Pennsylvania: Sullivan County

Sullivan County (pop. 6,428) is west of Wyoming County. It is Pennsylvania’s second-smallest county in population.

Sullivan County in 1895

It’s one of six Sullivan counties, which are named for three different Sullivans. This one was named for Charles C. Sullivan, leader of the Pennsylvania Senate in 1847 who spearheaded the county’s creation. It was formerly part of Lycoming County.

The county seat of Sullivan County is the borough of Laporte, smallest county seat in Pennsylvania, with a 2010 population of 316. It’s also the state’s highest county seat, at an elevation of 1.972 feet.

Sullivan County Courthouse (1894)

The heavily forested county has two state parks: Ricketts Glen and Worlds End. Ricketts Glen State Park has 24 named waterfalls.

Ganoga Lake is one of Pennsylvania’s highest natural lakes, at 2,260 feet.

Fed by springs

Football great Harold Edward “Red” Grange (1903-1991) was born in the community of Forksville (pop. 145) and lived there until he was five years old. His father was a lumber camp foreman in the area.

In the community of Eagles Mere (pop. 120), the volunteer fire department has created an ice toboggan slide in the winter since 1904. Riders go up to 45 m.p.h. down the hill.

The Eagles Mere Air Museum has about 20 vintage planes dating from 1908 to 1935.

Most are still flying.

In the unincorporated community of Lopez, five bombs aimed into the ground spell out “LOPEZ.”

The unincorporated community of Mildred has a retired MGM-13 Mace cruise missile outside the American Legion post.

Sullivan County has three old covered bridges, including Forksville Covered Bridge (1850).

Still in use

NEXT: LYCOMING COUNTY

 

 

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Indiana: LaPorte County

LaPorte County (pop. 111,467), east of Porter County, is Indiana’s second-largest county in square miles.

The county is considered part of Michiana, a seven-county area in northwestern Indiana and southwestern Michigan. The name dates from 1934, when it was the winner of a contest held by South Bend merchants.

The county seat of LaPorte County is the city of LaPorte (pop. 22,053). The Courthouse dates from 1894.

Richardsonian Romanesque style

In the late 19th century, LaPorte was the home of the Parsons Horological Institute – the first watchmaking school in the country. After a few years, the school was moved to Peoria, Illinois.

It became part of Bradley Polytechnic Institute.

The LaPorte County Historical Society Museum has a display on Belle Gunness (born 1858), a local Norwegian immigrant and serial killer who reportedly murdered 25-40 people (including her suitors, husbands, and children) before disappearing from the area.

6 feet tall, 200 pounds

The largest city in LaPorte County is Michigan City (pop. 31,479), on Lake Michigan. Michigan City reached its peak population of 39,369 in 1970.

Barker Mansion (1855)

The 90-mile South Shore Line, one of America’s few remaining interurban railroads, runs down the middle of 11th Street in Michigan City.

It runs from downtown Chicago to the South Bend airport.

Pitcher Don Larsen, who threw the only perfect game in World Series history (for the Yankees in 1956), was born in Michigan City in 1929.

Celebrating with catcher Yogi Berra

The Michigan City East Lighthouse was built in 1904. One of Indiana’s few lighthouses, it has an unusual iron walkway (no longer in use) above the pier.

Now a museum

The Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City has a 70-foot observation tower, open to the public.

A WPA project from 1937

Purdue University North Central is south of Michigan City, near the town of Westville (pop. 5,857). It has about 4,000 students.

NEXT: ST. JOSEPH COUNTY

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