Kenneth Schoon, retired Indiana University Northwest professor, signs copies of his latest book, "Dreams of Duneland," on Thursday, June 13, 2013. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 16, 2013 6:21AM
CHESTERTON — Kenneth Schoon, a retired professor of science education at Indiana University Northwest, offered a talk and signing of his new book, “Dreams of Duneland, a Pictorial History of the Indiana Dunes Region.”
His just-released book is available at bookstores though the region, and will soon be available online.
Schoon talked about the history of the Dunes region to a crowd of more than 60 Thursday at the Westchester Library Service Center in Chesterton.
His discussion was focused on how the history of the region was shaped by a number of influences over 300 years, reaching back to Jesuit Priest Jacques Marquette’s visit to the region around 1675.
During the 1960s, public debate centered on how the region would be developed — between industry hoping for a public port and conservationists hoping for a national park
“People of national stature were involved in determining the federal dollars used in this region,” Schoon said.
In 1966, Congress decided to designate land for both a public port and a national park.
Since the formation of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Schoon said, the tug of war between industrial and environmental special interests have changed to cooperation.
This is Schoon’s second book focusing on the history of the Dunes and Calumet area. His first book, “Calumet Beginnings,” was first published in 2003.
The lecture, as well as the first publication of the book, are sponsored by the Westchester Township History Museum and Save The Dunes. The recently released book features more than 400 images that document both the history and beauty of the region.
Susan Mihalo, whom Schoon credits as the inspiration behind the book, gave him the idea after completing the first book.
“I saw Ken at a Fourth of July parade in Munster, and I said, ‘We need a coffee-table book with a lot of pictures of the dunes.’ ” Mihalo said.
“The minute she suggested it,” Schoon said, “it was impossible to get it out of my mind.”
The book is published by Indiana University Press.