Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project
Welcome to the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail website. Our trail is a collection of the last known resting places, monuments and architectural icons related to the brave men and women of Lake and Porter counties who sacrificed during this most pivotal era in history. Indiana contributed more than 200,000 Union troops to the Civil War effort between 1861 and 1865, and hundreds of those veterans are buried in the cemeteries of Northwest Indiana along the South Shore of Lake Michigan. The South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail serves as a guide for visitors who want to see and pay respect to the veterans’ historic burial grounds and learn the stories of humanity behind the Calumet Region men in blue. Follow the white links on the left side of this page to learn the stories and burial locations of Lake and Porter County Civil War veterans.
The search continues for veterans buried in these cemeteries and their stories. Hundreds of volunteer hours have been logged by the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project members, researching the historical and burial records and restoring grave sites so the veterans can be properly recognized for their service.
The earliest dated headstones at the Merrillville Cemetery date back to the mid-1830's. Many of the records of burials since those early days have been lost or never existed. Research for this website retells the veterans' stories through military service records, obituaries from century-old newspapers and other genealogical research. A generous historical preservation grant from the Indianapolis-based Efroymson Family Fund is furthering the trail efforts. Money from the grant will fund signage, QR codes at region cemeteries that will link smartphone users to the stories of region veterans, special markers for veterans who died in service and enhancement of Civil War exhibits at local museums.
The Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project is a regional effort to commemorate the Civil War sesquicentennial by seeking replacement headstones for old marble government markers that have faded, become broken or gone missing during the past century. The group consists of private businesses, local historians, cemetery administrators and veteran descendants.
What to look for when visiting Calumet Region cemeteries
Dozens of Civil War veterans buried at Lake and Porter county cemeteries have headstones embossed with a Union shield (similar in shape to the Interstate highway shield) as well as their rank, company and state regiment. These are upright stones, with the old original stones made from marble and newer replacement stones made from granite.
Because weather and other elements have taken a toll on the marble, the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project worked to replace more than 70 veterans' markers with new granite headstones between 2011 and 2012, honoring the Civil War's 150th anniversary. To date, the work has occurred in nine cemeteries spanning both counties. Many of the inscriptions on replaced headstones were worn to the point of being nearly unreadable. Some of the headstones were broken, and some were missing entirely.
The project also marked more than 200 veteran grave sites with commemorative Grand Army of the Republic medallions. Many region Civil War veterans have private family headstones rather than government markers. Another key to identifying Civil War veterans is looking for the dates during which they lived. Most of the region men who fought in the war were born in the late 1830s to mid 1840s.
How you can help
The South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail is seeking monetary contributions to further region Civil War preservation efforts. Contributions will be used to purchase more commemorative Grand Army of the Republic medallions for South Shore Civil War veteran graves, purchase special markers for region veterans who died in the service of their country, were wounded in battle or played other significant roles in local history and to serve as matching money for the leveraging of other grants to help the cause.
Those wishing to make a gift in any amount can send checks to:
South Shore Promotions Inc.
c/o South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail
7770 Corinne Drive
Hammond, IN 46323
Please write “Civil War” in the memo portion of the check.
South Shore Promotions Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.
The South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail is a project of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority and the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project. Our sponsors and founding members are The Times of Northwest Indiana (www.nwi.com), Ziese & Sons Excavating Inc. in Crown Point, the Valparaiso Department of Public Works, the Merrillville Ross Township Historical Society, Charles and Mable (Wise) Swisher of Crown Point, The John and Arlene (Baughman) Berg family of Hammond, and Ed Krieser of the Sons of Unions Veterans of the Civil War.