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|1803 Oct 21
Tolland, Connecticut, Solon Robinson is born to Jacob and Salinda (Ladd)
marries Mariah Evans of Philadelphia.
Robinson and family stake claim to prairie land and thus become Crown Point's
||Territory (later designated as Lake
County) is divided into North, Center, and South Townships.
||Lake County is
decreed a county, and Liverpool is designated as its county seat. (Later the county
seat is located at the Lake County Courthouse.)
||Timothy Ball, a
youngster, and his family move to Indiana (10 mi. west of Michigan City, Indiana).
Ball later becomes a noted Crown Point minister and historian.
||Brothers Milo and Solon
Robinson begin operation of Crown Point's first general store.
||For $500, Lake County's first
courthouse is built. This two-story log structure is funded by S. Robinson.
Robinson offers final address to the Lake County Temperance Society (he being the
founder) providing a full account of this pioneer years.
||A second county courthouse
Robinson leaves Crown Point to pursue work in Washington D.C and New York.
Mariah, his wife, remains in Crown Point.
pastor and historian, establishes his home in Crown Point.
sidewalks are constructed in Crown Point.
||Crown Point is
begins on yet another Lake County Courthouse, the one that endures at
Crown Point's most prominent landmark.
||S. Robinson dies in
Jacksonville, Florida where he (due to health reasons) spent his final years.
is available for Crown Point
||Telephone service is available for
||William Jennings Bryan,
democratic presidential candidate, addresses a large audience from the courthouse steps.
||Additions to the Lake County
wins Crown Point's Cobe Cup Car Race.
||Electric streetcar begins operation,
transporting between Crown Point and Gary, Indiana.
and Winifred DeWolfe are wed at the Lake County Courthouse.
||Final single-story wing additions to
Lake County Courthouse are constructed.
escapes from the Lake County Jail.
|1973 May 17
||Old Lake County Courthouse
is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
offices move from the courthouse to the newly constructed Lake County Government Center.
||Ribbon cutting for the Old County Courthouse
as home to commercial shops
Historical Museum in Old Courthouse is opened to the public
Lake Court House Foundation, Inc.
Swisher, Charles W. and Mabel. Crown Point, Indiana
1834-1984: The Hub City. L. E. Laney & Son, Crown Point: 19884.
Cup Car Race
Believed to be
Indianaís first major car race, The Cobe Cup
continues to be an annual event for Crown Point,
Indiana. Now a ceremonial event, the once grueling
race was originally held south of the County
Courthouse. First held on June 19, 1909, this 25 mile
race was the forerunner of the Indianapolis 500.
Awarded the winnerís cup for the Cobe race was a
Swiss-born man who later became quite famous: Louis
The first (and only) 25
mile Cobe Cup was an enormous financial flop.
Promoters anticipated an onslaught of race fans, all
eager to buy tickets and flock to waiting stores to
purchase souvenirs. What happened, however, was
quite the opposite: the Cobe Cup had a grand
total of one paying ticket holder. More
frugal race fans opted for lawn chair seating along
the race route, as opposed to the ticket-charging
What was once a
financial flop has become a sentimental success.
The Cobe Cup Cruise, as it is also referred, is an
annual summertime delight for those who showcase their
vintage cars and for those who view the cars along
that historic 25 mile route.
Cup race that ran in 1909 in Crown Point, Lowell
and Cedar Lake. The winner of the event
was none other than Louis Chevrolet in his
"Buick". One of the racers in
front of St. Mary's Church in Crown Point.
Swisher, Charles W. and Swisher, Mable
Wise. Crown Point, Indiana 1834-1984: The Hub City.
L. E. Laney & son.,
Crown Point: 1984.
1999 Lake County Historic Kalendar.
Kwik Kopy Printing.
Photo: Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Dick Oram (assistance with
What other small towns can
vouch that Rudolph Valentino paraded around the town square with his new bride, waving to
admiring onlookers? It is none other than Crown Point, the town well-known as a
"marriage-mill" and where Ronald Reagan wed his bride Jane Wyman. (Also,
see Valentino article on this page.)
