Merrillville wants to remember its history
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent February 3, 2013 11:55PM
Merrillville town council president Carol Miano stands with clerk/treasurer Eugene Gurnsey, right and Hobart attorney Michael Deppe outside the Ross Township Historical Museum Thursday Jan. 31, 2013. Deppe and Miano are working toward the creation of a historical district that would run along 73rd Avenue from Mississippi to Van Buren Street. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 5, 2013 6:06AM
MERRILLVILLE — Michael Deppe has fond memories of growing up in Merrillville, where his family history dates to 1817.
Deppe, a Hobart lawyer, chuckles as he remembers playing with his slingshot on the vacant land that Clifford Pierce later donated for the construction of Pierce Middle School.
He remembers growing up in Rudy Kaiser’s Texaco gas station, where he would go every day as a young child and listen to the older men gossip.
He recalls when 73rd Avenue was just a gravel road and the town had only eight or nine businesses, some of which were in buildings that now house other businesses and some of which are no longer there.
Deppe’s love and historical knowledge of the town are why Town Council President Carol Miano has asked him to help as she plans to begin working on the creation of a historical district stretching along 73rd from Mississippi to Van Buren.
“That’s a key historical part of our town. I want to try to preserve some of the old buildings and get a historical committee back together,” Miano said.
She said she wants to get markers to identify some of the historical properties.
Miano said her plans are just in the beginning stages; she brought the matter up at a recent Town Council workshop session.
She wants to include some members of the original historical committee and wants the help of Deppe, who is a member of the Demmon family, which Miano said has lived in Merrillville since the days of the Potawatomi Indians.
“Deppe remembers every part of 73rd Avenue, who was where,” Miano said.
Deppe said he likes the idea of preserving some of the old buildings in town and would be happy to help in the efforts.
“So many historical buildings have already been lost. I wish this was done 30 years ago,” he said.
“Ms. Miano has the foresight to know what we’re losing in Merrillville and cares where we’re going and where we’ve been,” he said.