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Travel

Day Trip: Veterans leave footprints along South Shore

Memorial Trail focuses on Civil War soldiers

The South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail takes visitors to Indiana’s Lake and Porter counties along a path of history.

Of the 11 stops on the trail, six are cemeteries. On this drive, travelers will visit veterans’ burial spots and museums, and in the process will find out more about the war and Union soldiers from Indiana.

Historic Maplewood Cemetery, 347 Maple Lane, Crown Point, is the final stop for Col. John Wheeler, who was killed in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Twenty-eight Civil War-related graves are here.

Lowell Memorial Cemetery is at 1341 E. Commercial Ave. in Lowell. The veterans’ graves are on the hill in the oldest section. Look for their names on the Three Creeks Monument near downtown Lowell.

Maple Cemetery at Sturdy and Penna Hill Roads in Valparaiso is the burial place of dozens of Civil War veterans. A plot has been set aside just for them.

At 73rd Avenue, Merrillville Cemetery in Merrillville includes 30 veterans. The book, “Soldiers & Veterans Memorialized at the Merrillville Cemetery,” by Alice Smedstad, tells the story of these and other veterans. It’s available from the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society Museum, just west of the cemetery.

Oak Hill Cemetery can be found at 6445 Hohman Ave. in Hammond. This large burial site contains the graves of more than 100 Civil War veterans. A Grand Old Army of the Republic obelisk can be found there as well.

Twelve veterans are buried at Salem Cemetery, 751 W. County Road 350-South in Hebron. Among them lies Pvt. Benjamin Shoup, who fought at the Battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi.

Other, non-cemetery trail sites, are also available for a tour through time:

Memorial Opera House, 104 Indiana St., Valparaiso: 118 years old and was visited by Teddy Roosevelt, the Marx brothers and John Phillips Sousa. It was built to pay tribute to Union solders and sailors. Construction was completed in 1893.

Porter County Museum of History, 153 Franklin St., Valparaiso: This museum houses historical artifacts and a Civil War room that contains uniforms, a drum and soldiers’ diaries.

Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Museum, 13 W. 73rd Ave., Merrillville. Here visitors will find information and photos on the 99th Indiana Infantry. It also sells copies of Smedstad’s book. Sales benefit the museum.

Hesston Steam Museum, 1201 E. Road 1000-North, LaPorte: The museum hosts Civil War Railroad Days in the summer, with re-enactment groups participating from both sides of the fence.

Old Lake County Courthouse, Joliet Street and Main Street, Crown Point: This was built by Henry Wise, a Civil War veteran. The courthouse lawn was once a parade ground for the Grand Army of the Republic.

Enjoy the trail at one time, or divide it into smaller pieces for more time at each stop.

IF YOU GO

What: South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail

Where: Lake and Porter counties in Indiana

Cost: The trail itself is free.

Information: alongthesouthsore.com/civilwartrail or South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority at 219-989-7770

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