Age, they say is relative. On April 21, 2009, the City of Hammond Indiana turns 125 years old. One hundred and twenty five seems old unless you compare it with Rome which was founded in 753 B.C., Moscow founded 1147 A.D. or even in our corner of the world San Juan, P.R. founded in 1521 and Saint Augustine, Florida established in 1565. But Hammond looks good for 125 and there is no reason to think this City is even hitting middle age any time soon.
With every decade, every century, comes changes. The Hammond of 1884 is far different from what we see today. Back in the 1880s this area was famous for the slaughter houses and the residents numbered around 700. Hammond at first didn’t have an official name and the name of the City was ultimately chosen following a coin toss. Some things remain from that era, including St. Joseph Church, St. Margaret’s Hospital and Oakhill Cemetery, but most of the City has been built and rebuilt since that time.
I am pleased to be the Mayor of a City with so much History, and look forward to leaving some small mark of my own as Hammond progresses into its second Century. A new century brings new challenges and priorities. The City that once dumped slaughterhouse waste into the river ways, now contains a major recycling center, environmental center, restored ecosystem at Wolf Lake, and will be one of the first Cities in the County to experiment with harnessing wind power for energy. Industrial areas remain but are complemented with new parks, sports complexes, trees and green spaces. Where brown fields once existed, environmental cleanup and remediation opens new areas of the City to development and enjoyment, and a new RDA assisted project will revitalize Hammond’s Lake front. I wonder what the next 125 years will bring, I can’t say for sure, but I am sure it will be wonderful.
Until next time,
Mayor Tom McDermott, Jr.
On April 21st the City of Hammond will be celebrating its 125th birthday! Just being associated with this committee has taught me so much about Hammond. Something as simple as learning about how some of the streets got their names and the people they were named after is interesting. I know that today young people feel that they need a fresh, new community to start their families in. I can understand that. When I was growing up here, all I ever wanted to do was leave, not giving one second of thought to the benefits of living in an established community and actually contributing to its history. But being a part of Hammond’s rich history, learning about our city’s ancestry and architecture has been inspiring and humbling. I cannot imagine how hard life must have been for Caroline and Ernst Hohman when they came to Hammond from Chicago as Hammond’s first settlers to escape a cholera outbreak. In the 1850s, how foreign Hammond must have looked! The settlers back then had the same types of feelings about trying to improve their lives and community as many of us do today. The Hammond Public Library has found excerpts from Mrs. Hohman’s diary where she talks about how lonely she is while her husband is off working in the fields. She’s happy when she learns that her sister and brother-in-law, Louisa and William Sohl are going to “settle” near them. It’s amazing to read her comments of June, 1870: “The old days are gone. We are getting to be quite a town now.” It sounds just like something that can be said today.
My beloved in-laws often tell stories about how the homes they grew up in were only heated with wood burning stoves and the refrigerator was literally an “ice box” where huge blocks of ice were delivered each day to keep the food cold. The women of the house had to go to the market every day for supplies to prepare the daily menu, and sometimes bring home live chickens to prepare for the family later. Have your kids sit down and talk with their grandparents. They will learn so much about history.
I want to invite you to join me at the Hammond Public Library on Tuesday, April 21 at noon to remember a little piece of Hammond’s history and celebrate its birthday. We will have a special proclamation by Mayor McDermott, a short historic presentation and wrap it up with cake and coffee. Hammond has been through everything a city can possibly go through, and during its plight, has gained much wisdom. It is an honor to be a part of a modern city that strives to rebuild and improve while recognizing and preserving its past. Hammond will be here long after we all are gone, continuing to add to its history. It is my hope that the younger residents realize what a precious piece of history Hammond really is and chose to stay and carry on the legacy.
I hope to see you there!
Special Events Coordinator
March 23, 2009
Special Events Coordinator
Hammond Civic Center
5825 S. Sohl Avenue
Hammond, IN 46320
(219) 853-6378 x316
Mayor Announces Festival of the Lakes Main Stage Lineup
HAMMOND, IN – Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. and Hammond Parks & Recreation are pleased to announce the 6th Annual Festival of the Lakes music talent lineup for the main stage at Wolf Lake Memorial Park, 2938 S. Calumet Avenue:
Wednesday, July 15
Opening act: Together
Headline act: Boyz II Men
Thursday, July 16
Opening act: Spin Doctors
Headline act: Gin Blossoms
Friday, July 17
Opening act: Nicole Jamrose
Headline act: Randy Travis
Saturday, July 18
Opening act: History’s End
Headline act: Black Crowes
Sunday, July 19
Opening act: Mike Roman & The Tellstars
Headline act: Los Lonely Boys
All shows begin at 7 pm. Free admission; $15 parking. Call 219.853.6378 for more information or visit http://www.festivalofthelakes.com.
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