I live in the south suburbs of Illinois, but just a stone's throw from the Indiana border - and Lake County, Indiana. In south Lake County in the city of Crown Point sits the "Grand Old Lady," the old 1878 courthouse that is surrounded by a traditional town square.
It's an absolutely stunning structure that wasn't always so stunning. A few decades back it was falling into disrepair and slated to be demolished. I'm so glad that those plans didn't happen and that it was restored. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
The building was constructed at a cost of $52,000 and dedicated in 1880.
Today, the building houses the courthouse shops, Lake County Historical Society and a ballroom that can be rented for special events. A friend of ours was married there and it was a beautiful reception.
The courthouse was once known as a marriage mill where people could go for a quickie wedding in Las Vegas-style at any time of day due to its lax requirements. Several celebrities were married there during that time period from roughly 1900 to 1938.
The old courthouse is also known for being the jail that gangster John Dillinger escaped from, using a fake wooden gun, in 1933 after his arrest for a killing during a bank robbery.
During the summer months, the square is a bustling place and antique cars can be found lining the streets on their cruise nights.
Visit CPCourthouse.com for more information.