Local lore has it that on a dark and rainy night in 1875 (or 1880 or 1881 - no one really knows for sure), several railroaders from the West Michigan Railroad watched in horror as a train engine and 4-6 cars box cars slowly sank into Lily Lake in LaPorte, and were never seen again!
The railroad tracks had been constructed on pilings over the marshy lake, and the train and tracks simply sank into the muck. Fortunately, no lives were lost. Some say that the bottom of the marsh was quicksand, and that no one ever saw the train again. Others swear that divers have seen the engine and cars, but that the quicksand will never yield up its prize.
In any event, the marsh and several acres have long since been filled in and no one really knows the truth. No actual documentation has ever been located.
Legend of the Ghost in La Porte, Indiana
The most famous haunted house in La Porte is currently the site of the "I" Street Clinic on the corner of "I" and Tenth streets. There was originally a mansion at the site built by Dr. George L. Andrew between 1845 and 1850. There were many families who subsequently lived in this home.
The Gwynne family who lived in the home from 1904 until 1948 was the first family to report ghost hauntings. They heard pounding footsteps up and down the staircase. Once the doorbell rang on a winter night, and when Mr. Gwynne went to the door, there was no one there and the snow was undisturbed. Another odd occurrence was when Mrs. Madeline Gwynne Kinney was cleaning an empty downstairs closet, and she heard a noise behind her. She turned to find several old coins on the floor. There were no holes or cracks in the walls to explain where the coins appeared from!
The last family to have lived in the house from about 1958 to 1963 was the Zimmermans. They also had a similar incident with the coins falling on the floor in the same closet. The Zimmermans often felt a ghost present in the house. They experienced doors closing, heard footsteps and the doorbell ringing, and they could feel the movement of air!
In the early 1970s the house was torn down and a medical center was built at the site. There are still claims that a ghost lingers there.
One legend explaining these hauntings suggests that the ghost is from the spirit of a Potawatomi Indian girl who died at this site in 1838. She was part of a group of Native Americans who were pushed westward by the white settlers. The tale says that on their journey they rested on the site where she became ill and died. This is where it is thought she was buried and her spirit still lingers.
Another explanation of the hauntings involves two women who lived in the house in the late 19th century. One of the women fell in love with a man who headed for the California gold rush. He told her that if she waited for him, he would share his riches with her. Shortly thereafter, the carriage she was riding in was hit by a train, and she was killed. The hauntings may be her restless spirit wandering the house, waiting for the return of her loved one.
Many La Porte residents doubt that there was ever a ghost here, but others enjoy wondering about the weird phenomena that some La Porteans claim to have witnessed and to this day cannot be explained.
This information is taken from the following sources: Scott, Beth & Michael, Norman. "A Ghost in Time." Haunted Heartland. New York: Warner Books, 1985. 105-111. Tyrrell, Mark. "Who Lurked in Yon House? Lacking Halloween Spirit? This La Porte Residence Wasn’t." La Porte Herald Argus 17 Oct., 1988: 1-2.
This "Legend of the Ghost" summary was created by d2 grafix 12/12/96
This "Legend of the Ghost" last updated April 3, 2002
This page was copied to its current location 4/2/2010