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Northwest Indiana

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Northwest Indiana
Map of Northwest Indiana

Common name: The Region
Largest city
Other cities
Hammond
- Gary
- Michigan City
- Portage
- Valparaiso
Counties - Jasper
- Lake
- LaPorte
- Newton
- Porter

Northwest Indiana, also known as the South Shore and The Calumet Region, or simply The Region, comprises Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, and Jasper counties in Indiana. This region neighbors Lake Michigan, and is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. According to the 2010 Census, Northwest Indiana has a population of 819,537 and is the state's second largest urban area after the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area. The region's largest city is Hammond, followed closely by Gary. Other municipalities in Northwest Indiana include Chesterton, Crown Point, Dyer, East Chicago, Griffith, Highland, Hobart, Kentland, Lake Station, La Porte, Merrillville, Michigan City, Munster, Portage, Rensselaer, Schererville, St. John, and Valparaiso.

Overview

The counties of Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, and Porter are included in the Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City Combined Statistical Area, the broadest of the census defined Metropolitan definitions. Unlike the majority of Indiana, which operates on Eastern Standard Time, these counties are among six in Northern Indiana that are in the Central Time Zone (the other being Starke). This reflects their close economic integration in the Chicago metropolitan area. This area of Indiana, along with the Illinois counties of Cook (southern), Will, Kankakee, and Iroquois, are often referred to as Illiana (pronounced "Il-ee-AN-a") by local media.

Three counties – Lake, Porter, and LaPorte – are served by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission metropolitan planning organization.[1]

Geography

The Long Stairs up the dune at West Beach on the Succession Trail

The Lake Michigan shore is a major attraction. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which stretches from Gary to Michigan City, is a well-preserved stretch of sand dunes, beaches, grasslands, and forests, as well as several historical homes and buildings.

Other prominent geographical features of Northwest Indiana include the Valparaiso Moraine, Tinley Moraine, Calumet Shoreline, Glenwood Shoreline, and the Kankakee River and Kankakee Outwash Plain.[2]

Chicago Lake Plain

The Chicago Lake Plain covers the northern quarter of Northwest Indiana. Initially, the plain was flat, composed of glacio-lacustrine deposits. These formed under the waters of glacial Lake Michigan. The lake formed from the melting glaciers north of the Valparaiso Moraine. Eventually the lake topped a low spot on the moraine. This lowered the lake level to current day Lake Michigan levels (Horsley, 1986).[3] Along the Lake Michigan shoreline, the prevailing winds have built a series of dune ridges, breaking up the original flat surface of the Lake Plain.

Wheaton Morainal Plain

Physiography of the Upper Illinois River Basin

South of the Chicago Lake Plain is the Wheaton Morainal Plain. The Wheaton Morainal Plain follows the Valparaiso Moraine in a sweeping arc, paralleling the Lake Michigan Shoreline. The plain consist of rolling Wisconsinan-age moraines. The Morainal Plain is clayey till, and sandy and loamy till, with areas of sand and gravel. Other deposits include lake clay, silt, and alluvium. Deposits are between 50 and 200 ft thick, with many southern areas have over 200 ft of till. (Mades, 1987). [3]

Kankakee Till Plain

The Kankakee Till Plain is an outwash plain formed by the variable gradient, variable volume, and variable velocity of glacial floods (Mickelson and others, 1984). Deposits are predominately sand and gravel, but also include alluvium and fill materials. Deposits average less than 200 ft thick; in the lowlands they can be less than 50 ft thick, while in the upland they can be more than 200 ft thick. Local elevation changes are less than 100 ft. [3]

Bloomington Ridged Plain

The Bloomington Ridged Plain covers only the most southern part of Northwest Indiana in the valley of the Iroquois River. This area consists of low and rolling hills, i.e., moraines with less than 300 ft changes in elevation. The soils are loamy till, lake clay and silt. Unlike the northern half of Northwest Indiana, the Huron-Erie glacial lobe left these deposits in it northeastward retreat. Deposits are less than 200 ft thick; with some of more than 400 feet thick. [3]

