About This Place
La Porte (French for "The Door") is a city in La Porte County, Indiana, United States, of which it is the county seat. Its population was 22,053 at the 2010 census. It is one of the two principal cities of the Michigan City-La Porte, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin Combined Statistical Area. La Porte is located in northwest Indiana, east of Gary, and west of South Bend and was first settled in 1832. The current mayor is Kathleen Chroback, a Democrat serving her second term in 12 years. She holds the distinction of being La Porte's first female mayor. Chroback replaced Republican mayor Leigh Morris in January 2008.
The settlement of La Porte was established in July 1832. Abraham P. Andrew, one of the purchasers of the site, constructed the first sawmill in that year. The first settler arrived in October, building a permanent cabin just north of what would become the Courthouse square. In 1833 a Federal Land Office was established in La Porte. People would come to this office from newly established surrounding counties to buy land from the government, including Solon Robinson, founder of Crown Point. The office was moved to Winamac in 1839.
By 1835 the settlement had grown to the extent that it was decided that La Porte should become incorporated as a town. A newspaper was established in 1836 and LaPorte Medical School was founded in 1842, the first of its kind in the Midwest. A former graduate of the school William Worrall Mayo established the famed Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in 1889. By 1852 LaPorte had become a well established settlement of considerable size for its time, with 5,000 residents. In that same year it was granted a city charter by the Indiana General Assembly and the first mayor was elected. La Porte continued to grow, attracting numerous diverse industries, the largest of which became the Advance-Rumely company. Advance-Rumely was responsible for developing the Oil-Pull tractor engine, considered to have played a pivotal role in the agricultural development of the Great Plains. In 1869, Advance-Rumely was the largest employer in La Porte.