What is now known as the small town of Lakeville was once a vast area of
swamp land, dense forests and a few small lakes. It was also home to many
different Indian Tribes. This changed in 1832 when a treaty called for all
Indian land in Indiana to be deeded to the United States Government.
A land office in LaPorte sold large parcels of land to
homesteaders. They were the people traveling by wagon, horseback and foot to the
newly developed South Bend. They came from the southern states and Ohio. When
they started buying land in this area a small village was created. Many sawmills
were set up to provide lumber for the log cabin homes. Wood tree slabs were laid
side by side to form roads.
who helped develop South Bend owned land in this area and a sawmill. He helped
form the village.
Michael Hupp was one of
the earliest settlers. He obtained a large parcel of land where he built his log
cabin home. The home; later remodeled many times, is still being used. It is
Dick Schalliol's home north of the bank. Mr. Hupp platted out much of Lakeville
on the east side of town which included Michigan and Main Street.
William Earl another early pioneer had much land and built his
home which is at the corner of US 31 and Lake Trail. The first election was held
in his home. The town was called Earl Town and often referred to as a village.
It later was named Lakeville. Earls home was also a resting place for travelers
who needed food and rest.
settler was Adam Shidler. His log home was on a large plat of ground at the
corner of US 31 and Pierce Road. His log cabin home was later replaced with a
large two story home and barn which still is being used. A veterinarian occupies
the barn. Adam was an inventor, farmer and also owned the Black Bear Tavern,
where many business men and their wives would travel here from South Bend for
dances and meetings. One of the one room schools was named the Shidler School.
There were over 13 one room schools throughout the area. In 1898
a large 2 story school was built in town for all 12 grades. It was on the corner
of Main and Harrison St.. This school was used until 1932 when the new High
School was built north of the town. The one room schools began to close and the
school in town was now an Elementary School. This building was demolished in
Although homesteading began in 1836
the town was not incorporated until July 1902. A large Centennial celebration
was held in 2002 with a parade and festival.
The little village rapidly expanded with businesses and homes
when the Vandalia Railroad was built in 1845, it ran from Logansport to South
Bend. The Wabash Railroad built in 1893 ran from Toledo, Ohio to Chicago. An
overhead bridge was built in 1936 over US 31 to avoid the many train accidents
that were occurring. The bridge was demolished in 2001 as the tracks had been
abandoned. Paving of the highway was done in the early 1920's. In 1947 streets
were widened and made into 4 lanes. The curve south of town was relocated and a
hill was removed which provided a view of Pleasant Lake.
Some of the original buildings are still being used today. The
Hilltop restaurant built in 1865 was known for years as Rensbergers General
Store. The 2 story building north of the restaurant was a hotel. Jack's Tavern
was a general store and also a post office. In 1909 a home behind Casey's on
Patterson Street was moved back from US 31 to build a gas station. The home
belonged to Gabrielle Motts who was a civil war veteran. He had a general store
on the northwest corner of US 31 & Patterson. He was a very popular business man
and a street was named for him.
village was being developed a row of maple trees were planted on both sides of
the street from the south of town to the northern boundary near the Lakeville
High School. It was a beautiful little town with lovely 2 story homes and many
provided by Jeanne Geyer from the book:
"Now and Then - A collection of Pictures and Stories about