Steuben Morainal Lake Area

The Steuben Morainal Lake Area is also the remains of the Saginaw glacial lob and covers only the eastern-most part of the Northwest Indiana. The area includes knob and kettles. ‘Knobs are formed when a melting glacier deposits hills of sand and gravel into a depression left by the ice. Kettles are formed when ice blocks from a glacier melt in depressions left by the ice.’ Many of the kames and peat bogs throughout this area are formed in these Kettles. Deposits are loamy till of more 200 ft thick. Variation in elevation is less than 110 feet. (Schneider, 1966). [3]

Economy

The northern portion of Northwest Indiana is noted for its heavy industry. Gary, Portage, Burns Harbor and East Chicago are home to major steel mills, including the largest North American facilities for both U.S. Steel (Gary Works) and ArcelorMittal (Indiana Harbor). Whiting and Hammond are home to the largest oil refinery in the Midwestern U.S., operated by BP. Other industrial outputs include fabricated metals, transportation equipment, and food products.

Since the 1990s, casino gambling has become a significant component of Northwest Indiana's economy. Three casino boats with approximately 207,000 square feet (19,200 m2) of aggregate gaming space are located along Lake Michigan in Lake County. An additional 65,000 square feet (6,000 m2) of gaming space is located in Michigan City.[4]

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and the Indiana State Legislature formed the entity known as the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) in 2006.[5] The RDA, a special-purpose district, is vested with both legal authority and tax dollars to invest in transportation and economic development throughout the region.

A number of Northwest Indiana's suburban towns and cities, such as Munster and St. John serve as affluent bedroom communities for Chicago. Retail trade, health care and other service industries represent the dominant economic activities in these areas.

Education

Colleges and universities located in Northwest Indiana include Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana University Northwest (IU Northwest) in Gary, Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Purdue University North Central in Westville, Valparaiso University in Valparaiso (the largest independent Lutheran University in the United States) and Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer. These institutions offer a variety of degree programs in fields such as business administration, engineering and engineering technology, law, education, computing and information technology, and the liberal arts. Additionally, Northwest Indiana is proximate to numerous other universities elsewhere in Indiana and in the Chicago metropolitan area.[6]

Counties

Census Bureau population statistics

Census Area 2010 Census 2000 Census 1990 Census 1980 Census 1970 Census 1960 Census 1950 Census
Jasper County, Indiana
33,478
30,043
24,960
26,138
20,429
18,842
17,031
Lake County, Indiana
496,005
484,564
475,594
522,965
546,253
513,269
368,152
LaPorte County, Indiana
111,467
110,106
107,066
108,632
105,342
95,111
76,808
Newton County, Indiana
14,244
14,566
13,551
14,844
11,606
11,502
11,006
Porter County, Indiana
164,343
146,798
128,932
119,816
87,114
60,279
40,076
Total
819,537
786,077
750,103
792,395
770,744
699,003
513,073

Transportation

Major airports

Commuter rail

South Shore Train at Dune Park Station

*South Shore Line connecting Chicago to South Bend, Indiana, passing through Gary and Michigan City

Area codes

Local media

New Media

Print

Broadcast

Northwest Indiana natives

Parks and Nature Areas

References

  1. ^ Welcome to the NIRPC Home Page
  2. ^ Environmental Geology of Lake and Porter Counties, Indiana An Aid to Planning; By EDWIN J. HARTKE, JOHN R. HILL, and MARK RESHKIN; ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY 8 DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY SPECIAL REPORT 11
  3. ^ a b c d e Environmental Setting of the Upper Illinois River Basin and Implications for Water Quality Water-Resources Investigations Report 98–4268; Terri L. Arnold, Daniel J. Sullivan, Mitchell A. Harris, Faith A. Fitzpatrick, Barbara C. Scudder, Peter M. Ruhl, Dorothea W. Hanchar, and Jana S. Stewart; U.S. Geologic Survey, Department of the Interior; Urbana, Illinois; 1999; pg 11
  4. ^ http://www.southshorecva.com/visitor-information/casinos/
  5. ^ RDA: Home
  6. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2007". U.S. News & World Report. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/directory/brief/drglance_1842_brief.php. Retrieved 2006-11-25.
  7. ^ a b c d Streets of Northwest Indiana; Rand McNally, Chicago, Illinois, 2008
  8. ^ a b c d Indiana Atlas and Gazetter; DeLorme, Yarmouth, Vermont

 

This page was last modified on 29 October 2011 at 04:48.


 


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