Travel

On the square in Crown Point

Margaret and I met her sister and her sister’s husband for lunch one Saturday at a place that’s about halfway between our homes: Crown Point, a town in northwest Indiana. None of us had ever been. It surprised us how nice it was and how much there was to do on the town square.

Memo to cities and towns everywhere: You may think planting trees throughout your downtown makes everything look nicer, but it blocks the view of your historic buildings. So cut it out. This the Lake County Courthouse, completed in 1878.

Lake County Courthouse
Lake County Courthouse

These life-size figurines were inexplicably on the lawn.

Figurines on the lawn

The courthouse isn’t used as a courthouse anymore; those functions have moved to a new complex a couple miles north. Today the old courthouse is filled with shops. We toured the basement shops — apparently this used to be the jail.

Lake County Courthouse catacombs
Lake County Courthouse catacombs
Lake County Courthouse catacombs

We had lunch at a pub a couple blocks north of the square and then hit the antique shops around the square. Every storefront had some sort of business in it. That’s not always the case in other Indiana towns with squares like this one. In Indiana, most small towns have struggled for years.

Crown Point square
Crown Point square

I have to think a key to Crown Point’s success is that it’s in a county adjacent to Illinois and is part of the Chicago area. Plenty of people live in the Indiana side of “the Region” and commute to Chicago to work.

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