Sand Dunes (Michigan City)
"I had passed through the wilderness by which the Pittsburgh & Fort Wayne Railroad enters the outskirts of
Chicago.  As far as the eye could reach had stretched a dreary plain broken by ridges of sand-dunes, among which
stood dwarf oaks, and gnarled and stunted pines . . . Upon my right I saw at last the broad bosom of the lake,
gleaming like burnished steel under the threatening sky, . . "
Walter might sound like he is describing a
scene from one of the Sword and Sorcery
movies, but in 1891 that area clear into
South Chicago must have been as barren
as the moon.  Given that he was plodding
along mile after mile in mid-winter must
have only reinforced the gloomy mood.  
Just how flat his
"dreary plain" was is
indicated by a sand dune only 192 feet
high in the
Indiana Dunes State Park
being called "MOUNT Tom."
Sand Dune National Monument, Indiana.
Chicago skyline dimly visible on the center left horizon.
It appears that Walter traveled along the present IN12.  Following this route we found his broken ridges of
sand-dunes now overgrown with brush, in some places right down to the beach line.  The dwarf oaks and
stunted pines have grown to impressive size, along with other hardwoods.  A 25-mile stretch of land from Gary
to Michigan City has been declared a National Park dedicated to preserving these formations and provide
the public with a splendid place to camp and picnic.
We stopped on the western outskirts of Michigan City and took this photo.  It not only captured the essence of
Walter's description, it had the added fillip of Chicago's towering skyline reduced to a dim smudge on the
horizon.  We continued on towards Chicago, connecting with IL41 just over the state line from Indiana and
headed for the Museum of Science and Industry, housed in the only building remaining from the 1893
Columbian Exposition.