Porter and Jasper Counties

Burrows Camp and Resort was one of the many places for sportsmen along the Kankakee near Baum's Bridge.

  

Photos (Left:) Burrows Camp clubhouse. Kankakee Valley Historical Society (Right) One of the cabins at Burrows Camp S. Shool Photograph

  

Photos (Left) Horse barn at Burrows Camp. S. Shook Collection. (Right) River dredge tied up at Burrow Camp 1909.

Baum's Bridge

Pencil sketch of the first bridge located at Baum's Bridge. -Kankakee Valley Historical Society Collection-

In 1847 the United States government established a mail route between Rensselaer and Michigan City. George Eaton was awarded the contract for that section across the Kankakee. In 1949 Mr. Eaton constructed a bridge at the former ferry site. The first and only bridge across the river between Momence, Illinois and English Lake. The original bridge was destroyed by fire. There were rumors the fire was set by someone not happy the bridge was a toll bridge. In 1851 George Eaton passed away and Mrs. Eaton took over operations. In 1857, Mrs. Eaton died and a Mr. Sawyer became the owner. He built another bridge. The bridge was of a design that did not take into account the battering by debris and driftwood and water pressure during annual periods of high water. In 1860 Sawyer sold all his holdings to Enos Baum, who operated the ferry and sawmill for many years. Eaton's bridge was of sounder construction, and stayed in place.

At the close of the Civil War, under pressure from an increasing population, the Porter and Jasper county commissioners took over maintenance of the bridge and eliminated the toll charges. A new road was constructed. The community for that time forward became known by its present name, Baum's Bridge.

  

Photos (Left) Second wooden bridge at Baum's Bridge, 1907. (Right) Another view of the bridge with the Collier Lodge. -Kankakee Valley Historical Society-

  

Photos (Left and Right) Postcard images from Baum's Bridge. -Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society Collection-

 

The Collier Lodge is the only club, where the original building still stands today. The lodge has survived the test of time. It once invited guests to hunt and fish which included U.S. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland during the 1880's. The lodge and area have recently been granted landmark status and is officially listed on the National Register of Historic places. The grounds are presently the site of an on-going Acheeology dig, conducted by the University of Notre Dame Anthropologist Mark Schurr. Pre-Christian pottery fragments and artifacts have been unearthed, some dating back to 8,000 B.C.

 

 

  

Photos (Left) House Boat along the river at the Collier Lodge. (Right) Seawall and front of the lodge. -Kankakee Valley Historical Society-

  

Photos (Left) Group of locals outside the lodge building, now a general store. (Right) Front of the lodge, 1930's. This was after the river was channelized. -Kankakee Valley Historical Society-

  

Photos (Left and Right) The Collier Lodge, 2009. The building, now a landmark, needs lots of attention. -Thomas Kepshire Photos-

 

In 1878 a group of sportsmen from Louisville Kentucky, who had been frequent visitors to the area, formed a club and erected a clubhouse near the bridge. The Louisville Hunting Club listed among its members William Thompson, treasurer of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and William Short, president of the Western Hide and Tanning Co. The caretaker was Parker (Doc) Rice of Hebron. Doc Rice and Aaron Fehrman also from Hebron served as guides. Most of the clubs, the Louisville included, were very spartan to say the least, as evidenced in the photo to the lower right. Their building was condemned as a fire hazard in 1928 and torn down. Photo Left and Right : -Kankakee Valley Historical Society Collection-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Left: The Louisville Club 1878. -Kankakee Valley Historical Society-

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1879 the Rockville, Terre Haute and Indianapolis Club, later Donley Club was constructed. It was a large two story building with basement and a veranda on three sides. It fronted on the river with a number of wooden steps leading down to the river. A narrow pier ran the length of the front. At any given time several of the familiar Kankakee boats could be seen attached to the pier, the property of club members. This club boasted members, including the Studebaker family of South Bend. The club president was L.M. Wainwright, head of the Diamond Chair Co., with Dr. Ross Wilson as resident manager. This group stayed until 1909 when the club passed into private ownership, purchsed by James Donley. Donley along with his wife, converted it to a hotel. The upper story was devoted entirely to guests rooms. The lower level contained a large dining hall and kitchen. Some guest rooms were also located on the first floor. The basement was outfitted as a bar. Even after the hotel conversion, many sportsmen continued to use it as a home while hunting on the marsh. Many well known public figures visited, including Teddy Roosevelt. The hotel, one of the last passed into history, dissapperared in the flames that also destroyed the Rockville, Terre Haute and Indianapolis Club House.. Photo Right: -Kankakee Valley Historical Society Collection.

 

 

 

 

  

Photos (Left) Patrons pose in front of the Donley Club. (Right) Patrons on the grounds, near the seawal. -Kankakee Historical Society Collection-

 

The Valley Club, was founded in 1879. A group of sportsmen, erected the lodge and called it the The Valley Club. This club became popular with Grover Cleveland during his Presidency. The Club soon became known as the White House in honor of the President’s residence in Washington D.C. Photo Left: Sportsmen pose outside the club. - Kankakee Valley Historical Society Collection-

 

 

 

 

 

In 1878 a group of sportsmen from the Pittsburgh vicinity came to the region and built a clubhouse near the bridge. Shortly after completion of the clubhouse, the group brought in a small steam launch, named Little Rhoda. It was used as passenger service for the most part, but it also carried samll items of freight between English Lake and Long Ridge. The caretaker and club guide was George Wilcox. Photo Right -Kankakee Valley Historical Society-

 

 

 

 

  

Photos (Left) Another exterior view of the Pittsburgh Club. (Right) Hunters prepare for the day at the Pittsburgh. -Kankakee Valley Historical Society-

 

Benkie Landing at Baums Bridge. 1912. Another location along the river where sportsmen gathered. Photo Left: Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society Collection

 

 

 

 

Northeast of DeMotte, Indiana there was a location known as Beech Island. For many years a hunting and fishing camp was situated between the Kankakee River and the tracks of the Chicago and Wabash Valley Railroad, later part of the Monon Railroad. This island was also known as French Island. The camp was founded by Henry "Hank" Granger and for many years was known as the Granger Hunting Camp. For many years it was also known as the Beech Ridge Camp. There are also references to a known location called Jerry's Island Camp. There are those who believe that Jerry's Island may be French Island. Other accounts may have this island known as Fry's Island, and the camp there known as Fry's Landing. -Gerald Born Photo Collection-

 

(Photo Left:)These tents may be a part of the Beech Ridge club. Information is unconfirmed. -Michigan City Library Collection-

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Right: Cabin on Fry Island. Ira Fry and Ray Craft are pictured. This camp was about three and a half miles downstream from Baum's Bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: The new highway bridge over the Kankakee River north of DeMotte, Indiana. 1913.

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