Every year, Indiana Landmarks offers a daylong experience that uses historic places to explore a theme. This year, the preservation organization revisits the Cold War on Aug. 24 by touring northwest Indiana military compounds that protected America at home and abroad from World War II (1939-1945) through the Cold War (1947-1991).
“Starting out from the LaPorte County Historical Society Museum via a motorcoach, our first stop will be the Kingsbury Ordnance Plant eight miles south of LaPorte,” says Suzanne Stanis, Indiana Landmarks’ director of heritage education. More than 20,000 people worked at Kingsbury during World War II, nearly half of them women, filling ammunition shells.
The complex was strategically located to draw a large workforce and at the same time be far enough from major population centers in the event of explosions caused either by accidents or enemy attack. “We’ll show the bunkers used to store munitions and tour the employment office, created by John Lloyd Wright—inventor of Lincoln Logs, designer of International-style buildings, and son of the famous Frank Lloyd Wright—that’s currently undergoing renovation,” Stanis adds.
In Lake and Porter counties, the Cold War Landmarks Experience will visit two former Nike Missile bases—part of the “ring of supersonic steel” that protected Chicago from 1956 to 1974. The administrative offices of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore occupy a building that was part of a Nike base. At Nike Missile Control Area C-47, now known as Blast Camp Paintball, the original radar towers remain in place.
During a luncheon, Mark Morgan and Mark Berhow, authors of the book Rings of Supersonic Steel, will discuss the purpose and operation of the bases.
The Cold War Landmarks Experience begins at 9 a.m. Central Daylight Time at LaPorte County Historical Society Museum, and ends back in the same place at 5 p.m. on August 24. The cost of $85 per person ($75 per Indiana Landmarks member) includes lunch and motorcoach transportation to the tour sites.
Tickets must be purchased in advance, online at www.indianalandmarks.org—visit the tours & events section—or by calling 317-639-4534 or 800-450-4534.
Suzanne Stanis, Director of Heritage Education & Information, Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen Thomas, email@example.com, 317-441-2487
Indiana Landmarks, a private nonprofit organization, has worked for half a century saving historic places and using preservation as a catalyst to revitalize communities. What started as a small, all-volunteer group has grown to the largest statewide preservation group in the U.S., with 6,200 members and a staff of 36 in nine offices around Indiana. For more information on Indiana Landmarks, call 317-639-4534, 800-450-4534, or visit www.indianalandmarks.org.
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