Miller Beach, known for its eclectic charm, became a popular tourist destination in the early 1900s thanks to its windswept sand dunes and Lake Michigan shoreline. An early aviator, Chicagoan Octave Chanute, glided his aircraft over the dunes almost 10 years before the Wright brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk, and botanist Henry Chandler Cowles studied plant succession in Miller Woods, now part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Like its citizens, Miller Beach’s architecture is diverse, with historic park buildings designed by George W. Maher: the Marquette Park Pavilion and the Gary Bathing Beach Bathhouse, recently renovated as a museum that honors Chanute and the Tuskegee Airmen. Miller Beach contains other historic structures: Miller Town Hall dates to 1911, the old railroad depot houses a restaurant, the 1910 Miller School is home to a community arts group, and Ayers Realtors remains in its 1926 building. Miller Beach is now a part of Gary, Indiana, and the draw of the beach remains a timeless part of its past, present, and future.
About the Author
Linda Simon, an ERISA attorney, is the fifth generation of her family to live in Miller; her great-great-grandparents were among the town’s first Swedish settlers. Jane Ammeson is a writer specializing in travel, personality, and food; she has written other Arcadia books, including Holiday World and Brown County.
Table of Contents
1 Early Settlers: Carr Family and Downtown Swedes 9
2 On the Go: Trains, Horses, and Automobiles 25
3 Lake Industries: Ice, Sand, and Fish 35
4 Civic Life: Schools, Churches, and Public Institutions 45
5 Flight and Flora: Octave Chanute and Henry Chandler Cowles 61
6 Independent Women: Diana and Beyond 69
7 Miller Beach: Fun in Any Season 81
8 Beach Living: Settling the Dunes 97
9 Business District: Life on Main Street 111