Take a walk through history at Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm

Take a walk through history at Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm
By: Nicholas Fortin Last Updated: August 29, 2020

One of the treasures of Northwest Indiana is Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Most people think of the lakeshore as just sand dunes and beaches, but there is much more to it than that. The National Lakeshore includes several historical sites in Porter, like Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm.

If you have yet to visit these sites, you should make some time to do so. They are both close to each other and can be visited in one trip. Parking is easy and convenient, and it is just a short walk to either site.

This is a great place to have a nice family picnic or relax under the shelter located near the parking lot. Read all about Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore with their historical signs around the area.

When heading off to the sites, you can enter Little Calumet Trail. You can go on a hike and walk to both Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm within a few minutes. Little Calumet Trail spans 3.4 miles and wanders through the woods. As you hike, you have the opportunity to see trees and other pieces of nature, enjoy the fresh air, and appreciate the many sounds of nature.

The first location to talk about is Bailey Homestead. It sits 0.3 miles south of the parking area. The Bailly Homestead was the home of Joseph Bailey and his family. Bailey played a role in the early development of the Calumet Region. He moved to the location in 1822 and built an independent fur trading business that was tied throughout the Midwest. 

Originally, there were six log buildings. These buildings acted as living quarters, a kitchen, a storehouse, and several trade houses. These buildings can still be found at the site of the homestead. The main house, which is the focal point of the site, was completed in 1835. Sadly, Bailly passed away before it was completed. The main house stands as a beautiful home in the center of the site, making the older log structures seem old and rough.

The final building at Bailly Homestead is a large brick house set to the side of the main house. This house was built much later than the main house, in the 1870’s. It was built for Bailly’s granddaughter, Rose Howe. While not as large as the main house, it is still remarkably nicer than the original log structures.

In 1962, Bailly Homestead was authorized as a National Historic Landmark, serving as a great representation of 19th century architecture.

The second site is Chellberg Farm. It is a very short walk of 0.1 miles to the north of the parking area. If you like animals, visiting Chellberg Farm will be more your scene. Chickens can be found just a little bit away from the farm house, and cows can be seen out in the pasture during the day time.

Chellberg Farm was built in 1885 by a Swedish immigrant family who had lived and worked on the farm for three generations. The farm was purchased by the National Park Service in 1972. The restoration done by the National Park Service fixed the house to give it a 20th century look. The only part of the house that is not of this 20th century style is the dining room, which was added to the house in the 1920s by the Chellberg family.

After visiting both sites, the rest of the Little Calumet Trail will beckon you to continue your hike. The trail stretches for 3.4 miles and includes a stop at the historic Bailly family cemetery.

Needless to say, these two sites, Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm, are an enjoyable way to spend your afternoon or early evening. Visiting the history here will take you back in time and give you a sense of the Calumet Region at the time. If you want to visit them, they are located north of U.S. Highway 20 on Mineral Springs Road in Porter, Indiana.