Much of the information in the On Our History pages was excerpted from an article in The Times Of Northwest Indiana written by Porter/LaPorte Editor Doug Ross that was published on February 15, 2018. You can CLICK HERE to read the full article.
Getting Ready To Build
"Just like when the original courthouse was built, in 1837, the new opera house was paid for through subscriptions. Residents were encouraged to pay for a brick in the new building.
That wasn’t the only way the money was raised. Lectures were given with the ticket fees going to to the new building.
“Dinners, bake sales, anything you’d never amount to much, they did to raise the money,” Pazour said.
Without the Woman’s Relief Corps working to raise money, that building wouldn’t have built, he said.
The Porter County Museum is remodeling the old City Hall, fire station and police station at 16 Indiana St. for a museum annex.
“I think we’d have to hold 100,000 bake sales to come anywhere near what we need,” he said."
1893 Architectural rendering of the Memorial Opera House by Charles Lembke. Image Courtesy of Porter County Museum.
"Memorial Hall, as it was first known, was designed by Charles Lembke, but built not by Lembke’s brother, Christian Lembke, but by John D. Wilson & Sons, who constructed other government buildings in Valparaiso in that era, Pazour said.
Wilson’s contract was for $9,950, according to the May 11, 1893, issue of The Messenger. That would be $275,505 in 2017 dollars according to Westegg’s inflation calculator online."
This drawing of Memorial Opera House appeared in the November 28, 1893 issue of The Daily Inter Ocean of Chicago. Image provided by Porter County Museum.
"By November, the building was finished."
- Doug Ross, The Times Of Northwest Indiana
Chaplain Brown Post of the GAR in downtown Valparaiso.
If this is a picture of their march from the old building to the newly constructed Memorial Hall, this image was taken November 11, 1893. It would make this the only known photograph of the event in existence.