Celebrating the big 1-3-5
By Carrie Napoleon Star correspondent September 17, 2013 11:28AM
The 135th anniversary of the old Lake County Courthouse will be celebrated Sunday afternoon. | Sun-Times Media photo
Updated: September 17, 2013 2:03PM
The historic Crown Point Court House turns 135 this year and everyone is invited to the Sunday birthday bash.
Hometown hero astronaut Jerry Ross will be a featured guest at the birthday party open house that runs from 2 to 5 p.m., along with internationally known hometown artist James Paul Brown.
Ross will be signing copies of his book “Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA’s Record-Setting Frequent Flyer” with proceeds benefiting the Lake Court House Foundation. Brown will be offering selections of his work in silent auction on behalf of the Court House Foundation as well.
Martha Wheeler, Lake Court House Foundation chairwoman, said the free family-friendly event will give people a chance to tour the entire historic courthouse constructed in 1878 and finished in 1928, which is a National Landmark Building.
“It’s not really a fundraiser, it’s really a party,” Wheeler said. A highlight of the afternoon will be the birthday cake cutting at 3:15 p.m. Beck’s Crown Bakery is creating the tiered cake and two sheet cakes for 600 people.
The Lake County Historical Society museum, a seldom open city amenity many have not had the chance to visit, also will be open with president Bruce Woods on hand to answer questions. The 20th Company B Volunteer Infantry Re-enactors will be there to unveil a restored composite picture of the Civil War Veterans of the Colonel Wheeler Post.
The birthday bash will give visitors a rare glance into the history of Lake County as compiled by the Lake Court House Foundation. Wheeler said foundation members have been gathering clips and photographs since they took over the courthouse in 1978. Eight large scrapbooks will be on display for visitors to peruse.
In the courtroom visitors can watch all or part of Ross’ video on space, which will be playing in a loop. Children’s activities including bounce houses on the courthouse lawn and face painting are planned. Crown Point High School’s choral group “Bella Voce” and Merrillville High School’s Choral Teens will sing and Jim Bielefeld will play piano. The Court House Shops will be open.
Wheeler said she is excited about this first-ever event and expects good attendance. Col. John Wheeler Middle School has made its parking lots available. The school is a block and a half away from the courthouse. She said the city and several local non-profits came together to help the Lake Court House Foundation put on the celebration.
“It’s great to live in a community where people care so much,” Wheeler said.