One of Crown Point's most endearing events, the Marriage Mill,
perpetuates the town's romantic heritage. Each summer, during the Hometown Festival,
couples stand at the courthouse steps to marry or to restate their matrimonial vows.
It must be that these couples revel in joining the ranks of other national
celebrities who have wedded at the Lake County Courthouse.
During the years of 1915 to 1940, Crown Point was a
well-known marriage mill. An estimated 175,000 couples flocked to the Lake County
Courthouse to be wed, since it became associated as a "quick and painless"
marriage site. The Justice of the Peace Howard Kemp, in those early years of the
marriage mill, advertised in Chicago that Crown Point was the "Gretna Green of the
Midwest," alluding to an area in Scotland where British couples eloped. In
Crown Point, couples could marry 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, a
later-passed blood test law in Indiana (1940) stunted the Crown Point marrying mahem; it
then took couples three days to receive test results.
Also married at the Lake County Courthouse:
Red Grange, football player
two of the Mills Brothers, singers
the parents of Michael Jackson
"Valentino is Married Here." Lake County Star.
Mar. 16, 1923. Crown Point, IN.
Miller, Avi. "Love Fills the Air as Vows
Recited." Lake County Star. June 30, 1994. Crown Point, IN.
East side of the Old Courthouse - modern day site of the
"Products" of the Marriage Mill, Jennifer and Robert
Stockton of Hebron were married June 25, 1999, at the Lovers' Landmark Celebration.
Amidst decoration at the Gretna Green wedding site, Chamber of
Commerce President, Gayle VanSessen narrates to an audience the significance of Crown
Point's marriage history.
from Crown Point Jail
January 30, 1934, the notorious John Dillinger was captured in Tucson, Arizona. Due
to a bank robbery in Chicago, which resulted in a murdered police officer, Lake County
gained priority to Dillinger. Held in the Lake County Jail (pictured) in Crown
Point, Indiana, Dillinger planned his fantastic escape.
While incarcerated in the Lake
County Jail, Dillinger carved a gun from a wooden washboard or a bar of soap (local
legend varies), and stained the fake gun with black shoe polish. The escape occurred
during the early hours of March 3, 1934. The prop was soon replaced by an automatic
gun which Dillinger took from a guard. Soon after, hostages were taken
but later released in the get- away to nearby Illinois. On July 23rd of that same year,
Dillinger was shot and killed by FBI agents outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.
Mackanos, Adele. "Dillinger
Escape: 50th Anniversary." Crown Point Register. March 8, 1989.
Married in Crown Point
Following is a complete and verbatim copy of an article from the Lake
County Star (publ. Mar. 16, 1923) covering the celebrated marriage
VALENTINO IS MARRIED HERE
Famous Screen Sheik and Winifred
DeWolf Wed by Judge Kemp
The Crown Point marriage
mill cut another notch in the hall of public fame on Wednesday afternoon when Rudolph
Valentino and Miss Winifred DeWolfe, with a party of friends from New York and Chicago
journeyed to the famous "Gretna Green" and were married by Justice of the Peace
After securing the
necessary license at the county clerk's office, in which Valentino gave his name as
Rudolph Gugliema, aged 28, and his bride as Winifred DeWolfe, aged 26. the couple
went immediately to the office of Judge Kemp and the ring ceremony was performed which
made them man and wife.
Several witnesses were
present at the marriage ceremony. and those signing their marriage certificate
were Attorney Michael Romona, of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Butler Graham, of New York,
and Mrs. Welner, of Salt Lake City, Utah. Judge Theodore Klotz, of Hammond, a friend
of the party accompanied them to Crown Point. When it became noised about that the
famous screen artists were in the city, a crowd quickly gathered curious to see Valentino
and his bride and they were given an impromptu ovation and showered with congratulations
as the party started Chicago-ward after the ceremony.
Following the marriage, the
news was flashed to the press of the world and once again Crown Point gets into the
limelight as being the scene of the marriage of famous folk.
Valentino, while going
through the ceremony appeared as nervous as any country swain that ever took the important
step and there was nothing about his appearance during the ceremony that bore out
world-wide reputation of being the cool, calm deliberate and "perfect lover" of
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