Indiana Dunes National Park gets $22M to restore three historic buildings

Courtesy of Indiana Dunes National Park

PORTER COUNTY, Ind. -- Indiana Dunes National Park officials announced on Wednesday the receipt of approximately $22 million to stabilize and restore three historic buildings.

"This spring, restoration efforts will begin on the Bailly Homestead, the Good Fellow Camp Lodge, and the Century of Progress District’s House of Tomorrow,” said Deputy Superintendent Chris Pergiel.  “Through the restoration of these iconic buildings, we are preserving key elements of the park's cultural heritage and creating opportunities for current and future visitors to experience the beauty and history of the park."

The Bailly Homestead is a national historic landmark and holds a history dating back to the early 19th century.

"Once home to Honore Gratien Joseph Bailly de Messein, this site played a pivotal role in the development of the Calumet Region of northern Indiana," said Indiana Dunes Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe. "The restoration project will ensure the building’s structural integrity and also provide enhanced accessibility, energy efficiency, and sustainability upgrades."

Park officials say the Good Fellow Camp Lodge was originally built by the U.S. Steel Company for children of employees and serves as a reminder of the industrial heritage of Northwest Indiana.

"This summer camp, nestled amidst rolling woodlands along the Little Calumet River, will undergo comprehensive restoration to preserve its unique architectural features and historical significance," Rowe said. "The House of Tomorrow, a marvel of modern design constructed for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, will undergo restoration efforts to revitalize this recognizable structure and ensure its preservation for future generations."

The funds for the restoration projects is coming from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) Legacy Restoration Fund, which is part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks. 

 Supported by revenue from energy development, the fund provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to the National Park Service for Maintenace and to make significant enhancements. 

"The restoration of these buildings represents more than just a renovation project; it's an opportunity to breathe new life into them and provide visitors with enriching experiences," said Rowe. "Upon completion, these restored buildings will serve various purposes, including adaptive reuse through leasing that enhances the park's offerings and invites visitors to connect with our shared history."

Officials say in 2022, the park had 2.8 million visitors who spent an estimated $141 million in local gateway regions which supported a total of 1,690 jobs and $209 million in economic output in local communities.

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