Historical Society can help answer some of those questions.